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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Your Best Packing Tips

Even though we still don't have TA (and no, y'all, I don't know why ... please don't ask because I'm crazy enough as it is right now), and even though I'm not able to respond to comments right now, I would love, Love, LOVE y'all forever if you gave me your Best Ever Packing Tip. Because I'm working on my packing list right now. Even though we very well could end up traveling as late as July. Missing my future daughter's first birthday. But I'm choosing to avoid thinking of all of that, instead hoping for all y'alls packing tips. So please be kind and share a tip. Any tip. I'm all ears and extremely appreciative.


Kerrie (and Jason) said...

clothes pegs (to hold curtains closed and for clothes washing and for something safe for little one to play with) and a power board (so you can use one power adaptor and have the ability to charge two items at once without the cord AND the adaptor falling out of the wall socket).

3cmum said...

Flat paper bags and flat wrapping paper, tape and scissors in your luggage. Wrap all the gifts when you are there. Did that the first time - great. Just got back from a return visit to the SWI and forgot paper and couldn't find any even in a wall mart!

Tube of travel wash
Lots of ziploc bags

TV shows on your laptop/tablet for the tongginator

Elizabeth said...

I learned these from a great experienced mom on our trip... line the suitcase with diapers. And put each outfit in a ziploc bag...that way you know you'll have enough diapers and enough ziplocs for all the diaper explosions.
and sleeping pills. Sleeping Pills!

Claudia said...

Chocolate! And lots of it.

Sending you hugs, this extra stage of waiting must be torture now that you are so close.

The Byrd's Nest said...

We went in 2005 so I am certain that others can actually remember their things they took...lol...but these stick out in my mind:

Stacking cups

Antibiotic for all of you, even Mei Mei (Lottie and I had bronchitis and we were very ill until we could get home)

Praying for your TA and your sanity:)

Jboo said...

We used those squeeze out the air bags and they worked great! Also, take packets of instant oatmeal -- great little meals/snacks when you can't get out. Keep packing!!


Sherri said...

We actually bought a vacuum sealer and made "bricks" of diapers. That way we had plenty of American diapers (we were told they are better than Chinese ones), and they didn't take up much room. We sucked the air out of nearly everything we packed! :)

Laurie said...

Everyone has great tips so far! The best tip I got was something to do after you arrived... pack individual diaper changes. Each big baggie contains a diaper and a smaller baggie with a few wipes. Take 3 of these (or more if you're so inclined) with you every day when you pack the backpack. Then you just grab a bag and go. Put dirty diaper inside large baggie, throw away, and voila! :)

autumnesf said...

If you are going to be in Guangzhou the whole time you only need to carry a handful of diapers. Every corner store has diapers and the whole thing about them not being as good makes me laugh. That may be a big fat case of name brand is better - and if you spend more it must be better. But then we didn't use the most expensive brands on our kids anyways.

We brought clothing we could throw away (except for appts). Old sock, undies, shirts, etc. This was we emptied the suitcase and filled it back up with our purchases. Sounds kind of backwards as you should take your nice stuff to travel -- but with the new airline luggage fees it can make a real difference.

I also second the instant oatmeal and maybe some Ramen or instant chicken noodle packets. Both are great for touchy tummies and with the hot pots right in your room it is so easy.

Lindy D. said...

Just a reminder that peanut butter, speadable cheese and jams can not be included in carry-on luggage. That said, these are good things to pack in checked luggage, along with a bag of mini-bagels. Don't forget the baby food, including prunes; swimsuits; and large zip-lock bags for dirty diapers and wet clothing.

Georgia Peach said...

Sugarless Gum (if it's allowed)helps acclimate the ear drum to pressure change when flying.

Other than that....I'd go with the suggestion for movies. LOTS of movies.

Pigtails, Brown Eyes, & Southern Twangs said...

*Carry on a pashmina style wrap. It can be used:
when chilled on the plane, a pillow on the plane or bus rides, a baby blanket, padding for breakables when traveling.

*in a gallon ziplock bag, put a change of undies, socks, and maybe an extra shirt. have one for each family member. Put the ziplock bag into an inside side pocket in check bag. If your baggage is searched, your essentials will not be pulled out for view of strangers. And, if you get an unexpected over night layover, everyone will have some fresh clothes.

*If you wear sandals or flip flops on the plane, slip a pair of socks into exterior side pocket of bag or into purse. When things cool off, you can easily grab socks & put on to keep toes/feet warm.

Andrea said...

