Traveling Tips – with Toddler (Part 1)

Hopping the Pond (Part I)

I figured it was about time I shared some insights to our move across the Deep Blue. Some tips are general enough for *any* travel, not limited to ‘moves’.

I knew we wanted to travel as light as possible, and, I’m pretty frugal. So if it was a necessity, or something Sprout really enjoyed, I figured out how to pack it.

I’ll break this down, posting in sections of travel, and try to add insight, where possible. Feel free to ask questions!


  • Large or jumbo sized food storage bags! My friend, Nancy, tipped me off to this one. It is a fabulous way to increase the amount of clothing/linens, etc, one can pack. I found this option to be much cheaper, than the vacuum storage bags, but more importantly, I found it easier to shift the smaller bags in my moving boxes than the large ones. (Trying to keep each box at 50 lbs is not an easy task!)
    • Sort/pack according to season per person. Thus the out-of-season clothes could stay packed in their airtight bags.
    • Sit on bags (assuming no breakables!) to eliminate as much air as possible.
  • I still used a couple larger vacuum bags for large coats and Sprout’s favorite BIG bear.
  • I’m a bit OCD, so I labeled all my bags with my name and email. If any moving boxes split open, at least the airline would know who it belonged to!
  • For each box/bag, create a list of what is in it. This helps:
    1. With tracking items should any unfortunate mishaps occur in transit.
    2. When unpacking (especially on that first night when all you want is a nice shower and bed) all you have to refer to your list to see where necessary items are located.
    3. Write it in pencil should you need to shift items for weight purposes/playing the ‘Tetris’ game of packing.
  • If you are moving from the US to pretty much anywhere else, and care about making some of your family favorite recipes with ease, bring your own measuring cups/spoons. The Brits measure in grams (g) and milliliters (ml)!
  • Bring a couple things that make you feel at home, too. (Not just for the kids). For example, I also brought a few cooking utensils and one of my favorite blankets for the sofa.
  • I also brought a mini-photo album (think brag-book for the purse) filled with pictures of Sprouts family and friends. We like to go through it often and it helps him remember faces/names. Which is also great if you Skype with some of those friends/family. 
  • Leave your ‘non-smart’ electronics (those without a built-in voltage converter) at home. Even with converters, hair dryers, straightening irons, etc could overheat with the wattage here. Best to buy those at a discount retailer in your new city or through an online retailer. Of course, if you are *really* hooked on your espresso machine, consider buying a transformer.
  • If there are certain OTC medications you love, bring a little extra with you. If they are not available here, you will want to have time to find an equivalent.
    • As mentioned, our family has made the switch to treating with Essential Oils for everything. It was important for me to know that I could get doTERRA here in the UK, and I can! Learn more here.


  • Consider getting a credit card once IN the new country as most US cards are subject to foreign transaction fees. Even at 2%, it really adds up!
  • Do some early research into different names for food products, so once you arrive, there is less frustration at the grocery store when you want to find say ‘canned…’, and it is called ‘a tin of…’ or 2% milk is ‘semi-skimmed milk’ in the UK.
  • If you have food allergies like I do, take heart, there is a large assortment of ‘free-from’ foods at most grocery stores. In particular, Sainsbury’s (UK) has a large selection.
  • Some things you won’t find. For example, I LOVE sunflower seed butter and honey wheat pretzels, but they apparently haven’t taken off in the UK market. So either pack a few extra, or find a friend to replenish your stock once in a while for those ‘tastes of home’.
  • Pray! Begin asking friends/family to join you in preparing spiritually for your move. “The prayers of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b. NIV). “For where 2 or 3 gather in my name, I am with them.” (Matthew 18:20. NIV).

Next up – At/For The Airport.. (including my new favorite tip – how to travel with carseats!)…



  1. Gary Lawrence
    19 June, 2012

    Catherine, you are a genius. Great reading. Not really planning to move abroad like you but this was great reading.

    • Catherine
      24 June, 2012

      Hi Gary! Thank you, I think you might have possibly overstated it, but I am happy to hear you enjoy the articles 🙂


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