Last updated on August 30th, 2018 at 10:14 am
With the summer holidays looming, many parents are looking ahead with a mixed sense of excitement and apprehension. There’s nothing better than a fantastic family holiday, and nothing worse than one that doesn’t go smoothly. Many of us worry about packing for a family holiday. Getting your family holiday packing essentials right is one of the ingredients of a successful trip. We’ve put this article together to cover all the family holiday packing essentials you’ll need for a variety of different types of holiday.
Let us take the stress out of your holiday so you can pack with ease, relax and enjoy!
Family holiday essentials:
There are some basic items that you should always remember to pack for a family holiday. Take a look at our family holiday checklist to make sure you don’t miss any necessities.
- Driving licence
- Phone charger
- Glasses or contact lenses
- First aid/medication
- Books and magazines
When you have kids, packing simply isn’t as easy as it used to be. There’s so much more to remember, and certain things that might be more difficult or more expensive to get hold of at your destination. So how do you balance packing light and getting it right? Focus on the essentials. Whether you’re packing for a holiday with children, toddlers or even a baby here are some necessities that you need to include:
- Toys – keep a few toys in your hand luggage to keep little ones occupied in case of delays. Choose toys carefully as you can’t take everything!
- Games – these will come in handy for rainy days.
- Comforter – if little ones have a toy, blanket or other item that brings them comfort you’re unlikely to forget it. But think about where you pack it – hand luggage might be wise just in case you need it en-route.
- Nappies, wipes and creams – you don’t want to fill your case full of nappies, but they can be more expensive to buy abroad. Consider taking some swim nappies too.
- Bottles, formula, sterilising tablets – make sure you take these essentials for feeding away from home.
- Washing powder/travel wash – little ones are notorious for making a mess. A bit of travel wash could be a lifesaver when you’ve packed light and need to revive some clothes for another wear.
- Muslins – useful for mopping up any spillage!
- Calpol and other medicines – if little ones are fighting fit when you leave, you might not think about medicines. But it’s best to take suitable options like calpol as a precaution, as you never know when you might need it.
- Mosquito net – help little ones avoid being bitten by taking a mosquito net that can be used over a pushchair or a cot.
- Snooze shade – a lifesaver for helping block out the sun so little people can sleep in their pushchair.
- Food – when travelling with young children, you might want to consider taking some food pouches to ensure they get suitable meals.
- Spoons, bowls, bibs and sippy cups – taking your own feeding equipment can make little ones feel more comfortable at meal times, and ensure you have suitable items on hand throughout your holiday no matter where or when you eat.
- Stroller – a lightweight stroller is easier for travelling than a heavy pushchair.
- Sling – a useful item for babies, as slings can be easier to navigate with than a stroller.
- Sleeping bag – baby sleeping bags can be a great sleep aid so if your baby is used to one then don’t forget to pack it! You can get summer weight bags if you’re going abroad or expecting it to be hot.
Family holiday packing tips
You’ve thought about what to pack, but what about how to pack for a family holiday? You probably feel like you need to take everything but the kitchen sink so it’s important to pack well in order to fit things in. Here are some of our top family holiday packing tips:
- Roll clothing: you’ll fit more in! You will also find clothes crease less if you roll when packing.
- Wear your heaviest clothes and shoes: this will save weight in your case. If you want to take one pair of trainers, wear these to travel. Keep lighter sandals and flip flops in the case.
- Pack inside: socks in shoes, clothes in hats etc. pack within other items to save space.
- Place heavy items at the bottom: this will make suitcases easier to wheel. It’s a simple fix but one that could really help when you’re trying to manoeuvre with the whole family’s cases.
What to Pack for a Family Road Trip
Now we’ve covered the basics for a family summer holiday packing list, it’s time to think about specific items that you might need for certain types of trip. Long car journeys can be a challenge with kids so it’s really important to think about your road trip packing essentials. Here’s our checklist for a family road trip:
- GPS and/or map – it helps to know where you’re going! It’s always useful to have a good old fashioned map stashed in the car just in case of any technology failures.
- Cool bag or box – keep your food at the right temperature on the journey.
- Emergency breakdown kit – essential for road safety, make sure you always carry a breakdown kit.
- Torch – another item useful for emergencies.
- Battery pack – to keep your phone and other electronic devices charged up.
Road trip with toddlers or children: what to take?
Now you have nailed packing for a family road trip, it’s time to make sure the little ones stay happy and entertained so you can focus on the drive. If you’re tackling a road trip with children and wondering what to pack, here are our family road trip packing essentials:
- Kids’ movies: load up your tablet or portable DVD player with some films to keep the children entertained.
- Car seats: essential for safety, so make sure you have a suitable car seat for each child’s age and size. Comfort is important too, so take a look at your car seats and see if there’s anything you can do to increase the comfort.
- Magnetic games: really useful for keeping hold of all the pieces while travelling.
- Colouring books and activity books: another quiet activity that can keep little ones busy.
- Sickness bags: just in case!
- Healthy snacks and drinks: avoid too much sugar!
What to Pack for a Family Holiday Abroad
Travelling abroad presents a few extra challenges for the travelling family. However, most of the things you’ll need to take are covered in our travel checklist above. The only extras are of course:
- Boarding passes
So your family holiday abroad checklist will be just like your general family holiday checklist. Don’t forget kids’ sun cream too! When travelling overseas with babies, toddlers or children, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with certain things. For example, how much can you take on the plane – most airlines allow a pushchair or stroller and sometimes a car seat to be taken as luggage. It’s also worth doing some research so you’re aware of how to make up formula in the country you’re visiting. Sometimes boiled water is fine for drinking but it’s best to check.
What to Pack for a Family Camping Trip
The great outdoors provides some valuable learning experiences for children so it’s no wonder lots of families plan camping trips. If you’re wondering what to pack for a family camping holiday then you’ve come to the right place. Our packing list for family camping along with our general holiday checklist will help you to prepare. Here are the things to pack for a family camping trip:
- Tent (inner, outer, pegs etc)
- Dustpan & brush
- Sleeping bags
- Fold up table
- Fold up chairs
- Cooking implements, pots, pans & cutlery
- Water carrier
- Bin bags
- Duct tape
- Ear plugs
- Toilet roll
What to Pack for a Family Trip to the Beach
Our family beach holiday checklist covers those little extras you’ll need when planning a trip to the seaside. Here’s what to take on a family beach holiday:
- UV suits (for kids)
- Sun hats
- Beach towels
- Swim goggles
- Sea shoes
- Bucket & spade
- Fishing net
- UV tent
As you can see, family holidays do take some planning but they’re well worth it. Get prepared early, make sure you ‘pack’ plenty of patience and smiles, and above all enjoy making memories that last a lifetime.