Packing is something that I am good at. I enjoy it and generally once I have my lists done, it doesn’t take long. I’m a light packer. I can pack myself and Himself into one case for a week away. If we’re doing a weekend trip, one small bag is plenty. And I can do a trip alone with tiny carry on. I have been known to arrive in London with my toothbrush, clean knickers and a tee-shirt tucked into my handbag.
Packing for the four of us to go on holidays has never been hard either. Simply because we’ve never ventured beyond Ireland, and so we’ve had the luxury of the boot of the car and as much space as we need.
So this year, going on our first sun holiday as a family, has presented Mammy with a new challenge. And I must say that thanks to the Mammies on my blog, I have gathered some super tips to add to my own packy-hacks:
- Lists: Plan ahead. I write down what will be worn/needed by everyone for the number of nights we’re away. Then I add a spare outfit for the girls, just incase.
- Mix up the bags: I had planned on a case for us and a case for the girls. We have one each, but I’m not lugging 4 cases and a pushchair through the airports. Loads of Mums told me to mix all of the clothes between the cases, and if one gets lost or delayed, at least everyone still has clothes when we arrive.
- Check-in? If you arrive at your resort early, your room/apartment might not be ready. Pack swimming gear and sun cream in one of the carry on bags so that you can go straight to the pool while you wait for your check-in.
- Ziplock bags: THIS has changed my life Ladybelles. Thanks to Davina from Jim for this one. She advised me to pack the kids clothes into these. So for each evening, I have their dresses, underwear, socks etc that they’ll need for going out for dinner in little bags. It will avoid the suitcases turning into chaotic pits of “I can’t find it!” I have their shorts and Tees and Swimmers and PJs labeled in their bags too, so The Him will be able to easily find things too. (I’ve since been directed to little sets of case organisers that can be bought in different colours and have it on good authority that they are super. Next year maybe!)
- Pop-up tent: My mate is a serial beach goer. This is her tip. Bring a little pop up tent. We have a little wigwam in the hall. It cost a tenner. It folds down to nothing and if it fits, it’s going into one of the cases. It’ll provide shade for the girls, means they can play in it if it gets too hot on the beach and if nappies need changed, I have privacy to change them! Genius.
- Backpacks: Now, my girls have flown a few times, but only short flights. I’ve always packed little colouring books and some snacks into their bags to keep them occupied. This time, I’ve packed a few more and have a few wee surprises for them for emergency distractions! (Euroshops are Wicked for this kind of stuff.)
- Downloads: Did you know that you can download from your Netflix account? I have my tablet stocked up with episodes of Ben & Holly and Little Baby Bum and a few movies.
- Snack packs: Now this one I initially scoffed at, but let’s face it, children eat ALL DAY and snacks are expensive. So, I have done up a snack pack for each day; popcorn, raisins, pops, Haribo, Biscuits; their favourites. And while of course we’ll be able to get this stuff there, to know that I have the bags ready to pop into the buggy each morning is great. And the whole lot cost me €7. So we’ll save our money for drinks and ice-creams.
- Lollipops and chewy sweets: Life saver for the ears of the Minions on take-off and landing.
- Travel sized stuff: Who doesn’t love mini-stuff? Over the past few weeks, I’ve picked up my moisturiser and some of my makeup bits simply by asking for samples at the counters. There’s enough suncream to carry without jars and pots. I even got a lovely face mask from one lovely lady. I tend to leave the makeup at home on hols, opting instead for basic concealer, bronzer and mascara. And I decant my shampoo and conditioner into the little plastic bottles too.
- Keep hand luggage minimal. The girls have their little bags, I have my handbag with a few nappies and a packet of wipes, and Him will have a small carry on with a change of clothes for both girls, calpol and more snacks!
- Midnight Flit? If you are lifting your minions out of bed to travel, either put them to bed in their tracksuits or comfies. (If you can!)
- Pillow Cases: Pack 2 pillowcases. Use them as laundry bags; one for lights, one for darks/colours. Easier to carry the washing home and easier to unpack. (I swear by this one. Works a treat.)
- Beds: Before we go, I’ll change the beds. Pain in the posterier as you try to get out the door, but just think of how lovely it is to get back into your own nice, clean bed after a week away. I’ll be glad of it when we return.
These are only a few of the many, many I got sent. I’m sure there are many more you would add. Some might tut at my over preparation, but I’m one of those people who needs my shit to be together, for my mind to stay together. I’ll relax more knowing that I have the essentials sorted. And anything that we forgot can be bought there. Mammies tend to do all the sorting don’t we? But this Mammy believes that preparation is key and I know that when we get there, I WILL relax, because I’ve put in the work at home!
All I need to do now is to make sure there’s a few beers in the fridge for the Big Wee Brother who’s moving in to babysit the Furbaby. And get there!
Happy Holidays to you if you’re going away. Share away at your own packing-hacks!