Packing - Other Things

Here are some other things that you may want to take: * items are particularly for the trip to Kazakhstan.

  • ☐ books, cards, puzzle games, etc. Look at Card Games external link to find something new.
  • ☐ adaptor plugs (for dual voltage electrical appliances, at least two in case one blows) and a converter (for non-dual voltage). Make sure the converter is rated for the wattage of the appliance you plan on using. You may also want a surge protector (for a laptop) and an extra long phone cord (telephone outlets are not always in a convenient location). A power strip will allow you to plug in multiple electronic items; I recently bought a dual voltage power strip with surge protector with a European plug from East West International; you have to e-mail to get a price, they have an odd online ordering system, but I did receive the correct item promptly. See the FAQ: What do I need to use my electrical appliances? for a discussion about adaptors and converters.
  • ☐ dual voltage hair appliances link in new window (hair dryer, curling iron, hot rollers, hair straightener).
  • ☐ feminie hygiene products. Yes, they have them there, but they may not be what you are used to.
  • ☐ bug repellent (during summer)
  • ☐ extra batteries for anything needing them
  • ☐ cameras/lots of film/extra batteries/extra memory cards (DO NOT put film in checked bags as it will ruin it! See the FAQ: Will the airport x-rays damage my film?)
  • ☐ lots of ziploc-type plastic bags in various sizes. Great for food, dirty clothes, etc.
  • ☐ * plastic grocery bags. I used them for trash, but they have many uses.
  • ☐ * hot pot or Dual Voltage Heating Coil link in new window for heating water. Take a timer so you don't let the water boil forever like I did. For coffee lovers, consider a French press.
  • ☐ small tote bag: Kiva Key Chain Tote Bag link in new window. I used mine constantly for trips to the grocery store; my husband and I each carry one now. Can be used as an extra carry-on if needed.
  • ☐ * toilet paper. Their's is not the greatest, so if you can fit this luxury item in, do it.
  • ☐ * paper towels, aluminum foil, saran wrap; also nice luxury items.
  • ☐ small plastic disposable bowls. Use as snack or cereal bowls, to store small items, etc.
  • Travel Duct Tape link in new window: A thousand and one uses. Secure luggage, hem skirts, repair torn luggage, etc.
  • ☐ large, wide rubber bands. Especially for toddlers. Keep drawers and doors closed, phone on hook, etc.
  • laundry kit
  • ☐ bottle/can opener; cork pull
  • ☐ * Russian phrase book (see the Bookstore for suggestions.) and/or handheld translator: 16-Language Translator link in new window or the Lingo Voyager II Talking Translator link in new window.
  • Kwikpoint link in new window is invaluable when traveling in a country that you don't speak the language, just point at the picture of what you want.
  • ☐ * long kitchen matches or long lighter for stove (if staying in an apartment); short matches are readily available, but I singed my knuckles a few times. (Stoves there do not have automatic lighters.)
  • ☐ towels, especially washcloths which are rare outside the US. Take cheap or old ones and leave them there. Another alternative would be Small Travel Towel (23.5" x 15.5") link in new window, Medium Travel Towel (35" x 15.5") link in new window, Large Travel Towel link in new window (39" x 19.5"), and Extra-Large Travel Towel (55" x 29") link in new window; all by Eagle Creek. Microfiber Travel Towels Set link in new window contains a washcloth (14" x 12"), small towel (36" x 21") and a large towel (54" x 26"); each of these is also available individually.
  • ☐ * feather pillow packed in a vacuum/compression bag (see the Clothes page for these). Yes, this was a luxury, but worth it.
  • ☐ * small photo album. We had two: one with the "dossier type" pictures of the house, park, etc. and one with pictures that we had developed over there. The judge especially liked the pictures of the whole family, our family with other adoptive families, etc. The judge took the other family's photos, but returned ours because they were in an album.
  • ☐ * journal or notebook to write your thoughts down
  • ☐ paper, post-it notes (I wish I had brought these), pens, pencils
  • ☐ * anti-bacterial bathing cloths - "bath in a box", such as Fresh Bath link in new window; there are several brands out there now, usually in the soap or deodorant aisles; I highly recommend that you bring these are there were several times that I had no hot water.
  • ☐ clothespin, useful for keeping draperies closed
  • ☐ * flypaper, flyswatter
  • ☐ * bug netting, either made specifically for this purpose, or crib netting, if traveling when it is warm. There are no screens on the windows.
  • ☐ * large, black plastic garbage bags to use on windows when the sun is still up at midnight and you want to sleep.
  • ☐ * ice tray, if you will have access to a refridgerator
  • ☐ * lots of paperback books, books on tape, or ebooks; you can always leave anything you have finished, and books in English are always appreciated
  • ☐ a laptop or portable DVD player, and more DVDs than you think you could ever have time to watch. * entire seasons of a TV series are popular items, take them out of the case and they take up very little room in a paper holder
  • ☐ mini bunge cords
  • ☐ leatherman or other multi-function tool

