8 steps to speed packing like a pro for travel nannies and governesses!
April, 2017
About to travel? To my fellow nannies and governesses alike! We’ve all been there, or at least those working abroad for HNW families, that dreaded and sometimes terribly exciting moment when your employer tells you to pack your bags because it’s travel time and you’re leaving on a two week trip the next day! Hello beach holiday to the Maldives, in the depth of the cold winter in Russia or some place else, you get the idea! Sun cream, check! Hat, check! Swimsuit, check! As you’re going through your mental checklist…the realization sets in. You have very little time to help arrange the children’s suitcases ensuring they’ve everything they need to be dressed appropriately, entertained and taught etc. always, always be prepared! Days spent in remote places with children means making sure they are happily entertained so that their parents are also able to enjoy a well-earned break!
Stress free travel with children
Finally, you reach the end of the day, say 9 or 10pm…ah, lovely, time for a little FaceTime catch up with the family or a cheeky episode of Downton Abby (Cora: “You are being tested. And you know what they say my darling, being tested only makes you stronger.”) – NO! Absolutely not, the time as I like to refer to it is speed packing time. This usually means pouring a small glass of wine and pressing play to some Heart 106.2 late night love songs, All By Myself – Jamie O’Neal (inside nanny joke) is such a classic! Anyway, besides that, you start to get excited by the prospect of travelling, it is absolutely one of the perks of the job, and all of us nannies/governesses who travel to far away lands usually have that in common, we love to travel to new places and experience new things! So, for your ease, my fellow peers, I have created this list of how to pack for an unplanned trip in 8 simple steps, you’re welcome!
1. Roll ‘n’ Go
If you’ve never packed using the Roll ‘n’ Go technique then your life just got better, away with that old school folding malarkey and in with the roll ‘n’ go, it’s a great assistant to your packing music! Rather than folding your clothes, you simply roll them… The benefits? It’s fun, your clothes crease less and they’re easily accessible when you have to open your case, thus colour matching made way easier.
2. Scared of the scales? Me too! Not a problem, really!
We all did it as kids didn’t we? And how fun was it making your own Castle, Den, Pirate ship, Palace, Hotel, Spaceship the list goes on! Oh, the joys of having a little hide away to yourself in your house or in the garden and the pride you feel once it’s built – not to mention the annoyance you feel when the sheet/blanket keeps slipping (you don’t have to mention that one to the kiddies, they’ll soon figure it out). This is perfect with one or five kids; numbers don’t matter assuming you have enough space, chairs and blankets. Let them take their toys inside and a small torch. The fun doesn’t just stop at building them either, it only just began! You can play improvised games. I’ve played princess games, whereby, that’s their castle and I am the prince or the servant or the delivery person. I’ve also played pirate ships and been trying to sneak past with treasure. Not to mention hotels, you make different spaces and they choose which type of room and you act as their caterer. NB: Rod for your back if you leave the kiddies with a bell! 
3. Away with your fancy handbag, essential rucksack required.
Not to say you’re necessarily a fancy bag kind of girl, but just in case, please leave lady Chanel at home for your working travels and invest in a nice well-sized rucksack, otherwise known as the nanny life saver! #nannylifehack101 – Firstly, carrying something on your back with even weight is going to save you back pain and awkwardness all day, you are there to ensure the kids are safe, this usually means holding the child(s) hand whilst trailing through the airport and of course catering to their every need. A handbag, although our dear Mary Poppins popularized, it is an airport nightmare with kids, having do dig around and find things whilst one shoulder aches because its full of everything! See 4.
4. Emergency packing list – feel free to copy and paste this into your notes.
For the children;
  1. Playing cards
  2. Colouring Pad
  3. Pencils
  4. Hand sanitizer
  5. Tissues/Baby Wipes
  6. Snacks approved by parents
NB – Make the above age appropriate of course For yourself; 
  1. Kindle/Tablet
  2. Phone charger/battery booster. If you don’t have one, invest in one
  3. Toothbrush, toothpaste, minty gum
  4. Imodium, Remegel, Paracetemol + any other of your prescripted drugs
  5. Lip balm & Face cream
  6. Earphones
  7. Flip flops and shorts to change into
  8. Flight socks for long journeys
  9. Mini sun cream
  10. Ladies things – should it be that time
  11. No need for a full make up bag but a little concealer stick never hurts after an 8 hour journey
5. Expat travel insurance – this will take 5 minutes but is essential!
Ok, not quite packing but a very useful tip for your year or whatever abroad that not everyone knows about! None of us want to be in a situation where we expect our employer to pay for our medical expenses because we haven’t been diligent enough to make sure we’re covered. Perhaps they’ll be happy to even cover the expense, just make sure you get it before hand and it’s best to have it for a year, so you are covered and don’t have a panic in the midst of speed packing central! NB – if you book travel insurance from a UK company they will have expected you to fly from there, so if you need there assistance, it won’t be valid. However, IMG Europe (http://www.imgeurope.co.uk/index.aspx ) have pretty reasonable rates and it takes about 5 minutes to set up.
6. Stay connected, not rejected…
 Adaptors are essential, as wonderful as these trips can be they can also be awfully lonely after a long day without any ‘you’ time. I was once away and the charger lead for my phone broke and I was without connection that night when I had Skype plans with my Mum. If you do have a spare lead make sure you take it along with a universal plug adaptor, no fun taking a hairdryer you can’t plug in.  On that note, do make sure you turn your data roaming off too, most telephone companies have sorted the issue out where you would be charged hundreds of pounds for this slip up. Even still, better safe than sorry – check out their roaming packages and make sure they are affordable.
7. Money, phone, keys, passport mantra! 
“Money, phone, keys, passport” Say it as you pack, they are, after all the essentials, the rest you can deal with, should you need to!
8. Hydration is key in minimizing mistakes!
As above keep hydrated and press play to your favourite tunes!