I’m not a big fan of packing. I never was when it was just me to pack for, but now with kids it can be like a military operation. We’ve had a bit of experience of going away in the UK and abroad so I wanted to share with you some of my tips on packing for a hassle-free family holiday.
A UK break
There’s a bit of a knack to taking just enough changes of clothes for your kids as they, and the UK weather, are so unpredictable. If you have very young children, I’d recommend booking a cottage or apartment with a washing machine, as this effectively means you only have to take half the kids’ clothes. You can also be uber-organised and do a wash before you come home.
A capsule wardrobe
For yourself, try to go for a capsule wardrobe so that most things you’re taking work together – as a bonus you don’t have to think about what to wear each day. You might not be sure what the weather’s going to do but swimwear doesn’t take up much room and if you pack a few options you’re not in a hurry to get things dry every day. Whether I’m going abroad or not I like to take a swimsuit and some bikini tops and bottoms, and have been scoping out lots of swanky swimwear options from Sainsbury’s on my weekly shop lately.
There are a few things I’ve forgotten to take on holiday before and the ones I’ve missed most are insect repellent and calpol for the kids. Baby monitors have a habit of being left plugged in back home, and if you’re taking a tablet to keep everyone entertained don’t forget the charger! It’s also a good idea to take some plastic bags for dirty laundry, wet swimming costumes and towels. There are plenty of handy packing lists online to help you make sure nothing gets left behind.
A holiday abroad
Layer it up
The good thing about packing to go abroad is that you can take lots of light layers that don’t weigh so much. But bear in mind that you’ll have to carry the luggage as well as push a pushchair and/or usher your children. Always try and get your weight allowance in one bigger bag rather than two.
Kids get their own hand luggage allowance, so make the most of it with toys, snacks and teddies – as well as some colouring books and layers of clothes. There are fun, cabin-size wheelie suitcases that encourage the kids to pull them along. Go for something like this Trunki bee case, or they can even customise their own. Older kids can even get scooter cases where the handle and wheels tuck into the side when not in use.
Don’t worry too much about all the holiday bits as you can pick up inflatables, sunhats and other essentials when you’re there, assuming you leave a bit of room in your case to allow for taking them back. A good tip if your little one is up to crawling age is to buy an inflatable paddling pool that they can play in on the beach so they don’t get covered in sand when they roll over. You can also pop a little water in it for them to play in too, and keep them cool.
As well as remembering to take the passports, you’ll want to apply for European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) while we’re still in the EU, just in case you need emergency medical treatment. Oh, and don’t forget the plug converters!