Basic pointers for packing for the unexpected
When traveling, there is a very good chance that something will go array. This is just how traveling works sometimes. It is not always spa treatments and postcard perfect destinations. Sometimes, your child gets sick and you weren’t planning on doing laundry. Sometimes, there’s no coffee pot and if you are me then this is catastrophic. The planes get delayed, the apartment you rented is nasty, there’s a heat wave and they do not use washcloths in Europe. The things that could put a damper, on an otherwise perfectly enjoyable trip, are many. So let’s delve into a few tips that I use in regards to packing so that I am less ambushed by the unexpected.
Packing for the Unexpected
I have six things that I ALWAYS pack to help off set some of the unexpected things that happen during travel:
- I am an avid coffee drinker, but I am also on a budget. Therefore, I cannot buy coffee everyday. I typically pack a small glass french press. I always have access to a pot for boiling water and this way mom gets at least one cup of good coffee. Also, I pack a small amount of ground coffee either in a zip lock bag or a quarter pound from a company.
- A fold away clothes line. I cannot count how many times I have been in a hotel or a hostel without access to a washing machine. Of course a child has peed their pants, smeared strawberries from collar to socks, or pooped in that reusable swim diaper that I thought was a good idea. With the clothes line I can hand wash the clothing and stretch the clothes line out across the room to dry the items on. This is obviously not a perfect solution as most things I will re-wash once I get to adequate facilities, but it prevents our luggage from smelling like pee. Also, the clothes line works really well for hanging wet bathing suits if you are spending a lot of time by the water.
- Following the clothesline is of course, detergent. I typically have one checked bag with me. Therefore, I pack a few liquid detergent pods in a zip lock bag. By doing this I can poke a hole in the pod and use as little or as much as I need. If you are only taking a carry on bag BRAVO FOR YOU! You can take a small amount of powder detergent.
- When traveling internationally, you will find that most supermarkets charge for plastic bags. I brought with me four reusable market bags. I have used these bags for everything. From a beach bag to a make shift purse.
- A deflated beach ball! While you are unpacking, or trying to get dinner made, a beach ball can be a lifesaver. It acts as amazing entertainment to children that have been cooped up in a plane all day.
- A pair of zip off convertible pants for each person can be a life saver when unexpected weather hits. They are quick dry, can be used as shorts or pants and are very durable.
The Unexpected Happened
When traveling with children there is a good chance that some form of backup will be needed to save your sanity. If you can foresee a few of these problems before they happen then you are two steps ahead. Obviously, a clothes line is not going to fix EVERY problem that arises. It can make you feel like you have a little bit of control over some problems when they do arise. There is so much fun and exploring to do. I would hate for you to spend your time worrying about washing out dirty underwear. Motherhood does this to us though. As mothers, we have been rewired to fret about the daily tasks. When we cannot see the end of the visible work we tend to internally (sometimes externally) panic. I hope that this modest list brings you some comfort and tools to pull from when the unexpected happens.