First-aid kit filled with meds for you and baby.
4 outfits each- plus the one you wear on the plan. A nice pair of tennis shoes , fancy flip flops.
computer,camera and born free bottles.

The first time we went to China we had 2 large hardshell samsonites and 2 carry-ons.
2 trips later we traveled with 2 small carryones and a medium hardshell samsonite. The carry-ons had 2 pockets in the front large enough for our computers.

We purchased all of our toys, diaper, baby items( rice crackers), and most of our baby clothes in China.

It was soooo much better on the way home. we purchsed another suitcasse at Jordans..put one of our carry-ons inside the large suitcase to pack gifts in..filled it up, Stuffed our clothes in the medium Samsonite. On the way home I had a baby and a diaper bag and the stroller
Stacy had the carry-on with the brown envelope passports visas one set of clothes each and extra diapers and powdered formula packs.
Minimal luggage...it was great!

Andrea said...

Oh yeah... I forgot wrapping paper, a few spools of ribbon and tape.:)

jennifer said...

I packed each baby outfit in an individual ziploc too, and loved it...made it much easier each day! I brought some of my own diapers, but didn't notice a big difference in the ones I bought in China. Definitely bring a hairdryer if you like to dry your hair!!!! Many people told me not to...that the hotel had them. They had them, alright, but they were worthless!!

lmgnyc said...

TM, I feel for you on the TA, I really do. Our TA was so delayed when we were waiting for our DD that we actually ended up traveling with the group that got referrals after us. No explanation was ever given. I feel for you, I really do.

As for travel tips, I took pedialite in powder form and it saved us. All of the girls from our orphanage had terrible diarrhea and I was awfully glad I had the pedialite with me. Keep in mind, no one else had it (I shared what I had and we used it until it ran out) and the girls were all fine so don't panic if you can't find it.

As for the packing, we also used the ziploc bags but we packed clothing by type and size rather than by outfit. This worked out great because when she would get a shirt dirty at breakfast we would just swap out the top and when she would have a spectacular poop blow out we would change just the bottom. We often didn't need to change a whole out fit and in fact, I didn't bring that much clothing with me so I couldn't be changing outfits all the time, I just changed either top or bottom as needed. It was easier for my DH too if I sent him to the suitcase to yell from the bathroom (where I was changing DD) "grab a size 12 months bottom" and he would go straight to that bag.

If you are traveling in the summer TM, it's going to be hot, hot, hot. Maybe you want to think about bringing some of those portable fan/sprayer bottle thingies. You poor things. You're going to be so uncomfortable. Insect spray maybe. Hats. Geeze I don't know, we went in November.

Good luck TM. I wish I could give you a hug. I promise to do a TA Happy Dance when it comes in but I won't post it to youtube or anything because that would be, you know, embarrassing. Good luck hon.

Debra said...

A few pair of wooden chopstix to use when boiling nipples is a must.
Those blue disposible bags for poopy diapers.
A good 12 oz thermos for making bottles on the tours and the ride home.
Start cipro and ???the other antibiotic, 2 days before leaving on the trip. It will keep all of you from getting sick while in China.
Where lightweight, cotton clothes. Both of my trips were in the hottest part of the summer and it is miserable hot.
Bandanas for sweat.
Ditto on packing for T and baby in ziplock bags. Makes everything so much easier.
#1 Try to relax and really enjoy this trip. It is amazing and wonderful. My 1st trip was so hard on me because I was so stressed about everything. The second trip was wonderful, even with a very sick baby. I kept myself calm and completely surrendered to God for his help.
I wish I were going again.
Blessings to you and your family.

Debra said...

Wear not where...geesh!

sara said...

Extra undies! I can survive in dirty clothes as long as I have on clean underwear.

A collapsible bag. You can use it there as a diaper bag or to fill with purchases. We usually bring one to use as a laundry bag. Everything dirty goes in and then gets smooshed back in the suitcase separate from the clean stuff.

Amy said...

I have one that usually gets airsick, so we always put a change of clothes in a Ziploc for his carryon and squeeze the air out. Then, when he does get sick, I can just put the dirty clothes in the ziploc. Smell contained.

Chris said...

I am a terrible packer.
First time to China - I over-packed.
Second time - I under-packed.
Third time - maybe I'll get it right.
(Did I just say that?)

You're in my thoughts & prayers! :)

Jennifer O'Cain said...

This is my favorite list of travel tips (not just packing). Great ideas.


Pamster said...

