I read a lot of other people’s travel blogs. Many are youngish backpackers and a few have cleverly posted lists and photos of the things they pack, like Dan and Alissa at thisworldrocks.
As long term house sitters in Australia, we had to pack for three seasons of living. Needless to say, we didn’t bring everything we needed to set up a home. As sitters we tend to count on homeowners to have a comfortable and workable living space, but everybody is different!
Our current sit involves a very rural home and the homeowners travel a lot. This is their home base and they have some different needs than we do. We love to cook and bake and, in a rural setting, there are more things that are hard to get, hence less eating out and more cooking and baking.
Also, there are some kitchen tools we think of as must haves, but other folks have no use for. We recently sold our home and the 30+ years of accumulated stuff. We had anything you could imagine needing in a household. And much of it we can do without!
As a traveler, first for my job and now for fun, I learned to think of some things as “consumables” that you might not. How I do this is I shop for great prices, buy used, and sell things (or pass them along or donate them) when I leave. Neil is great at finding things to buy and then selling them before we depart.
So, here is a list of things we bought and (in parens) a few of the quirky reasons we bought them.
For the kitchen:
Oven thermometer (oven that was way off and ruining things or taking forever)
Tea pot (Neil is a tea connoisseur)
Metal Spatula (BBQ tools not provided)
Fridge storage bottles (iced coffee and iced tea)
Storage containers for fridge and freezer
Ice cream maker (frozen yogurt is about $8 a pint here)
Stainless Steel Thermos (Coffee and cake is about $8 at a cafe in town)
Baskets for picking produce, recycling, carrying stuff (because I like them!)
Salad Spinner (we eat a lot of lettuce)
Food scale ( WW, precision in baking)
Placemats and cloth napkins
Big stainless steel mixing bowl
Silicone spatula ( everyone must have these)
Pizza pan (had to make our own pizza)
Wooden cutting board
We also bought:
A Nintendo Wii Sports setup (sometimes it is too hot to get exercise outside)
Car adapter- cassette to iphone
Spray bottle for cleaning stuff
pillow cases (I am a textile primadonna)
One queen sheet
two large bath towels
One down pillow
Sun hats and fly nets
A standing fan (to blow the warm or cool air to the bedroom)
We also bought home hair clippers for Neil (He rarely likes the haircuts he gets, so I am now an expert at the short haircut)
These simple things didn’t actually cost us that much. This made us feel at home and it also reminded us to appreciate our previous housesit where the kitchen really had everything. I have learned that I should always pack a good peeler, knife and citrus zester.
When we drove to house sits we could bring a few things along that don’t work when traveling by air. You might decide to do without some of these things, but we thought they were well worth the price. Of course, shopping in thrift stores or looking online for great deals is not something we mind. In fact we kind of enjoy bringing home a great find or getting a package in the mail.
Many things in the above list were purchased for a dollar or less at a thrift store. Some are things the homeowners will appreciate, some we will give to our new friends. Our terrific Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and Nintendo Wii (specific Oz version) are on eBay now as we wind down to the last few weeks. We had a blast playing Wii Tennis and with any luck, will get our money back on that purchase.
We borrowed a yogurt maker (very popular here) and made our own yogurt for the ice cream maker. This was a long process, but came out great.
Some things we are taking with us and we will use them when we land on vacation in Bali and Thailand. House sitting got us so close to southeast Asia and saved us lots of money so we can go play for two months on our own!