This is a combination hints, travel tips, and packing list; not restricted to adoption travel. My philosophy is to pack everything that you need. You might be able to find things at your destination, but it probably won't be at the moment you need them. I have done a lot of traveling, both domestically and internationally, with kids, so this page comes from my personal experience. I, or another traveler, have needed everything on these lists at one time or another. Some items I have marked with an *, designating them as something specifically needed for an adoption trip to Kazakhstan but not necessarily other trips. Even if you plan on purchasing a lot of personal items in Kazakhstan (diapers, formula, gifts, food, kids clothes), make sure that you take enough with you to make it through a few days in case you don't have the opportunity to shop.

You can print each page out. Or you can select all, copy, and paste into a spreadsheet document; this will allow you to customize your own list by eliminating or adding items.

There are many other sources for packing lists and hints. You can do an internet search for adoption travel packing and come up with lots, particularly for China and Russia. Be aware that these lists may not be appropriate for Kazakhstan because of differences in trip length, ages of children, availability of items for purchase, etc. Below are some that I think will at least give you ideas.

  • Almaty Expat Site external link has a packing list for people moving to Kazakhstan, but it is still helpful by listing hard-to-find items and hints.
  • Diana Eaton external link is an adoptive mom with a child from Kazakhstan; packing list.
  • Adopting from Russia external link has hints and packing lists.
  • LEEAF external link (Lousiana Eastern European Adoptive Families) has a packing list. They have a very nice web site with lots of information.
  • China Travel external link Although this group focuses on adoption travel from China, there are lots of discussions about carry-ons, travel with kids, bookmarks, and files that contain lots of useful information for anyone. Unfortunately, many of the bookmarks refer to the APC group, which you must be a member of in order to view messages.
  • Carry On Only external link is a Yahoo group for just that. I believe that it is actually an off-shoot of the above site. Check the bookmarks and files sections.
  • One Bag external link has lots of excellent suggestions for general travel and packing.
  • Travelite external link offers tips for using only a carry-on.
  • Traveling Light external link has hints and a packing list for general travel.
  • Universal Packing list external link creates a custom packing list based upon accomodations, seasons, activities, transportation, and other details.

In this packing section, I have links to products on link in new window. I have ordered from this company many times, and have bought quite a few of the items I have listed. However, you may be able to find some of these products cheaper in places such as Walmart and Target. All profits will be donated to orphanges and hospitals in Kazakhstan. You can also check out eBags link in new window.

General Notes

Because the TSA can now cut off locks if they want to search your bags, you should no longer use standard locks. TSA agents are able to use a special tool to open the special locks: any of the TSA accepted locks link in new window, including the TSA 3-Dial Lock and Cable link in new window (useful to lock your carry-ons to a seat while you nap at the airport), and the Travel Sentry Locking Strap link in new window (good way to secure hard side suitcases and duffle bags).

An alternative is to secure everything instead with cable ties (found in Walmart, Target, hardware stores, etc.); use the brightly colored ones, and you will be able to tell immediately if someone has opened your bag, as TSA uses the standard clear ones. PrivaSeals (20 pack) link in new window is another product that is available.

Either use duct tape or have your checked bags shrink-wrapped at the airport. I don't know what the implications of increased airport security are on this. Travel Duct Tape link in new window

Put your name and address inside every bag that you have, in case the tag on the outside gets lost.

Most luggage today is black. Make your bags easier to spot by using brightly colored Easy Spot Handle Wraps link in new window and/or Neon Luggage Tags link in new window.

With increasing restrictions on luggage weight, particularly when flying on smaller planes, the 75 lb Luggage Scale link in new window or Digital Scale link in new window (only takes 1 person to read) might come in handy. Weigh and measure your luggage before you go to the airport, this scale is small enough to stick in your carry-on.

The Quick Pass Luggage Tag link in new window acts as a standard luggage tag, and opens up into a small pouch for you to put small items in as you go through security screening.

Packing lists and notes

Carry-on: carry-on items.

Packing - other: general items, food, for infants, for toddlers and older, toys.

Clothes: hints on packing, seasonal suggestions, lists for adults and children.

Kits for first aid, toiletries and laundry.


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Page last updated on 15 July 2009.

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