Saturday, July 18, 2015

Our travel essentials - 2015

We were done with our 13 days trip to the States, with an almost close to 23 hours flight, one kid and one toddler, adding on our self-driven road trip from California >> Las Vegas >> Utah and back to California. I was telling a few of my friends, I wonder which will be more challenging, handling the jetlag or handling the cranky kids during the long flight. Anyway, we shall see !

This trip was the furthest and longest trip for the family, things brought along was obviously much more. I thought I would love to share what are our essentials for the long flight and the trip. From my last trip to Utah last year, I learnt a lesson to always bring a portable weighing scale for the luggage to prevent any excess baggage. I remember having to go to the gym at the hotel to loan their weighing scale !

Palm size portable weighing scale 

Mister bought the neck rests during his recent Bangkok trip. Personally, I prefer to go without it. But I find this more useful during the road trip, especially when Xav fell asleep. I don't need to be there to loan him my shoulder and stay frozen while my hands were full from handling Vera.

Neck Rest

Kids entertainment is a MUST for the long flights, we decided to save space in the bags. Instead of lugging those books along for our bookworm. We bought a kindle on Groupon when it was on promotion. Not much difference as compared to the price in States, therefore we decided to purchase it here and load the ebooks in.

Kindle for our bookworm

Gadget holder to hold them as long as the show runs, saving me from those hand-breaking moments. I spotted this holder at one of the shops on Level 3 of Suntec City, as you walk further down to the right if you are facing Gong Cha. If you are a frequently shopping in our neighbouring country, JB. You might probably find it in the malls at a cheaper deal.

For the Ipad / tablets and mobile phones

My problem was solved for road trips when she decided not to enjoy the scenery, forgo her nap and wanted to just watch her videos.

Entertainment during the long road trip

With all the cameras, mobile phones and other different gadgets to charge, we brought along a 4-way extension plug to enable us to charge everything that was needed to recharge, without having to "fight" over which one to charge first. 

You may wish to add this into your luggage. Mister bought this socket with 2 USB ports for any device that needs to be charged with a USB cables. There are other portable plugs with more USB ports but with 2 ports, it's sufficient for us.

To charge our mobile phones at the same time 

Games of course are a MUST and with colouring and writing materials.
- My colouring book incase I have some free time but totally none for me but Xav can utilise them.
- A set of giant keys to learn and revise his multiplications on the go with self correcting markings behind as you loop the strings over.
- A set of Travel Tangram of 120 puzzles with thanks to Yourkidzstuffs. I was caught by surprised of the size of the game set when Pearlyn sent to me. It's measuring :
15 X 16 cm Dimension when booklet is closed 
16 x 29 cm Dimension when booklet is open
What's so special about this set ? It's magnetic ! Meaning I don't need to keep picking up the pieces when Xav drops them and this actually minimizes the chances of losing the pieces.

(Yourkidzstuffs is run by a FTWM, Pearlyn. She is a great supporter of learning through hand on activities and play. Through her daughters, she was inspired to set up an online toy store offering a range of interesting and affordable, educational toys to the parents out there. There will always be a toy catering to serve different development needs for babies and toddlers. Drop her a PM if you need any recommendation of any products relevant to the age group you are looking for. )

- Worksheets Don't call me a Tiger Mum hor... I don't think Xav should be sticking to the shows and gadgets all the way for the whole flight. My idea was just letting him do the papers as revision so as not to totally forgot what he has learnt. Once completed, I checked through and threw it away to free up space.

Games - Clockwise from the bottom left : Travel Tangram from Yourkidzstuffs, school journal, worksheets, colouring book, Guess Who ? & Timestable Giant Keys.

I bought this like three years ago and finally it came into good use ! Travel John was really useful in times of "emergency" during the road trip. It actually solidified the liquid like how diaper does. It can probably hold up to 3 to 4 frequency, depending on how much urine is passed out each time and we did not forget about the useful QuickGrab Nappy Disposable bags too !

Travel John

Medication, supplements and of course my bag of essential oils (eo) for the family , which I ever leave home without them. The pink "stick" on top is a thumb drive diffuser meant to plug in during the road trip to diffuse Peppermint EO, which helps with alertness and focus.

And if you are wondering if the pouch of eos can be hand carried ? Yes, as long as they are contained within a pouch and do not exceed 100ml. You can read HERE for more information.

There is an oil for everyone ! Oils for the adults during those arm and shoulder breaking moments from the long hours of carrying Vera and  those heavy luggage. These are my favourites (From the left) :. Copaiba, Majoram, Cypress, Aroma Siez, Deep Relief Roll On.

For immunity boosting and first aid Immupower, Peppermint, Thieves, Digize.

My favourite for respiratory support : Breathe again Roll on, Raven, Dorado Azul, Copaiba, Purification & Lemon.

For the jet lag and better sleep : Cedarwood, Lavender, White Angelica.