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The question of what food to take is a difficult one to answer, as so much depends upon what your accommodations are (hotel vs. homestay vs. apartment), where in Kazakhstan (or the world) you will be for most of the time (smaller towns mean a possibility of finding less), the age of your child, how long you will be there (the longer the stay, the more you will appreciate comfort foods from home), special dietary needs, and how adventurous you are in trying new foods. Below are just some suggestions.

  • ☐ instant coffee or coffee singles (they don't drink much coffee over there), hot chocolate mix.
  • ☐ anything that only requires water or milk added to it (macaroni and cheese, ramen noodles, soup packets, various brands of noodle and rice packets, pudding)
  • ☐ peanut butter: don't give this to your adopted child unless you know that they are not allergic to nuts.
  • ☐ cheese crackers/peanut butter crackers
  • ☐ breakfast things such as pop tarts, cereal bars or nutrigrain bars
  • ☐ granola bars, nutrition bars
  • ☐ packets of tuna fish, canned meats such as ham and deviled ham, beef jerky
  • ☐ spices that you like to use
  • ☐ dried fruit such as raisins and apricots, trail mix
  • ☐ small knife, cutting board (plastic coffee can lid, flexible cutting sheet)

For infants

Whether you take enough formula and diapers to last your trip or you are planning on buying there is up to you. There is a Russian version of Enfamil available (at least in Almaty), and they carry Pampers as well. Formula and diapers may not be available in the smaller towns, so check with your agency/other families before you decide to purchase over there. I recommend that you take at least a little (one can of formula and one package of diapers) in case you are granted immediate custody (which has happened) and don't have time to shop. You should also take enough when you leave Almaty to make it through the long ride home.

  • ☐ formula, 36-48 ounces per day, depending upon child. They will probably drink more for you than they do at the orphanage. Talk to your pediatrician about what kind and how much; some will recommend soy. You might also want to take a little ready-to-feed for those times that you don't have access to water. I either boiled water or used bottled water. Also take a quart container for mixing and an opener to open the can.
  • Powdered Formula Dispenser link in new window that holds 3 portions, makes it easier to make formula when traveling.
  • ☐ bottles, liners, and nipples; I would recommend using disposable systems such as Avent to avoid packing lots of bottles.
  • ☐ rice cereal, instant oatmeal and cream of wheat packets (rice cereal there is sweetened)
  • ☐ infant spoons
  • ☐ pacifiers, several different styles or buy there
  • ☐ diapers (6-10+ per day) and wipes. Wipes are difficult to find in Kazakhstan. Put a refill pack in a resealable plastic bag to save space. Even if you plan on purchasing diapers on your trip, take enough to get you through a few days.
  • Sassy Disposable Diaper Sacks [link in new window] are essential for stinky diapers, can be used for dirty clothes.
  • ☐ plastic pants to catch leaks in case of diarrhea.
  • ☐ disposable gloves, for changing particularly dirty diapers
  • ☐ diaper bag, changing pad; backpack style works well and keeps your hands free
  • ☐ infant electrolyte solution, such as Oral Rehydration Solution link in new window (official rehydration formula of the World Health Organization) or pedialyte (if you can find the powder packets). Or prepare your own Oral Rehydration Mix Recipe external link.
  • ☐ diaper rash ointment (Aveeno, A&D ointment, Desitin)
  • ☐ bulb syringe
  • ☐ baby shampoo and bath, or a combo product
  • ☐ hooded towel, baby sized washcloth
  • ☐ infant carrier (snugli or sling) and/or stroller. See the FAQ: Should I take a stroller or snugli? for a discussion.
  • Stroller Shield link in new window protects against the wind and rain and reduces the glares for not having your child adequately covered up.
  • ☐ cloth diapers to use as burp clothes and spit up rags.

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For toddlers and older

Some of the infant items are appropriate for toddlers as well.

