Monday, September 20, 2010
Top 10 Items We Could Not, Would Not Travel Without
As traveling is an obvious pastime for our family, I have compiled a Top 10 list of items we could not, would not travel without to Disney or anywhere else for that matter. Here it goes. . .
10. A map either on paper or electronically. We are using our 2nd GPS system and have been know to Mapquest or GPS local addresses. While I can usually “smell” our direction in unknown territory, the husband is a different story. The boy now asks if we are taking the GPS when we head off somewhere new. I think those standardized tests that kids take throughout K-12 school should have a test about programming GPS systems or Mapquesting locations rather than map skills and the card catalog. I’m just saying. . .
9. Something that will save us money. This means coupons, discount cards, discount codes, or refillable mugs for the Disney resort. We buy pins to trade on-line before we go to Disney. This means paying around $1 per pin rather than $7-$15 per pin. (Click here to read more about Disney pins.) The only thing I hate worse than paying full price for something is being lost.
8. A cooler. Reason: see #9. Even if we are traveling a short distance, say 30 miles or so, we pack a cooler with drinks and snacks for the car. Yeah, sure, we could stop and get something, but having it with us saves time and money. Even if we are just going to the pool for an afternoon I pack snacks. We save the butter and sour cream containers, as they make great containers for chips, pretzels, goldfish crackers, and cereal—that way the large servings—bags and boxes stay home and we can throw away the container if we want. Now, a cooler works for traveling in the car, but because we want to stay married, for any long distance travel, we fly. So, I take food on the plane with us too. One favorite is fruit snacks. They are small, handy, bite sized, in single serving packages, and are a bit healthy. Another item is fresh fruit, especially peaches. If we are staying at a hotel the night before we fly, I scour the “complimentary breakfast” area for potential carry on items, like small boxes of cereal and fresh fruit.
7. Entertainment. In the car this means DVD’s and CD’s. For plane travel, it means our portable DVD player with DVD’s. Bonus—both the DVD player in the car and the portable DVD player have head phones. YEAH! The boy also has a hand held video game that goes with us. For the husband, its books and DVD’s. For me, its books and magazines. Give me a good travel guide or travel magazine and I’m good to go! Now, let’s talk about DVD’s. We are Netflix subscribers, so we will stock up on movies for the boy prior to our travel. We take the nifty red return envelopes with us and mail the movies back from our current location. Cool! And, we don’t have to carry them home with us. Does Red Box do the same? Can you return a Red Box rental to any location?
6. Let’s see, food, water, shelter, oh, Rain Gear. We have several compact umbrellas that go with us and they fit into a day bag while we are touring the parks or anywhere else. We also take the 88¢ disposable ponchos that you can find in the camping section of the large super discount chain store that begins with a W. They’re great to have when you need them and comforting to have when you don’t need them.
5. A Bag-o-remedies—usually a Ziploc bag-o-remedies. During our last Disney Cruise, while waiting for a port excursion, the boy ran and fell held first on the floor taking off a bit of his right eyebrow. Mom to the rescue, as in my day bag was a first aid kit with ointment and Band-Aids. Our tablemates happened to be traveling with us that day and I can remember the husband from that family being impressed by the items in the magic bag. I felt, for a moment, like Michelle Pfeiffer in that movie with George Clooney where she pulled all this wonderful stuff out of her bag. . . oh, One Fine Day. Anyway, the bag-o-remedies includes things like a first aid kit, antacids, anti- diarrhea medication, pain relievers, fever reducers, and moleskin cut up into pieces for blisters and hot spots on feet. Did you know that you will never find anti- diarrhea medication for sale on a Disney Cruise ship? Why? Because, if someone is experiencing those kind of symptoms, the crew and ship’s doctor want to know in case of a potential outbreak of a contagious disease!
4. Cell phone(s). We have a family plan with both our cell phones on one account. I learned this lesson the hard way. . . while our plan allows for a certain number of roaming minutes, for a mere $10, we can add on another 100 roaming minutes. So, a few weeks before we head out, I call our provider and get the 100 extra roaming minutes, but only for our time of travel. The provider automatically takes off the extra for the date specified. So, for only 1 month is our cell phone bill $10 more. That sure beats a surprise bill that could be higher by many more times than $10. (see #9.) I also program several numbers into our phones. For example, if we have used a park and fly with a hotel stay prior to flying and leave our car at the hotel, I program the hotel’s number into my phone so that I can easily call from the airport to get a pick-up. I have programmed town car services, our travel agent, the number for the lady that takes care of our pets, etc.
3. The Camera. OK, sometimes it is more than 1 camera, because we take disposable cameras with us on occasion. During our trip to Adventureland and Adventure Bay—click here to read more—I stashed a disposable underwater camera into our bag and we used it to snap pics at the water park. We still had another disposable underwater camera back at home. I asked the husband if we were the only family that had a supply of disposable underwater cameras and he just laughed. He said “no.” He said he was sure there were other families, but we just didn’t know any of them. So, consider this as an invitation for any of those other families to step forward and comment so I know there are others! Another note about the camera—it seems to be traveling with us more and more, especially due to this blog. Just yesterday, I had to purchase more space for the Picasa web album where all the photos that get uploaded onto this blog go. The additional space for was only $5.00 and the pics are backed up on the Picasa web album, so I get photos for the blog and a back up at the same time. Priceless!
2. A plan. Usually, an organized plan with dates, times, flight numbers, confirmation numbers, etc. I start with the itinerary that I e-mail to friends and family in case of emergency, and then add on details that we need as we travel. This information can fit easily into the PassPorter Travel Guide for Walt Disney World. I have taken that guide with us to Disney World and have taken the cruise guide with us while cruising. One benefit of having the cruise guide with us while cruising is it has a great overview of the port excursions. Another benefit is having the ship’s layout. When we go to re-book onboard to get the great discount and onboard credit, I use the layout from the cruise guide to help pick our stateroom for the next cruise. Works like a charm! The Walt Disney World travel guide has great information and telephone numbers in case we need those while traveling.
1. I can hear the drum roll in my head as I type the number 1 thing we wouldn’t travel without and it is. . . . a power strip. Yep, a multi-outlet power strip! I plug all the charger cords into the power strip. . . camera battery, portable DVD player charger, cell phone chargers, and hand held video game charger. I then put the power strip and chargers into a large zip-loc bag and off we go. It is so handy to whip that power strip out at any location, find one open outlet, and have a spot to charge all of our electronic devices. Typically, in a hotel room, there may be only 1 or 2 visible outlets, so having to plug in only 1 item is a dream. I can remember having multiple items plugged in around the hotel room before we started taking the power strip. And, we use the same power strip at home. Just plug in and charge—everything in one location.
Whew! That is some list! I am wondering if I were to make this same list one year from now or several years from now if it would be the same. . . In the meantime, I hope it gave you some ideas of what to take for your family travels.