THE BEFORE OF HOW WE USED TO DO IT (All this was for 1 week)
Few years ago we had some good friends visiting from Bangladesh and we planned a camping trip to the Peak District National Park. Given that we had been camping several time, even with our 5 month old, in France and all over England, our friends expected us to be Ninjas in planning a camping trip, having a checklist of things to to and take with us…given how much we travel, others might expect the same!
Just to highlight Between 2005-2014, children have been to 14 countries before 6 and 9 years of age, and both have been to 3 continents(North America, Asia and Europe) before the age of 1. Ashique and I had travelled more before that, 25 countries and counting 🙂
Even though we are quite experts in doing the research (that’s what I do all day for my PhD work), we are not quite so good with the packing and preparing…lets face it, efficiency is not our virtue! While this carefree attitude allows us to be stress free during all the prep work, it does end up with us having to deal with missing things and having to hunt frantically to find any one thing during our travels.
But that’s going to change! Thanks to the kick of planning a four month drive across the world, this time we are actually doing it different 🙂
The first thing we decided to change is the vehicle we were going to use for the road trip. Initially we bought a Toyota Landcruiser but despite all the space, it is very gas guzzling and if we want to budget and make the money last longer, we are better off with our trusted efficient Toyota Prius. What we did invest in(which we should have done years ago) is a roof box. We bought it second hand, and together with the handles, it cost us less than £250.
For packing our clothes and stuff, before I used to do in phases, I would put some stuff in 2 weeks before trip just because I had some time to spare, week later would add some more stuff, already having forgotten what I had put in before. Always results in too much of some stuff and other important items(like swimwear) missing!
This time, ta da!
Have it all laid out – 3 Tshirts, 2 pair of shorts, 1 pair of trousers, pyjamas(lungi) plus undergarments, swimwear and socks. This is for the 3 week summer road trip. We have one jumper for each of us for the ferry from Dover to Calais and for chilly evenings. One pair of Sandals and one pair hiking/walking shoes for each of us.
Thanks to Shama, we are now much better organized with our medical kit (As opposed to just dumping paracetamol sachets and bandaids into bag pockets). We have a basic emergency kit with her medicine plus band-aids, swabs, iodine, tea tree oil, pain relief and antacid. We also have our Swiss army knives, bug repellent and sun block.
Finally, what is vital to our road trips being enjoyable and fun is activities for the kids! One thing that really helps is the fact that they are both voracious readers, they go through several chapter books in a week or two. I tried to get them to read on the kindle, but neither are interested. I have my kindle with books but I can relate to the joys of reading a real paper book and I don’t want to deprive them of that.
We also have my laptop (and Samsung Tablet) as I will be working on the road, need to finish my PhD Thesis before we leave for the longer road trip. They are both used for entertainment on longer journeys. The kids also love doing activity books and write/doodle in their journals. A bit of indulgence shopping- for snorkelling in Croatia!
So that’s my bits of responsibility, Ashique is also in charge of the many wires, cables, adaptors, camera, phone, maps on phones, insurance, passports and he also managed to find efficient ways to take those, some which we picked from here, super useful suggestions http://news.distractify.com/dark/trivial-facts/24-travel-tips-that-will-change-your-life-forever/?v=1 The roofbox will have our tent, air mattresses, fishing rods, camping chairs, Binoculars, can’t think what else, we have never had a roof box! We also invested in a cool box that plugs in and charges when indoors(£40) as we plan to be cooking, camping and carrying items like milk and juice.
We have our trusted Lonely Planets which have used over the last 17 years in travelling, but to be honest, I now use internet far more to do the research – mostly Trip Advisor and other people’s travel blogs, but also Sky scanner
The two new things we are doing differently this time, and that has opened so many new doors and experiences for us already before we even started the trip (that will be another post on what stepping out of your comfort zone has taught us) are Air B&B and Couchsurfing. Highly recommended if you want to travel budget, meet amazing people and experience new countries and cultures with the local touch. We can tell you all about it after this 3 weeks Rookie Trip