Packing for a family holiday


Remember when holidays were all about relaxation? Sun, sea, sand, maybe a spa treatment, some shopping and sangria? As a parent, these things can seem like distant memories. The “relaxed holiday” brief probably disappeared around the time that spontaneity made a getaway, too. Nowadays, everything probably feels a little too rushed, and the prospect of packing for a holiday is just one more thing to stress about.

Sound familiar? Utilising a checklist may remove some of the hassle associated with packing and it may be useful to take inspiration from the following information:


Tempting though it may be to pile in as many clothes as possible, it’s wise to try and stick to one outfit per day, plus one spare and finally something a little more formal if you plan to eat out one night. For summer holidays, each traveller will need a swimsuit, towel, sunglasses and sunhat. Shoes can take up a lot of space in a suitcase, so try and limit yourself to two pairs – wear the bulkiest pair when you travel and pack a smaller pair, plus flipflops if required.


It’s important to remember that any liquids need to be less than 100ml if you’re travelling by air. You will need shampoo/conditioner, shower gel, deodorants and sunscreen, plus a small first aid kit and Calpol, just in case. If travelling with babies, you may also need nappy creams or moisturisers.

Hand luggage

Keep your passports in your carry on and pack everything else around them. Remember to change your money into foreign currency before going to the airport (better rates!) and also consider taking your purse/wallet, phone/Kindle, any necessary medication, paracetamol/ibuprofen, guide book, hand sanitiser and wet wipes on board with you.

Extras for the children

It’s funny how the smallest members of the family are those that need the most luggage! However, it’s wise to take extra entertainment for the journey, even if it does mean lugging an extra bag around. A tablet or portable DVD player and charger is a handy thing to have, a few healthy snacks for the journey always go down well and a travel pillow/blanket is a must for longer journeys. Obviously, you will need to remember bottles/milk if you have a bottle-fed baby or toddler.

Don’t forget your European health insurance card!

Try not to panic if you’re prone to forgetfulness – the majority of items will be available to purchase wherever you are headed, so it usually isn’t a disaster if something is left behind. However, there are obviously a few essentials that you must remember, namely the passports and EHIC cards. Once they are located (that’s often the tricky part!) and packed safely away into your hand luggage, you can begin to relax, safe in the knowledge that you are at least able to get to your destination, and have the security of subsidised healthcare while you are there.

Photo: Marton Mere Swimming Pool by havenholidays licensed under Creative commons 2