  • ☐ Although they will tell you that your toddler is toilet trained, most likely he is just accustomed to using the toilet when told to. He probably has not learned to go on his own. So you will probably want to take diapers for the trip. You won't find Pull-Ups® in Kazakhstan.
  • ☐ after 1 year, children in the US switch from formula to milk. Check with your pediatrician about whether your child still needs the nutrition found in formula.
  • ☐ disposable sippy cups, great for traveling, can be washed and reused.
  • ☐ disposable toddler spoon and fork, bring at least 2-3 sets
  • ☐ instant oatmeal and cream of wheat packets
  • ☐ bibs, either wipeable or disposable
  • ☐ any individually packed food snacks, such as fruit snacks, goldfish and cookies. Beware of anything with peanuts or chocolate chips/chunks: your child may have a nut allergy and chocolate melts in heat or little hands.
  • ☐ cheerios and/or froot loops
  • ☐ cans or plastic containers of fruit, applesauce
  • ☐ cans of vienna sausages
  • ☐ Gerber makes a line of toddler snacks. I especially like the 4 oz. plastic bottles of juice.
  • ☐ Many hotels and home-stays do not have cribs, and portable cribs are very bulky. The Graco Infant Travel Bed [link in new window] (30.25"x16.5"x8.5") or PEAPOD Plus [link in new window] (52.5"x34") might be an option for you. For a slightly larger child, I use a Ready Bed ("my first" is 53"x28" and has sidebolsters and a head board, the most common size is 61"x26", although they do make another model which is longer 67"x26"), which is like a sleeping bag with a built-in air mattress; less than $30 at Target and other places; I have had one for years and it has gotten a lot of use.
  • ☐ For safety while traveling, look for the Angel Alert Child Monitor; available at Target and Walmart, there is a receiver for parent and transmitter for child; if the child goes more than 8-15 feet from you, it alarms.); and ID On Me Bracelet link in new window (wrist/ankle band with card containing contact information; invaluable for new adoptive parents whose children may not speak the local language or know their new parents names).

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The toys overlap a lot of ages, so don't be too concerned about getting a toy that is "younger" or "older" than your child; anything new is fun. I list a lot of toys in the toddler category that would be appropriate for younger and older kids. And remember that the best plaything will be you, the new parent. Whatever the age, think small, light, and multi-purpose. Take a variety of things, because you never know what will interest them.

  • infants:
    • teethers (keys, rings, etc.)
    • sassy barbell: this was one of my favorite infant toys, as it can be grasped by small and large hands alike.
    • wiggle worm or any soft toy with a variety or textures and soft noises
    • Sassy, First Years, and KidsFirst all make nice infant toys
  • toddlers:
    • small ball (squishy, pool type) can double as a bath toy
    • stacking cups can teach numbers, colors, counting, can be used as a pouring bath toy
    • bubbles are very popular to take to the orphanage to play with all the kids, "wedding" size can be used in airports
    • board books (go easy on these as they are heavy)
    • mirror: kids love to look at themselves
    • "Who Loves Baby?" Photo Book link in new window with pictures of family, house, playground, day care, etc.; made especially for kids. You can laminate the pictures to better preserve them.
    • blown up balloons
    • finger puppets such as those found at Folkmanis external link (they have links to online retailers) and Tippy Toes external link (I selected this store because they have the largest selection; you may be able to find them cheaper elsewhere).
    • magnetic drawing toy, such as MagnaDoodle
    • hot wheels type cars
    • small dolls (no small parts)
    • blow up beach-type ball
    • small stuffed animal
  • older:
    • coloring books, drawing paper, and crayons.! link in new window twistable crayons are the only way to go.
    • sticker books (useful to start English lessons)
    • simple picture books
    • magnets, not for a child that will put these in their mouth
    • fast food meal toys
    • play-doh: you can find some now that is in a resealable bag with a flat cutter; much more compact than the tubs.
    • camera: disposble, polaroid
    • hand-held electronic games, such as Leapster (ages 4-10) or gameboy
    • poly-pockets, or a similar small dolls
    • deflated soccer and/or footballs. Take a pump to reinflate them there.
    • different colored pipe cleaners
    • mother/daughter matching jewelry, such as lockets, hearts or pendents
    • hair accessories: ribbons, clips, ponytailers
    • small backpack for them to keep it all in
  • even older:
    • paper and markers or pencils
    • children's book and tape/CD sets
    • crafting items, such as beading and jewelry kits

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For hints on traveling with kids, go to the General Travel page.


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Page last updated on 15 July 2009.

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