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Having survived thirteen months backpacking around the world with our children we have now returned to the UK. However, while away we were grateful for having these top 10 accessories for family travel. Without them our trip may have been a lot more difficult. If you are thinking of going away with children, no matter for how long, these products may prove very useful to you too.
1). Packing Cubes
Having only heard about packing cubes a few months before our departure, we decided to invest in a couple of Homdox 4 Piece Packing Cube Sets and were so glad that we did. For those of you who don’t know what they are, packing cubes are sets of small fabric cubes. They allow you to easily separate items when packing your backpack or suitcase and make life a lot easier when unpacking.
We would pack our clothes and medical supplies in our packing cubes (and had one spare for dirty laundry). This meant that we didn’t have to keep rummaging around in our backpacks for clothes. When we arrived at a new destination we simply had to unpack the packing cubes. Having these in various sizes also allowed us to organise our backpacks better and allowed us to pack up faster.
2). Portable Power Charger
In most countries, we would get a local SIM card for our mobile phones. This allowed us to call for taxis or to check Google Maps for directions. Unfortunately, our phone batteries would sometimes run out. Ordinarily this would mean we were cut off, however with a portable power supply for our phones we never had to worry about this. The portable power charger came to our rescue on more than one occasion and we are glad we took one on the trip with us.
We used a RavPower 16750mAh Portable Charger which served us very well. Over the time we have been away there have been improvements in the size and power of these portable chargers and now you can even get some with solar panels for recharging! In hindsight, given some of the sunny destinations we found ourselves in we most certainly would have taken this option.
3). Travel Towels
There was no way we could fit four standard towels into our backpacks and have enough room for everything else. Luckily, we knew about microfiber travel towels and had purchased four large towels by The Little Bodhi. These lightweight towels pack down very small and are ideal for travel when space is an issue. They work by soaking up water, so you get a better result by dabbing yourself with the towel than by rubbing with it. Size and weight are not the only advantages of these towels as they dry very quickly too. We used ours as both beach towels and regular towels during our thirteen months away.
4). Travel Washbag
A good travel washbag should be on everyone’s list of essential travel items. Mum bought a new Lavievert Toiletry Washbag before we left and it proved to be a great purchase. She could store a lot of wash items in the bag and it had the advantage of a hook, which allowed it to be hung in a lot of guesthouse bathrooms where there was a lack of space. The bag folds down well, allowing it to be packed with ease.
5). Compact Ear Thermometer
There were a few times when we needed to check the temperature of the kids and our Braun IRT 3020EE Compact Ear Thermometer was perfect for the job. It is small enough to be packed with ease while being very functional. Simply place the thermometer in an ear and hold the button for an accurate temperature reading.
Fortunately, we did not suffer very much with illness over our thirteen-month trip, but we knew that should we need to check temperatures we had the perfect piece of equipment for the job.
6). 18L Backpack
Before we left the children were gifted two Mountain Warehouse 18L backpacks. They already had their own backpacks for the trip and we were initially at a loss at what to do with the new gifts. Luckily, we decided to take them with us and they proved to be the perfect bags to take out of day trips.
Small enough to carry without too much fuss, they were large enough to carry phones, portable chargers, travel towels or snacks on a day out. The two mesh pockets on the side of the bag were convenient for storing the children’s water bottles and made them easily accessible while two inside pockets were perfect for phones or wallets. The size of the bags meant that they could be packed inside our larger backpacks or day-bags if need be when it was a travel day.
7). Travel Clothes Line
A simple, but effective item. Our travel clothes line is a twisted elasticated rope with hooks on each end. There were many times after hand-washed our clothes or swimming where there was no clothes line yet we needed to hand out clothes. All we needed was two places to hook the ends of the line to and we had a clothes line. Since the line itself consists of twisted string there is no need to pegs. Instead the clothes are fed between the string to hang them.
The line also had other uses too. At one point during a stop-over in Kuala Lumpur our 27th Floor window broke and swung open during the night. Unable to shut the window. we used the clothes line to keep the window shut (and us safe!) by hooking it around the window handle and securing the other end tightly to the curtain rail.
8). Universal Sink Plug
While mostly all guesthouses have a sink, and some rare ones also have a bath, we found that not a lot of them provided a plug. You can imagine walking into our accommodation and seeing a bath (after months of dodgy showers!) only to find that there was no plug.
Luckily, we had purchased a universal sink plug, which enabled us to take that bath, or to fill the sink for a face wash, shave or to wash the dishes. The design of the plug means that it generally works well for most size plug holes and on our travels, we did not find a plughole that it didn’t work for.
9). Travel Hairdryer
Not all guesthouses or hostels would have a hairdryer in the room so Mum and Daughter needed an option for drying their hair. We chose the Babyliss 2000 travel hairdryer as it was quite powerful (2000w) for its size, was lightweight and the handle folded down, making it the perfect packing choice for Mum. It has dual voltage via a switch on the handle, so it can be used anywhere in the world.
10). Travel Sewing Kit
The travel sewing kit we had was used on multiple occasions during our extended time away. When our elephant style travel pants that we bought at a local market inevitably split they would receive a patch up! They were not the only clothes that required a fix-up during our stay away, and this small little sewing kit would never let us down.