“Let’s getaway for the weekend” I said. “It’ll be great! We’ll just chuck a few things into a bag and off we go”
2 full days of packing, 3 near divorce incidents, one husband disappearing for a haircut just as you are about to pull out of the driveway and a car laden down with all but the kitchen sink. Off we go. No one is talking to each other, the tension could be cut with a knife but you know what?
It’ll be great.
I am without doubt one of the greatest over packers since time began. In fact I daresay if there was a world championship’s in overpacking I would not only be clear favourite for the title but also odd’s on favourite to turn up late as I was too busy doing all the last minute jobs to manage to get there on time.
But I have learned a thing or two over the past almost 9 years with children – most of them learned the hard way mind you. So here are my top tips for packing for a holiday with children &/or babies. Obviously some of these tips are geared for a flight and some for the ferry to France.
Bring enough nappies for the 1st 2 days. I usually play it safe and allow for 6 nappies a day (a lot I know but I’d rather be stuck with than stuck without. If we are sailing I chuck in a bumper pack and smugly think “Well there’s some space for a box of wine on the way home”.
Share Toiletries. I know, I know – the older we get the more we love to our little bit of luxury, be it in the form of a fancy shower gel or body cream. For holidays I say just suck it up and make do with the family one for all solution. I do make two exceptions and that is with my conditioner & suncream for my face. However don’t bring whatever awaits depending on where you are staying. But if needs be share shower gels, shampoo’s, after sun & sun creams. An ointment like paw paw cream does a great job on chaffs, cuts, dry lips, sore bums from nappies to name but a few.
Ziploc bags for outfits – depending on how long you are going for this can be a fantastic hack. As the over packing queen any assistance I can get to help me realise how much or little I need it great. This stops me chucking in last minute extra style for the kids. Pop an outfit for every day indivually into a ziplock bag. For example, t-shirt, shorts, socks, underwear, long sleeved top. I pop in 2 spare outfits also. And of course some hand-washing detergent.
For driving holidays I bring enough washing tablets for one wash every 2 days. That way I have loads spare at the end as there is no chance I’ll put on a wash every 2nd day. However the machine’s in campsites can be a bit rubbish so sometimes I go all rock’n’roll and chuck 2 tablets into the one wash.
Share the Load with Carry On luggage For Kids – I find it easier to allocate a bag per child for their clothes and personal belongings. Now unsupervised this did once lead to the discovery of about €200 worth of lego in a case 2 hours before we were due to go to the airport last year. However with adult supervision this can work well – you could end up with clothes in there! Our kids love having their own little pull along cases at the airport thus lightening my load. I find it works great for packing and unpacking at each end.
Parents Carry On luggage for all – we normally nominate one of our carry on cases as family plane case. In it we’ll have all the electronics, snacks, nappies, change of clothes for smaller people, colouring, paracetamo, valuables, headphones and teddies…. It’s easier just to give over to it and have your hands free of all this stuff. Plus if you have to give up your cases to the hold it’s always fairly easy to be allowed one on board that is full of the family neccessities. Plus it means no rooting about in bags or through over head bins for each individual child’s requirements.
Charge and check electronics the night before you travel. This can be so stressful if you leave it to the last minute. A quick download of a movie maybe throw up a 10 minute delay and much stress!! I normally charge everything the night before. We download whatever movies or shows are needed the night before also. This can take up much more time than you think. Also test your headphones and get them packed and ready to go. Our electronics are all protected in Otterbox cases and have been from the day they were unwrapped. Prevention is better than cure in this case and Otterbox offers me peace mind when it comes to protecting our phones and tablets.
Plus I think they are super stylish too!
My Mobile Home Specific List:
I have a list of bits’n’bobs that I bring to France with us every summer. No judgement please – as we get older we get more stuck in our ways. With 4 kids certain things work for us and also there are certain luxuries I simply allow myself.
For the Mobile:
Hand towels x 2
Tea towels x 2
Toilet roll x 2
Washing up liquid
Dish cloths x 4
Scrubber for washing
Pegs & peg sock holder octopus
2 small fans (one for each of kids rooms – if we don’t have ac)
Pop up laundry holder
Pop up box (for shoes on deck – it’s thing with me)
Mini Nespresso coffee maker (yes yes judgment happening probably but the older I get the more the little things are the big things)
clips for closing food bags x 5
We never use suitcases when traveling to France either. Super squashy sports bags that you can cramp stuff into and then squash into every last corner of your roof box or boot are so much easier. I’ve seen people use bin bags, ikea bags… you name it… also.
I’ll pop some lists of food and other stuff we bring on my instagram and save them as highlights over the next few days too.
Here’s hoping that we get plenty of great weather here this summer and won’t feel the need to abscond to the airport for our Vitamin D!!
Yours, off to google stylish weekend bags now,