Traveling for wind and waves as we often do as a family means we land in locations where there is little in the way of infrastructure.
By that I mean the basics — electricity, Internet, and medical care. Traveling to these spots for kids is not for everybody, but we find trips that extend us out of our city comfort zone that we fall into in Shanghai are the most rewarding and memorable trips we have taken. That said, traveling to far away, end of the road places also means you need to be ready to deal with whatever fate has in store. Personally, I always wonder how people pack when going on trips to remote locations where infrastructure is limited or non-existent. Hopefully, this post gives you insight into how we do it as a family, and in turn may spurn some discussion from others on their travel essentials.
Below is my list of odds and ends that I pack beyond the basics — shoes, clothes, sunscreen, towels, sporting equipment, etc. The list is by no means extensive, but has worked well for me in the past and gives me (and the family) a small sense of security that we can handle any curveballs a trip may throw at us.
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#1 In Travel Pouch- This is my toilet kit but small enough I keep in in my carry on. Small kits like these are essential so you can freshen up on the plane and you don’t have to worry if your luggage gets lost.
#2-Plug Adaptor-This type is like a Swiss Army knife style adaptor that has all the different plug types inside one cube.
#3-Portable speaker-We like our music, and mobile phones and laptops don’t quite cut it.
#4-Mac charger adapter-Perhaps one of the coolest inventions on your MAC laptop charger is this little attachment allowing you to use a longer grounded plug or this little two prong adaptor.
#5-Cables and assorted chargers-I keep these little stuff sacks to house other assorted cables, chargers, etc.
#6-USB Power bank-Sometimes electricity is scarce; USB power banks like these are great to have on hand to charge devices or other peripheral devices (cameras, fans, lights, etc.)
#7-Eye masks and ear plugs-We collect kits like these on our long-haul flights. Earplugs and face masks always come in handy and in budget or rustic accommodations without heavy drapes, the eyeshade can really improve your rest.
#8a-Selfie Stick w Go Pro Adaptor– Selfie sticks get a bad rap but they are great for taking video with a Go Pro or mobile phone. Some of the best video I get is with a selfie stick as you can get unique perspectives while in cars or traveling on boats.
#8b-iPod shuffle (waterproof version)– These are great for exercising or just having music around so you are not draining your phone battery. One charge seems to last forever and the extra cost of the waterproof model means I don’t have to worry about dropping it in the pool or getting it wet while at the beach or stand up paddle boarding.
#9-Headphone splitter-This little thing has diffused more sibling squabbles than any other piece of travel equipment. Video only on one device, no problems with the splitter. Want to watch a movie in bed with wifey while kids sleep? You get the idea.
#10-Headlamp(s)-I prefer headlamps over flashlights as they are more comfortable to use and ours also have a red light mode for use at night which is great if you are in the car, plane or on a boat after dark and not wanting bright white light.
#11- Vicks Vapo Rub-You may laugh but if you have ever traveled internationally on 8+ hour flights you quickly realize why breathing in the cool eucalyptus smell of vapor rub is far more favorable to some of the other smells that occur with so many people in one small place. Traveling to Asia? Do yourself a favor, pack vapor rub. A little bit under both nostrils will change your life…seriously.
#12- USB Light & USB Fan-These are cool little devices I just got which we can plug into our USB power banks at night. We have stayed in places where they turn the electricity off at night and when in the tropics that can mean some hot nights under a mosquito net. Fans and lights like these are small creature comforts that cost nothing and add a lot of comfort.
#13- Bike LED lights-I pack a few of these just because we do end up renting or riding bikes on trips often and this adds an element of safety. They also make handy flashlights, weigh nothing and pack small.
#14- FitBit-I like carrying a FitBit, less for health and exercise but more to be able to follow distances covered hiking or trekking. GPS watches are great, but I would rather lose or have a $15-30 FitBit thing stolen than a $300 GPS watch.
#15- Lifeproof iPhone Case-If you are like me you depend on your phone for everything from communicating with people to recording your travels through pictures or quick notes. Protect your investment. We are often around water, be it a pool or the ocean and losing a phone because of an accident is not an option.
#16- USB charging Blocks-With a wired family comes the need to recharge devices. In addition to this I carry a plug strip with 5 outlets.
Read More: What to Pack in a Emergency Kit for Your Car
Also Important to Pack
- First Aid Kit
- Travel medicine bottle with duct tape around it-Duct tape is your friend, pack as much as you can.
- Water filter-Anytime we travel in the tropics around areas that could be hit by tsunamis or typhoons I always carry a water filter. A small portable backpacking model is fine and weighs nothing but could be a lifesaver in the case of a natural disaster.
- Disinfectant wipes-Perfect to clean your seat tray on the table or any other surface.
- Deet-Don’t try to go natural for bug spray, most of it doesn’t work. Get something with at least 20% deet. When traveling to the tropics, mosquitoes can carry a host of diseases. This is not the time to go organic unless ending up in a hospital is your idea of fun.
- Sarong-A sarong is like the swiss army knife of clothing, you can wear it, use it as a sheet, cover up in the sun with it, use it as a towel that dries quickly and doesn’t get as smelly as beach towels, or use it in first aid situations. Invaluable. And guys, yes you can wear a sarong as well.
- Peanut butter-If a sarong is the swiss army knife of clothing, peanut butter is the swiss army knife of food stuffs. When traveling with kids, peanut butter is a lifesaver especially when not staying in posh hotels and resorts where food options can be limited. Besides, it is healthy and great source of protein and can be eaten with just about everything.
That pretty much covers our family travel essentials besides clothing. What are the essentials you carry when getting off the beaten path?