We are about to jet off to one of our very favourite places, Tenerife. This will be our third time now visiting the island as a family. In fact, last year, we loved it so much, we booked back up for the same hotel within two weeks of coming home. It helped ease those awful post holiday, rainy blues!
Before you even think about packing, make a list for every member of your household to ensure that you don’t forget anything. Tick it off as you pack it. You don’t want to forget that favourite teddy or the tea bags that you simply can’t get abroad!
With each year we travel as a family, our children’s needs differ and the items that we pack change. My daughter, Sofia is seven and my son Leo, is four. This year I am not too anxious about keeping them occupied on the flight, but I still make sure I am well prepared. Last year, Leo had only just turned three, not too long out of nappies, bottles and dummies and I was worried about keeping his bottom on the seat for a whole hour 4 hours and thirty minutes. So, I came up with a plan and it worked like a charm. This year, I will more or less be doing the same.
So, each of my children have a tunki. I’m sure you know exactly what they are, but if not, they are brightly coloured carry on cases, made to look like little characters and the children can sit on them and they pulled along if they’re feeling tired. Find them online here. They easy to clean and have plenty space inside. We used their carry on trunkis only for packing activities and snacks, like a little box of magic that they are not allowed to open until they’re on their flight. I make a trip to our local pound store and I allocate both children around £20. With this they get roughly 15 toys and 5 snacks. You will be able to stuff that case full of treasures! Last year, as Leo was so young, I wrapped each toy up. Yes it was time consuming, but it kept him totally thrilled and happy to do as he was told as he would get a new toy to unwrap every fifteen minutes or so. I chose things that can easily be binned or left on holiday such as play dough, chalk board, pencils, stickers, colouring books, play food and last year Poundland had some brilliant chunky animals which at the time was his favourite thing to play with. I couldn’t find them this year, but I found some new things like DIY aeroplanes, animal masks and cars. Sofia’s goodies mainly consist of brightly coloured pens, notepads, highlighters (she loves a new pack of highlighters!) and they even have little dolls in store. They will probably fall apart after the flight but for a pound I’m not too fussed! I also love to pop in a little activity pack from Mila and Pheebs. For £9.99 you can have a compact little box sent out to you full of goodies. They’re perfect to keep little hands busy.
The important thing to remember is to space these things out, only one item at a time to be brought out at regular intervals.
For snacks, I wanted to make things a little more exciting. I bought two pill boxes on amazon, find them here. I filled them with little snacks such as raisins, skittles, mini marshmallows, cheerios and smarties. Dipping into the little container will make it much more appealing and I intend to refill these on holiday on days out too. All of the snacks I also bought in Poundland, total bargains to be found! You can also decorate your box with your child’s favourite stickers to make it more fun!
The children also have their tablets, loaded up with their favourites apps and a newly downloaded movie for them to enjoy. We have also invested in a pair of wireless headphones so that they can enjoy their entertainment without disturbing other passengers (me). The added bonus of not having to deal with a tangled wire helps too! The ones we chose hold four hours of charge with the option of plugging in should you rub out. Find them here. I’d also suggest a battery pack for your tablets and phones as there’s nothing worse than running out of battery when your child’s getting grumpy! Sofia’s pretty unicorn battery pack was from Primark.
So now that you’ve arranged entertainment on the flight, you can concentrate on packing. This year we got these absolutely beautiful new dusky rose luggage from Dunelm. Find them here They currently have 20% off too! What I love about this luggage is that they are a whopping 29 inches. There is so much space inside and little compartments to make packing a breeze. Despite being so large, they are incredibly lightweight and weight less than my smaller cases, how is that possible? They glide along with wheels at the bottom if you’re feeling lazy! They also have their own in built lock too. I’m just amazed at how much I’ve been able to fit inside! Possibly the most expensive looking cases I’ve ever owned!
Whilst we’re on the subject of luggage, I’ve heard that if you apply a FRAGILE sticker onto the top, not only is your luggage likely to be handled with more care in the airport, but also that your luggage tends to be prioritised! Now, this may not be true, but this year I’m giving it a bash! Buy your pack of stickers here.
If you have luggage that tends to blend in with everyone else’s , buy some ribbon to make it quickly and easily identifiable. Even though we’re not going to Disney this year, I bought this personalised pink Minnie Mouse ribbon for ours. It’s cute and it stands out! Buy some here.
Don’t forget to add a tag to your luggage too, you never know where it may end up! Our luggage went missing both on the way to our honeymoon AND back! Make sure it’s identifiable just in case. I picked ours up in B&Ms last month.
If you’re travelling to a country which has different power sockets from the UK, instead of taking 4 adaptors, simply take one adaptor and an extension cable. And there you have it, four power sockets for you to charge up the tablets, phones and dry your hair all at the same time! Genius. You’re welcome….
My pet hate on holiday is not having a laundry basket to pop our dirty clothes in at the end of the day. I really don’t like using a big bin bag, it looks ugly and cumbersome in the suitcase! I have found these mesh laundry bags to be much better. They’re breathable, tie with a drawstring and you can even pop in the entire bag into the wash! I would suggest buying three, one for darks, one for whites and one for colours. No need to organise the dirty pile of laundry when you return home! Buy there here.
