Packing for a family holiday

Getting ready for a family holiday is somewhat different to the holiday preparations pre-kids. Oh, the simple days, where we thought we had a lot to do in the run up to holidays with an elevated gym timetable, more time invested in healthy eating and the familiar ritual of spray tans, waxing and manicures. Wondering how we could possibly fit all our new purchases in our luggage allowance. Fast forward 10 years and we look back to those days with fond memories and slight resentment that we ever had the cheek of moaning about the difficulties of holiday prep.

Nowadays getting ready for a family holiday consists of a lot of list writing, repacking and sacrificing your own clothes for kids' toys and family size sun cream. You can also certainly forget about that new holiday wardrobe, for yourself that is. The kids on the other hand will of course be getting new holiday outfits.

Then there’s the actual event of the airport, because let’s face it, it is now an event. Long gone are the days of casually browsing duty free or grabbing a leisurely coffee while flicking through the latest glossy. Replace that scene with over-tired-super-excited-kids teamed with sleep-deprived-caffeine-fuelled parents and you’re looking at a family holiday! But we wouldn’t have it any other way now, right?

Here are a few tips we’ve adopted to ensure we are holiday ready and find work well for us:

Pre-Travel Check List:

First things first, check your passports are up to date and always check well in advance if you need visas for your destination. It might be wise also to carry proof of relationship if you have different surnames to avoid any unwanted hold ups. As soon as you’ve booked your holiday, ensure you have travel insurance for the whole family. Avoid that dreaded ‘have you got everyone’s passport?’ feeling on the way to the airport by ensuring all documents are together and in one place. Investing in a travel folder is a must for a family holiday! This one is great and can fit up to 6 passports, tickets and insurance documents, giving you peace of mind.

One week before:

Time to get super organised. Start washing and ensuring all clothes are ready to go. Check your suitcases are the correct size for your airline, and most importantly check you know the weight restrictions. We’ve all been caught out by these once or twice! If you don’t have one, invest in a scale hook. These are so useful and great for giving you peace of mind. It may feel a little premature but depending on who you’re flying with you can check in from 30 day – 24 hours before your flight. This is always a must-do for us as it saves time faffing at the airport, especially with little ones.

Few days before:

We’ve streamlined our holiday prep into a handy downloadable (and pretty) checklist. Scroll down to download our super cute printable packing list and get organised for your holiday. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to buy items such as sun creams, insect repellent and after sun, (hopefully it won’t be needed!) Pack as far in advance as you can, leaving items that are prone to creasing, such as linen dresses, until the last minute. A Stackers top tip: Invest in a small handheld steamer or check if hotels/holiday apartments have irons.

I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but we stand by it; roll don’t fold. You may have dismissed it as a myth, but believe us, rolling your clothes will save you space as well as minimising creases. Try packing cubes too if you haven’t already and allocating family members their own cubes. This will make it so much easier when trying to locate specific items!

The one thing you probably can’t over-pack on with kids is swimwear. Kids live in their bathers while on holiday so it’s always worth having spares. Another key thing to think about if you’re in hot climates is rash vests as they’ll give you a little piece of mind and you won’t be stressing about reapplying sun cream every 15 minutes.

Say goodbye to a different holiday dress for each evening, and instead make sure you’ve packed sunglasses, sun hats and sensible sandals for the children.

Day before:

You’ll probably want to consider taking a few items to keep the children entertained on flights or when waiting around at airports. Waiting is no fun, especially when that’s teamed with bored and irritable kids. Make sure all your devices are charged up ready for the flight.

Making sure you check the weather will ensure you’re not taking up precious suitcase space with items you simply won’t wear or need.

You want your family holiday to be as relaxed as physically possible so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and be super organised in the weeks leading up to your holiday. For many the annual summer holiday is the big event you look forward to all year, so you want to be as prepared as possible for all eventualities.

You know we love a checklist, so we thought why not create our own, click to download: