Maria Rushe has 12 smart steps for family holiday packing.
Packing for holidays is something I’ve always been good at; enjoyed even. I am the Queen of packing light, usually packing for both of us in one case. I’ve been known to arrive in my brother’s in London with just a handbag. Essentials only. I’m low maintenance when it comes to packing. As long as I have my lenses, bank card and passport, I’m a “good to go” kind of gal.
But that in the days BC; Before Children. If we’re going away even for a night, more effort goes into packing for the girls to have a sleepover in Granny’s than into our own packing. Going on Staycations over the past few years, even minimal packing has filled the car to the brim.
So going abroad for the first time with the two minions and limited luggage posed its own problems. And yet, with some great tips from the Mammies on my blog, I managed to make our 4 x suitcase, 80Kg allowance into two suitcases of 39Kg. so rather than 4 big cases and carry-on bags, we had only 2 bags to lug around airports and a small handbag or backpack each.
So here are my top tips for packing for a family holibop.
- Plan and List: Yes I am a Listy McListerson. I made a list of everything we’d need; clothes, nappies, chargers, suncream etc. I planned the outfits to bring for each of us for each day. I then added 2 extra outfits for the girls because let’s face it, at some point there will be a spillage or a poonami or something. I set the cases out and as I set things into the room where I was packing, I ticked them off the list. Anything that wasn’t on the list, didn’t go in the bags.
- Ziplock bags: BEST IDEA EVER from a fellow JimMum. She told me to put everything in clear bags; swimwear, pjs, vests, undrewear etc. I put each outfit for the girls into wee bags and wrote their initial on the front. I popped underwear/nappy into each bag too, so in the evening when they were being showered, I simply reached for the bags and their full outfits were ready to go. No searching for things in cases. Easy.
- Spread the love: Pack a change of clothes and swimwear for everyone in one of the carryon bags. This way, if your room isn’t ready, you can still go to the pool without having to start rummaging through cases. Another tip I got, which made perfect sense was to spread everyone’s clothes between the cases so that if a case got lost or delayed, everyone still had clothes with them.
- Snack packs: I don’t know about your Minions, but my two eat every 5 minutes. My sister advised me to do up little snack bags for the flights and also for the pool bag and while I initially laughed it off, I am so glad that I did. For less than €6, I filled 9 bags with their favourites; popcorn, haribo, raisins, breadsticks etc. And each day, they munched through these and we saved a fortune, only having to buy ice-creams and drinks.
- Puzzlebooks and mermaid poo: For a few euro in a Euro shop, I stocked up on colouring books and puzzlebooks, crayons and “Mermaid poo” These went into my bag every evening and were produced after dinner, proving a great distraction when needed.
- Downloads: Now, we don’t usually resort to screens outside of home unless we’re desperate for just 10 more minutes to finish a meal. But downloading episodes from Netflix is a must. Firstly, for the last hour of the flight, where the colouring books are exhausted and secondly, after their shower in the evening to give Mammy and Daddy 20 minutes to get ready. A few episodes of Ben & Holly came in handy.
- One big carry-on bag: While I had my handbag, and the girls had their backpacks, Him carried a small case. On the way over, it was pretty empty apart from swimwear, but on the way home, we used it for all of the towels and checked it into the hold. It also meant that we had room for bits and pieces the girls had gathered up while away.
- Microfibre towels: This was my greatest hack ever. I brought 2 big ones and one handsized one, and they dried us all for the full week. These things dry instantly and are light and fold up tiny. So handy and so much lighter than packing loads of beach-towels.
- Pillow cases: Pack two or three and use them for dirty washing throughout the holiday. Easy packing the night before you return home and easy unpacking when you get back. One of lights, one for colours etc.
- Swim nappies: While you can get pretty much EVERYTHING you need where ever you are going, swim nappies cost a fortune abroad. I bought packs of 12 at £3 each in Strabane. They were almost €8 for 3 nappies in the supermarket there.
- An incase bag: I took a wee bag with Calpol and Nurofen sachets, sachets of diaralyte and a blister of motilium and Imodium etc. Apart from the plasters and one or two calpol, thankfully we didn’t need these, but if we had, they were in the apartment and we’d have been glad of not having to go searching for a pharmacy.
- A sound Splitter: Probably not the correct name, but this wee thing was a Godsend on the flight. It allows 2 sets of headphones to be used at once so the girls were able to watch a show together. It was €3 in Penneys.
If you are packing or yet to pack for your holidays, I hope this helps and I’m not at all jealous…
It goes so quickly. Enjoy every second! If you have any other hints or hacks, share them below.