Friday 30 March 2018

Packing light for family travel - some tips

I like to think that I'm quite an expert when it comes to packing for the family. Although my husband is capable of piling up the clothes and toiletries that he will need, I'm the one responsible for most of the extra bits and pieces, along with everything that is needed for the children. When you are travelling with small children it really is much easier if you can limit the amount of stuff that you are dragging around with you. So here are my top tips for packing light when it comes to family travel.

Packing light for family travel - some tips

* My key packing tip is to have a good packing list. I have a list which I keep as a Word document, updated and added to over the years. It is organised into categories - clothes, toiletries, electrical items, food and so on, and it contains every single thing that we might possibly need. When I start packing for a trip the first thing that I do is print out the list and then go through it with a pen and cross off all the things that we don't need. Like sun cream for a winter break or beach towels for a city break. There are lots of lists online that you can use for inspiration but it's much better to make up your own personal list which you can customise to suit the occasion.

* If you are not travelling by car, take only one large suitcase per adult. Ones with a pull along handle are ideal, so you can pull the suitcase with one hand and hold a child's hand with the other. This can be a little awkward if you also need to be pushing a pushchair, in which case one adult will have to pull two suitcases while the other pushes and keeps an eye on any additional children.

* Split all your clothes and toiletries between the suitcases, so if one gets lost on the way you still have at least a few clothes per person to keep you going.

* Some items of clothing like underwear, need to be changed daily, but other clothing can last a day or two. I usually allow a clean top per person per day, and clean bottoms every few days. I take one pair of pajamas for each week of the holiday - if they get dirty a child can easily wear a t-shirt and underwear to bed. If you plan to wear several outfits per day, for example to dress for dinner, you can recycle clothes, you don't need to pack several complete outfit changes for each day. At the end of the day, I put clothes that still look fairly clean to one side rather than throwing in with dirty clothes, in case they are needed again later in the holiday.

* Choose clothes that work together. All of our tops match all of our bottoms.

* Only take towels if you know that you won't be able to rent or borrow them from your accommodation. In my experience most hotels will provide towels in exchange for a deposit, and it saves a lot of space. If you aren't sure if towels will be provided, it's easy enough to buy some at your destination if you need to.

* Always decant toiletries into smaller containers. I often don't bother taking soap or shower gel as it's almost always provided, and think about what toiletries are really necessary, for example, the whole family can easily share the same shower gel or shampoo. I take one mini hairbrush for the whole family to use.

* Save space when packing chargers by buying a USB charging station (affiliate link). Then you don't need to take bulky plugs, you can make the most of the limited sockets in your accommodation, and you can charge lots of devices at once which saves time. Some things like a Kindle or electric toothbrush may have enough charge to last the holiday so you don't need to pack the chargers.

* It's easy to wash clothes on the go, which can save a lot of space. You may be staying somewhere with laundry facilities, or else you can just wash things out in the sink and hang to dry. If you are staying somewhere warm then clothes can easily dry in just a few hours.

* Give your children a space limit when it comes to packing books, toys and teddies. Now that my children are older I give them each a small rucksack which they can pack as they wish, with the understanding that they are responsible for carrying it. When they were younger I packed their things in with ours, so that I didn't need to worry about a child and their bag.

* You don't need as many toys for young children as you think you do. When mine were little I used to pack a bag of about thirty Duplo bricks and a few toy cars, and they would play with them for ages. Take plenty of paper and some pens, a few small books, and you are sorted.

* Shoes can take up so much space in a suitcase. I usually aim for just two pairs - the largest pair to wear and a spare in case of rain and puddles.

* Pack clothes in plastic bags, then you can roll them up and squeeze out excess air to save lots of space.

I hope that these tips were helpful, if you have any more I would love to hear them!

Photo credit Pete Bellis via Unsplash

1 comment:

  1. The idea of the plastic bags to pack clothing in to squeeze out the air was marvelous. Several Tops to one bottom is also great, because and let's tell the truth, how many times do us moms (and grandmas) pull on the same pair of jeans to get the day started.

    Any way, great post.


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