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Traveling for 2 years with 11-year old- The Stuff Issue- Please Chime In...

Moms, Dads chime in, please! Have any of you had a similar experience with your pre-teen? Any tips? Suggestions for pre-teen stuff that is important to bring?

Here is our situation; I'm taking my 11 year-old girl with me to northern India. We're studying Tibetan and Hindi. We are then going on to Japan so that she can learn Japanese. We love traveling and learning new languages so this is going to be a great adventure for us!

Last time we traveled (2008-2012), she was between 4 and 9 years old. She had a lot of stuff and it was very important to her. I alone dealt with her four bags. I vowed to never again travel with so much. It was annoying, expensive, and hard work.

We talked about packing around stuff and she said that her toys aren't important to her. She doesn't play with them anymore. I'm worried that she will regret leaving so much behind with grandma.

My kid has pared her toy stuff down to two gallon-sized Ziploc bags and a vacuum bag 24" long. We are going with some western clothes and will buy Punjabi suits when we arrive. She is also going to get some Tibetan dresses.

I trust my kiddo and we have a solid relationship. We communicate easily and openly. I know she is in the process of individuation so this 'letting go of childhood' is normal. But I worry that her leaving stuff behind will later be a source of regret. She is adamant about it not being that big of a deal.

Anyone gone through this with their pre-teen?

I appreciate your insight. Thank you.

Posted by
16893 posts

I have no similar experience. But I hope that the few items she's already selected are among the more sentimental or useful to her, so they will continue to be of interest over 2 years. Are you also bringing books and educational materials, or accessing them online? Hopefully, one of the skills she will learn on this trip is to interest herself in exploring the new opportunities there for meeting people, learning culture, playing with local children, etc. If she likes to read, then books on Kindle (classics are free) or a 2nd-hand novel picked up at a hostel could help her break away from where she is, if she needs to.

Posted by
507 posts

If something is "forgotten", could Grandma send it to you? For that matter, can you send Grandma anything that your tween becomes disinterested in?

Bon Voyage!

Posted by
3 posts

The last time grandma sent something to us in India, it was stolen. From Japan, I am sure it is no problem. Good point and thanks to all of you!