Possible decisions on several things by now: destination, flights, picked your accommodations and got yourself some cheap family travel insurance. Looks like the only thing you’ve got left to do is the p-word: Packing.
As we all know, the 25kg weight rule airlines have is seemingly impossible to comply with. This makes it hard for the average family to fit in those guidelines. What we want you to understand, is that packing for a family holiday doesn’t have to be a nightmare. What you are able to bring can make or break a trip, that is a fact. Check out this list of dos and don’ts to help ensure the latter doesn’t happen.
• Give each one of your children a personal backpack. Toss in a change of clothes, all electronics, a water bottle, a snack and some toys – as long as you make sure it’s not too heavy for them (because you know you’ll be the one lugging it around if it is). Doing this can ensure they’ll have lots to do on the plane ride. The spare clothes will come in if you have a spill-prone kid, plus having the backpack around will be great for long days out once you arrive at your destination.
• Give your back a break and pack lightly – you probably only need to bring half of what you think you need. A good rule of thumb when it comes to packing for children is planning complete outfits. One for each day you’ll be away plus one extra in case of accidents is usually more than enough.
• Make multiple copies of your holiday itinerary and put one in every piece of luggage – if you misplace one, you’ve got extras. It’s also helpful to make sure home address, hotel addresses and flight details are in each bag as well. If a piece of luggage happens to get lost, it can easily be sent back to the rightful owner. (Stolen or lost luggage is annoyingly frequent. Make sure to sort out some cheap family travel insurance in case it happens.)
• Divvy up each family member’s clothes and put some in all suitcases so that if a bag is lost, everyone still has something to wear.
• Don’t pack medication into your checked bags. Keep it in a carry-on in the emergency that a bag gets lost.
• Don’t pack last minute. It just adds unnecessary stress and some people sure to forget something – leave adequate time to pack properly.
• Don’t bring full-sized toiletries. Save room and keep bags light by bringing travel-sized soap, shampoo and conditioner.
• Don’t pack everything into one large suitcase. You’ll be without all your belongings if your bag gets lost – plus it’s going to be exceptionally heavy to lug around. Get a couple medium-sized suitcases instead.
• Don’t forget to check how easy (or difficult) it is to man-oeuvre your luggage. Take a stroll around the block with your packed bags to test what it’ll be like travelling abroad with them, and consider reorganizing if they’re too heavy.
Packing properly can alleviate an enormous portion of travel-related stress. So can investing in appropriate and cheap family travel insurance (make sure it covers the entire family, plus any luggage and technology you bring). With all that done and dusted, you and your family can pack your stress away and unpack a world of foreign fun.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, annual and cheap family travel insurance. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.