One of the most stressful things about travelling with the kids is packing. Are there enough clothes? Is there enough stuff to keep them entertained? The temptation is to throw everything in so you’ve got every eventuality covered – but that’s really not the best way to go!
Packing for a family holiday needn’t be overwhelming. We’ve come up with some great tips to keep stress levels low in case anything does go wrong. These are our must-know packing tips for family travel:
1. Don’t use a separate case for each family member
If one case goes missing, someone will end up without clothes. To ensure you avoid this scenario pack a few sets of every family member’s clothes within each case instead. That way everyone will still have something to wear should the unthinkable happen.
2. Do keep a copy of your details with each piece of luggage
Most importantly a number which you’ll be contactable at all times should any of your bags get lost.
3. Don’t pack everything you think you will need
Because you very probably won’t. Work out what you plan to pack, then remove half of it. Don’t overpack – it’s unlikely you will wear everything you take and, if laundry facilities are available, why carry along the extra baggage you don’t necessarily need?
4. Do let young children get involved with packing
Yes, we understand that packing (or anything!) takes longer when young children want to get involved but providing them with their own rucksack in which they can take responsibility for packing a favourite toy or two along with some colouring pencils and a colouring book can ensure they feel involved and helpful too.
5. Do know your luggage weight allowances before you travel
All airlines openly state their maximum luggage sizes and weights for travel. If you turn up and find that your luggage has exceeded their limits even slightly you may find yourself having to pay extra charges. Double check your luggage before you set off to avoid any surprises at the airport.
6. Do use packing cubes
Keeping your clothes organised has become far easier thanks to packing cubes. Available in a range of different sizes not only can you keep track of what is packed where but delicate clothes will avoid becoming damaged as you travel. You don’t need to unpack when your each your destination either. Simply pop them as in into a drawer, ensuring your neatly organised clothes remain so. No more hunting around for the swimwear corners of your suitcase! You will know exactly where it is!
7. Do leave some spare room in your case
So you’ve packed light and you even have a few spaces in your case. Don’t rush to fill them in! Chances are you will be bringing back a few souvenirs for friends, family and maybe even yourself. Leave some room to bring them back in.
8. Pack a spare set of children’t clothes in your hand luggage
Don’t pack away all your child’s clothes in the suitcase. Accidents happen, and if they do a spare set of clothes is usually the first thing you will need. Keep and emergency travel kit in your hand luggage compromising spare clothes, baby wipes and a few nappies if your child uses them.
9. Do pack accessories
Different accessories can give the same outfit several different looks. It’s easier to pack small accessories such as beads, hats and scarves than it is to pack many outfits. It takes up less space too!
10. Do pack each day’s clothes separately
Use individual ziplock bags to pack an outfit a day for each child. It might sound like extra work but it saves time and hassle trying to piece together outfits for each member, especially if your family’s larger than average. using ziplock bags also allows you to pack away the dirty laundry without getting it mixed up with any clean clothes you’ll be bringing back.
11. Do pack a basic first aid kit
It always pays to be well prepared when travelling with kids so pack a basic first aid kit compromising plasters, antiseptic cream, bug repellent as well as child ibuprofen and infant paracetamol suspension. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, after all!
12. Do scan and email documents to yourself
That includes your passport, travel insurance documents and accommodation details. If you lose the hard copies you will still have access to the information needed to report or recover.
13. Do pack an inflatable ball
The kids will love it, it’s entertaining and it doesn’t take up much space at all.
14. Do pack something the children haven’t seen before
Keep a supply of new toys and games that you can pull out of your hand luggage when the children start getting bored or restless. card games, magic writing boards (they’re more convenient than pencils and paper as the screen can be wiped clean and the ‘pen’ is attached and won’t roll away), reading books and travel games are all great ideas. They won’t take up much space either.
15. Do pack appropriately
If you aren’t planning on hiking you can leave the hiking boots at home. Likewise, check the weather forecast for your destination before you leave, and pack appropriately in preparation for it.
16. Do plan ahead
Write a list. Create a spreadsheet Keep a note on your mobile. Email yourself a to-do list. Whatever you find works for you, do it, but do it early on. Last minute packing is almost certainly guaranteed to leave you forgetting or overlooking something – especially if you have excited kids hovering in the background. Plan early and get ahead. You’ll be glad you did!