Does it happen to you, when the holidays roll around and you find yourself dumbfounded wondering, “What do you get someone who doesn’t want a lot of stuff?” I know that feeling all too well.
We have been living with minimal space, and constantly on the move for years. So less is better. I know it. But even when the goal is “less is more”, there are a few staples, and a few bonuses, that are great to have when travelling.
Here are some of the items that end up in our bags on our travels, because we consider them essential.
Bags Inside Your Bags!
I am all about compartmentalizing! So that I don’t have to pull everything out of our luggage when looking for something in specific, I find it easier if every group has its own bag. We have a bathroom bag, I have a makeup bag, each of us has a separate bag for underwear. You get the idea.
While we’re on the topic of bags, does your special someone have a good camera bag? Chances on they are taking pictures while they are on the move, well make lugging that camera around easier for them. You can go from the versatile and inconspicuous, to the classy. Either one would make a great present to store all of their camera gear.
What’s in your electronics bag? We have everything from extra long charging cables (extremely handy when at those inconveniently placed airport charging stations), to power outlet adapters, to external hard drives loaded with movies. A great gift for someone who likes movies, a fully loaded external hard drive. Also, a headphone Y splitter is super handy if you have more than 1 kid, or for the romantics that want to watch the same movie together on a plane.
So we have our luggage bags, the kids carry-on bags, our computer bag, our camera bag, and lastly, my purse. It has taken me a while to find the ultimate travel purse, but I found it. It needed to be big enough to house an assortment of sunglasses, phones, travel snacks, wallets, etc. And it had to look good. Manos Zapoteca for the win. They make all sorts of beautiful (handmade) totes and purses, that fit all my mom-gear, as well as give me a sense of style even if I’m jet-lagged!
For The Wee Travellers
We’ve found that our girls take great pride in having their own carry-ons and being able to pack them themselves.
First to get them real stoked, get them the cutest backpack that you ever did see. Trunki makes some pretty awesome ones (cute enough that the girls get stopped in the airport and asked where they got their bags!). This same company also makes fun animal neck pillows (2 sizes available) which are perfect for nap times while stuck in an airplane or car seat.
Inside their bags the girls both have their headphones, (Elsa and Minnie Mouse, of course), activity and sticker books, some reading material, and a bunch of mini figurines. That is the extent of the toys they get, what they can carry themselves.
As an added bonus, for Christmas we like to gift the girls with presents that are educational, and still a reasonable size. This year Eben spotted these flexible magnets (Magnaflex by Wowwee) which the girls will be receiving. Fun and challenging, and small enough to fit in their bags.
Let’s Not Forget Clothes (and Swimsuits)
What Kids Are Wearing These Days
For vacations that involve fun in the sun we trust Sunuva. We have worked with this company for years because they are absolutely AMAZING. You know them, from all our pictures. Pretty much every cute dress and bathing suit the girls own comes from them! Their swimwear is (not only UV protective), but is extremely stylish. They are constantly coming out with new lines, and each one is stunning. It’s not often that you can say “rashguard and chic” in the same sentence, but this company has figured out how to make it work. The girls look cute as ever whether they are swimming or in their beachwear. ~And after years of us being stopped by strangers that comment on how cute their dresses are and me replying “I know! I wish they made them in my size!” Well they finally do, they’ve launched a women’s line this year!~
What I’m Wearing
Chances are if we cross paths while travelling I am either in a bikini, or am wearing some form of extremely colourful clothing!
The bikinis come from Sunset Inc. This company has several brands under their umbrella that make swimwear from the modest, to the younger and more risqué. You know which ones I gravitated towards! But they honestly make swimwear for every style and size, and they have survived several seasons in the sun so I am totally happy.
As for the neon clothes and dresses with Pom Poms, I get those from Pitusa. I find that nothing yells happiness more than wearing extremely bright colours. They bring the tropics to where ever you are! Why would someone not want that in their lives!
What He’s Wearing
Amphibian shorts. Quick dry shorts. Hybrid shorts. Whatever you want to call them. Eben owns about 5 pairs of them. He can jump in the water with them, and then walk off the beach and into a restaurant without having to change. They are a mix of swimwear and street wear, and they have drastically reduced the size of his luggage. He wears them for work, for play, everyday.
Forget makeup and razors as Christmas presents (although still good stocking stuffers), our NUMBER 1 used product, which we go through a crazy amount of is…sunscreen. No matter where in the world your traveller is going there will be sun.
We use two kinds for different scenarios. We use Swox, a zinc, for all water sports. The stuff does not come off, but it also rubs in completely so you don’t have to have a face full of white goop! I also use Swox daily on my nose and cheeks, to avoid getting too red.
For the rest of our bodies we use Sun Bum. We always have. And love it. And if you forget to reapply, they also make cool-down gels to soothe that sore skin. Our girls’ have sensitive skin and Baby Bum has never caused them any reactions. It comes in lotion form as well as stick form, which I have one in every day-bag, camera bag, and my purse (just in case).
If you are still a little stumped as to what to buy a special someone for Christmas, maybe you will find some gems in these previous posts I have written:
- The Best Photography Equipment For Family Travel
- Last Year’s Christmas Gifts
- 10 Things That Make Our Lives Easier On The Boat
- What To Bring To An Already Established Boat
- Educational Toys
- The Ultimate Beach Bag Packing Guide
- Top Tips On How To Pack For Long Term Travel
And you can also check out some of our favourite things on our SHOP page.