Traveling with children can be the most amazing experience or a nightmare depending on how you look at it. Also depending on how you arrange your schedule, accommodations, transportation, meals and entertainment along the way. For us going from having grown children to now raising our grandson as an only child has had it's challenges. But to see his face the first time he experiences something new is as the saying goes "PRICELESS". Like today his first boogie boarding attempt and after her was successful him waving his hands in the air and letting out a woop! Having the child like adventure and curiosity is a treasure to behold and it has helped us see things differently in the last 3 ½ years that he has been with us full time.
It also doesn't hurt that he is the cutest child in the world, grandparent privilege here. The blond hair is a great asset in most of the countries we travel too since dark hair seems to be the norm there. Everyone and I mean everyone wants to rub his head or just touch his hair. At first he was really timid about it but now it's just normal especially since our home base in Italy has the very affectionate Italian people. We are not known by our names in our village anymore we are just Justice's parents. I truly think all 1253 people in town know his name or at least act like they do because the little blond American boy is the celebrity there.
So currently we are in Costa Rica for a month at ShortsNFlipFlops.com checking on the house here and getting all the years worth of procrastinated maintenance done. Of course we are finding some time to spend on the beach as well. Tomorrow we drive to the capital of Costa Rica and will be picking up 3 of our daughters at the airport who will be visiting for a week. So at least Justice will have other playmates besides us for a week, plus it will be fabulous to have all 3 of them together. More will come in another post in the future about the adventures we have with them here.
Back to the topic of what we travel with and why. Anything that will make's Justice's life easier makes our life easier, we are blessed to have Justice who is an awesome traveler. But even he has his moments when he needs to have familiar things with him from our home base in Italy or his special snacks. Waiting in airports is so much nicer for everyone when we have something to read or watch while we wait...All the items below we travel with as you can see a few are treats for us too. I would never recommend something that we have not personally used, so all the items listed below are in our hands or at our home base. At the bottom of this page are my links to Amazon where you will pay the same price only difference is we get a little commission for referring you, so thanks in advance to furthering our ability to travel and enjoying the journey with us!
1. Books- wether it is hard cover form or our electronic devices or both. Make sure to remember to download the books to your device before you leave a WIFI area.
2. Movies- sometimes when we get tired of reading then a movie is the best for us, Justice has his own Fire Kindle so he can watch age appropriate things. Again don't forget to download before you leave, also there are what is called geo-restrictions in different countries if you are trying to watch Amazon Prime, Hulu or Netflix etc. So you will need what is called a new VPN number to fool the provider into thinking you are still in the US so you can watch it. We use the service called the Unlocator, there are others out there but this works great for us.
3. Headphones- that actually fit our ears, there is nothing worse than trying to listen to something and they keep falling out or at the end of the trip your ears hurt because they were the wrong size. We keep the noise cancelling ones for long trips and the earbuds for the shorter trips and sometimes use both if the other gets annoying.
4. Water bottles- with out BPA which are harmful chemicals and once the water in a regular bottle reaches a certain temperature the chemicals leach into the water and make it toxic. Read more about that here
5. Travel blanket- since airplanes are are notoriously cold and the airlines have unfortunately cut back on all their services you rarely find blankets on most planes and even when we do I am rather leery of using them. I also wear long sweaters which can act as a blanket and I can take off because I put another shirt and or tank top underneath.
6. Sturdy suit cases and a carry on that actually fits under the seat- pulling a suit case for very long on just 2 wheels is exhausting so we make sure we have 4 wheels that rotate. There are many carry one suite cases now that have a front pouch that makes it easier to deal with the laptop at security. Most important you want to make sure that your carry on can actually fit under your seat, not just to be assessable to you during a long flight but because many regional smaller airlines have smaller overhead bins that a traditional case may not fit. See our Amazon store and our specific cases are listed there.
7. Games-a variety of games especially for Justice are necessary for those unexpected delays. Easy to pack in your carry on is a must. We really like UNO since it can go on forever it seems and is easy to stop and start again. Other things a little more educational but fun are from Fat Brain Toys
8. Stuffed Animals- They are great for neck pillows as well they give Justice some added reassurance no matter where we might be and if he happen to make a new friend then he has something to share.
9. Snacks- a necessity for us all, especially in a foreign country having something familiar to eat really helps with the transition. You must be careful and make sure what you are taking through an airport is allowed here is an app that can alert you of what you can and can not bring through a specific airport. MyTSA
10. An extra change of clothes- don't be caught by surprise if you are stranded without your checked luggage for awhile, or if your flight is delayed and who wants to open up all your big luggage for one night. So pack a change of clothes and PJ's for an overnight in your carry on luggage and then not have to worry about it since you will already have enough stress from the delays or the lost luggage issues. Also don't forget Travel Insurance to cover those unexpected delays, lost luggage, sickness or family tragedy.
Important reminder- Don't forget your travel documents ie: Passports, take pictures of them all and put them in your phone God forbid they get lost or stolen. Same thing with Tickets even though I have electronic copies stored in my phone sometimes there can be a hitch at the airport, bus, train, cruise or hotel so I also print them.
Please leave comments below as they are valuable to us and any shares of this article would be much appreciated, Grazie