You know how it is. Your flight is in 6 hours and while you’re excited about jetting off on your hols, procrastination gets the better of you and you’ve barely packed a pair of knickers let alone a weeks worth of floaty dresses, anti humidity shampoo and sky high wedges.
Well, that was me – now I have kids. And despite the fact that we were off on a family holiday to France, not Timbuktu, it’s always a worry that you’ll forget something vital (case in point was a portable booster seat, because France doesn’t have high chairs – I know, nuts).
Nowadays, packing starts weeks in advance. Particularly as my husband has a penchant for taking holidays outside of “standard” holiday times. This is mainly because his busiest work period is during school holidays so we tend to avoid going away between early July and September.
Have you ever tried looking for shorts or sunhats in November? Yeah, good luck!
Luckily, I’ve learnt my lesson and now stock up on different sizes throughout the year so none of that last minute rush for sunsuits and swim hats puts a downer on my holiday.
The first few times that we flew with BB, we flew with proper charter airlines, this would be our first Ryanair flight. Which meant, unless we paid extra, no luggage allowance for BB so we split his clothes and additional things between myself and Mr’s luggage.
Despite writing lists galore, and bearing in mind our flight was at 6:30am, meaning we had to be at the airport by 4:30am, we were still packing at 11pm. In fact, this is what our dining room looked like.
A few months previous, a friend of mine had asked for my prep list for her first family holiday. So I sent it, and her response was “Shit, thank fuck that I text you. I hadn’t thought of half of this crap!”.
Leading on from that, I thought I’d compile a list of hints and tips that I’ve found helpful along the way.
- If you are going on a summer holiday in summer try to keep some things for your child separate, or don’t be tempted to wear anything new that you may have bought. This reduces the chances of a mad, last minute washing machine run praying that your stuff will dry in time before you leave.
- Think about buying Factor 50 in the winter when it goes on sale and keeping it somewhere safe.
- Buy seasonal appropriate stuff in the sale the season before.
- Have a stash of toiletries unopened ready to go so that you don’t have to worry about running out when you’re away.
The actual packing – main suitcase
- Kids stuff generally folds down really well so takes up minimal space. Until recently, we’ve used a hand luggage sized suitcase for BB.
- A pack of 24 nappies are always thrown in to our suitcase just in case. I know everywhere has nappies but you never know.
- Make sure you have a coming home outfit packed away, generally slightly warmer clothes for landing in the U.K. Where it’ll inevitably be 50gazillion degrees colder than where you’ve been, even though it’s August.
- If your baby is formula fed, you can order in advance to Boots at the airport to pick up your formula. I never rely on airport stock so always have a box of formula packed away.
- Unless you’re going somewhere cooler, leave the vests at home (apart from one for the journey home). As well as helping babies adjust to the heat, it also means less laundry on return.
- If taking surprises for the journey for your little ones, don’t forget to pack some for the return leg!
- The 100ml of liquids doesn’t apply to milk or water for babies. You may need to sample it at security, but bear in mind you may have a long journey to the airport, plus time in the airport, a bottle for take off to stop ears hurting and then a journey at the other end. That’s potentially a lot of feeds! So take as much as you need but keep it easily accessible for security.
- Pack a blanket. Flights can get pretty cold and it can help babies relax if they have something that smells like home with them.
- An iPad fully loaded with kids series. BB doesn’t have access to the iPad at home, but on long journeys we are happy to sacrifice our sanity for hours upon hours of Hey Duggee.
- Snacks! Lots of them! Any snacks! May be an idea to stay away from anything sugary though – just in case.
- If you are travelling at babies bed time, pack PJ’s and anything else you may need for the normal bedtime routine.
- A spare outfit. Oh poonami’s never happened to you? Well they might, pack some spares!
- Enough nappies to see you to your destination. The usual 2 or 3 that you take to lunch may not hack it!
- If your baby/toddler is weaned, some food pouches are great for ear pressure if your baby doesn’t want to have a bottle or a drink for take off or landing.
- You read it everywhere, but take something new for the flight. Be it a book, magazine or toy! It should keep your little one entertained a little longer than something they’re already familiar with.
I’m hoping someone stumbles across this post and finds it interesting! Have a feeling I’ll be referring back to it soon enough.