Written by: Shani Fowler
The hope – Gliding through the airport looking rather cool and dapper. The kids are impeccably behaved, you are confident that your passports, tickets and money are in an orderly fashion in your hand luggage and you’re ready to wave off your cases (in the hope you reunite the other end of course). Now where’s the departure lounge – you’re ready for the relaxation and recuperation to begin!
The reality – Arriving at the airport looking as if Worzel Gummidge has fashioned you and your family, whilst praying that the passports and everything else somehow made it into your bag. Then joining (the very end of) the rather long queue shushing the kids who are only too happy to tell anyone who will listen that they are hungry/bored and tired! Your mind can’t help fretting as to whether you turned off the iron/cooker/water.
Holidays are meant to be relaxing, but getting them off to a good start can be anything but. In our very busy lives we have to think ahead when we are going on holiday – making it as stress free as possible is all about the preparation. Make lists of things you need to get, do and pack before you head off. Think of it as a timeline.
A few weeks before
Make a list of the things you don’t have but will need, if possible start to get those items. Not just the essential clothes shopping we all like to do, but items such as sun creams, toiletries, medical essentials and if you take prescription drugs make sure that you will have enough stock to take. Ensure you have secured insurance and secured parking or transport to the airport. Very importantly check that all your passports are valid. Also if you have any pets that have to be looked after by kennels or cattery, get them booked in – the earlier the better especially at peak times.
I am sure I am not alone in hating packing! The job can be made much easier when you have a list and tick off the items as you put them in – that way you hopefully won’t start looking to pack something you already have in there. Make a list for each member of the family and the essential packing for that person. You can make main categories. Generally you would need, underwear, nightwear, beachwear, footwear, going out clothes, towels and hats, break each of the categories down. Aside of clothing essentials, you need to put items on the list such as sunglasses, phone chargers, hair straighteners/tongs, accessories and make-up as well as toiletries and a first aid bag. Also things for your entertainment like books, magazines, toys, etc.
Just before you go
Before you head off you need to be sure the house is going to be in one piece when you get back. If possible the day before, close and lock all windows to save time on the day you leave. When you leave – check that all the lights are off; any plugs that can be switched off are off, water turned off at the mains if possible. Set the alarm as you leave. If you can – leave a key with a family member/neighbour for emergencies.
Try to take as many nappies/wipes as you can with you, items like these are often quite expensive abroad. Also pack some in hand luggage as you are often allowed 10Kg, you can fill a kids bag with nappies and wipes, saving baggage allowance for those shoes you really want to take! If you have a lengthy travel time, make sure tablets are charged to the max as they will keep the kids entertained in what can be a boring excursion for them. Also if your child has a favourite teddy for the night time don’t forget to pack it. Our lives would have been murder without Skinny Legs boarding an aircraft and checking in at the hotel!
Being as prepared as possible is important, though the pointers above are not exhaustive, it is a little guide to most essentials that might get you off to a successful start; but also cut yourself a bit of slack. Everyone inevitably forgets something at some point, unless you are going to the back of beyond it is unlikely you won’t be able to get hold of what need. Remember if you chant the mantra “tickets, passport, money” and you have them – you are at least going to get there!