Travelling with kids can bring such pleasure and joy to all, but it can also be a source of worry and nervous energy. Packing especially can lead to pre-trip tension; whilst you don’t want to overpack, you want to know that you have all the essential items to keep your kids happy, safe, comfortable, and content whilst on vacation.
Although it is often pretty easy to find things that you may have forgotten in your destination once you arrive, knowing that you’re ahead of the game will not only save you stress when you arrive, but it will also save you from having to fork out needlessly to replace items that you already have, albeit at home.
Here’s what to pack when travelling with kids:
Of course, you’ll want appropriate clothes for your children, with enough spare sets in case of accidents. Kids spill things, tramp through muddy puddles, fall over, and generally get their clothes dirty a lot more than adults! The clothes that you pack will be based on the climate of your holiday destination and the activities that you intend doing.
Don’t forget underwear, socks, and spares! Plus, clothes for sleeping and a spare set of PJs or nightdress.
Even if you’re heading to a sunny and warm destination, pack at least one long pair of pants and a sweater for your children. Temperatures can dip at night, and it’s better to be prepared. And, if you’re visiting a cold destination, pack clothes that can be layered, rather than just heavy, thick, and bulky items. Don’t forget the extremities when heading to cold places – gloves, hats, scarves, and thick socks really can make a lot of difference.
A great tip is to also throw in a small emergency stash of hand-washing powder or liquid. You can quickly wash through any items that have been dirtied, preventing the worry of kids running out of clothes when on vacation, and also, removing the bulk of dirt and stains at the time it happens can save you hassle when you return home with cartloads of washing to do.
Even if you’re visiting a colder destination, the sun can at times be quite powerful. The sun can be especially dazzling on skiing trips – it’s not only the beaches where you’ll be thankful you remembered the sunnies! Your kids will be a lot more comfortable, making your trip smoother.
As with clothes, the footwear will depend on the destination, climate, and activities. Pack at least two pairs of suitable footwear per child, allowing for wet shoes, breakages, and blisters. A pair of jelly shoes or flip flops for the beach are recommended – who wants sand in their trainers?!
Basic First Aid Kit
Whilst you will hope that your kids don’t fall sick or get injured whilst on vacation, a basic first aid kit takes up relatively little space in your luggage but can add so much to your peace of mind. It also means that you don’t have the hassle of running out to find things if you need them; you’re already prepared. Kids’ painkillers and cough syrup, tweezers, insect-bite relief cream, antihistamines, antiseptic, plasters, and small bandages plus safety pins are amongst the essential items. Motion sickness tablets are also highly recommended. If your children have any regular medications, be sure to take plenty to last throughout your trip, plus spares for emergencies. For example, having a second reserve inhaler will be invaluable if one is lost. Take along copies of any prescriptions too to make replacing items easier too if needed.
Kids can sometimes find falling asleep in new places difficult, but having their best bedtime buddy tucked up in bed with them can help them to feel more secure and at ease.
Nobody is saying to pack a library, but having a few books to keep kids entertained is a top idea. Settle them with a bedtime story, let older kids read to the younger kids, and give books to children to read or flick through looking at the pictures on long bus rides or plane journeys. You could even consider packing a children’s travel guide to make their holidays more meaningful and interesting.
Toys and Games
A few small items to keep children amused and entertained in the hotel room, whilst waiting for meals in restaurants, and when on transport can really save you a lot of headaches. There are many travel games on the market, perfect for fun family vacations.
Pack your toiletries, your sense of fun, and have a fab family vacation!