Packing List – Adoption Travel

Here is a packing list that has been helpful for our family.  Clothes, of course, will vary tremendously.  What we packed for a two week stay in Moscow/St. Pete’s in January, was vastly different from what we packed to stay for one week at a resort in the Caribbean with all four children.  Tips for traveling with children are at the bottom.

 In your carry-on and with you at all times:

   *Paperwork – Embassy
   *small notebook for notes/journal, several pens, will be needed for immigration forms
   *At-A-Glance -Travel-Sheet – I typed up a sheet that contained our travel info (flight numbers, times etc) as well as our hotel   info, and contact numbers for the agency both in country and in the U.S.  I then put the document (I laminated it for durability) in a clear folder , but with a velcro closure.  I then put our other documents in a similar folder.  Makes grabbing what you need very easy.

Checked luggage: 
   *suntan lotion, bug spray, bathing suits (caribbean travel)
   *umbrella (Korea in July)
   *hat, gloves, long underwear, boots (Russia in January)
   *clothes (pack light!)
   *child carrier/umbrella stroller
   *plug adapter (usually have good luck at Radio Shack)
   *digital camera & extra batteries
   *chargers for cell or laptop
   *gifts for foster family/orphanage
        -don’t forget bags and tissue
   *laundry line
   *laundry detergent

    *Toilet paper (good idea to carry with you!)
    *Facial cleanser – use the face cloths, one less thing to spill
    *pain reliever/cold medicine

Traveling with Children:
   *clothes-bring different sizes if you aren’t sure. Most likely you will change their clothes at the orphanage and leave what they were wearing there. Also, children in foster care will only have the clothes/items that they are wearing when you pick them up.  It was only Korea that gave us “extra” things.
   *pain reliever
   *disposable wash clothes that you only need to wet
   *plastic bags for used diapers
   *bottles/sippy cups
   *snacks-goldfish crackers etc
Backpacks for each (works well for preschoolers or older children)
    *Coloring Books/Crayons
    *MP3/iPod player
    *Snacks – Fruit Snacks, gum for take-offs/landings
    *Movies/DVD player
Crocs (or any kind of slip on shoe)-especially helpful if traveling with children, makes going through airport security so much faster (children under 12 no longer have to take off shoes!)
   *travel books make your own

Airplanes rarely serve much food anymore, be prepared for long trips.  My mom bought the boys some snackables (purchased after going through security) for their plane trip and the boys loved it.

I also made small id cards for each of the kids to have around their neck.  On one side I listed all our travel connections and on the other side their name, and emergency contacts.  For emergency contacts I used my husband’s cell phone, (which he had on him, it is an international cell phone) and an emergency contact that our adoption agency had given to us.  The director of our agency was aware that the number was on the id card in the unlikely event that they were separated from us.
If you are worried about missing luggage, I would recommend packing an outfit (at least clean underwear and a toothbrush!) in your carry-on.  With current regulations you can only have one zip top gallon plastic bag in your carry on and you should use that for spillable stuff (no more than 3oz!).

 I bought a bunch of small/medium size mesh laundry bags and put things in there that I wanted to keep separate in my travel backpack.  I also packed the kids clothes in the larger sized one.  It kept everyone’s clothes separate, helpful when traveling with 6 small children!  The other perk was that on the last night of our trip I took a few minutes and sorted the dirty clothes into different colored piles and stuffed those in the laundry bags.  When we got home my travel laundry was sorted and ready for the washing machine.  The laundry room was a bit neater as well, just a stack of laundry bags instead of huge jumble of dumped clothes.

Again, I really recommend packing light.  On our first trip to St Vincent we traveled with four children.  We managed to pack everything into one large checked piece of luggage, with each of us carrying a backpack and only one carry on between us all.  We each had a change of clothes in our backpacks. Keep in mind the weight restrictions for checked luggage, each airline varies a bit.   You are going to want to focus on managing travel with your new child/children and not about managing a bunch of luggage.

Please feel free to comment on something I forgot and you couldn’t live without!

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