I was contacted recently by a reader of the blog as they were looking for some tips on packing for a holiday. So today I thought I would share with you how I get our family of four ready for our trips away. I also asked some of my fellow Devon bloggers if they have any tips or tricks that they use when they are packing. They didn’t disappoint.
First thing – Lists, lists and more lists!
I normally find myself with so much going around my head that I need to write it down. And this is when I start to write my numerous lists. About four weeks before we go away I will go through the wardrobes and see what clothes, swimming costumes, shoes etc. we need. As well as creating a shopping list for clothes I also check toiletries, suncream, travel first aid kit etc. and add anything else we need.
About two weeks before we go away I start to write a Packing List. On this list I have a number of headings which include:
- Clothes & shoes for me
- Shoes & clothes for the hubby
- Clothes & shoes for the girls – I normally do one list for both girls but put things like 4 x dresses, 2 x shorts, 4 x t-shirts. This way when I start getting clothes out I pick out how many of each item for each of them.
- Toiletries & towels – again a list per person.
- Important stuff packed into a plastic folder – passports, money, health cards, visas and insurance docs if you need them. If you may need something else but don’t want to carry it, or to be ultra safe in case you lose document, you could take a picture of all your documents and save somewhere like Dropbox. This means they will always be available. I put this folder in my hand luggage.
- Electronics – camera, devices, all the charging cables and/or batteries that you will need. And don’t forget to check and take the plug adapters you may need.
- Other stuff – books, games, card games. If you are driving somewhere you could pack things for the beach, like buckets and spades. But if you are flying it is probably best to buy these when you get there.
- Overnight bag – if you need one
- Hand luggage for everyone – mine usually includes all the travel documents, chargers, adapters and devices. My husbands usually holds the change of clothes for the girls and snacks and drinks. See below for what we put in the girls bags.
By having these headings I find it easier to just keep adding things as and when they come into my head.
When planning the types of clothes you will be packing, think about things like:
- How long are you going for?
- What will the temperature be like?
- What clothes go together to save on space
- Think more about packing layers and wearing bulky items when travelling to save on space
Top Tip – Everyone has their own bag
So when it comes to packing my husband and myself share a bag or suitcase. If I can, I have a bag each for the girls. They have their own Trunkies so I use these to pack only their stuff in. If we were flying I would have one suitcase for us and one for the girls to share. This just saves time when you are looking for the kids clothes, as you go straight to their suitcase.
Hannah from Devon Daze suggests “if we are sharing suitcases, we pack in seperate bags before putting them in the suitcase.” Hannah uses pillowcases, soft drawstring bags or even the bags for life. She says “this means you can be methodical about knowing everyone has what they need, plus when you arrive everyone can be handed their own things to out away.”
We also have a toiletry bag each. Now the girls are older (currently 6 and 9) they like to take their own toiletries. They also fill it with their hairbrush, hair bands, clips and jewellery.
Everyone also has their own carry on or hand luggage bag. For the girls I let them take a soft toy each, maybe another toy, a reading book, their kindles, their headphones and I normally buy them sticker or activity books. They like having these when we are waiting at the airport, on a plane or on a ferry. These bags are also good to have when you go out to eat as they turn into activity bags.
Now I start to lay out clothes and things about a week before we go away. So as soon as something comes out of the wash it goes straight in the bag, and ticked off the list. When I pack I must admit I don’t fold things a certain way but I do try to make the most of the space. So things like pants and socks get stuffed into shoes.
Karen from The White Approach suggests colour co-ordinating your clothes. She says ” I mix and match outfits and don’t end up overpacking lots of outfits that won’t get worn.” Karen also spreads outfits across all the suitcases incase anything gets lost. She also rolls clothes when packing.
Now Stacey from The Design Sheppard has used an approach with packing that I have heard of before but never tried. She uses zip lock bags. Stacey says “for the kids I pack a different outfit in each bag. This meant my husband could easily dress the kids without my help by picking out a bag. The bags also mean we can fit more into the suitcase.”
Arabella from Exeter Baby Activities has also tried something I have seen. She lays out the kids outfits one by one, rolls them up and puts them inside a sock. The kids then only have to grab a stuffed sock for a full outfit!
So that’s it. That is how I organise our packing. This way has stood me in good stead for all of our trips, from camping to flying abroad. Do you have any packing tips? What helps you get everything read your for your holidays? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear them.
Lets get organised and go on holiday!