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Travel Necessities {Sunday Seven}

This post was going to be a Friday Five list but there are more than five things we wanted to include and my busy Friday and Saturday didn't allow for writing it. Welcome to Saturday Sunday Seven! No matter where we're going - a day hike, 10 days to Hawaii (leaving in two weeks!!!), or a roadtrip to relatives - we pack a few things every time. These travel necessities provide most of what we need to survive extended layovers, small emergencies and detours. Here's what we always have with us:

family hiking with backpacks

1. Backpacks - A big one for Papa, a medium sized for Mama and a just right backpack for Lil come with us everywhere. We invest in quality here and our choices reflect our different personalities as well as our sizes. Alex's REI Lookout 40 has a billion pockets and can hold a lot of stuff. My purple Osprey Sirrus is sleek and simple with one big storage area and a ventilated back. Lil carries a now-discontinued REI kids pack.

2. Water and Snacks - Lil likes a camelback-type water reservoir with drinking tube, a lightweight hydration option. Alex and I carry stainless-steel, screw-topped water bottles. In each of our packs we take a granola or fruit bar in addition to any picnic items so that we can refuel if we get hungry. Some of us (ahem, me) are very grumpy when we are hungry. To make dining from a grocery store or farmers' market possible, Alex packs a corkscrew and pocket knife.

3. First Aid Kit - Alex manages our first aid and medical gear in a bag that is always at the ready. Included are bandages, alcohol wipes, ointments, painkillers, antihistamines, a SAM Splint, Quikclot, medical scissors, a needle, iodine tablets, and travel containers for our prescription medicines. We have yet to have a real emergency that required use of the heavier duty equipment but it is a comfort knowing that Alex has our first aid covered.

4. Rain Gear - During college Alex and I both invested significant cash in the first generation of Goretex jackets. We can't stand being sweaty and breathable waterproof fabric seemed like a dream come true. It is. Fortunately a quality waterproof breathable jacket is much more affordable these days. We prefer the Marmot Precip Jacket for their fit, durability (Alex's is over 4 years old now), and light weight.

5. Wool Clothing - Do you wear wool? We discovered Smartwool merino socks in the mid-nineties and finely woven merino wool clothing a decade later. Both improved our wardrobe dramatically because high quality merino wool is breathable, wicks moisture, durable, anti-microbal and amazingly comfortable. We own wool shirts, pants, skirts, and even wool underwear. Wool is perfect for travel because it is lightweight and easily washed and dried in a sink or lake.

Mom and daughter chaco sandals

6. Walking Shoes - I try to be a shoe minimalist, investing in a few styles of high quality (and expensive) brands. From April through October, I wear Chaco Big-Toe Sandals and flip flops exclusively. Just this week I found a pair of Little Girls' Chacos for Lil so we can walk in matching comfort. Alex has an opposing shoe philosophy and packs half a dozen pairs for every trip. Good thing he can carry his own bags!

7. Entertainment - We pack with two categories of entertainment in mind: on the road and at the site. On flights or during roadtrips, Alex and I keep ourselves entertained with conversation, books or games on our phone. We're intentional about packing small, lengthy activities for Lil. Her during-travel favorites are fun books with mazes, seek and finds, and coloring, Colorforms reusable sticker scenes, Travel Tangoes magnetic tanagrams, and her Samsung Galaxy 5.0 tablet loaded with movies and games. During lengthy trips, we wrap small gifts (stickers, temporary tattoos, small notebook, origami paper, etc.) and dole those out over the course of the travel. We pack binoculars, cameras, nature journals, a travel watercolor set, Ziploc bags for shell collections, and card games for entertainment during the vacation or business travel.

What are your travel necessities?