Sunday, October 26, 2008

BTDT - I need some advice

I decided this morning that I should start to slowly get things together for the trip.
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I have read a bunch on Rumor Queen and on blogs, but I would like to ask for your help. I have never been on this long of a flight so I do not know what I should bring on, etc. (Little Mrs., I know you are a pro so I need some of your mum's tips)
I am also a TERRIBLE flyer and so is Hubs. We are babies and usually have to drug ourselves so that we do not boo hoo the whole trip. Hubs is terrified of heights, which is his problem. I used to love to fly until one terrible trip to the Bahamas and a worse one to Las Vegas. When the air hostesses are crying in their jumpseats, you know you have a problem.
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Ok, back on task....

What type of suitcases do your recommend? We have some, will try to borrow some more, but may have to buy something.

Do you recommend packing cubes?

What about jet lag? I have heard good things about the pills.

Would you recommend scheduling a day or night flight? I have heard people swear by both.

What about Harrison? What should I take to occupy him?

Should I bring a double umbroller stroller? Harrison usually never uses one, but we went to the Aquarium the other day and he rode the whole time. Now, I think that if he is tired, we may be better off with one.

How many days of clothes should I pack? Shoes?

I am trying to turn my disappointment over the LOA into excitement for the packing and preparing process. Oh, and I went to CVS this morning and started the "CVS Game." Fun, Fun, Fun.
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Take a look at the Chip-in total. Keep climbing baby!!!!!!

10 comments:

Joy said...

I recommend one of these for Harrison:

http://www.blessedkids.com/index_files/child_id_card.htm

We had one of these for our older daughter when we traveled to get our younger daughter. She wore it, along with a wallet size portrait of herself, in a clear protective pouch attached to an Elmo lanyard.

It's for safety purposes in case you get separated (God forbid!). It's also a great conversation piece as I'm sure he will get lots of attention from the locals. :-)

You could also prepare something similar for Piper to wear, using her referral documents, since she is walking and might not be held in your arms or in a stroller the whole trip.

Joy B

Kristin said...

Here are my thoughts!!
We traveled with six people total and took rolling duffle bags. It was the easiest thing for us. I think we had 4 duffles total but each person had their own backpack.

Never heard of packing cubes so can't help there.

Jet lag going over isn't too bad. Coming home is horrible. I never tried any of the jet-lag pills though so can't help there.

We flew out of the east coast into HK on 3pm flights. So we arrived in HK around dinner time local. Six am for us. But we got to the hotel, ordered dinner, and crashed. To us, it was so much better than leaving at midnight. Who knows if you'll actually sleep?

We took coloring books, magnets, colorforms, magna-doodles, movies, and small toys for the girls. They were happy just playing with trash, quite honestly. Sad to say, but true!

We did bring a double stroller on our trip for Abby. Everyone said to NOT take it with us. But it was wonderful. No, it didn't always fit conveniently on the sidewalks, but who cares? You walk in the street instead. Just to have it at the airports and sight seeing was well worth it for us.

I am an overpacker so probably shouldn't comment on the amount of clothes to bring. :-)

And, I am a terrible flier! My husband and kids do just fine. I panic at every little turbulent bump.

ABM said...

Okay, here goes:

1) Suitcases - We also used rolling duffel bags - big ones - that we bought at Walmart. They were about $50 each and held up pretty well. They are awesome for carrying around your luggage, which you will do more than you think, because you can roll them and you can hang your other bags on them. We also got the biggest carryon that we could take on the plane. We purchased some duffel bags that folded up flat at Walmart and took them to China in our rolling duffels so once we got M we could use it for her.

2) Packing cubes - we used the space saving backs that you can either vacuum the air out of or just roll/press the air out of. They worked wondefully, because they really do take up a lot less room that way.

3) Jet lag/flight time - I cannot sleep on airplanes even when the flight is 13 hours, so by the time we got to China, I had been up for over 24 hours straight. We started our flights in the a.m. and our overseas flight left at 3:30 in the afternoon with a stop in Tokyo. By the time we got to Beijing and in the hotel, it was 10 p.m. I went to sleep, woke up the next morning China time and really had no jetlag to speak of.

4) Harrison - I have no idea. We left our older 2 at home.

5) Stroller - I probably wouldn't bring a double stroller. Even an umbrella one is quite bulky and you will have to carry it around some. You might consider a single stroller if you are going to Beijing first, because there is a lot of walking and you can use it later for Piper if Harrison doesn't want it. If he ends up wanting to ride in a stroller too, you may be able to borrow one from the hotel and in Guangzhou, a laundry place. That's what we did.

6) Clothes - I packed too much for me and for M. There are laundry facilities for a decent price and I would only bring about 5 days worth of clothes. If you are going to the great wall and it is not summer, pack some long johns or buy some at a department store in Beijing. It is very cold up there:) For Piper, just bring 4 or 5 layered type outfits. Sizes are hard to get right and you can buy more once you meet her.

littlemrs said...

