You’ve decided on your destination, booked your flights, picked your accommodation and got yourself some cheap family travel insurance… looks like the only thing you’ve got left to do is the p-word: Pack.
Although many dread it and procrastinate and throw their suitcases out the window in frustration because the 25kg weight rule airlines have is impossible to comply with, #packing for a family holiday doesn’t have to be a nightmare. We all know what you bring can make or break a trip – check out this list of dos and don’ts to help ensure the latter doesn’t happen.
• Do give each of your children a personal #backpack. Throw in a change of clothes, a water bottle, a snack and some toys – as long as you make sure it’s not too heavy for them (because you know you’ll be the one lugging it around if it is), they’ll have lots to do on the plane ride. The spare clothes will come in if you have a spill-prone kid, plus having the backpack around will be great for long days out once you arrive at your destination.
• Do give your back a break and pack lightly – you probably only need to bring half of what you think you need. A good rule of thumb when it comes to packing for children is planning complete outfits. One for each day you’ll be away plus one extra in case of accidents is usually more than enough.
• Do bring your own sunscreen (and don’t forget to pack it in your checked bag) so you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg at some tourist spot.
• Do make multiple copies of your holiday itinerary and put one in every piece of luggage – if you misplace one, you’ve got extras. It’s also helpful to make sure your home address, hotel addresses and flight details are in each bag as well so, if a piece of luggage happens to get lost, it can easily be sent back to you. (Stolen or lost luggage is annoyingly frequent, so make sure to sort out some cheap family travel insurance in case it happens to you.)
• Do divvy up each family member’s clothes and put some in all suitcases so that if a bag is lost, everyone still has something to wear.
• Don’t pack medication into your checked bags. Keep it in your carry-on in case your bag gets lost.
• Don’t pack last minute. It just adds unnecessary stress and you’re sure to forget something – leave adequate time to pack properly.
• Don’t bring full-sized toiletries. Save room and keep your #bags light by bringing travel-sized soap, shampoo and conditioner.
• Don’t pack everything into one large suitcase. You’ll be without all your belongings if your bag gets lost – plus it’s going to be exceptionally heavy to lug around. Get a couple medium-sized suitcases instead.
• Don’t forget to check how easy (or difficult) it is to manoeuvre your #luggage. Take a stroll around the block with your packed bags to test what it’ll be like travelling abroad with them, and consider reorganising if they’re too heavy.
Packing properly can alleviate an enormous portion of travel-related stress – and so can investing in appropriate and cheap family travel insurance (make sure it covers the entire family, plus any luggage and technology you bring). With all that done and dusted, you and your family can pack your stress away and unpack a world of foreign fun.