I’m about to head away on a bit of an epic family adventure – something we have managed every couple of years or so, which is pretty lucky really. The organisation that goes into it though tests my producer skills a bit, but it’s a fun thing (mostly) to pull together, so not really a burden. If you do want to ‘do it yourself’ rather than buy a travel package off the shelf, there’s a bit of work in making it all come together, I have to say. Herewith a few of my tips I’ve found useful over the years for maximising the enjoyment of a family holi and keeping the ‘heath’ of your family in a good state – be it physical, mental or emotional!
Passports: Make sure passports have not expired, and in fact have 6 months on them. They won’t let you on a flight if it’s not valid and you don’t want to be fast-tracking a passport, moving flights and accommodation. Take copies of your passports and credit cards and file them away from your passports in hard copy form and file copies in the cloud.
Be forewarned: www.safetravel.govt.nz is a fabulous resource. Register your travels with them and they’ll let you know what you need to be aware of. If something hideous happens where you are (fingers crossed it does not) they also know where to find and help you.
Cash: Get cash in the currency of the country you need, plus another mainstream currency if you’re going somewhere a little obscure and stash it in two different places in case one lot is stolen. If you’re going to the States – carry a bunch of dollar bills for tipping.
International debit card: there are a few about now, some associated with airlines to give you frequent flyer points as well. Good to use as you can preload the currency when it’s looking favourable.
Travel insurance: Only the foolhardy go without it. Lock it in as soon as you start booking your trip.
Mobile phone: If you have a spare hand piece useful to take it and put a local sim in it– if you chuck the sim in your own phone, just don’t lose your NZ one! Invest in a portable mobile battery pack – very useful to keep your phone charged if you’re using it a lot during the day and not near a charging port. Just keep it charged though. And if you can charge your phone on the flight make sure you do as then you’re all ready to go post flight.
The flight: Seat Guru is a great website to research your aircraft and the seat options. Try not to overpack – I always seem to! Rolling versus folding is more efficient for space. I am a fan of zip lock bags – I always travel with a few spare ones as they hold things securely, and you can see what’s in them. Receipts, medications, biscuits, phone charger, etc.
Health stuff: I always travel with a bunch of ‘’just in case” stuff, some in my handbag, others packed. When the children were younger, I’d always carry liquid Panadol in a small see through bottle and a syringe so it is easy to access, in a zip lock bag to keep it tidy. I stock up on over the counter meds for pain, colds, sore tummies, etc and always have liquid sanitiser in the hand bag to squirt on everyone’s hands come meal times out and about.
Memories: Goes without saying to take a bunch of photos and videos – but DO – they are great to look back on.
Sense of humour: Make sure you pack one – families in each other’s pockets 24/7 can at times be interesting!