Holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start trying to work out how to cart your family’s belongings overseas without being hit by mammoth excess baggage fines. Remember once when you and your other half could nip across to Paris with nothing more than a cabin bag to house all the clothes you would need for a weekend? Yeah, things have changed. Now you have kids and they do not travel light. Hence the need for family holiday packing tips that really work.
There are plenty of resources online that tell you how to pack a family of four’s luggage into one checked case, but that’s not exactly realistic is it? They are all theoretical for an imaginary family that is happy to wear pants made out of tracing paper or whatever. Here’s a guide for real families who take real clutter on holiday with them. This is about working out which clutter is important and the best way to fit that clutter into the room that you are allowed by the ever watchful airlines.
On with the family holiday packing tips:
Check the Weather Before You Go
Chances are you are going somewhere reasonably sunny on your family summer holiday. With that in mind, shorts, skirts, t-shirts and the like will be first on the list when it comes to packing. However, have you considered what it will be like at night time?
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When the kids are finally in bed and you and your other half are on the balcony, sipping away at some local liquor that tastes sensational on holiday, but which you would find repulsive at home, you don’t want to find yourself shivering from the cold. The temperature in many warm countries plunges at night, so be prepared. One or two jumpers or hoodies are worth considering, as well as a couple of pairs of trousers. You can wear jumpers and trousers on the plane to help keep the luggage bulk down.
Similarly, some destinations might suffer from intense bouts of rain amongst the sun, so check before you travel and stick some light cagoules in your case.
Some blogs suggest taking half the amount of underwear you might need for a holiday and hand washing it while you are away. Two things here: Number one, life is too short to spend any time on your holidays washing grubby undies. Number two, if four more pairs of kids’ pants are going to take you over your baggage limit, you’re going wrong elsewhere.
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To help cut down the space that your pants take up, roll them up and stick them in shoes and the like. That’s your best use of the available room.
Shoes are one of those areas when it comes to family holiday packing tips where you need to be strict or they can get out of hand. Or out of foot. Or whatever.
Try and instigate a three-pair rule: sandals or equivalent for the beach, light shoes for travelling in the day and something a little smarter and more sturdy for the evening. Wear the sturdiest and bulkiest on the flight and let the others become underwear storage in the case.
How much time do your kids spend in proper outfits during the day on holiday? Very little, right? They will maybe thrown on a t-shirt over their swimming costume at lunch and that’s about it. With that in mind, go big with the swimwear and pare down the other items.
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It’s good to have at least a couple of swimming costumes for the kids so that one set can be used for the beach and another for the swimming pool, meaning you don’t contaminate the pool with sand. The more the merrier though, really, considering how much time they spend in them.
Don’t worry, they most likely do have shops where you are going. You will be able to pick up things like shower gel and shampoo. They might even have foreign brand names that sound mildly amusing to English speakers. Bonus.
However, it’s worth taking some supplies to see you through the first day or two of acclimatising to your new location. Either buy travel-sized bottles to free up some suitcase space or, even better, wash out old travel sized bottles and pour in some of the products you already have at home to save cash.
The BIG exception here is suncream. You need this and you need lots of it. And you don’t want to pay resort prices for it. It’s all about supply and demand. You can always find a decent offer on sun lotion in the grey old UK before you go, but whilst in a suntrap on holiday, they know they have you by the Soltans. They can charge what they want and, especially when you have kids with you, you don’t want to skimp. Stock up before you leave and reserve prime luggage space for your suncream.
Keep Rolling Rolling Rolling
If you ever see a travel expert on TV giving their family holiday packing tips, they always recommend rolling clothes rather than folding them. You will find that you can fit in a lot more to your case doing it that way. Obviously you need to make sure you stay within the baggage allowance, though. Another bonus is that they your clothes are less likely to be creased when you get to the other end. Although, is anyone actually that bothered about creased poolwear?
Anymore Family Holiday Packing Tips?
If you have any more ingenious family holiday packing tips, let us know in the Comments below. Share the love!