Thursday, 2 October 2014

Travel Tips 3: Handy Travel Tools

Now that you know what to pack when you are travelling with a baby, what about the rest of your family?

In the beginning, I tend to overpack and bring more than what we need on our trips. We ended up not utilising a lot of what I had packed so now I pack smarter. While we could make do without that extra face mask or swim toy, here's sharing some of the things that we cannot do without on most of our trips.

FIVE Handy Tools to Bring on a Trip:

1) Luggage Belt
I don't know about you but we tend to buy so much stuff overseas that our luggage is always packed to the brim (you know, the "sit on the luggage then you can zip" kind) on our way back. On our way back from Hokkaido, I finally noticed that our luggage (which was expanded as usual to accomodate all of our shopping) was dangerously bursting at the seems. I thought to myself, "oh dear, how disastrous would it be if the zip broke?!" I prayed really hard that it wouldn't; and well, thankfully, it didn't. But I was not going to take any chances and immediately bought a luggage belt when we arrived in Singapore.

Luggage belt secured around our luggage
(as the hubby carries it into our room in Bali)

I know a luggage belt is not enough to hold a large luggage together but at least it helps to give extra support.

Alternatively, you can use the prettier (of course more pricey) luggage bag cover, like the one we bought, for extra protection.

My London themed luggage bag cover
(Parts of it tore on our way back from London! Heartbreaking!)

2) Clothes Clip Hanger
We like to wash our clothes on our trips so that we can wear them again and therefore able to pack less clothes. Less clothes means more space in the luggage and more space means that we're free to shop and, wait for it.. buy more clothes! =)

As a result, our toilet is always filled with clothes that are hung haphazardly on every rung or ledge that I can find. Sometimes it is hard for the clothes to dry so the mum-in-law had an ingenious idea to buy a clothes clip hanger when we were in Shenzhen to hang all of our underwear and socks.

My clothes clip hanger from Daiso

Since then, we have brought it on every trip. I found that it was especially useful to hang baby clothes and socks in the tiny toilet of our hotel in London where we didn't have the luxury of space to put all of our things.

3) Universal Travel Adaptor
Not every hotel provides universal electrical plugs in their rooms like Harris Hotel in Batam or Golden Sands Resort in Penang. And it may be costly to buy different adaptors for different countries.

Why not buy the ultimate Universal Travel Adaptor?

Back of the Universal Adaptor can insert into any electrical point in the world
(Simply choose which one you want)
Front of the Universal Adaptor allows any kind of plug to be inserted
(this model even allows you to insert USB to charge phones, etc)

You don't need this if you're travelling to countries like Malaysia and the UK because their electrical points are the same as ours in Singapore. For other countries like China, Taiwan and Australia though, we found the Universal Adaptor very useful. Definitely a worthy investment.

4) Ziplock Bags
I cannot tell you how important Ziplock bags are for travelling (for everything else as well but especially for travelling).

Ziplock bag to hold our crazy variety of adaptors as one is never enough for our family
(We always need to charge handphones and cameras in our hotel room all the time)

What do we store in ziplock bags?

A) Electronics such as adaptors, laptop wires and chargers
- in the very likely event of an accidental leakage of liquid in your luggage, your electronics will be safe.

B) Toiletries such as hair tonic, shampoo, facial cream, etc
- try as you might, these things leak, period. You definitely don't want them to dirty your luggage in the process!

C) Important documents such as hotel vouchers, photocopy of passports, etc

And don't forget to pack extra into your luggage! You'll never know when either you or someone in your family, who laughed at you for being so kiasu (slang for "scared to lose"), needs it during the trip. True story.

5) Vacuum Pack
A vacuum pack is just like an enormous ziplock bag but one that you can suck the air out and thus compressing its contents to half its original size.

Vacuum packs we bought online at Qoo10

I use these bags at home to shrink and store winter clothes that are hardly worn (for good reason, we're located at the equator) and soft toys that are hardly played with. After sucking out all the air from the bag, the bag is about a third of the original size!

So we brought 2-3 of these vacuum packs on our trip to Sydney and managed to squeeze all of our bulky autumn-winter clothes into our luggage (forgot to take a picture!).

Definitely very useful for that shopping trip to Bangkok or Taiwan! =)


And there you have it, my top 5 handy tools.
What are yours?


This post is part of my series on Travel Tips for the Wanderlust Parent.
Follow me as I share my tips for planning your next family vacation


Head on over to My Travel Page for a whole list of our travel itineraries!
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