I’ve also invested in some packing cubes. They make your suitcase ever so organised! I have a pack of eight and I like to use them for things like the children’s underwear and socks. You could even organised individual outifts into them if you’re feeling super motivated! I like to arrive at my destination and have things quickly accessible and already organised for me to unpack into my new home for the week (or two!). It also makes it easier to keep track of small things and hold them together in one confined space. It’s very satisfying opening your luggage to lots of neatly arranged little bags and cubes! Find them here.
When it comes to packing for your children, I like to organised the entire outfit together. So if I’m going away for ten days, I’ll lay out ten day outfits and ten evening outfits and some reserves. Ill also put socks, underwear, shoes and hair accessories with them to ensure I have everything before organising it into the case.
I like to try and roll items up where I can to minimize creasing and to fit as much as I can inside. To ensure that shoes don’t get the clothes dirty, simply wrap them inside disposable shower caps. You can buy packs of these very cheaply in the supermarket! Stuff the inside of their hats with socks and underwear too, to stop them from flattening.
I also recommend a cable organiser. It’s impossible to travel with your leads and headphones without them becoming tangled! We take so many with us now with two phones and two ipads to keep charged up, not to mention our back up battery packs! I bought a nifty little travel pouch that I know is going to be used time and time again. Find it here.
Perhaps the single most important thing we take with us on any trip is our medication bag. We have tall cosmetics bag so that we can fit in bottles of medicine without having to lay them down. The worst scenario is being abroad, unable to speak the language and having an ailment. Prepare for as many eventualities as possible, however, do remember that some countries, particularly those outside the EU may have rules about what you can bring into the country. DO YOUR RESEARCH.
Here is what we take in ours:
Ibuprofen (infant and adult)
Hay fever medicine
Anti septic cream
Cool packs (in case your child gets a bump)
Upset tummy medicine
Milk of Magnesia
Insect bite spray/repellent
I know that sounds excessive, but I’d rather be safe than sorry and once your medication bag is stocked up, you’re good to go for a long time ahead! If you have children of differing ages, you may need two types of infant paracetamol. This is the same for antihistaimines like Piriton. Check everything before you leave and be stocked up on the brands that you recognise and trust.
Don’t forget to take waterproof bags with you if you are going somewhere with a pool/beach. That way you can pop all the swimwear inside and not have to worry about the rest of your belongings getting wet. This is particularly useful if you’re using the pool whilst killing time until your flight home. Simply pop the wet clothes in your bag and you’re good to go. My children have little personalised bags that they use for swimming lessons throughout the year. Find them here.
I’d also suggest packing a large tupperwear box, especially if you’re going to a hotel for a buffet breakfast! You can load up on fruit and pastries for throughout the day to keep them going until their next meal. My children are constantly asking for snacks, Leo in particular will ask for a snack when he is still eating his last snack! Be prepared and organised!
If you’re beauty product lover like me, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make sure everything is set up as I like! Now, I’m used to perfect lighting to get ready each day with my beloved Hollywood mirror. You don’t know what the lighting will like in your hotel or apartment. It also really irritates me when the socket is not conveniently placed by the mirror! So I make sure I have my portable light up mirror. I’d had mine for years and I love it. It’s battery operated too so I can have it on the bed, in the bathroom, wherever I fancy doing to make up! It also dims so I can choose how bright I want it! Just make sure its well wrapped up and protected in your case. I kept the box mine was delivered in for this purpose. Find it here.
I hate packing my make up brushes! I’ve invested a lot of money into my collection and it’s difficult to find a way to travel with them ensuring they keep their shape and do not become bashed or squashed. This year, I have invested in a large hard case for my brushes and toiletries, ensuring that they are protected. My travel box has lots of little adjustable compartments for bottles and jars and plenty of slots in the top for my beloved brushes! I think it’s probably designed for a make up artist, but it will suit me nicely! Find a similar one here.
I’m not a big fan of buying mini travel toiletries. I prefer to buy the bigger versions as they’re much more cost effective and the chances are I’ll need the whole bottle anyway! We go through a lot of stuff….. There are of course some products that I will only require a small amount of, so instead I decant things like my hair treatments and make up remover into squeezey travel bottles. I bought a cute little pack here which can be used time and time again.
Now I’m going to end this post with a little tip that has eased a problem I always had in the morning I am travelling. The very last thing I do before I leave the house is straighten my hair, much to the annoyance of my husband as how can you pack a scolding pair of hair tools? Simply pop your hair tool into a clean oven glove and you can pack it in your suitcase straight away! Happy hair and a happy husband!
Now I know that seems like a lot and some of it you won’t need. But if you like to travel and be organised, it’s worth investing in these pieces over time. I have been buying little and often, ticking items off my list each week.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my packing tips and I’d love to know if you have any that I have missed. Happy packing everyone!
4 thoughts on “Packing tips and hacks for a family holiday”
So many fab tips! You’re so organised! We are hoping to go on our first family holiday abroad in September so I will definitely be referring to this! Fab ideas! Thank you xx
Love this post so many helpful tips – can I ask where you got your tall toiletry bag from as I am needing a new one thanks x
Absolutely gutted I’m reading this on my holiday because these tips are fabulous thank you xx
This is such an amazing post thank you so much.
We are off on our first family holiday in May to the Dominican Republic with two boys aged 8 and 6 and I have no clue what to pack so have loved reading this.
Thank you again 🙂 x