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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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Barcelona in the spring

Filed under Barcelona, Spain, Travel Tips
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tripwolf sends you to the city of paella and Gaudí to celebrate the spring in Barcelona. Now, for a short time only, download the Barcelona Guide for 60% off!

 

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While in Northern Europe the first trees and bushes stretch out their young buds in the still bracing air, in Barcelona they are enjoying T-shirt weather. With temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius (65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit), you can explore the city to your heart’s content without having to share it with throngs of tourists in the high season. 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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tripwolf Travel Destinations 2014

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Our readers’ travel priorities for this year have to be quite diverse. The hardcore sports fans among you just made a detour to Sochi, others may have already purchased that ticket to Brazil for the Soccer World Cup. Beyond that, there are a few other cities and countries that should stand in the spotlight this year. Here are tripwolf’s destinations for 2014′s travels, for those in search for nature, culture, history or something original.

 
Havana. Photo: flickr, Rog01.

Havana. Photo: flickr, Rog01.

 

Cuba – an island opening up

Cuba is in flux. After decades of isolation, the socialistic insular state is slowly opening up and carefully allowing some reforms, in order to overcome the crisis. The typical nostalgic character of the island, the distinctive, smoky atmosphere that contributed to Cuba’s recognition value, might slowly change now. At the beginning of 2014 and for the first time since the revolution 60 years ago, Cuban government allowed the import and purchase of new cars. Those legendary oldtimers with their crumbling paint, chugging through Havana, might slowly disappear from Cuba’s appearance. Progress is necessary, but the image of Cuba will transform – enough reason to experience the island’s flair before it sets off to modern times. Read More »

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Paris for lovers and freaks – unusual romance tips for the City of Love

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Today we take you on a romantic trip to Paris. Because it’s Valentine’s Day, the Paris Travel Guide is available at 60% off for three days now. Have fun!

 

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Some things should never change. Since time immemorial, the mighty metropolis on the Seine has attracted lovers and romantics. The film industry has rented out its street corners, promenades, and bistros as the obligatory backdrop for just about any romantic feature film. But how did Paris, bursting with magnificent buildings but also very hectic, become the world’s capital of love?

 
Photo: flickr, Vassil Tzvetanov

Photo: flickr, Vassil Tzvetanov

 

It isn’t easy to come up with a historically grounded explanation. The pompous/romantic Parisian cityscape certainly played a role. Promenades, parks, and squares that once served the glorification and relaxation of the king have, since the end of the monarchy, induced “normal people” to stroll and whisper sweet nothings to one another. Cultural institutions such as the Opera or the cinema, which have always trafficked in love stories, are firmly rooted on the Seine. After all, it was the Lumière brothers in the Paris of 1895 who staged one of the world’s first film screenings for a public audience. Read More »

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Where to Ring in the New Year in Dubai

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Dubai, UAE is known for being one of the biggest and best party places in the world, where A-list celebrities and other famous faces come together for celeb gossip, indulgent cocktails and fantastic music as they dance the night away. With this in mind, it’s only natural that come the New Year’s Eve, Dubai is the place to see and be seen.

Atlantis the Palm, Dubai taken by <a href="http://www.hotelscombined.com/">HotelsCombined</a>

Atlantis the Palm, Dubai taken by HotelsCombined

Whether you’re planning on visiting Dubai over the festive season or you just want to know about the hottest clubs in the cosmopolitan city, take a look at our list of the best places to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Dubai.

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Our holiday present to you: one free guide on December 25!

Filed under general, Mobile, Travel Tips
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Hello tripwolves,

what a year! In 2013 we collected countless travel tips and stories, we improved the tripwolf app continuously, we passed the threshold of 5 million app downloads, and we made incredible progress in our tripwolf iPad app.

 
Inspiration for 2014's travels

Inspiration for 2014′s travels

 

Now the year is approaching its end. It’s a contemplative time when even restless globetrotters return home for the holidays. In our minds we’re already forming travel plans for 2014 and letting the travel itch and wanderlust and images of foreign lands assert themselves.

It’s all reason enough for us to offer you a nice little present: On December 25, all tripwolf app users can download a free guide. From the more than 500 destinations, you can choose the guide you like the best — this offer is of course valid for all Android and iOS users among you!

We wish you a happy holidays and a Happy New Year — see you in 2014, as lively as ever!

Your tripwolf Team

 

StoreLogoHere you can download the tripwolf app for iPhone and iPad (in-app guides). Including offline maps, Augmented Reality viewer and free updates.
Also available for Android!

 
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The Istanbul Hammam (Turkish Bath) Experience

Filed under general, Travel Tips, Wellness
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A visit to a Turkish Bath, or hammam, is the highlight of many a visitor’s trip to Istanbul. While many people think of Turkish baths as giant hot spring swimming pools, the Istanbul variety has much more in common with a steam room than an actual bath. This traditional steam bath and scrub is both relaxing and invigorating, and while it’s a far cry from your typical spa experience, a visit to a hammam will make your skin feel cleaner than it may ever have before. Here’s what to expect…

Cemberlitas Hamami. Photo: flickr, Enrique Freire

Cemberlitas Hamami. Photo: flickr, Enrique Freire

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Travel Shoe Review

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We’re getting ready for a week in Morocco, which is thrilling. As per usual, we are not renting a car and we’re not taking a stroller for our two daughters (now four and just-shy-of-two). That requires some truly excellent footwear, but I’ll be frank: most of the travel-recommended shoes I’ve seen seem clunky and somewhat heavy. I need arch support, and while I’m not even remotely a fashionista I’d like to look a little bit trendy. Here’s what I’ve come up with as my two favorite go-to travel shoes for warm-weather, dry-climate travel.

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Fall Foliage Road Trip through New England: Maine, New Hamshire, and Vermont

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This article is dedicated to you by motoring.com.au. Choosing the right car for a road trip is essential.


Nothing says New England like Autumn.   Mid September to Mid October is the leaf-peeping season, when the fall foliage is perfect and bright.  Tens of thousands of people jump on bus tours from the Southern US to catch a glimpse of the hills burning bright red, orange and yellow. Though the best way to see this North American region in all it’s splendor is by road trip through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.  Driving across all three can be in a weekend, or make a romantic week of it - wine-tasting, gourmet food-hunting and taking scenic hikes.

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