Family holidays are all about relaxing with your loved ones. However, such trips do take some organising. The thought of dealing with the packing can be especially daunting, but there are plenty of ways to minimise the stress.
1. Choose your destination
This is an obvious one, but there’s no point in stressing out about the packing until you know exactly where and when you’re going. After all, you’ll take very different things on a skiing holiday to a beach trip.
There are lots of family-friendly holiday destinations in Europe, including the Algarve region of Portugal and the Canary Islands. If you’re stuck on where to go, there’s lots of websites offering more information on family holiday destinations.
2. Research your destination
Your next step is to work out what you’ll take with you on your family holiday. Make sure you check the weather so you can work out what the temperature will be on your trip, or if there’s any chance of rain.
It’s also worth working out how much holiday items will cost. If you’re going to a country where things are cheap, you can always pick up toiletries and medicines when and if you need them. But travel to somewhere more expensive and you’ll want to take everything you need with you.
You’ll also need to research the place where you’re staying. Most importantly, check and see if it has a washing machine. If it doesn’t, make sure you take enough clothing to last. After all, you won’t want to spend your precious time washing clothes in the hotel sink!
3. Divide up the responsibilities
In every relationship, there seems to be one person who’s more organised than the other. If that’s you, make sure you’re not landed with all the packing – again. Make sure your disorganised partner takes responsibility for his or her packing, and also any older children. To make sure that nobody struggles with what to take, you can sit down together and make a list of the things you’ll need to take with you on your trip.
4. Make a list
One of the best ways to take the stress out of packing is to write a list of everything you’ll need to take with you. Of course, your family holiday packing list will vary according to the destination and the place you visit, but there are several important items you’ll want to take on every holiday.
5. Check your airline baggage restrictions
Some airlines charge you extra for checking in baggage. If you have to pay extra for every member of your family, the cost of flights will quickly increase. Can you get away with just hand luggage? If so, make sure you check the airport hand-luggage restrictions before you fly. Most airlines also restrict the size of hand luggage (and the number of pieces you take with you), so make sure you stick to these rules. If you don’t, you can end up paying extra at the gate.
Top tip: pay for one member of the family to check in a piece of luggage. Choose a large suitcase which you can fill with items that don’t fit in the hand-luggage. But make sure you check the weight restrictions for check-in baggage before you go piling everything in!
6. Choose your clothes
Picking your clothes can be one of the hardest parts of packing. Most of the time, people end up taking far more than they need. One trick to packing light is to take a capsule wardrobe of versatile clothes that can be worn for different occasions. One example is a plain tank top that can be worn with shorts during the day, or a dressier skirt during the evening.
The capsule wardrobe works for adults and older children. However, younger kids are more likely to get messy on holiday, so you’ll need to bring along lots of spare clothes for them. Make sure you bring along a plastic bag to store any dirty laundry as well.
Packing for a family holiday can be simple, as long as you follow two golden rules. Write out a packing list, and make sure you begin packing well in advance. You’ll be surprised how easy it is if you follow these guidelines.
To read more on topics like this, check out the travel category.