Essentials & Resources

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.

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Where and how we Book

When it comes to flights, we compare prices but usually book direct through the airlines now as it is easier to make changes if needed. The prices are usually cheaper than elsewhere and some of the booking sites it links to can be dodgy.

With accommodation, we do a combination of Booking.com, housesitting, house swaps and hotels. 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.

Travel Insurance

Multi-trip travel insurance for the whole family is essential. We’ve only had to use it once but it was worth it. Medical treatment in some countries can be incredibly expensive.

Plus when you are caught with flight changes, accommodation issues etc you want to know you’re covered. For the most part. the company we booked our flights or travel through sort things out easily so we don’t generally need it but it is good to have.

Compare insurance companies to find the right option for you.

Basic Travel Essentials

We’ve opted to travel with suitcases, toiletries, clothing and a few other needs to keep things organised, especially due to the ADHD and autism in our family. The teens typically have their own backpacks and with road trips we use only a few backpacks, not suitcases.

Quality Suitcases

I used to travel with carryon only, then I got into diving and had 2 more kids. Now, there is no way I can do carryon only with dive gear or everything the toddlers need.

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 kids 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.

Backpacks

We use backpacks as our carry-on. Originally, we used my kid’s schoolbags and I used a black leather backpack I already had. Later, we upgraded to Kathmandu carry-on size backpacks as I have used them previously.

In my kids’ carry-on, they have their iPads, a metal drink bottle, snacks, notebooks, a reading book, some art supplies and a change of clothes. My carry-on 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.

With the toddlers, they are now both adamant they have their own bags so they have a few nappies, wipes, snacks, a change of clothes and their blankets. This is the same as their bags for school every day so not an issue for them.

Water Purification

Portable Chargers

Adapters