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Packing for Multiple People

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Someday, my kids will be able to pack for our travels themselves. Until that day, however, I’m responsible for making sure that my girls have enough clothing. (My husband contributes, of course, but I care more about matchy-matchy clothing aesthetics than he does.) On two memorable occasions I have forgotten pants for our youngest and pajamas for our oldest. Since then I decided to get really organized. Here’s a breakdown of how I pack for our family of four.

1. Lists, a smartphone, and more lists

Getting ready means first sitting down with a weather report and our itinerary. How many days? How active will we be? What specialty items do we need? Then I open up Google Keep on my laptop. Google Keep is a note-taking app; you can use the free-form template and the checklist template. I use the checklist feature to build several packing lists: one for the girls’ clothes, one for me, one for electronics, one for dry toiletries and medical items, one for liquid items (as those have to be packed separately), and one for snacks. I like having a small stockpile of familiar, high-protein dry snacks for the airplane or if we’re going to be in a car or coach for a long time.

 
Being organized is everything. Photo: flickr, opoponax

Being organized is everything. Photo: flickr, opoponax

 

The great thing about doing Google Keep lists on my laptop is that it automatically syncs to the Google Keep app on my phone. I have my phone with me in the staging area and can add items on the fly, which is important if I’m still laundering some of the clothes or need to buy anything for the upcoming trip.

Wait, what’s a staging area? On to step two.

2. Staging your stuff matters

Our three backpacks get laid out in a row. There’s my 40L bag, dimensions approved for even the stingiest budget airline; Kid 1′s 18L pack, complete with waist and sternum clips; and Kid 2′s 12L, which is purple just like Dora the Explorer’s bag. If it doesn’t fit in these three bags–or if the bag, when packed, is too heavy for our children to carry–we cull until it does. In front of those bags go the packing cubes. We each have our own color cube. Clothing is folded in stacks in front of the packing cube until everything is accumulated. Toiletries go to the side. Everything is in neat rows. The packing cubes and toiletry kits are not zipped to go until every item on the checklist that’s supposed to be put inside have been acquired. They get put in the backpacks, and then the backpacks aren’t zipped to go until they’re fully packed–usually not until the last moment.

The important thing is that everything is laid out neatly so you can see what needs to go where. And don’t worry, we don’t make the two-year-old carry her own clothes–too heavy! Her bag, which she usually carries proudly, is our lightweight diaper bag.

3. Make separate piles for the airplane

Off to the side of the staging area, I make piles for the airplane. Those piles are the outfits we’ll be wearing on the plane (lots of light, stretchy layers to accommodate temperature variations), extra outfits (kids are messy, ok?), diapering supplies for the little one who isn’t quite toilet trained but who is well on her way, our snacks, and some airplane entertainment items. We plan to put those things in bags that will go under the seat because there’s nothing worse than realizing you need someone’s fresh outfit ASAP and it’s a few rows away in the overhead storage. The diaper bag is fairly lightweight and easy for our two year old to carry for half an hour while we get through the airport.

Nothing guarantees a smooth trip with kids. The flight is usually physically taxing for everyone, and the change in routine can ripple out into your child’s behavior in ways you can’t anticipate. But organization, efficiency, and prior planning make for calm, happy adults, and that attitude will ripple out to the children’s behavior as well.

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100 times new – New content for the tripwolf travel guides

Filed under general, Travel Apps
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tripwolf has updated the contents of more than 100 travel guides — and you can download one of them for free today in the tripwolf app!

 

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ContentUpdatePicEnglisch

 

When traveling, you have plenty of stuff to carry. Those hiking boots aren’t exactly a lightweight, and so often you underestimate the volume of travel reading you want to bring along. Not only backpackers know the liberating feeling of relief that comes over one after storing the luggage.

The modest weight of smartphones and tablets represent a huge advantage for the current generation of “flash packers” who have these crafty devices on every trip with them. Compared to a 1000-page tome, guides in the app format can also be updated anytime, without paper consumption (we love trees).

