Today, I am sharing tips from my friend Ann about what to pack on a working vacation. Ann has ten years of travel experience with two kids under two, she has to be prepared and organized.
Last month I went to a travel blogger's conference. My husband and I agreed when we moved to Germany and I became a stay at home mom that, when possible, we would all go with him when he travelled out-of-town for work. For the first time since this arrangement, the family was going to follow me on a business trip.
To get an idea about our trip, and our packing, here are our facts:
- Our family consists of me, my husband, our 2.5 year old son, and 8 month old daughter.
- Our trip was a 3 hour road trip to Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Since we were driving, we had the convenience of not having to worry about liquids or what we could technically carry. We only had to think of what could fit in our car.
- We were staying in Rotterdam for two nights, so we only needed two days worth of clothing.
Now that we got that out-of-the-way, take a look at what we brought.
Everything out of the suitcase:
Let's look at our clothes now:
The non-clothing items we packed in the suitcase:
Food, Cleaning, Medicine:
We also always bring a bowl, dishwashing liquid (to clean the bowl and sippy cups), a sponge, a dish towel to let everything sit on when it dries. We also bring a variety of medicine when we're traveling in Europe. With language barriers, shops being closed on Sundays and evenings, it's easier for us to bring things we know we might need for small emergencies.
Toiletries and Documents:
My husband and I each have our own toiletry bag always packed with travel sized things we need. Since most hotels in Europe have shampoo, conditioner, and soap, we bring the rest. (Side note: I think we need to buy a kid-specific toiletry bag for future trips.) The two pouches on top of the toiletry bag were bath salts. We were staying at the brand new Mainport Hotel. They have beautiful jacuzzi tubs, and we wanted to take full advantage of it. (For the record, we also had two full packages of diapers and wipes with us.)
In the orange pencil-case we keep our cables for all electronics. That way it's always easy to spot (and with a clear window we can easily see that we remembered everything). The power strip is super-convenient since we usually have 4-5 things we charge overnight and most hotels don't have that many available sockets.
We don't need many toys: a book for bedtime, some comfort toys, an inflatable ball and bubbles usually do the trick.
For fun, I created a 6-second vine video to show how me putting everything pictured above in one second.
Specific tip for those packing for business trips when you bring the whole family along:
Most business trips that we go on are for longer than three days. Also, my husband has to dress more formally during the day and is often expected to wear something different at night. For these reasons, we bring two suitcases. One is completely dedicated to his needs, the other completely dedicated to ours.
I do not actually pack much more for our regular trips than what you see above. We have enough for 4 days (so only one extra outfit than what we did in Rotterdam) even for trips that are longer than 4 days. I know that I'll either do laundry, or buy more clothes.
Now that you've seen how I pack for family business trips, I'd love to hear your thoughts on bringing the whole family on business trips. Leave your tips, concerns, and thoughts in the comments.
Ann Belle is an American expat living in Germany with her husband and two kids. She blogs about traveling with kids and offers tips and tools to help children embrace travel at her blog, Travel Turtle. Ann is happy to connect with you via facebook or twitter.