- inflatable toys that can be packed flat and blown up for play (http://www.flickr.com/photos/qcaller/144995252/in/set-72057594132594689/)

- collapsible bowls from Tupperware for washing bottles. They also make fun hats. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/qcaller/2422705910/)

- don't forget a couple swim diapers. We tried a regular diaper. Us = not smart.

- a couple Tupperware containers with consumables (snacks, diapers). They make excellent containers for packing fragile items on the return trip. Not to mention, they help keep your room organized during your stay.

Have a wonderful time! I really wish we could go one more time to add to our family but God seems to be leading us another way.

Pamster said...

One more thing: http://www.amazon.com/Mesh-Folding-Hamper-in-Blue/dp/B000KK1UOK

I took a collapsible hamper like this on our second trip. It was great for containing dirty clothes and keeping us organized.

Barbara said...

We just traveled in Nov. to bring home our twins. The two things I am thankful we had were the drying rack for washing bottles and the blue baggies for dirty diapers. The bags made a huge difference because we did not have a diaper pail and our room did not send up smelling like one!!

We also used the travel bags that you roll up and push all the extra air out. We could not have made it to China with out them. They saved us a lot of space, put they can also make the suitcase heavier.

One tip we got was to put your heavy items in the smaller suitcase.

Because we were adopting twins our absolute life-saver was a set of stroller links. They allow you to connect two single strollers into one double stroller. It was the only way we were able to make it through the airport with our luggage and two babies. We bought two cheap strollers in China and used the links. I bought them at Babies R Us but you can get them here:

We still use them on occasion.

Chelsea Gour said...

Pepto Bismol! We have a fellow China adoptive parent friend that is a Gastroenterologist. He told us to begin taking two pepto tablets three times a day from the minute we left US soil until the day we touched down again. Not only will it help with what strange foods do to you, but it binds viruses and carries them right out of your body. We did this regime both times we went to China and had sucess both times. Not stomach troubles and no viruses! However, know that it will also bind antibiotics and reduce their ability to work so you want to back off of the pepto a little if you have to take an antibiotic for anything while there. That is the best advice I have!

LBC said...

We did the pepto, too! Only, we were advised to just take one before every meal. (We did and did not get sick while in China. However, my husband forgot and brushed his teeth with tap water and he got majorly sick after we were home.) We put some dry detergent in an empty spice container. It helped us wash socks and undies in the sink to keep laundry runs down.

Sandra & Steve said...

For international travel, best piece of luggage ever, a rolling backpack style carry on, easy to manenuver,stow,can strap it on your back if you need both hands free. Put your must haves in it for peace of mind and with your important documents in it, the airlines can be persuaded to never make you check it. We had two carry on's, two checked bags and my husband carried his laptop bag and I had a huge purse (bag). It works. We also purchased a new portable digital camera that took video. You'll get your TA, you'll have yet another time of your life bringing home your newest. Congrats.

Sandra & Steve said...

oh I forgot to add the best travel advice I ever got (this while I was stressing over my first) my sister said, "grab your passport, your visa and your money and go get your daughter!" (I would add documents too!) Truly nothing else matters except that moment when you hold her for the first time, but you know this. ;0)

Aus said...

You already have the info about meds (you family dr will probably be happy to prescribe for you and the mei mei - Cipro is good!), peidialyte, and food!

Two items on my list. US Passports are a high theft item right now. Get the to kinkos with your passports, make a color copy of the 'demographic' page and the Visa page, cut them down, put them back to back and laminate them. When ever you are not traveling lock the passports in the hotel safe and use the copy you made as identification if you need it. Practice with T as well - she'll love it!

Item 2 - technology. Buy and extra battery and media card or device for every camera etc you will carry. Don't open the package and when you get back to the US if you didn't need it you can return it to the store where it came from! Now is also a good time to buy an external 2.5" format hard disk. Back up you computer to that disk before you leave and if something bad happens on route - a new hard disk and restore and you are back up and running. Before you leave for home (and maybe during the trip a couple times?) copy all of your images / video etc from your laptop to the external disk. When you travel - the laptop is with one person - and the external disk with another - the odds of loosing both are remote enough to tolerate.

If you think you'll be making travel buddies (who doesn't?) order on line a half dozen 8 or 16 gig thumb drives and you can give them a copy of all of your images that might include them to keep!

This is the fun part!

hugs - aus and co.