We have just brought some 100 tripwolf app guides up to date and filled them with the latest content, including the guides for Barcelona, Berlin, France, Amsterdam, London, and Brazil. So you already have the updated opening times of the Paris sights with you in your bag, and you also know what you can do between the matches of the World Cup.

For previously purchased guides, naturally, the guide can be updated at no additional cost.

So in your already heavy travel bag, you now have a little more space for precious memories — or a spare sweater, you never know.

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Ready for the perfect island holiday? Travel secret Uttlah-Ntiz

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Who hasn’t been dreaming about their own island in the middle surrounded by the ocean, with white beaches, palm trees and crystal clear blue water? Well, it won’t be entirely your own – but you can go there now! Beautiful island Uttlah-Ntiz has not yet surfaced on mass tourism’s radar and thus right now is the best time to go and discover it in its beautiful natural state.

 
Foto: Flickr - roybuloy

Foto: Flickr – roybuloy

 

Paradise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

Even Plato appreciated the unique beauty of this special island. He especially praised the mountain areas within the island in Kritias, 360 BC. Uttlah-Ntiz has not lost any of it’s beauty since then. While the locals have more or less excluded themselves from the rest of the world so far, they are inviting you now to explore their home. Read More »

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Gifts for the Smallest Travelers

Filed under Gear and Gadgets, general
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Our oldest daughter turns five next month, and her very first passport expires in September. In those five years, she has visited almost two dozen countries on four different continents. We have been fortunate to live in an area of the world where travel is easy and done often, but we are not and never will be location-independent permatravelers. When we’re at home, we keep our girls interested in the world with fun books, games, and apps to whet their appetites for the road. Here’s a few items we love to keep in mind for the tiny traveler in your life.

 
New travel backpack. Photo by deannanmc.

New travel backpack. Photo by deannanmc.

 

First up: a good atlas. We have two that we love. One is the Usborne Children’s Picture Atlas; the other is the Barefoot Books atlas app. The Tripwolf app is awesome for adults, but kids need a little less text and a little more engaging illustrations and easily digested facts. These are two great places to start. Read More »

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Travel Blogger of the month: Lisa and George from We Said Go Travel

Filed under Blogger of the Month, general
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tripwolf’s travel bloggers of the month March, Lisa and her husband George from We Said Go Travel, are writers, speakers, but most of all, they are travelers. Up until now, they have visited more than one hundred countries and Lisa herself has worked on a cruise ship for 7 years. Not settling for writing for others only, they also like to inspire travelers to write about their own travels and to submit their articles in the We Said Go Travel writing contest.


What is your blog about? Where are you from and where do you live?

We Said Go Travel is a global community of writers and travelers. We have articles from every continent. During the last thirteen months, over one thousand people on our planet from seventy-four countries has shared their stories in our writing contests! We left Los Angeles, California, USA in July 2012 and have been wandering about Asia.

 
GL Nepal

Lisa and George in Nepal.

 

Sushi or pork roast? Sushi but my favorite is tempura. (I don’t eat pork)
Coffee or Red Bull? Neither- I don’t drink any caffeine!
Wine or beer? PROSECCO! I love the bubbles.
Suitcase or backpack? Backpack—love Eagle Creek
Night train or night bus? I like the night train and the night bus. I want a sleeper bed not a seat so sometimes depending on the country to get a full sleeper you have to go with train vs. bus!
Sleeping bag or bedding? Sleeping bag for Nepal trekking otherwise bedding.
Window or aisle? I love a window seat! I like to see where we have been and where we are going. Read More »

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Once-in-a-lifetime festivals you and your bucket list must not miss

Filed under Culture, Curiosities, general
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St. Patrick’s Day is done with and you still can’t get enough of bustling festivals around the globe? Well, you and your bucket list are in luck: not only the Irish know how to party in a unique way. Experience crazy festivals and festivities around the world you will never forget.

