Next time we travel, we’ll do it differently.
1. Our existing luggage is being retired.
We invested in Pak-Lite duffel-type bags on wheels about 13 years ago when the kids were little and we were still novices at travelling.
Now the kids are big enough and ugly enough to lug their own luggage we’ve invested in cabin-baggage size Samsonite cases with wheels.
Plus we all get our own individual wet-packs, for next time we stay in van-parks. Then everyone has their own stuff to take to the shower.
So everyone is now responsible for all their own shit. From toothbrushes and toothpaste to underwear, swimmers and electronic cables… if you forget it, it ain’t Mum’s problem.
2. I’ll always travel with my pillow.
Even though the beds in the camper were okay, the pillows weren’t (think cheap, crappy 2 for $12 specials that compress after 5 minutes under your head). I don’t care if I have to buy another pillow like my one at home and cut it in half so that it fits in my luggage, I’m sure my back and neck will thank me.
3. Take along an external hard drive.
My poor little netbook had a really hard time keeping up with the amount of photos I wanted to dump on it daily. I think if I had of had an external hard-drive (or a couple of decent USB sticks) that my netbook would have coped better. Then I wouldn’t have had to wait 20 minutes for 400-odd photos to upload.
4. Hire a car if you have a bad back.
Don’t get me wrong. We had a blast in the camper. It was convenient being able to pull up at a moments notice and make lunch beside some divine, otherworldly gorge.
But the ride in back was really shocking. Whoever was lucky enough to get the front passenger seat on that particular day was thanking their lucky stars. In the back it was bumpy as, the seats were bolt upright and you got jolted around like… well, I don’t quite know what you got jolted around like, but it sure was a rough ride.
I lived on handfuls of pain-killers daily as a result. I was in constant pain with my back and as a result, next time we travel we’ll be doing it in a car and cabins.
5. Read the fine print of your flight provider.
We didn’t and got stung for excess baggage. Much to the amusement of the lady checking us on to the flight, I just paid the fee, shrugging my shoulders saying “I should have read the baggage allowance part better.” I’m sure she’s used to people giving her a hard time about it, but it was our fault, not hers, so we paid it.
Which leads me to the last lesson…
6. Pay for extra baggage allowance up front.
If in doubt, opt for a larger baggage allowance from the get-go. We ended up carting home 20 kilograms more than what we took (how did that happen!!). Old-mate who checked our luggage in Hobart must have still been half asleep – it was the early morning flight – so we didn’t get stung again.
We’re off to Lismore this weekend, so we’re all trying out our new luggage, wet-packs and the new it ain’t Mum’s problem rule. Not like travelling over the water I know, but it’ll be a good test-run to see what other kinks we need to iron out.
Have any valuable lessons you’ve learned while travelling that you want to share?
Leave a comment below with your story. I’m keen to hear!