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

I can't give you much in the way of advice, but I'm definitely going to use this when we travel. . .We've started the process!!!! Yay, us! (And yay to you, too! I haven't been able to stop by here often in a long time, but I'm hoping that changes when I start my new job in August. . .So, have I mentioned we've had a few changes? ; ) Again, I'm so excited for you and yours! If I had to give advice (like you really have to twist my arm to be bossy. . .), I would suggest packing as light as possible, and using things for double duty (e.g., ipod/laptop/ipad to watch movies vs. portable dvd, etc.)

Andrea said...

Listen 2 AUS about the thumb drives. Before we left China He(was in our group) blessed us ALL with CD's of the pictures he had taken of our group during our stay in Guangzhou. hundreds of pictures!!!! A treasure..the pics AND Aus. ;)

discombobulated said...

awesome tips. I have a lot of the medication that I ended up not needing in Cambodia. Would love to pass them on to you before they expire. It will save you money.

Special K said...

Just starting the packing process this weekend so no experience to bestow upon you. Although I'm taking notes from your commenters here.

Really really hope for TA soon for you. It makes me really mad that we aren't gonna see each other in China but even more PO'd that they're making you wait even one second longer for Mei Mei.

Patricia/NYC said...

Don't overpack on the American diapers...I found the Chinese ones to be fabulous!

Bring plenty of children's ibuprofen & acetaminophen...AND adult versions too!!!

Pack light & do your laundry there...much easier than overpacking! :)

COME ON TA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Catherine said...

A stainless steel bowl for washing bottles and nipples. Don't want to do that in the sink where you wash your hands and brush your teeth. :o)

Stainless steel thermos. Fill with boiling water and take bottled water too to mix bottles on the go. Some families in our group packed warm (rather than hot) water and by the time they made bottles it was too cool and the babies wouldn't drink them.

I used the Playtex bottles with drop in liners. Took just 1 box of 8oz liners and that was lots' Each night prepackaged a number of these liners with formula and rice cereal mix, rolled up and secured with an elastic. (Bag of elastics brought from home). Carried a number of these little packages in the diaper bag. Easy to use in China and at home too!

1 more vote for packing each of the baby's outfits into ziplock bags right down to diaper and socks.

Catherine said...

Here's a link to the post I wrote just 2 weeks after returning from China about the items I found to be 'must haves' in China.


Annie said...

TM, I haven't been around much lately and oh how I have missed you:):) I have been SO busy but have been thinking about you all - so much!!! My tip, ziplocks, wipes and meds and ballons!! I am just SO excited for you all!!!

kbandj said...

June 8th will be here so quickly - yeah!

Instead of copying our passports we scan them and email them to ourselves. Then, not matter what happens, we can have access to them.

Photos can also be shared via online albums (like Picasa). Then you don't have to carry thumb drives or CDs. You don't have to figure out how many copies to make. And no one can lose them on the way home!

It is easy to make 'Pedialyte' anywhere in the world. Our pediatrician once gave me the recipe saying to not waste the money. It is just water with a few tablespoons of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, and some people add baking soda (though I never have). The taste can be improved with a big of flavored gelatin or powdered drink mix. I buy a liter bottle of water, drink two gulps, pour in the ingredients, put the lid on, shake, and use.

Kay said...

#1 Tip - GLOW IN THE DARK PLASTIC STARS!! Big sister will like putting a few up with poster putty and she and baby will both enjoy in the dark. May be just enough to amuse little sister if awake at night when others want to sleep. Makes strange rooms less scary to sleep in! Also, big sister can use the poster putty to hang up art in your hotel room. :) Just remember to take them with you!
CLOTHESPIN/CLIP for securing curtains to darken a room or laundry.
CLOTHESLINE found in camping section of target or walmart for making a place to dry handwashables and swimsuits. Cheap, small, and sometimes retractable.
DARK TWIN SIZED FLAT SHEET for darkening a room or better yet to lay on the floor in hotels and airports so baby has a "clean" place to lay and play. Note, always put tag side down and then fold in on itself to keep one side the "clean" side.
RUBBER DOOR STOP to wedge under door from the inside for extra security when sleeping in a strange place.
SMALL FLASHLIGHT to navigate room in the dark, give big sister some light if baby is sleeping, or for emergencies.

Congratulations! Happy travels!

Dana said...

My favorite family travel tip - internationally or domestic - get a cheap, mesh pop-up hamper. They fold flat in your suitcase and weight almost nothing. This totally saves our hotel room from being a war zone and keeps the dirty clothes separate from the clean clothes. Now that we are a family of 6, I may get two!

