Family holidays are fun, but it takes a bit of organising to get everyone to your destination. Perhaps the most daunting task is the packing. Pulling everything together and making sure that you don’t leave anything behind is a bit of a headache. To help you (and me) with this I have put together a few packing tips so I can attempt to be organised.
Simplify the shopping process
The first tip is to try to buy as much as possible in one store. This will save you from having to spend ages traipsing around the shops or clicking from one website to another. For holiday shopping department stores and large supermarkets can be great places to find what you need. The fact that they sell everything you need makes it easy to get the shopping done in just a couple of hours. For example, JD Williams sells a great range of sandals, tops, trousers, dresses, swimwear and other clothing items, for all of the family. They even sell sun cream, beach towels, sun hats and suitcases.
Try not to leave too much to the last minute. Aim to have bought what you need and got everyone to have tried on each item at least two weeks before you are due to travel. That way you will have time to go out and buy anything that you may have forgotten, or make adjustments, replacing old equipment etc.
Store everything together
When you buy something specific for your holiday, pop it in the suitcase and slide it under the bed. Taking this approach gives you an early start on the packing and makes sure that things do not get ruined, or lost, before your holiday. Take new things out of their packaging to save space.
Don’t over pack
Try not to over pack. This will save you both time and money. The fewer cases you take, the cheaper your holiday will be. On average, every case that has to go in the hold will cost you £60. This is a big incentive to learn some minimalist packing tricks like only taking clothes that can be used to make up more than one outfit. If you’re driving that’s more space in the car. Do you really need all those clothes and things?
Learning to pack in this way takes a bit of practice. The best approach is to lay out each outfit combination on the bed, and count up how many each person has. If you have lots more outfits than days of your holiday, you are taking too much stuff, so leave something at home. Think about mixing and matching, and what you will realistically wear. Will there be washing facilities? You might be able to do a load of washing when you’re there.
Use everyone’s hand luggage allowance
Even if you have small children, equip them with a small suitcase that can be taken as hand luggage. This will save you having to pay for too many cases to be put in the hold. It also allows you to put at least one change of clothes into the cabin with you. That way should the worse happen and one of your cases goes missing, each member of the family will have at least one clean outfit to change into. Kids can take some things to entertain themselves on a flight, some snacks and toys. Just make sure you check what you’re allowed to carry in hand luggage.
Make a comprehensive packing list
Got to love a list. The best way to ensure that you do not forget anything important is to put together a proper packing list. You can download a good one here and edit it to fit your needs. It doesn’t take long to do this. The next time you go away all you need to do is to quickly read through it and update it.
Don’t do it alone
I know we like to be in control but share the load. Get the whole family involved, especially in the list making process. Older children can pick out the clothes they want and any extras they may need. Your partner should do more than just chuck his pants and socks in, get him to go shopping, or gather all the swimming gear. Give everyone in the family a little responsibility and it won’t be so overwhelming.
Have you got any packing tips to avoid the meltdown?
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