We travel with kids and I’m OCD when it comes to traveling with the right essentials and ensuring we don’t forget anything. Granted, there are convenient stores everywhere so even if you forget something, it’s usually a block or two away. Nevertheless, there are essentials best purchased in advance so you can spend more time enjoying your vacation with the family and less time fretting over items you forgot. For instance, everyone has some digital device (Phone, Tablet, Cameras, etc) that needs to be charged while on the road. As a family of five (5), I am constantly charging a device, especially when we are out and about all day. We take loads of photos & videos and that alone drains the batteries.
I’m going to include you in on a little secret. I use a Checklist. In fact, there is a great book called “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” by Dr. Atul Gawande and I highly recommended reading it. It’s not about travel, but applies to all faucets of life. Here’s my list of travel essentials:
There are many portable chargers on the market. I normally settle for durable products that can accommodate more than 1 digital device. The Anker PowerCore+ 26800mAh PD 45W with 60W PD Charger is an amazing product that charges all of our smartphones including tablets. It can even charger a laptop, which is great for those of us with demanding careers and may require that last minute charge. The charge easily lasts the entire day. Here are some additional points on this charger:
- Huge Charging Power: A 45W USB-C port provides enough power to charge a laptop at full speed, while two 15W USB ports provide optimized charging to phones, tablets, and more.
- Colossal Cell Capacity: With a massive 26800mAh cell capacity, you can charge an iPhone X 6 times, a Galaxy S9 5 and a half times, or provide a full charge to a 13-inch MacBook Pro or Dell XPS 13.
- Rapid Recharge: Use the included wall charger to recharge your PowerCore in less than 3 and a half hours via the USB-C Power Delivery port.
- What You Get: PowerCore+ 26800 PD, 60W USB-C wall charger, USB-C to USB-C cable, travel pouch, welcome guide, our worry-free 18-month warranty, and friendly customer service.
2. Translation App
There are so many translation apps for both IOS & Android. I highly recommend having an app downloaded should you need. I’ve only had to use it in certain countries like Korea and China, but overall there’s always someone who speaks English that can assist. Here are some recommended translation apps starting with ones I’ve personally used.
- Translate – Apple’s Built-In iPhone Translate App. The Translate app has a simple, easy to use interface that allows you to select languages to translate to and from at the top, and options to either type (or paste) text to be translated or speak it aloud after tapping the microphone option.
- Google Translate – Google Translate is a fantastic mobile translation tool that can help you read or communicate in up to 90 languages. The app goes beyond a simple phrase book with an SMS translator, text-recognition features and even audio recordings of translated words and sentences. It’s a great travel tool for when you venture somewhere you don’t speak the language, especially now that more features are available offline.
- iTranslate Translator – iTranslate is the leading translation and dictionary app. Easily translate text, websites, or start voice-to-voice conversations in over 100 languages. It’s Offline Mode allows you to use iTranslate abroad without having to pay expensive roaming charges.
- SayHi – No typing is necessary when you use SayHi — simply speak into your device and the app will translate and then transcribe a message to be seen and heard by your counterpart. SayHi has 90 languages and dialects covered, and even allows you to choose the speed at which your translated voice will be expressed.
When your family goes on a big trip that you’ve been planning for months or years, the last thing that you want to worry about is a lost passport or boarding pass. I absolutely love the Zero Grid Family Passport Holder.
Keep it all in one place with our zippered passport holder. There are multiple pockets for tickets, passports, IDs, cash, and more. Just keep the family-sized wallet in your personal bag so no one in your family needs to worry about keeping track of your important papers and cards.
The two-sided design also prevents the passport holder from bunching up when filled. The compact design helps you to make more room in your personal bag or purse for other travel items. The water-resistant fabric also protects your important documents from rain, spills, and other moisture when closed with the zipper.
Unlike a conventional wallet, the Zero Grid Family Passport Holder has a cut-away pocket design so you can see what’s in each storage pouch without needing to rummage through it to find what you’re looking for.
There’s always a risk of theft when you travel, especially wallets and/or purses. You can never be too careful, especially when traveling family. You can easily get distracted with kids at any given time. Your best caution against losing a wallet or purse is to take some measures to avoid losing money and adding additional stress to a much-needed relaxing vacation. Anti-Theft accessories are always a great start. I have used a money belt and it’s been great and I’ve never had issue with ID or money theft. Here’s a product I highly recommend:
The Undercover Travel Belt allows you to keep important travel documents and personal identification items out of sight in this waist-worn, under-clothing money belt. It’s small, lightweight that securely stores credit cards, passports & cash in the zippered pocket keeping your valuables close and secure. It’s also comfortable to wear.
As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, we travel organized to minimize any confusion and extra trips to the department or convenience stores in a different countries. Depending on where you stay in a country, you may or may not have access to relevant stores. I love these travel travel organizers. We’ve purchased enough over the years for my wife and I, plus for the kids.
By the way, my kids love to pack with these organizers. We noticed that children actually want to pack on their own and ask for their color-coded travel organizers.
6. Medication & Self-Care Items
So I bundled medication & self-care items as these should be part of your checklist. Do not forget this step, especially if you or a loved-one has allergies, asthma, sensitive skin, or any other medical-related condition. It’s a hassle to have to visit a Pharmacy in a foreign country. Most airports do not have a full-fledged pharmacy, but you can definitely make a pit stop at a pharmacy on your way to your hotel, AirBnB, etc.
- Medication (for yourself & Children)
- Mineral-Based Sunscreen – I only recommend Mineral-based sunscreens. This is a safer approach to protecting your skin. While it may cost more than traditional sunscreens, you cannot place a price-tag on protecting your screen and avoiding long-term skin damage.
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste
- Electric Razor & Manual Blade
- Nail Clippers (for some reason, it’s always used and takes minimal space)
I know the Kindle may not be suitable for everyone, but literature is a lifestyle and traveling without it is not an option for me. It’s such a great invention and I appreciate the fact that I can downloads 1000s of books and have them at my beck and call. The investment is purchasing the latest Kindle Paperwhite is worth it.
You can also purchase the Kindle Paperwhite Bundle Edition, which includes the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition – Wifi, Without Ads, Amazon Leather Cover, and Wireless charging dock.
- Purpose-built for reading – With a flush-front design and 300 ppi glare-free display that reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.
- More reading time – A single charge via USB-C or compatible Qi wireless charger (sold separately) now lasts up to 10 weeks.
- Adjustable screen – Now with adjustable warm light and auto-adjusting front light for a personalized reading experience, day or night.
- More books in more places – Store thousands of titles, then take them all with you.
- Find new stories – With Kindle Unlimited, get unlimited access to over 2 million titles, thousands of audiobooks, and more.
- Go hands-free – Pair with an Audible subscription and Bluetooth headphones or speakers to listen to your story.
8. Kid’s Ride-On Suitecase & In-Flight Bed (For Small Kids Traveling with You)
JetKids by Stokke BedBox is the world’s only premium, ride-on suitcase for kids with an in-flight bed or leg-rest feature. Once the seat belt sign is off, transform the suitcase into a bed in 5 simple steps.
With our 2.5 year old, there are the obvious challenges. I’ve been exploring way to keep him entertained and naturally, to sleep on the plane. There are 3 things I love about this suitecase/in-flight bed. If you purchase the bundle set, it comes with a small backpack. You can store your kids Kindle, books, and some toys to keep him/her entertained. And they will love the backpack. Secondly, they can sit on it, pull it, and stay occupied as your navigate the airports. Lastly, you can convert this in super easy steps to a bed on the plane. Highly recommend this product if you have a little one.