Packing for Family Travel: 6 Steps for Success

Maybe it was due to the fact that I had to help pack the boys up for a trip that I wasn’t going on (more on that soon!), but I recently found myself reflecting on the way we go about stuffing our suitcases prior to an adventure.  And I realized something: We almost always go about packing in the same way.  And it works! Rarely does anything significantly important or essential get left behind.  At least not anymore.

 Now that we have a system in place, things like drivers licenses, boots for a cold weather destination, toothbrushes, and medication are all stowed safely in our luggage.  Yes, each of those items were forgotten by one of us at one point or another.  We are much more prepared these days.

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11-Day Road Trip: Packing for a Family of 4

Do you consider yourself an expert packer? I’m somewhere in the middle of an expert and a novice.

Like many, I have mixed emotions when it comes to packing for a trip.  On the one hand, having to pack means we are about to embark on an exciting adventure! But on the other hand, it takes a lot of work to decide what we need, organize all those essentials, and fit it all into bags and suitcases.  I worry about over-packing and forgetting necessary items all at the same time.

Last month, when it came time to start getting ready for our Oregon-California road trip, I agonized about getting it right.  We had 6 different overnight destinations.  Thus, I wanted to make sure that we had a system that wouldn’t leave our car looking like a tornado blew through.  I didn’t want to waste a lot of precious adventure and family time trying to figure out where something was located.

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Wild Tales of…2014 Travel and Adventure Highlights

Happy 2015! We hope your new year is off to a great start. Here in Seattle we enjoyed a quiet celebration with all four of us sleeping soundly when the clock officially struck midnight.  Not to worry though: Two of us were up soon after though as someone was in search of another meal.

With a fresh start and a brand-new addition to the family, I’ve found myself reflecting often on the past year because let’s face it: Things will never be the same! Growing from 3 family members to 4 is a big change and babies create a whole new dynamic of family life.  Routines, sleep habits, and the way we go about doing life are all shifting, so I’ve actually found it fascinating to look back at 2014’s adventures.

In order to get a complete look at our year, I decided to take it month by month.  Some months were busier than others making it hard to choose just one highlight, so here you’ll find our most memorable and significant explorations.

January-Cle Elum, Washington

In search of quick cold weather getaway, we traveled just an hour and a half or so to the small central Washington town of Cle Elum.  Instead of mounds of snow, we found sheets of ice creating difficult hiking conditions, but we enjoyed the escape and chance to unplug (no phone service or internet access!) nonetheless.

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Feeding the Pineapple Obsession: Oahu’s Dole Plantation with Kids

With a serious pineapple loving little boy on our hands, it would have been cruel of us not to visit the Dole Plantation during our recent visit to Oahu.  Bergen (3-years old) cannot get enough of the stuff.  In fact the other day when I ordered a pineapple-flavored soda at the Mexican restaurant we were dining at, he cried when the drink arrived as (we soon found out) he was expecting a plate of actual pineapple!

We planned for a morning visit, and thanks the resident alarm clocks surrounding our vacation rental, it wasn’t at all difficult to get ourselves there right as they opened their doors to at least try to avoid some of the inevitable crowds.  The plantation is located in the town of Wahiawa, which in Oahu’s central valley, about a 40 minute drive from Honolulu, but only 10 minutes or so from our base in Haleiwa on the North Shore.

Truly trying to make the experience all about Bergen, we wasted no time dawdling around, and purchased our tickets for the pineapple train right away.  Pineapples and trains: What more could a little boy ask for?

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Flying While Pregnant: Ideas on Staying Comfortable in Flight

Baby #2 is coming! Believe it or not (that’s me talking to myself) in just a few short weeks, we will be welcoming our second little adventurer into the world.  He or she has already been coming along on quite a few journeys, and has probably logged more miles than Bergen (now 3 years old) when I was pregnant with him.  We believe in the importance of traveling as a family, and more than ever we felt it was essential to build that bond as a family of 3 before adding another member.

I flew several times during the pregnancy, but it was on our last trip, a week in Oahu at about 28 weeks, that I really took notice and reflected on some best practices for air travel while pregnant.  Considering that I’ve had more discomfort during this pregnancy, I was somewhat anxious for how this last set of flights would go.  Not worried enough, of course to be alarmed or call anything off, but cautious.

In the end, I didn’t have much to worry about as the flights to and from Oahu went smoothly.  With a few implementations and considerations, I was comfortable, and the experience wasn’t too far from flying without a mini “passenger”:

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Family Travel in Barcelona: 5 Kid Friendly Sights

Our life of travel and adventure spans back much further than the start of the “Wild Tales of…” blog.  Yes, before Bergen (3 years old) and Baby #2 came along, countless miles on the road were logged around the United States and in many international destinations.

One of the most noteworthy occurred right at the time my husband, Slaed and I met.  Slaed took a hiatus from his regular Seattle life and moved to Barcelona, Spain for 6 months.  During his time there and thanks to several trips previous, he became quite the expert on the city.  While kids of his own were barely on his radar then, two of his best friends, and a huge reason for his Spanish travels, had young families, and he often tagged along on their outings.

I thought it would be fun to pick his brain and learn about the place he called home for a short while. First, our suggestions for accommodations:

Where to Stay

  • “El Born”: This “old city” district features family friendly hotels and lodging and is close to the Parc de la Ciutadella.
  • “Barri Gotic”: The oldest area in the city and where Slaed called home for his 6-month stay, this is the central district of Barcelona and also has plenty of family friendly accommodations.

If you are ready to start researching possible lodging options, try using the hotel, B&B & apartment rental site, Venere. You’ll find it easy to search based on budget, landmark proximity and city areas, and ratings by reviewers.

Now for what to see and do! Together we came up with our top 5 (in no particular order) sights and activities for families to enjoy while visiting this unique and historic city.

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Stranded on Oahu: Lessons Learned from a Missed Flight

Stranded on Oahu: Lessons Learned from a Missed Flight | WildTalesof.com

With our careful planning and attention to detail, we never seem to think we might have a flight cancelled on us, or that we might actually miss a flight.  However, the truth is, it’s inevitable and we can’t predict and control all of our circumstances.

On our most recent travel day back home from Oahu (after an amazing week spent mostly on the North Shore), we left ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport, return our rental car, check-in for our flight, and get on our way to Seattle. Continue reading