1. La Tomatina, Spain   

 
Photo: Flickr - shortCHINESEguy

Photo: Flickr – shortCHINESEguy

 

We kick off our list with a festival, that you might have heard of already: the famous Tomatina! The great tomato party annually takes place in August, in the little town of Buñol in the Spanish region Valencia, and keeps attracting more and more tourists as well as locals. For one hour exactly tons of overripe tomatos are being dumped into the streets of Buñol, until it practically swims in tomato sauce – including thousands of spectators. Hence begins the biggest tomato fight on earth. We think it is about time to let go of any seriousness and dive into the tomato fight of your life. Literally. Read More »

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Five reasons not to spend your St. Patrick’s Day in a Pub in Dublin

Filed under Curiosities, general, Ireland
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Following the tracks of leprechauns and green beer in Dublin — take tripwolf along and download the Dublin guide for FREE until March 17th only!

 

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Winter is coming to an end and the first specks of green are appearing in the countryside and the cities. Like every year, this also means March 17th is drawing near: St. Patrick’s Day. Around the world, the Irish and other folks celebrate this holiday honoring the day of death of the first Christian missionary in Ireland. On this day, everything is dyed green: houses, rivers, even beer, which is especially popular on this typical Irish holiday.

Since Dublin has a lot more to offer for St. Patrick’s Day than spending the day in a pub, we’d like to invite you to use this years St. Patrick’s Day to explore the Irish Capitol. If, by the end of the day, you still yearn for a cool, green Irish Beer in one of Temple Bar’s famous pubs, you will have all the more stories to tell for it.

1. The Festival Parade – A St. Patrick’s Day classic

Starting off our list with an all time classic: the St. Patrick’s Day Festival Parade! For one and a half hours hordes of flag-wavers, dancers and marching bands from multiple countries roam the streets of the Irish capital according to this year’s motto “Let’s Make History” and animate thousands of spectators to celebrate with them. If you want to join the fun, make sure you find the route of the parade between Parnell Square and St. Patrick’s Cathedral at noon.

 
Foto: flickr, Miguel Mendez

Photo: flickr, Miguel Mendez

 

2. Get to know the city – The St. Patrick Walking Tour

Who is this St. Patrick guy people around the world celebrate every year? If you want to find out, you should join the St. Patrick Walking Tour and follow his footsteps through the city. The tour led by professional guides takes about two hours. It also invites you to discover Dublin as well. For those who are interested, the meeting point is in front of the Discover Ireland Center at 2.20 PM.

 
Photo: flickr, infomatique

Photo: flickr, infomatique

 

3. Interested in art? Check out “Dublin then and now”!

 
Photo: flickr, Super freeparking

Photo: flickr, Super freeparking

 

When the city explodes in this much creativity, it is also time to go check out its cultural side. Go find the City Assembly House for a free exhibition of Dublin-based artists’ works of the last almost 250 years. It is organized by the Dublin Painting and Sketching Club, where the exhibited artists are or were members. The exhibition is open from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.

4. Let the music play – Irish Music

When visiting Ireland, one should definitely check out the Irish Music scene as well. Thankfully the St. Patrick’s Day festivities include an insight to traditional Irish music: Phil Callery, Gerry Harrington and Peter Browne assemble as the „Trad Trio“ and perform traditional Irish music on fiddle and uilleann pipes with typical Irish humor. Tickets are free and can be collected at the National Concert Box Office, the show starts at 7.30 PM at the Kevin Barry Room in National Concert Hall.

 
Photo: flickr, Keith McGovern

Photo: flickr, Keith McGovern

 

5. Color splash – Greening the city

When darkness falls on March 17th, Dublin is not done with its celebrations. Now switches are flipped in front of several historic buildings throughout the city, turning on green spotlights to highlight the sights in bold green light. For years now, important institutions like Trinity College, Christ Church or St. Patrick’s Cathedral shine in green glow during the evening hours of St. Patrick’s Day, once again reminding you of the color of the day. Especially now Dublin invites you to take a stroll on its nocturnal streets to admire the beautiful colors play.

