Packing and on our way South to Chile – 19th December 2015

No matter how early we pack, we never seem to be ready until the night before we are leaving on a trip. We still ended up with too much and again didn’t have enough time to unpack and repack fewer things (usually removing one third is a good rule of thumb). We were at least ready 5 minutes before our 9.30 am taxi arrived.

Things to remember when travelling with kids:

• Holdalls not suitcases as they fit into cars better. On wheels, if possible and different colours/makes so you can tell them apart
• Clothes packed by person into travel bags. A different colour per person.

Clothing bags

• Headtorch (head flashlight) for electricity cuts and walking at night (so you are hands-free)
• High power torch (flashlight) for night birding
• Laser pen – for pointing out skulky birds
• Duck tape – for fixing everything from broken tripods to holes in wellies (rubber boots)
• Frosties bars for me and healthy bars for parents (for when we haven’t time to stop for food)
• A neck scarf to keep you warm, cool free of insects or dust etc

Neck scarf

• Travel kettle, flask, tea bags and sachets of coffee/hot chocolate for emergency drinks for an early morning start

Travel kettle

• Minstrels for me (one large packet per week) which are like large M & M’s so they don’t melt
• Star Bursts – 1 packet per flight

Always keep essentials in hand luggage like chargers, essential birding clothes like boots and coats and clothes for a few days. When Mum and I travelled to Malaysia without Dad, Mum broke all those rules; both our bags went missing for a week with our laptop & phone chargers, bird book and travel plans for the whole of that section of our trip. Not good.

On our way to Chile, South America
We had 10 minutes spare for our Heathrow coach and had lots of time to have lunch before we could check in. We were flying via Madrid and Mum managed to lose her phone in between. Luckily Dad used an app to work out it was still in our hand luggage! We had dinner here and had the best ever airport food, which was a lovely surprise.

As we got on our 14 hour night flight, we all agreed that we would watch one film each but then would go to sleep. I could help myself and ended up watching 4 films before eventually crashing out. I only woke up the following morning, just as we were flying over the highest part of the Andes but almost immediately started to land in Santiago.

This trip was to Chile, The Falkland Islands and Antarctica. I felt incredibly excited….

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Heathrow Airport
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

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