Oh my gosh - where to start!!!!! Just a few things to get you going..... Mat swears by melatonin for jet lag. But to be honest for jet lag I say don't nap - just get into the local time zone as fast as you can - exercise as much as you can during the day and get as much sun as you can. Then go to bed at a reasonable hour. Not sure how travel times compare going to HK - we never had a choice and always had to take a 12 hour flight leaving around midnight. That worked well for us because we were all so completely exhausted by the time we got on the plane that we slept more easily. (don't take sleeping pills and then drink either - I would say have a glass of wine and skip the pills) Definitely take the stroller - even if it does just end up being used in the airport - the lines in immigration can be a killer wait - and big areas to cover just navigating airports. Don't go overboard with toys - like Kristen said - kids will always find their own fun on the plane and wherever they are. But if you are taking a laptop or portable dvd player a few favorite movies would be foolish (most of the big planes have on demand kids shows and movies these days anyway) Maybe a couple of pens and a notebook for drawing and a favorite book. You will be amazed at what you can find to kill time. OH - a secret stash of candy and small snacks used to help us. (feeding ethan's cheerio's one by one killed some time) We always took a spill proof sippy on board as well - and would decant the airline drinks into it - much safer :) On air new zealand flights they will heat emma's milk and even put milo in it for her (i know - not what you need to know :) Less is more when it comes to packing. Pack everything you think you need - then take half of it out. You know you will buy a tonne of stuff while you are over there anyway. A decent but compact backpack for plane - one that you can fit a water bottle/sippy in (but remember you have to ditch water at security) Okay - I think that is enough for now! Don't over think it - millions of people do this every day - and yes it is stressful - but that flight is just one day of your life (kind of like child birth :) And it was ALWAYS easier than what we anticipated it would be. Will email you more if i think of anything.

littlemrs said...

i meant a few dvds WOULDN"T be foolish - I should not speed type and should proof read.

LIttle Mrs Mummy said...

oh -and what is the CVS game? Some kind of money saving thing? If it is - get yourself addicted to "The Coupon Mom" system - if you can be organised enough to save the newspaper coupon circulars and cross reference from her website every week - you can save a fortune. I miss coupons!!!!!

Sue said...

Looks like you've gotten lots of advice already, but I'll add mine. I did what Joy did and had a card made up for J when we traveled for B. It is a nice piece of mind thing.
We also did some new toys/ activities into 3 separate bags: one for the flight over, one for in China, one for home. Some small travel things like wikki stix, sticker books, etc. I put them into a ziploc baggie and that way she had new toys to keep her attention.
I think the rolling bags sound good. We took suitcases and ther wasn't a problem getting a dolly. I'd say bring an umbrella stroller. You never know when you have to wait longer and it is easier to have him in it if he is sleepy and then you have to move around. Plus, sometimes people let you through security faster when you have the stroller. If you need one for P, you can borrow one in China and let the kids take turns w/ the stroller for the ride back. Definitely try to pack light for clothes. We took 3 in 1 jackets for any weather and I alway pack at least 2 shoes in case one pair gets wet. Otherwise, we packed about 4 tops/pants per person and did laundry every third day. I do have packmates and love them! they smoosh down so well and let you separate the clothes - two bags for each person and then it is easy to also separate dirty clothes from clean. I did have a master packing list and I color coded the items on the list to know which items were packed in which suitcase - which made it easier when we had to look for something! Bring extra batteries for your camera/ video if they take regular batteries!!! I've heard of people having batteries die on Gotcha Day and it was awful!

Best of luck getting all this ready! Our room looked like a tornado had hit when we were getting ready!

Heather said...

Pack away! No advice for you but I might get some good ideas for Jason here! Hopefully packing will pass the time! I am about to go crazy waiting for LOA too! Hang in there!

By the way- I put pictures on now and we have an update as well! Oh my, my baby girl is getting so big!
-Heather

Heather said...

I don't know if the comment I just typed went through or not! I just wanted you to know I am thinking about you and know your wanting to get LOA pain!!!

We got a new update and my little lady is so cute! Also I put George pictures on!
-Heather

Chan said...

Ashley,

You got some great advice here. Just want to add a few things I learned from our trip this summer:

Like someone else said, don't overpack the toys. Kids will find something to do on the plane. Pack some crayons, books, snacks, and a dvd player. We got a dvd player that plays for 13 hours on one charge just in case. Of course dd didn't watch movies for 13 hours but it made us feel better to have it just in case.

We didn't take a stroller and just bought a cheap one once we were there. We used an Ergo at the airport since we only had one layover. But since Harrison is older, I'm not sure what to do there.

My husband and I are horrible fliers too so we went to our family doctor and got some pills. We made sure to try them out before the trip so that we knew how we react to them.

Try not to pack too much clothes... you will be buying lots of stuff there! We just used regular rolling suitcases. Haven't experience with packing cubes so no help there.

Good luck and let me know if you need anything! Oh, and I love CVS'ing and I do Rite Aid too!