My other suggestion is to get the Tonginnator her own digital camera. We adopted a 7 year old boy and the first day we let him use an ancient digital camera that we brought along as an "extra." We never got it back and the photos "he" took are priceless. She will have so much fun documenting the trip through her eyes.

rxgoddess said...

Three things I always take when traveling with the kids.

a small spray can of air freshener from Bath & Bodyworks for those "unpleasant" bathroom smells

a nightlight so I don't have to leave the bathroom light on and listen to the fan run

Uno cards are a lifesaver at the airport, wiating for food at restaurants, etc.


Beach Mama said...

Here are my travel tips coming from a "Boy Scouting" family of 6 Boy SCout Motto: Be Prepared!
1. A roll of paper towels (select a size) as there is never a paper napkin in China when you need one.
2. TP and wipes, nuff' said.
3. Plastic plates/utensils as we often ate in our hotel room.
4. Clothes line (know your knots)and clothes pins. The inside of our hotel room looked much like the balconies of the apartements around us with clothes drying everywhere.
5. Quick drying fabric clothing. You will be sweating profusely in China during the summer months (especially Guangzhou). Much easier to wash/dry in hotel room.
6. NOT to break your foot a few hours before leaving for China (like I did). Of course it will not stop you from going..
7. Collapsible, mesh clothes hamper. Keeps dirty clothes in one spot, easier to tote to the laundry as well.
9. Meds, all kinds for everyone.

Congratulations on TA!!!!!

Sharie said...

The Pepto every morning was great - don't be alarmed if your tongue turns black, just back off on how much you're taking.

I bought Platex bottles - then I just filled the bags with formula rubberbanded them shut and through them in my bag. We were there in July so bottled water that was in my bag all day was warm enough and I could make a bottle on the fly. Granted they do have formula packets now, but I was using the Chinese formula.

I was planning to go carry on only before we found out we'd be in Guangzhou the entire trip. I threw a couple extra shirts in my suitcase with lots of diapers and I was glad I did. Amelia didn't keep anything down so I was constantly soaked in spit up.

I wore the same Birkenstocks every day in China (still have them 6 years later). I did take tennis shoes for the plane, but didn't need to.

Good luck!

Susan said...

Duct tape and zip lock bags!!

Rich said...


Cavatica said...

Sorry for the test... I didn't know who I was signed in under.

We had constipation issues with BB due to stress, so I recommend the baby food prunes (we added them to her formula or cereal) and suppositories (sorry to say, but we had to go there). I'm glad we were prepared.

Ziploc baggies - very good! We thought the Chinese diapers were just fine. We slightly underpacked for how often we could do laundry in Chongqing. I would imagine with the HOT weather you might want to change clothes often, so packing more clothes would be good, but at least you won't need bulky clothes. If you can find out how often you can do laundry it might help know how much you need. In GZ we were fine, as we did laundry very often.

This is EXCITING!!!

Pigtails, Brown Eyes, & Southern Twangs said...

I forgot these:
*Take chopsticks & straws in check bag. After my first trip (not adoption related), I decided to take my own disposable chop sticks & straws on my 2nd trip. I kept them with pens & pencils in a pencil bag. Easy to grap & restock. I noticed at one restaurant, after the chop sticks were used, they were placed in a glass of water, then the next customer would use them. Not all restaurants, but one local. So, just to be sure for safety, we always used our own. Straws keep lips and mouth off dirty cans & bottles.

*Tide pen (keep in pencil bag)

*Shoes to easily remove in airport. With all your additional "stuff" and another child, tying/untying shoes may be a bit difficult. Plus,you may be rushed, frazzled, so tying/untying isn't necessary.

*Don't wear sandals/flipflops that expose your feet much. Streets can be filty & if it rains the drainage isn't great. You will not want to step into streets without protection.

Julie said...

Do not pack a bag for each person. Make sure everyone has a little bit of everything in each bag. That way if a bag (or two) is lost, NO ONE goes without! We always pack this way. Also pack a change of clothes for everyone in your carryon!

Pack prescription drugs in carryon NOT IN CHECKED BAGS!!!!

Pepto before each meal (or a beer a day) is said to keep the tummy icks away!

A camera for BIG SIS....she will get some great shots that you won't even think to get! (Think of the ending of Rainman and all the pics he took along the way) Disposable will work great if you don't have one you feel comfortable with her using.

BUBBLES! Blow up beach ball! Bottles with disposable liners.

extra toothbrush for everyone...I always forgot and rinsed mine. I could use my spare while we sanitized my goof up in the hotpot.

That's what I can think of right now.....I'll post more when I think of stuff.