Travelling with children - Travel must haves!


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Finally catching up on my posts from last November that I started writing but never finished or published.

These are a few of the items we traveled with to Japan that I couldn't live without.

1. The boys had a full luggage allowance but given they weren't going to be lugging around their own luggage, it seemed crazy to take 4 suitcases, 4 carryons and the pram in its wheel bag to Japan.
Instead, we borrowed these amazing huge duffle bags from my sister that she got in the US. They are on wheels and zip down into a small flat square that fit in our suitcases.
We always planned to use them coming home - plan was to stuff all excess luggage and shopping in the pram wheel bag then at the airport, put it into these bags and the pram in its bag at check in so we didn't have more to juggle for long. This worked exactly as I imagined but we also used one of these bags to take our requirements for the 2 nights at Fuji and the 3 nights at Disney so we could avoid big suitcases.
These are just amazing and so convenient.

2. With my total dedication to organisation, packing cubes were a logical choice for our suitcases. E and I shared a suitcase and S and C shared one so to keep things organised, I bought us each a set of packing cubes in a different colour. From there, I went slightly overboard (I do not regret this at all), and packed the boys an entire outfit for each day in a large Ikea ziplock bag including socks and singlets/thermals. I packed 4 extra days worth of outfits for C (so 14 total) and 12 days for E. This was the best timesaver each morning when we were trying to get out the door to start exploring, especially for E as he could just grab a bag and dress himself. It also made packing for our short trips a breeze as I just threw the number of days and a spare in the duffle and was done.
The ziplocks also were a spacesaver as I could squeeze out the air and layer.
I definitely overpacked as we had a laundry in our apartment and also a laundromat at Disneyland but I really didn't know what to expect so better safe than sorry in my opinion.
I only bought cheap cube sets from eBay as I wasn't sure if they would be worth it but having used them, I'll invest in some good qualities ones for our next big OS trip.

3. The cutest ever Kikki K children's travel journal. I fell in love with this as soon as I saw it and bought one for E and another to store for a future family trip. I love the idea of recording their knowledge of where they are travelling to as well as their thoughts and experiences while travelling. Such a great keepsake to look back on when they are older.

4. A Trunki. Before we left, I started to get worried about how we would juggle the boys and all our luggage through the airport and trains/train stations. I had heard of Trunki's so did some research and decided they would be the solution to our problem.The boys absolutely loved riding them around, they were something to play on in the quieter parts of the airport, something to sit on in Customs queues and freed up our hands getting through terminals.
Lightweight, they are able to be carryon luggage and we just clipped them onto our luggage and tugged the boys along with us ... or they tugged them along themselves - meaning we didn't have then complaining about it being too heavy to carry.
As they were carryon, I filled them up with a pair of pjs, the boys' coats, a change of clothes, a book, some small toys and extra snacks to cover us for anything unexpected.

5. I debated about the necessity of a carrier as obviously CB is long out of the Baby Bjorn but everything I knew already and read about Japan with children recommended one. I looked into carriers for toddlers and obviously didn't want to spend a fortune but figured it could be handy to have one so I bought a Manducca. Lightweight and easy to pack, it easily carried the weight of both boys for medium periods of time. I found it alot more comfortable than S did. E loved it and went it a few times comfortably,  C on the other hand didn't like being restricted and only went in it 5 times max - 2 times under extreme protest.

6. I am a total Bugaboo disciple ... I had a Cameleon with E, upgraded to a Donkey when CB came along and with Japan in mind and then booked, downsized to a Bee and comfort board. Best investment ever! I weighed up getting a Yoyo or similar but in the end, couldn't go past the addition of the comfort board for E.
Having a good quality pram over an umbrella stroller meant that CB could comfortably nap (or E on occasion) while we were on the go instead of heading back to the apartment and it came in handy most days for this. The comfort board also meant that we didn't have E getting tired out from walking and from a safety aspect, it was great to have them both contained from getting lost in a crowd.
The Bee has a decent basket which was handy for storing coats, snacks, water bottles etc, is lightweight, a big factor as Tokyo is not pram friendly and S had to carry it up a million flights of stairs, and it also folds in half easily and quickly.

7. Uniqlo puffer jackets. A must for all the family if you're traveling to cold climates. With low temperatures predicted for Fuji and Tokyo while we were there, I worried about keeping the boys warm and not being used to freezing weather, I wasn't sure how they would cope with heavy layers and big coats.
Uniqlo jackets are ultra light, they weigh next to nothing so the don't inhibit movement and you forget you're even wearing one. I got the boys one each and a vest and they lived in them. They found them easy to put on, not bulky, warm but not hot and at night, they wore their vests over their jackets.
Bonus, they're waterproof too.
I got one also,the longer line one and like the boys, lived in it.

And of course, snacks, lots and lots and lots of snacks!

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