During the course of our adventures, we have discovered several products and/or practices that make our life a little more pleasant on the road.
Backpacks: A good quality backpack is vital, every member of our family owns one. I am using one made by Osprey purchased at REI a few years ago and I still love it. We usually travel using only backpacks and that eliminates the need to check luggage.
Quality Sleep: As we discovered on our trip to Alaska, twenty hours of sunlight can really mess around with your circadian rhythms. We are also so much nicer to be around when we have enough good quality sleep. I recommend:
- Nested Naturals-Luna Natural Sleep Aid (for adults) and the Luna Kid’s Natural Sleep Aid.
- Essential oils-there has been some interesting research done on lavender oil and its effects on the nervous system. Try placing a few drops on your pillow to relax (alternatively place drops on a cotton ball and then place this inside your pillow case to avoid oil stains). I am also a huge fan of Rocky Mountain Oil-Dreamtime Essential Oil Blend.
- White noise machine or phone app.
- Sleep mask-everyone in the family has one.
Basic Words in Other Languages: While you can depend on different apps to help you translate, I like for us to know some basic words so we are not so dependent upon our phone. I write these words in a prominent, visual place in our home (a blackboard on the door of our pantry) weeks in advance of a trip. This way we all have time to commit to memory.
- Please, thank you, excuse me, yes and no
- Form of greeting, how to say goodbye
- Places (Restroom, bank, laundry, hotel, grocery store, pharmacy)
- Numbers (1-10)
- Transportation (car, bus, train, airport etc.)
- Items you may use (diapers, sunscreen, bug spray, tampons, contact lens solution, medicine)
Food Supplies: While we do eat out when traveling, we like to have supplies on hand for breakfast and/or quick meals. Here is a list of our top items:
- Sandwich or taco supplies-whatever is easily available, note: peanut butter can be very hard to find in many countries.
- Pasta or rice, butter and cheese-easy and kid-friendly
- Fruit-look for ones that can be peeled if water contamination is an issue (bananas, citrus, apples etc.)
- Eggs-boil the whole dozen and use for a quick breakfast, serve with toasted bread and fresh fruit.
- Shelf stable snacks: nuts and low-sugar granola bars are our go-to
- Coffee, milk and water (if needed)-buy water by the gallon if you can and fill up water bottles; a paper towel can be used as a coffee filter
- Box of tissue-for the rental car or can be used as toilet paper if needed
- Roll of paper towels-necessary if you have kids, plus I hate doing dishes so I use them as small plates if I can. I also use them to wrap up sandwiches to take on the go.
Lodging: We usually rent a small house or condo mostly to have access to a kitchen. It is considered a huge score if I can get a separate bedroom for the kids, it is a slam-dunk if I get separate beds for them.
Lately I have used Airbnb exclusively because I love the speed and efficiency of booking. I recommend choosing only highly rated rentals and taking the time to read the reviews because sometimes the information contained in them is very helpful.