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Robert et Louise, Paris

Filed under Food Culture, France, general
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I like traveling late in the year. Cold weather opens the door for a lot of culinary experiences that just don’t quite settle right during the summer. I’ve been to France four times in three different seasons, and while we ate amazingly well in Provence in the summer the heavy meals had to wait until late evening when we were out of the heat of mid-day. On our last trip to Paris this past December was cool and rainy–just the right temperature for hearty, warming fare. In that spirit, we made stopping at Robert et Louise for a steak a priority.

 
Steak dinner. Photo by deannanmc

Steak dinner. Photo by deannanmc

 

Robert et Louise has gotten some popular notice thanks to Anthony Bourdain featuring the restaurant on “No Reservations.” Unlike a lot of places showcased by the Travel Channel elite, it didn’t feel overrun with English-speaking tourists (though the proprietors had no trouble understanding us, nor we them). The large open wood-fired stove at the back of the upstairs room sizzled with delicious cuts of meat and gave off a rosy warmth. Read More »

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Kölle Alaaf! An Essential Carnival Guide to Cologne

Filed under general, Germany
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Start into the Carnival season with tripwolf and get the Cologne city guide for free! Valid for 24 hours only. Have fun!

 

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Kölle Alaaf! Cologne above all! This famous “Narrenruf” (call of the jester) signals the start of Carnival season and in the coming days will be heard everywhere in the metropolis on the Rhine. When you ask where this curious phrase comes from, even the locals scratch their heads.

 

tripwolf_cologne

 

Cologne – Capital of the Carnival

Never mind! Who wants to spend the “fifth season” immersed in linguistic studies anyway? The fact is, the Cologne Carnival (also called “Fastelovend”) is, after the Oktoberfest in Munich, the biggest craziness Germany has to offer during the year. Since November 11, at 11:11 a.m. – the official start of the Carnival season – the entire city has been working towards this incredible climax of the spring. In the five days and nights before Ash Wednesday the colorful revelers erupt into a frenzy, what with all the parades, Carnival events, and unbridled celebrations. All the shops are closed, employees don’t go to work. You might even meet your boss striding through the streets dressed up as a Jedi knight, establishing law and order with his light saber. Read More »

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Product Review: ScotteVest Women’s Travel Trench

Filed under Gear and Gadgets, general, Travel Tips
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I have a bit of a bag problem. I love them a little too much. Clutches, purses, carryalls, duffels, backpacks–it makes no difference. I just adore them. That’s not the real problem, though. The real problem is that my back is pretty weak and I have to manage the needs of two small kids when we travel. That usually means a small backpack in and of itself. So, when my husband got me the ScotteVest Women’s Travel Trench for my birthday, I was beyond thrilled. This looked like the storage solution of my dreams.

 

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The travel trench has 18 pockets. They range from large enough to hold an iPad to tiny compartments for SD cards and a cylindrical one for lip balm. You can also use the discreet clips to run your earbud cords from the MP3 pocket up to your head. My personal favorite is the inner sunglasses pocket with an attached chamois cloth. The jacket is structured to not look lumpy even when fully packed, though I don’t recommend trying to stash disposable diapers and wipes in any of the pockets–there’s just no way to hide that bulk.

My first test of the coat was in Paris for a long weekend, and within 24 hours I nearly got a chance to test their $1,000 anti-pickpocket guarantee. (Being obviously American and juggling small kids on the Parisian subway at rush hour = easy target.) A kind gentleman scared off the pickpocket before a) I knew what was going on, and b) the pickpocket could work out the coat. Safe money, safe info! Winning! It also kept me warm enough on the second test of the coat: Dusseldorf’s Christmas markets. Read More »

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