As we are now on our 5th trip away this year, I like to think I’ve got the packing shizzle sussed. I won’t lie, while I usually love making lists etc, it is a bit of a faff but I like to get organised, otherwise I’m like the mum in Home Alone, running through a mental list of all the things I haven’t done (I have just told Miller that if he doesn’t go to sleep right now we might leave him behind too!) and I prefer to leave the house not feeling chaotic. So here’s a few of my tips that may come in useful:
Don’t overthink it: We are only checking in one large case for our upcoming trip to Croatia (that covers 2 adults, a kid and a baby). While it can be tempting to pack every outfit, in case of all weathers, I keep it simple – some might say brutal – with only clothes that can be worn every day making the cut, reusable swim nappies (he hasn’t done a poo in one yet wahoo!) instead of packs taking up lots of space, and I buy regular nappies and baby formula abroad. We have kindles instead of books, Millers ipad is locked and loading (not pointing to North Korea!) and I sterilise Fletcher’s bottles and dummies with a kettle and boiling water once we arrive.
Toiletries in the main hold: That way you can stroll through security instead of getting your toothpaste out and faffing with clear plastic bags.
Take a crap buggy: We have a Maclaren Stroller which is something of a workhorse in this family. It’s faithfully survived every holiday, first with Miller, now with Fletcher, meaning our expensive buggy stays in good condition at home (those baggage handlers can be brutal)
Know your allowance: An infant (under 2) sits on your lap for the flight, but you are allowed one piece of hand luggage for them (usually, check with airline) and you can also take a car seat and pushchair to the gate too. We never bother with a car seat, oh what dare devils!) as babies are allowed to sit on your lap if you are in a taxi or a coach, so we just reckon its one less thing to carry.
Handy hand luggage: We usually take a backpack which has snacks, nappies, milk , toys etc in & put our boarding passes, money, phones and passports in the front pocket (don’t rob us if you see us)
Lookin Sharp: If we fly at night I put the boys in onesies so they sleep on the plane and change before landing. If we fly in the day I usually take a change of clothes and a change of top for me, after the incident where Miller puked on me and I had to wash my white t-shirt on board, and sit like I had started the wet t-shirt competition early for 2 ours. Yay.
Unleash your Anthea Turner: I’m no domestic goddess, but I like to get on top of my washing / ironing and tidy out the fridge, run round with the hoover before we go, so that you return to a clean home, ready to tackle the washing piles you’ve got again!
Negotiate: I like to start collecting a few parent points early, filling up the ipad with iplayer programs, doing the majority of the packing etc. As when you get on holiday it is more like a relay between you and your partner. Whose turn is it to do naptime, whose turn to play in the pool, whose has to sit with the baby on the flight, you get the picture. Strengthen your negotiating position before you go, and if all else fails, don’t worry, the drinks trolley will be with you very soon!
Enjoy it: Bit cheesy, but it’s so nice to make new memories together I want my boys to be adventurous and get out there to experience the world, so I do all I can to make it seem a little less daunting for them.
Basically in a nutshell, pack light, pack even lighter, tidy up a bit, have a few drinks and enjoy your trip!