Travel gear and guidebooks
In today’s world of airline fees for checked or overweight baggage, travelers are getting pretty picky about the gear that they’re willing to bring on trips. There’s nothing more annoying than coming home from travel, opening up your suitcase and realizing that you lugged things along that you never wore or used.
Pack Light – Be a Suitcase Swami
A basic rollaboard suitcase like those from TravelPro is a must; believe it or not, you can manage for a week or longer with everything in a carryon. 2-3 pairs of pants, 3-4 tops, 2 pair of shoes, underwear and toiletries (plus a few seasonal items like a bathing suit or jacket/hat/gloves) are pretty much all that anyone needs to be a Suitcase Swami.
Worried about diapers and wipes for the kids? Hey, most destinations have stores that sell those – take what you need for the transit and buy more at the other end. Older kids do fine pulling their own small rolling suitcase, with perhaps a light backpack for toys. Get them to share the load!
European travel expert Rick Steves has tons of tips for packing light, and 4-Hour Workweek author Tim Ferriss goes even further with a video showing you how to travel the world carrying 10 pounds or less.
For more ideas on travel gear and gadgets, take a look at BootsnAll’s Travel Gear Blog, writer Tim Leffel’s excellent blog Practical Travel Gear and the comprehensive Family Travel Gear Web site. I also write occasional travel product reviews.
There are many great information resources on the Web….Kayak for airfare and hotels, Frommers for general advice/itineraries and TripAdvisor for reviews (just throw out the highest and lowest review and you’ll probably get a somewhat accurate picture.)
Still, for vetted and comprehensive destination coverage, nothing beats a good guidebook. They’re my travel buddy.
More and more guidebooks allow you to download and print only what you want, BootsnAll has downloadable guides and Offbeat Guides goes one step further with customized guides for just your specific trip.
I’m partial to Frommers, Lonely Planet and Eyewitness Guides, plus TimeOut for cities, and I review travel guidebooks here on Family Travel Logue.
Before a trip, buy the most recent guide that you can find, then supplement and double-check with Web research and sites like BootsnAll’s Traveler’s Toolkit.