Our luggage

Nearly two months into the trip, I have now had some additional thoughts on what I would have packed if I had to do it all over again, and provide some amendments to my original packing list:

1 – My lovely green coat is too bright.  I love my coat – it’s warmer than a fleece, and packs down very small into its own pocket.  However, I did not give enough thought to color.  I grabbed it on sale at an outlet in June, and it was the only color in my size.  It looks great on a hike, but wearing a bright green coat is not a good way to fit in when you’re in a city.  I strive to blend in as much as possible when I travel, and try not to advertise that I am a tourist.  Patrick, with a black coat, is doing a better job.

On the flip side, my father-in-law says it’s nice that he can always find me in a crowd (when Jude also wears his bright green Adidas tracksuit top, my father-in-law calls us the “green team”).

2 – Although not in my original post, I had the presence of mind to pack a little grocery bag which unravels from a small ball shape.  I keep it in the diaper bag, and it gets a lot of use.  Many grocery stores we’ve encountered require you provide your own bag, or charge you for a bag.  (As a green team member, I am also mindful that using re-usable bags is a good habit to get into!)

3 – My bungee cord is perfect for drying laundry, if only a few pieces at a time.  Here are my jeans drying in our hotel bathroom.  Now if only I had packed some travel-sized laundry soap pouches.  (I suspect it is best to fly with white powder such as laundry soap in its original packaging, not an unlabeled Ziploc bag.)  It would also have been smart to have brought a stain stick pen.  I hesitated to weigh us down with “extra and unnecessary” weight like that, but when you have a two-year-old, few clothes for many days, and irregular access to washing machines, it’s probably a good move.

4 – While hiking, we were reminded how much we love Jude’s backpack.  Therefore, we decided to send the lightweight carrier home and bring the big, sturdy backpack with us.  The additional benefits of having the backpack are:

a)      Our car seat, when folded, fits into the backpack (without Jude, of course).  This allows us to move relatively quickly with all of our stuff in tow.

b)      When we have large bulky items, like a big bag of diapers or laundry, we can strap it into the backpack rather than stuffing it into the suitcase (as long as we’re not getting on an airplane, when we always check it in with our two suitcases).

5 – We made it from Beijing, China to Tallinn, Estonia by train and ferry (no planes!).  Since we had a good block of time when the car seat was rarely needed, we shipped it ahead to our hotel at our next plane- and car-heavy travel segment.  (Jude sleeps much better in planes with his car seat; though we know many people love this product, we haven’t tried it yet.)

We arranged for car seats on an ad hoc basis for those few times when we will need one while ours is out of our possession (in freight).  Having a car seat is very important to us.  However, carrying one around is quite onerous, as good ones like ours are heavy.  Therefore, we are glad to have worked a solution that allowed us to lighten our load for six weeks or so, while ensuring that we will also have a car seat whenever one is required.

6 – Right before we left the country, we stopped at REI and picked up two additional and very useful products.  First was a larger (mid-sized) backpack.  (We sent home our little backpack and duffel bag.)  Second was a small, light-weight backpack which we use when we’re out for the day.  Additionally, for flights, we fill the little one with what we’ll need in the plane and stick it at the top of our larger backpack (which we bring on the plane).  We pull out the little one when we reach our seats and put the larger one right into the overhead compartment.  Then we don’t need to pull the big backpack apart looking for things on the plane.

How to Pack for a Five-Month Trip with a Two-Year-Old
How to Organize a Trip Around the World with a Two-Year-Old



  One Response to “Packing: Revised Thoughts on What to Bring When Traveling Around the World with a Two-Year-Old”

  1. Ah yes, I can see the advantages of being able to spot the “green team” when separated in a crowd; however, a black or navy blue thin jacket (like those nylon windbreakers) could also be advantageous at times. I’m sure your notes will be handy for others and/or for your next trip abroad. Again, as usual, GREAT pictures!

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