What you need to pack inside your child’s suitcase
When you go on a family holiday it feels like you need to pack the kitchen sink: shorts in case it’s warm; coats if it rains; toys to keep the youngsters entertained indoors; toys to keep them entertained outdoors.
The list could be endless.
So here’s a guide to packing light, with some tips for handling the necessities, and being as prepared as possible for your break away.
Children will need an outfit for each day of the holiday – an outfit and a half for younger children in case of any accidents. A great tip is to pack each day’s set of clothes in a separate zip lock bag; it saves rummaging around every morning and can be used to pack wet or dirty clothes too. If you’re going for longer than a week you can use another zip lock bag for some washing powder and give last week’s clothes a quick clean in the sink.
When packing toiletries, save space in your child’s suitcase by using mini travel bottles. We’ve also discovered Doddle Bags, reusable robust pouches that are ideal for transporting shampoo and conditioner (they hold up to 100ml so they’re perfect for flying too). Alternatively the same pouches can be used for juice or even baby food.
A mini first aid kit can be handy (we like the idea of including stickers or temporary tattoos to reward well behaved patients), and hand sanitiser is always useful when you’re out and about. Don’t pack scissors in the kit if you will be flying.
Toys and games
It’s always a good idea to have something to keep children busy at the beach, or quiet in the evenings. A variety is nice but you don’t need to pack the whole toy box. The more versatile toys that children can use to make up their own games will have a longer life than more prescriptive toys.
For active outdoor play there are lots of travel friendly options like small bottles of bubbles or a skipping rope. An inflatable ball is a good choice and won’t take up much room at all. We like the BubaBloon, a canvas cover than converts any balloon into a light weight ball. It’s washable, you don’t need a pump and if it gets popped you can simply use another balloon.
When you’re settling down for the evening, waiting in a restaurant or travelling around to see the sights, it is handy to have a few toys and games for bite-sized entertainment. Packs of playing cards can be used for a range of games that everyone can join in with. Activity books are ideal for keeping children busy; you can print off your own activity sheets to save money, and plastic travel soap dishes are perfect for transporting small pencils or crayons. Some small favourite toys can distract children for a while and they will love taking their Sylvanian rabbit to the beach or driving their fastest car around the caravan.
It can be risky to take precious toys or security blankets on holiday in case they get lost (although many parents will have a few spares!), but children will still need something to comfort them in the strange new place they are visiting. If you can, persuade your child to bring their second favourite toy along for an adventure, while their special toy stays at home and looks after their bedroom. Let them sleep with the new toy before it goes on the trip with them so that it gets that comforting scent their favourite toy already has. Alternatively you could invest in a Snuggle Sac, a sleeping bag designed to replace normal bedding. They are super cosy and will give your child familiarity whenever they sleep somewhere new.
One big question when packing might be whether or not to take a tablet device. On the one hand, going on holiday could be an opportunity to get the family away from screens and spending some quality time together. On the other, apps can be a good way for parents to get a bit of peace. This one’s up to you, but we believe that as long as screen time is managed and children don’t miss out on other activities, you needn’t feel guilty about packing a tablet.
Remember though, it’s your holiday too! Take some time to yourself and don’t feel like you have to be constantly occupying the youngsters – it’s good for children to get bored and learn how to entertain themselves.
Photo Credit:apps, dobble, doddlecreation, sylvanian families, tablet, Travel, travel campaign
This post was written by Anna Taylor