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I remember those days when I was carefree in my early twenties. When packing meant nothing more than throwing enough underwear in a holdall. Then I met my now-husband and packing soon involved thinking for two and subsequently as our family has grown, I now pack for everyone! At first, I admit it was utter carnage. A free for all if you will. Of course, I would start out all organised, but in the end, I was throwing items in left right and centre only to arrive at the airport and realise we had forgotten something crucial. Ask my husband about that time I forgot all his clothes! Luckily it was just an overnight trip, but he never lets me forget it.
I think it was that moment when I realised I needed to get my act together when it came to packing for our holidays. We don’t go away as much as we would like so these holidays are few and far between, and each one should be cherished yet I spend the first three days destressing from the packing nightmare that just unravelled! Since then, I have gone through a series of trial and error exercises and correlated a list of handy tips for packing that have really helped me, and I hope they will help you too!
Check Your Luggage
Make sure you check with your airline how much luggage you are permitted and any restrictions on size. It’s often a minor detail stated during booking that is easily forgotten when the holiday rolls around! Once you know these details choose your luggage wisely. Personally, I don’t think you can beat a hard-top case, especially if you are going abroad and your bags are going in the hold!
Top Tip: If the airline permits it then consider taking a larger-sized case even if you have plenty of room in a smaller one because you will often come home with more than you go out with.
Roll Don’t Fold
For as long as I can remember, I have folded clothes into suitcases the exact same way my Mother always did. For years, I heard about friends that were ‘rolling’ their clothes as opposed to folding, but I couldn’t get my head around it. Since trying the rolling method, I am fully converted and will never go back.
I used to pack items by the category. T-Shirts, shorts, dresses etc. When packing for the whole family, I have found packing items that go together in an outfit much easier. I lay everything out, including underwear and socks into their own little outfit piles. I then roll these items and place them in a plastic zip-lock or regular carrier bag from the supermarket to keep them all together. I then put a label on saying who they belong to and what the outfit is so when we get to our destination unpacking is as simple as that!
Top Tip: Put used clothes back in the bags for washing when you get home!
Towels for Everyone
If you are going somewhere warm or with a pool then a beach towel is essential. They are lightweight and the perfect size for a sun lounger or to pack in a bag for the beach! I always make sure everyone has their own easy to identify towel. It makes it much easier to grab and go!
Top Tip: Get Personal! This year we are going one step further and Henry and Hugo each have personalised towels! These were both an absolute bargain at £9.99 each with free personalisation included!
Avoid Vacuum Bags
Those vacuum bags that suck all the air from your clothes, making more room in your case might seem like the perfect space-saving solution, but it can go horribly wrong. Like that time smug me used them on our trip to Kefalonia only to be horrified when we were packing for home, and the cleaners vacuum attachment didn’t fit the bag!! We ended up having to buy a second suitcase and pay for additional baggage at the airport! My husband has never let me forget that either.
Even if you know for sure, you will have access to a vacuum that will fit at your destination if the bag tears or splits, you’ll be in the exact same position.
Pack a Well-Stocked In-Flight Bag
Going on a flight with children can be stressful, especially if you are going long haul. Packing a cabin bag full of essentials can be a complete sanity savour. You can get roll-on cabin bags that conform to airline size standards that will give you ample room for all your in-flight essentials while also making it much easier to find what you need than a bag!
Top Tip: Noise-cancelling headphones can really help younger children on long flights!
Do you have any tips for packing for the family?
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