Of course having mentioned the above, the oils have other uses. Drop me an email if you wish to find out as I won't be going into much details here because I will just go on and on when it comes to talking about oils.

 Young Living Essential Oils

Our NingXia Red packs to boost up our energy level. I have already been taking it way before the trip and had observed that I felt less tired in the day with taking care of the two kiddos, house chores as well as running errands around after consuming for a week or two.

It's a must have when travelling as the drink help with giving our immunity a boost as well. (Read more about the benefits HERE.) It works pretty well for me when I feel that my body is starting to feel cranky. I usually order the 4 bottles pack but these sachets come in handy for travelling. By the end of the trip, the luggage space would have been free up for more stuff bought during the trip.

Another must is NingXia Nitro is a totally different product from NingXia Red. The mister has affirmed that it did really help him to be more clear headed after the long hours of flight and driving. There is sure to be one in the food pack to standby incase he needed to take it.

Supplements - NingXia Nitro

Coming back to the littlest in the family. No doubt that she is now taking adult food like us. But still, we did prepared food for her. On flight they had food jars for the babies but mostly were puree for younger babies. We gave her our share of bread and rice when she wanted on top of what she was eating.

Usually, I dislike giving the kids vacuumed packed food or jar food as I felt that it will still be better to prepare fresh food in terms of nutritional value but I close one eye when it comes to travelling. I will pack some sachets for her in case she decided to be just choosey out of the blue ! And duper thankful for these packs, indeed she was choosy through out the whole trip ! She rejected all pastas and the only food she liked was bread.

I packed the portions needed per day using ziplock bags, everyday I will just put in a bag or replenished what have been used.

On the left, was a Japanese Brand, Wakodo which we preferred and normally we chose the type that comes with porridge.

On the right, you see packs of Isomil. Instead of lugging the whole tin, I prefer these packs as the number decreased as days past to free up luggage space. I accumulated them from my two visitations to the PD before the trip with thanks to the staff who was nice to give me the packs to suffice for 13 days per milk feed.

On top of this, I packed another 13 packs of soy milk powder into sandwich plastic bags to cater for the second feed in the day. If you are wondering why am I giving soy, Vera was down with a persistent phlegmy cough that would not go off and dairies will reproduce more phlegm in the body. Hence, she was given soy instead of dairies. (Off track, if you need a recipe for cough. There is one which I would always cook. Refer to Pears/Apples with Fig fruit, Fritillaria and Kernel Almonds)

 Baby food sachets & milk powder

During trips, food intake would normally be not too healthy. I bought these as recommended by a friend, to make sure that Vera had sufficient greens intake for the day. VegeColour is a specially formulated powder beverage consisting of over 20 colourful vegetables and fruits. I will sprinkle some and mix into her food. I have tried once drinking from a cup. It tasted really green. I guess mixing into a bowl of rice like furikake would taste better.

Supplements (for the kids)

Now the cups and cutleries ! I  told the mister that for this trip, I am going to use pretty lots of disposable items for her milk and meals. Mainly because, it's tiring enough from the jetlag. Hence, I did not want to spend so much time washing bottles and cups at the end of the day. I found these disposal straws, spoons and cups at Daiso ! They are all individually wrapped and best of all the cups come with a paper spoon. Good enough to mix when making milk. What we did for her food was, we warmed up the sachets in the thermos and poured them into the disposable cups. They have really saved a lot of my time from washing them at the end of the day. I brought all the below together with one milk bottle for measurement purpose.

Disposable cutleries and cups from Daiso

I am very particular about what goes on my hair and face. I will usually bring my own even if the hotels do provide.

Haircare (review coming up soon)

Apart from my very own set of shampoo and skincare, the most essential to have, especially when travelling to dry countries, would be Young Living Day Activator. Usually, my face will feel dry during the long flight. But with the application before boarding, my face was pretty much kept moisturized.

In addition, during my stay in Utah last year, the area on my shin turned into flaky dry scales as I did not apply any moisturizer as I though they would be fine with being wrapped in the jeans. My face was perfectly in a good state with the application of the Day Activator. Vera's face started to peel and had some sort of rash due to the dryness. I applied sparingly on her face and it helped greatly when it was used together with Calecim.

Skincare: YL Day Activator

Last but not least, some money saving tips if you intend to self drive in the States. You may wish to bring these on your own as these don't come with the rented vehicle, else you would need to pay extras :
- Car Seat
- Booster Seat
- Global Positioning System
- Additional empty luggage (For your shopping if any unless you are planning to buy a brand new luggage to contain your buys)

Mister googled and input the coordinates of our destinations before the trip so that he can just touch and drive. This saved some time in a way but it got a little haywired at one point. Still we made it to the places as planned.

I am ending the post and hope this list would be of some help to those of you who are planning for your long trips. For those experienced travellers, do drop me some essentials must have if I have left out any useful items which you would think that it would be useful. Greatly appreciated =)

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