Sometimes your gear can make our break your travels. Here are a few of the things I’ve found that make my travels more successful.
The things I wear
Merrell Women’s Siren Sport Gore-Tex XCR – I LOVE these shoes. They have taken me all over Europe and back with no problems. My current pair is three years old and still going strong. Initially I was unsure about them. I ordered them a half-size larger than what I normally where and they still felt uncomfortably snug. I switched to a much thinner insoles just to break them in, and when they were broken in they were heavenly. My feet have never hurt after a day spent walking in these shoes.
Keen Sandals – It took me a long time to find a summer shoe that were comfortable enough to wear when we travelled during the warmer months. I found three pairs with Keen:
Keen Newport H2 – This is a great all around summer shoe, I’ve had mine for going on 5 years now and they have held up great. They are casual, and work with shorts or pants.
Keen Rose Sandal – This is a more recent purchase, I was looking for something that I could also wear with skirts and dresses that would still allow me to put in some long days on my feet. So far, these work great.
Keen Kanga Ballerina – This was another recent purchase, another summer shoe to pair with dresses and skirts. I would probably not wear this one if I were out walking all day, but it’s held up nicely on shorter walks to and from town.
The things I carry
Travelon Bags: I have two Travelon purses, the Signature Cross-Body Bag and the Signature Messenger Bag. Because I am usually walking with two kids and a camera, I prefer cross-body bags, which allow me more freedom of movement. Travelon offers a wide assortment of travel-safe bags, all with anti-theft features. They are sturdy bags, and I find them comfortable to carry.
Victorinox Travel Organizer – As the designated carrier of the passports, I was looking for something I could keep all of the family passports in – no easy task when you are a family of four with 7 passports! This organizer has just enough space to fit all of our passports. For an individual traveler, or a family without the extra passports, it’s perfect. As we expanded our collection of passports, this proved to small for the entire family, so I improvised my own.
Electronics & Gadgets
Kindle: I was on the fence about an e-book reader, but I was very happy to have this when we moved overseas. Not only does this make it easier to access books in your native language, but I was able to use it to send and receive email before we had our phone and internet set up. It also enabled me to have a German-English dictionary on hand at all times.
Nikon D60 – My camera is now several years old, but I am happy with it. Once I read the instructions, it was very easy to operate.
Panasonic Lumix – While I really like my Digital SLR, there are times I need to have something smaller in my pocket. This is a decent little camera. What I really like about it is that it is made for adventures, it’s dust proof, water-resistant, and drop proof. I’ve definitely put it to the test and it’s holding up fine.
Black Rapid Woman’s Camera Strap – I read about this strap here and new I had to try it. I find this cross body sling much more comfortable to wear than the around the neck strap that came with my camera.
For the kids
Being prepared for anything is the key to successful travel with kids!
Both kids have a backpack just for traveling we use the Camelbak Scout, but anything will do. They carry their own water, their own snacks, and their own toys. This really cuts down on what they think they need to have with them for a day trip!
When the kids were younger, I filled a pencil box with small toys that they only played with at restaurants. I saved all of the tiny toys that they accumulated for this purpose.
Now that the kids are older, they always have a notebook and colored pencils or crayons so they can write and draw about their adventures while they wait.
We usually have a card game or two for restaurants as well. Our current favorites are: Piktureka – a fast paced game that tests your powers of observation, Brain Box – these memory games are great, and the kids have a lot of fun with them, and UNO Jr.
Another thing I always keep in my purse is a small set of dice. If all else fails, we can grab a blank sheet of paper and play a game of shut the box.
In the car:
We used to watch movies on long trips, then I discovered kids audio books. The kids don’t miss the movies at all and ask for the books whenever we are in the car. Our favorites are the Magic Tree House series, read by the author. You can buy them and many others on ITunes.