Monday, September 9, 2013

My packing tips for South-East Asia with children - part 2

Before starting our 7-week trip to South-East Asia, I shared a few packing tips. 10 weeks later, I'd like to add few ideas that proved very useful while traveling.

- Packing items in separate pouches - one for each family members - helps keeping items well-organized. Focus on the trip, not on the luggage, and enjoy every travel moment. In all places, we were able to pack and go in less than one hour. Pack all swimming gear, with one or two ultralight towels, in a separate waterproof pouch. In that way, wherever you go, you always have all items at hand and you can easily have a swim in a pool, a river or the sea - after which you put all wet items back in the pouch and continue your journey.

- Don't pack too much. We had clothes for 7 days, which was more than enough. There are laundry shops in every city, take advantage of the inexpensive and convenient service! 2 large, good-quality laundry bags will be useful for separating, carrying and giving away dirty laundry. Pack light, comfortable clothes, but none made of fragile or sensitive fabric. We usually got clean items back, but some stains would not wash away.

- Don't forget for every family member: a sun hat, sun glasses, a poncho or light rain jacket and a pair of good sandals. I looked for new sandals for my son but, unfortunately, only had a choice of uncomfortable plastic shoes or poorly counterfeited articles. We never used the light sweaters that we had packed, not even during "cool" nights on the Bolaven plateau in Laos.

- Finally, I split my large pharmacy bag in 3 smaller pouches:
  a) one that we kept with us at all times: sun block, hand sanitizer, mosquito repellent, antiseptic lotion and strips, 
  b) one that was easily accessible when we needed it:  light pain killers, probiotics against light stomach disorders, after-bite cream...,
  c) and the last one, that we hopefully never open: wide-spectrum antibiotics, large bandages...

Our packs for 7 weeks in South-East Asia with 3 children: one mid-sized suitcase, one large backpack,  with the baby tent strapped on the backside, one good baby carrier, and 2 children backpacks.