Fixing Things

I guess one theme emerging here is that traveling with kids means anticipating more problems and adjusting to a lower hassle level than when traveling without the children.

As we said in our introduction, the trade off from throwing cutoffs and two T-shirts into a backup ten minutes before driving to the airport is the most precious of gifts, the chance to create shared memories of an adventure, things that will for the rest of your life be shared by only you and your children, a lifetime of “do you remember when we"¦”.

That said, you do want more of those memories to be things like “I remember the way the baking bread smelled in Paris in the mornings” rather than “we wasted half a day in Cairo trying to get the suitcase fixed”?

I know which answer you picked so, pack some heavy duty tape (nostalgia for my own backpacking days means a small roll of real duct tape for me, but clear packing tape smells less, is lighter and nicer to look at). You can tape shut a gash in a suitcase side, seal boxes of seashells you're mailing home or in a pinch make a temporary mend in a torn pair of pants.

Ziplock bags hold sea shells, a half-eaten sandwich when your son suddenly decides mid-meal he will never eat pickles again, a wet bathing suit (another emerging theme here I guess) and, I am afraid to admit, a handy receptacle when our daughter said her stomach hurt on a London double decker bus and well, um, puked.

A Swiss Army knife peals fruit, opens juice boxes, tightens screws on toys and just plain looks cool. Having the knife to peal fruit can also give you a day free at many less sanitary stops on your trip, in that if you are not in a position to wash or boil something, peeling it can help and save your family a day of traveler's diarrhea.

Be sure to pack the knife in your suitcase, not carry on luggage, or you may have it taken away at the security check.

We talk about health-related things to bring along here.

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