What do you Really Need to Travel?
I did a lot of research, a few test trips and narrowed down what we needed for all our travel. This includes schooling essentials, basic travel supplies, feminine needs and those things we found to be really useful. Our list is based on world schooling/online education, one child with autism and travelling to remote and developing areas, usually in warmer climates so far.
Disclosure: This site does use affiliate links.
Where and how we Book
When it comes to flights, we use Skyscanner most of the time. It is nearly always cheaper, however, some of the booking sites it links to can be dodgy. Also, many offer you meal selection even though that isn’t offered by the airline.
With accommodation, a combination of Airbnb (get up to $76 off your first booking here) and any online booking sites is what we usually do. However, I always check the hotel rate to book through them or call and mention the rate on the other site. Sometimes they’ll give me a better rate. I usually book from my laptop but compare both my phone and laptop as sometimes there are mobile-only specials.
The reason I book from my laptop is cashback sites. I use Cash Rewards, Shopback and Honey (which are all free to join). They get you cashback on so many things including accommodation. Join each one, install it in your Chrome bar and start saving!
Transport is usually public, occasionally Uber or we hire a car. Again, I have often found online sites to be cheapest when it comes to car hire too. Type in cheap car hire in the area you are travelling to for the best deals and check for loyalty programs.
Basic Travel Essentials
We’ve opted to travel with suitcases, toiletries, clothing and a few other needs to keep things organised, especially for my daughter with autism. While travel can be unpredictable at times, if you deal with autism, you will understand the need to keep things as simple as possible. This list will be different but here is what we use and why.
I used to travel with carryon only, then I got into diving and there is no way I can do carryon only with dive gear. I selected lightweight suitcases for us. We opted for suitcases as our main luggage instead of huge backpacks for a few reasons:
1. I’ve been paralysed twice so don’t want to put pressure on my spine. Age 15 is when I first damaged my spine playing netball. Even though it didn’t cause total paralysis, it caused lifelong damage.
2. My kids are growing so I don’t want to put unnecessary strain on their bodies either.
3. We aren’t backpacking around the world. We travel slower, have our own accommodation instead of hostels and my daughters were able to organise their suitcases better than their backpacks. If you have experience with autism, you will understand why this is essential.
My preference is Samsonite and in bright colours to make it easy to see. Black suitcases are the worst to spot and wait for. Years ago, I got a hot pink leopard print carryon size suitcase. It has been used heaps and was amazing as it was so easy to spot everywhere.
We use backpacks as our carryon. Originally, we used my kid’s schoolbags and I used a black leather backpack I already had. Later, we upgraded to Kathmandu carryon size backpacks as I have used them previously.
In my kids’ carryon, they have their iPads, a metal drink bottle, snacks, notebooks, a reading book, some art supplies and a change of clothes. My carryon usually has my hairdryer, a few toiletries and first aid supplies as well as my laptop, clothing, food, metal drink bottle and noise-cancelling headphones. Mine are not full noise cancelling as I still need to hear my kids or for it to be easy for them to get my attention.