There’s nothing worse than travelling with kids who get bored easily or are prone to kicking up a bit of a fuss, only to realise you’ve left their favourite entertainment choice at home. From making sure you have that European Health Card on hand, to packing up hand luggage with entertainment and worst-case-scenario in mind, here are our tips on packing effectively when travelling with the family.
Packing for family travel – hand luggage
Familiarise Yourself With Restrictions And Limits Before You Pack
Before you even break out the suitcase, it’s best to get yourself familiar with all of the weight limits, liquid restrictions and any policies there might be relating to medications, baby equipment and more. In most cases, you can bring liquids such as baby formula and baby food within reasonable quantities in your check-in luggage, but you’ll need to make sure this is the case with your chosen airline. Some airlines might also charge extra for checked-in buggies, car seats, cribs and more, so do your research to make sure you aren’t caught out at the last second.
Be Smart When Packing Hand Luggage
Every traveller is allowed a bag for hand luggage on most flights, and this can be a great way to keep the important things with you at all times. If you’re clever about where you pack things like chargers, travel documents including passports and EHIC cards, medications and other must-have items, you can split this between the bags without going over weight limits. For kids, make sure their bags have enough entertainment for the length of the flight, including a few snacks, a tablet with apps that don’t require internet, any toys they want to bring and anything else they’re likely to enjoy from the comfort of their seat.
In a similar way to packing your hand luggage, try and cross-pack your suitcases. While it’s a natural response to start packing a suitcase each, having something for everyone in all of the cases will ensure that no one goes without if a case gets lost. If it’s easier to keep a case per person (for example, if you’re in separate rooms at the hotel), you could reduce this to just packing an extra outfit or two into your partner or children’s cases just in case.
Realise That ‘The Essentials’ For Kids Are Different
While every traveller will need things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, pyjamas and clothes, kids need a few extra things you might not think of initially. Things like a water bottle and snacks can help reduce your outgoing spend while travelling, and entertainment is a must to prevent boredom. Even a book of stamps and addresses can come in useful for your kids if they want to send postcards while you’re abroad. You know your kids best, so make sure you’re packing the things they’re likely to ask for if they get bored while travelling.
Consider Renting Bulky Gear
If you’re travelling with young children or babies, then you could benefit from renting out things like buggies and cribs while you’re overseas. Most hotels will provide a crib of sorts if you call them in advance, and in some cases, may even have buggies on hand. There are also additional external services that will deliver different supplies to your hotel, depending on where you’re staying. If you don’t feel comfortable with renting out gear, you could invest in lightweight alternatives while at home, such as an umbrella stroller, portable crib and a baby carrier.
Travelling as a family can seem like a stressful thing to do, but when you prepare and pack correctly, it can be more of a breeze than you might expect. From packing the right things, to renting out bulky equipment abroad, hopefully these tips have given you a strong place to start.