We’re off on another Home Exchange for half-term: the first of several that will make up our major holidays this year. This time, we’re driving across the Kingdom of Great Britain to get to Ireland. It’s a long way to go for weather than, in all likelihood, will be wetter than it is here. But there is so much to see, and experience, that we are all looking forward to it.
Home Exchanges are becoming our way of life, and whilst I adore going to new places and living in real homes, there are always some small things that I miss. Which is why I now pack an essentials box of products and bits and pieces that make our home-away-from-home a little more homely.
1. I cannot rave more about Munchkin Grippy Dots. They are such a fantastic product that make a bathroom more friendly and a bathtub less slippy. Because they are individual pads rather than a mat, they are very easy to pack too.
2. Pillow Pets. Brother Neal sent one for LBG’s 2nd birthday and subsequently one for Dimples. They act as teddy, pillow and comforter as they carry the smell of home with them. They get used for naps in the car on journeys and as pillows at our destination if their pillows are Not Quite Right (kids are fussy. And European pillows are often square. What’s that about?) The Girls settle much quicker at night because they have them.
3. Marmite. But Madame, I am British. Also, because we have yet to exchange with a family whose coffee we like, we always pack coffee. And squash. And DH’s favourite pickle. Honestly, it’s like living with Basil Fawlty.
4. Torch. You never know when the power will go out, as we learned on a recent trip to Prague. Torches that are to hand mean calm kids.
5. A plastic tablecloth or shower curtain. This acts as a great tablecloth or floor covering so that we can do art or playdough without worrying about the ‘exchangee’s’ tabletops.
6. Favoured sippy cup. Great for in the car, it also means if we find the home we are staying in has only glassware, The Girls can still have water by their bedside without us panicking about broken glass at 3am.
7. Slippers. Lots of European homes have uncarpeted floors which are colder and more slippy. Slipper-usage prevents injury and the spreading of shoe-related dirt and mess.
There are others, which I will add to the post when I think of them- probably during packing for Galway. But this list would apply no matter where you are going on holiday: overseas, self-catering, these are the small things that can make the difference between a good stay and a great stay.