Ten family travel essentials

Here are 10 things we learnt, the hard way, are essential when traveling with kids. Click on the pictures to go right to the best offers we found online.

Table of Contents

Car seats 

When Keri and I Travelled solo or as a couple, we’d walk miles, hitch in the back of trucks and even ride on top of trains.

Things we’d never do with the kids who quite often just fall off a stationary bench. 

Where you might catch a train or a bus jumping on with a backpack. it’s often cheaper and a lot more convenient  to get a taxi.

If you’re renting or buying a car any car seat will do. You can usually take them on a plane for free.

If you’re moving from one place to another and using Taxi’s trust us, get something like the Mi fold we suggest below

Our first year we lugged car seats around it making even the simplest move a nightmare. It also meant we could never use cars for simple day trips

Luggage

When we first travelled we let the plane allowances dictate our luggage.

We ALL had one large bag and one carry-on. 

Super cute when you’ve carefully packed it and can get a shot like this…

A bloody nightmare when you’re trying to move from one place to another.

That cheap Elsa bag fell apart.

The hubris that our 3 and 5-year-old would look after their own stuff evaporated pretty quickly.

Trying to carry and keep track of 8 separate bags is a nightmare. You will lose things and the feeling in your fingers.

Pack for the ability for all your stuff to be carried by one individual while the other wrangles children. 

The child wangler should have a day bag with all the things that need access quickly during the day.

Our system is now reduced to two luggage bags and a day bag.

One massive solid suitcase that can take a beating. This means you are not taking the weight and less used things stay locked away unless you’re staying somewhere for a week.Then

A backpack with a couple of sets of clothes that you can carry on your back. Separate these using the waterproof liners we discuss later.

One parent looks after these while the other has

Waterproof day pack

 and both hands-free to wrangle children.

Waterproof day pack

The day bag mentioned above is something we’re designing and selling ourselves,

(More on how we sell our own products whilst travelling in our next email)

 We’ve been testing prototypes in the meantime here are some alternatives.

A waterproof bag is probably my favourite bit of travel kit.

We use it for everything from shopping to going to the beach. Having a change of clothes that stay dry or being able to put swim stuff in and not have it leak through. 

We’ve even been able to just hire a canoe  on a whim and 

Being able to wipe mud and sand off and not worry about a change in weather. Trust us it makes life so much easier. 

Because they roll down they can carry as much as a big backpack but still, be practical just carrying day-to-day bits and bobs.
Watch this space for ours to be released in 2023 but for the ones we’ve tested this is the second best. Osprey is an amazing brand but the earth pack is a cheaper alternative.

Multi-purpose shoes

If you chase the sun you’ll probably live in flip-flops.

But you’ll need a little more if you’re doing any adventures.

 When we were young Keri and I had shoes for every activity; running, walking, climbing, and water sports. I had about 5 pairs of running shoes for every kind of terrain and race.

Shoes that if brought now would take up most of our luggage space.
When you are travelling you want something:
Multi-purpose

Lightweight

Quick drying

Doesn’t look too dirty

Casual looking (not bright orange or white etc)

I like barefoot shoes. Inov8 and Vivo barefoot are brilliant, but they are expensive strip down on weight and have technical elements and designs that make them look a bit OTT for everyday use.

But we are developing a more affordable alternative better suited to the everyday needs of a travelling family that might walk to a cafe and squeeze or a run in once a month. 

These are what we’d recommend in the meantime, these are also a shoe we used to get in the beautiful but urchin-invested waters of the dalmatian coast.
Vivobarefoot are a posh stylish brand but there are some similar and affordable versions on amazon here.

Flip flops

A good pair of flip-flops will save on socks and washing

Invest in some slightly posher ones so you don’t have to go out for sunset Pina Coladas or nicer restaurants wearing the all-purpose shoe mentioned above.

Getting some for the kids makes getting out the door with the kids quick and simple.

Waterproof socks.

A bit of a running joke at ALMO at my expense, but I stick by this: waterproof socks really are a must if you’re going anywhere wet and potentially cold.

You will not want to lug around multiple pairs of waterproof shoes let alone try and dry them off with limited space

These turn the shoes we recommend above, into a functional pair of waterproof walking shoes (worn inside not outside). It’s a lot easier to wash and dry socks than a pair of walking boots and a lot lighter.
Seal Skinz are the market leader but there’s some new strong contenders with smaller ecomm companies coming on the scene.

Tablets and electronics.

Getting kids off tablets is the kind of thing you might associate with a brand called “A Little More Outdoor”.

However, a tiny portable portal to every known piece of information is a tool that’s really worth having when it comes to education on the move.

Gamification of learning that rewards trial and error is a really good way of sneaking in learning without kids labeling themselves as good or bad at a subject. 

Most of the apps will adapt to kids as they progress at their own rate. 

Ours are usually pretty chuffed to have school day as it usually means there left alone with a device for an hour rather than dragged out in the rain. 

You’ve probably got some old phones and old tablets around the house. Do a hard reset on them. 

We’ve heard from friends that the Amazon tablets (RRP £100) are a bit of a pain. You can pick up a refurbished Apple one for around the same price. 

The tablets or phone doesn’t need  to  be anything special, just make sure you’ve got a sturdy  case and plenty of chargers. 

Stock up on your destinations socket adapters. We only took two adapters so trying to keep laptops and phones topped up presented quite a logistical challenge.

If you don’t have any around the house, high street shops like Game and Cex have some great deals on second hand ones.

Here are some apps we’d recommend for younger traveling learners.

Epic stories

Reading eggs

Simple water bottle

Don’t get sports tops! they break and pick up bacteria and leak. 
You don’t need vacuum seals they just burst and take up unnecessary space that could be filled with water.
I don’t have any recommendations for this as Amazon and other online retailers add so many unnecessary gimmicks to drive the price above £10 (enough to make it profitable when covering postage etc).

A straightforward metal water bottle with a screw top. Some places don’t always have the best tap water and encourage you to buy bottled water which gets expensive and wasteful.
Click the link below for a  water purifier that can  be used on the go.

 

 

Kids’ hats.

Putting sunscreen on all the time is a pain.

A hat that covers the shoulders is a massive time saver and doesn’t get lost or broken as quickly as sunglasses.
We don’t have any specific suggestions for this.

Waterproof pack bags/compression bags.

As we mentioned above you ideally want to get everything into three bags so you can move easily and efficiently. 

When you get places having things easy to separate and manage is important. 

These compression packers are great. 

Pack for each person/ each activity.

All most everything can be put in one suitcase and dished out when you arrive places. 

You can also organise things as they get dirty gear to save everything from being jumbled together.

It’s also a great way to make use of carry on weight. 

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Ten family travel essentials

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Click on the pictures to go right to the best offers we found online.

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How to travel full time with a family.