Packing for your trip might initially seem like one of the less important tasks on your holiday to-do list, shunted to the bottom somewhere below booking your accommodation and figuring out how you’ll get to the airport. However, anyone that’s arrived in a destination only to find they have left an essential item back home will agree that making a comprehensive check-list a few days in advance and taking the time to run through it carefully when you pack your bag can save a whole lot of hassle and frustration. Most importantly, it means your holiday will start off on the right foot as opposed to trawling the local shops trying to track down a replacement.
If creating a packing checklist for one can be a challenge, travelling with a family in tow ups the ante that little bit more – particularly if you are taking young children away with you. In order to help save your organisational skills for more exciting concerns such as which attractions you’ll be visiting whilst away and how exactly you’ll be getting to the beach, we’ve put together the ultimate family packing checklist – get that pen at the ready…
- Passports: Check you have all the family passports as well as copies scanned and saved in an email folder just in case they go walkabout while you’re away.
- Boarding passes: Print boarding passes before you reach the airport, where printing costs can be high, or ensure you have them downloaded to a relevant app.
- Driving license: If you’re planning to hire a vehicle or take yours with you on your trip.
- Reservations: Ensure you print out any accommodation reservations as well as keeping your electronic copies safe – just in case there is any confusion or difficulty connecting to the Internet whilst abroad.
- Bank cards/cash: Don’t forget to inform your bank if you’re heading off abroad so that they don’t suspect suspicious activity when someone tries to withdraw a large sum of money in Bangkok.
- Keys: As well as safely stashing away the house keys, make sure you bring any keys for suitcase locks too.
- Phone and charger: Always good to have in case of emergencies. If you’re planning on driving for some time, remember to add some playlists onto your phone, and bring the right cable to hook it up in the car.
- Camera and charger: For recording all those incredible memories.
- Medical kit: Any family prescriptions should be taken along, as well as some basics such as Calpol for little ones, painkillers, plasters, antiseptic, bite cream and diarrhoea medicine.
- Sunglasses: So that you can drive safely as well as soak up the rays without giving yourself a headache from squinting. Choose sunglasses with UV protection to ensure your eyes are protected.
- Toiletries: Anything you use on a day-to-day basis such as deodorant, toothbrush, razors and moisturisers. Then add sun cream and insect repellant to the mix, too.
- Clothing: This will wholly depend on your destination and could range from sun hats and swimming costumes to ski jackets and layers. However, save space by rolling clothes instead of folding, wearing your bulkiest items to travel, and remember – nobody needs that many pairs of shoes.
- Plug converter: As there’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to charge any of your devices.
- Travel pillow and sarong: From a beach blanket to extra layer on board a chilly flight, sarongs have a multitude of uses and are light enough to take up hardly any space.
For little ones
- Feeding items: As well as baby food, their favourite utensils and a bottle or sippy cup, don’t forget to stock up on a few bibs and pack a couple of changes of clothing if you have a long flight ahead of you.
- Changing items: Pack your baby bag with nappies and all the relevant creams, powders and wipes that you might need.
- Toys and games: Keeping the kids entertained whilst travelling and on holiday will be a lot easier with some of their favourite toys and games at your disposable.
- Sling/carseat and/or light pushchair: Check with your airline before you choose what to take – some will allow parents to bring one or two of these items for free. Some also offer additional hold luggage allowance for small children.
Finally, don’t forget to add travel insurance to your to-do list. It may not be the most exciting purchase you’ll make for your holiday, but it’s essential in order to make sure you and your family are covered should one of you have an accident, fall sick or your luggage goes missing. Some insurers even offer a family plan so you can get the very best value for money.