When we first started traveling full time over four years ago, we didn’t know what to expect on our adventures and, to error on the side of caution, we over packed. This didn’t last long since it was uncomfortable to travel with so many things and made re-packing time consuming (and expensive if we went over the weight limit). Prioritizing took on a new meaning and we learned to travel with just a few “things” that were important to us. We thought it would be fun to share our top four travel essentials as a traveling homeschool family.
Music is one of our many passions, and we don’t know what we’d do if we had to live without our violins. In our travels, we carry two violins – one acoustic violin and one electric violin. What’s nice about having the variety of violins is that we can practice in any environment. When we stay in a hotel, we practice on our electric violin since it does not ring out like the acoustic. And when we stay in Airbnb’s, we get to practice on our accoustic (which we prefer because of the rich sound).
We have also made it a traveling tradition to collect bumper stickers from the places we visit and add it to our violin case. It makes for a great conversation piece in airports, shuttles and when we attend in a guest orchestra.
No matter where we go, we always have a journal on hand. This is one of the most important travel essentials because it is multi-functional. While traveling in the car or by plane, we will often come up with creative ideas that contribute to our homeschool project that we have to write down immediately. Having a journal allows us to express our ideas through illustration as well as writing, which is why we prefer journals over using our phones.
Journals are also great for playing games like Hang-Man, Tic-Tac-Toe and self-made Mad Libs while on long trips. And when we get tired of writing or drawing in our journals, we can always make paper airplanes to throw at each other. We’ve also been known to crumple paper and practice throwing them into various targets – we’re kids, so we get creative.
A Good Book
If there is one thing that we have learned throughout our travels, it’s that it is super important to travel with a good book. When our phone battery dies and our computers are stowed away in our backpacks, having a good book available is key to passing the time. Over the years, we have noticed on flights that more people are traveling with Kindles to replace their paperback books, and while that is highly efficient for weight, there’s nothing like curling up to a book you can hold and fold. We always travel with a reading book (or two) in our backpack, along with a traveling reading light.
Our Special Blankets
Confession time! Throughout all of our travels, we always carry our childhood blankets. Hayden travels with a blanket that our Grandma made for him on his 5th birthday, and I travel with one that was given to me by my aunt and uncle when I was 2 years old. For us, these are the most valuable items in our suitcase. Our special blanket helps create the feeling that we are at home wherever we happen to be on our travels.
Over the past four years one of the biggest lessons that we have learned (so far) is to appreciate what we do have right now. There are many items in life that may bring us joy, but is not needed in order to live a happy life. Simple living has certainly been an invaluable experience as it has taught us to evaluate what we really need, and how we can help others by donating the things that we don’t need.
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