TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE

Make Your Travel Easier

Deepanshi Ahuja, Travel Writer, India

18 JANUARY 2018

Travelling is something everyone loves to do and any kind of chaos can make the traveler go Insane and the trip gets ruined. When you’re traveling with your family, things can get chaotic and overwhelming. Planning ahead, using a system, and using effective organizational tools can make all the difference. Though you can’t expect to completely avoid sibling skirmishes, but you can be proactive about preventing many of the sticky situations that can come about during a family trip. Here are some tips for making your trip smoother.

*Bring a collapsible daypack that can be used during the day. A daypack that can compactly fit inside your suitcase can be a lifesaver during busy trips that involve several different activities. Just pull out your bag and fill it with what you need for the day, and voila! When you go home you can either pack it back into your suitcase without sacrificing too much space, or use it as an extra bag for items you’ve acquired.

*Kids get hungry and to keep them from getting fussy, plan ahead with lots of nutritious snacks to keep them going. You can designate one pouch/bag as the food bag for easy organization. It helps if it’s lined with a waterproof material, so just in case something spills it doesn’t sabotage the rest of your stuff.

*Maximize your space by packing cubes, folders, sacs, can help you corral all of your items and organize them for easy finding, packing, and re-packing. Again, color-coding by family member can make identification quick and easy.

*Whether it’s coming from you kids or not, it’s likely there will be times you want to just tune out the noise. Consider packing earplugs, which can be used by your family or given to other passengers in the case of a screaming baby. This might be the time to bring noise canceling headphones too, if you prefer to listen to audio and get rid of ambient noise.

*Portable DVD players and i-Pads can be a lifesaver for parents who need to keep their kids occupied during travel. These wonderful devices can keep kids entertained for hours and provide an endless supply of entertainment. But one thing is a sure fun-killer: forgetting or losing the chargers. Use a small pouch to organize all of your cords and chargers in one place. One that’s waterproof will keep them free from any liquids and prevent damage.

*Just in case someone’s bag doesn’t end up at your destination, cross packing can make it a little bit easier. Try putting a backup set of clean clothes for each family member in someone else’s suitcase. For example, put an extra outfit and some clean pairs of underwear in your partner’s suitcase.

*Technology has freed us these days from taking piles of airport paperbacks to read. Now a lightweight tablet or Kindle can be pre-loaded with any number of heavyweight tomes, although don’t forget the charger. Hopefully that will power up all the rest of your devices, too, or otherwise invest in a universal charger and cable that can keep everything fired up via the tablet. A small torch or a head-torch can prove invaluable on any trips that involve some camping, night-walks, glow worm caves or where you might want to read at night without disturbing a partner. Ear plugs can also prove invaluable.

*Depending on the type of holiday you’re taking, wear the good pair of walking shoes on the plane to avoid having to pack and carry them, and take a casual pair of shoes, a smart pair and trainers plus thongs or Crocs for the beach. Shoes can take up a lot of space so try to minimize the number of pairs. Make sure the ones you bring are comfortable and sturdy enough for plenty of strolls, and never bring new shoes you haven’t yet worn in, especially if they’re intended for walking.

*Leave the hairdryer at home and even if there’s not one at your destination, or visit a local hairdresser for what, at best, might be a really fun experience and, at worst, open your eyes to how bad your hair could look. Ditch also the eyelash curler, hair straightener and portable Nespresso coffee machine. The whole point of getting away from it all, is just that.

*Leave all heavy glass bottles at home. Decant your favourite shampoo, conditioner and any face and skin lotions into small plastic travel bottles and buy a sample size of toothpaste, and put all of them into a clear, re-sealable plastic pouch. Count out the number of pills or vitamins necessary for your time away, and put them into small empty plastic tubs. Avoid the temptation to take tablets in case of constipation, loose bowels, stomach ache, dysentery, cream for bites and rashes, Band-Aids of all shapes and sizes, and a selection of bandages. And don’t forget the one, definite essential: travel insurance.

*Check the climate of your destination, and choose your clothing accordingly. Pack a careful array of mix-and-match items that can all be worn with each other, in easy wash and drip-dry fabrics, that don’t need ironing. Also consider investing in a couple of tops made of lightweight superfine merino wool (hedrena.com.au) that wicks away moisture and resists odour so they can be worn again and again without washing. Roll clothes instead of folding to take up less room and end up less creased. Even if you have a garment that needs an iron, most hotels will supply one. If they don’t, either hang the item in a steamy bathroom or dampen it and then smooth it out and dry with a hairdryer which will have exactly the same effect.

*A lightweight smaller bag is also a necessity, either a little shoulder day-pack or a bag with a strap that can be worn across the body, for going out at your destination. Avoid a bag with wheels as this will limit where you’ll be able to walk – up and down stairs or across cobblestones – and can quickly become a nuisance.

*It’s terribly important to keep your valuable and essential belongings in your carry-on bag, not in your checked luggage. Your passport, identification, money, credit cards, jewelry, electronics, and other valuables should always be brought onto the plane with you. We probably don’t need to tell you why you need to keep your passport and wallet on your person.

*Most airlines allow passengers on board with one carry-on plus one personal item provided it fits under the seat. Take advantage of the opportunity to stow that extra outfit that didn’t fit in the carry-on. It can double as a spare change of clothes in the event that forced gate check leads to a lost bag. Keep the item light to avoid piercing shoulder pain when running to a gate to catch a flight or flagging a fast-moving. An emergency snack to get through at least the first leg of a flight can ward off disappointment when the airline doesn’t even provide peanuts.

*let’s end the debate about whether to go for a carry-on or check-in bag. Unless you really can’t travel without taking every single thing you own — plus a few extra sweaters just in case — these days taking only what fits in an overhead is the way to go.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to luggage.

Some swear by the durability of the hard shell suitcase, some insist the extra pliability of soft side bags can prove beneficial. Either way, lightweight and thoughtful design are keys. A bag should be light enough empty that when packed its weight is still easy enough to hoist overhead without any unnecessary toppling. Bags weighing less than 6 pounds are ideal, and those that are roomy with smart compartments like an exterior accessible laptop section for simple removal and replacement are both functional and security-line friendly.

Many bags claim to be regulation size carry-ons and in fact aren’t, so double check dimensions before buying to avoid forced gate check.