Updated: Jun 27, 2021
I admit that I was glued to Marie Kondo's series on Netflix when it seemed to sweep the world. It was strangely soothing to see her to transform people's cluttered homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration. I even spent an entire weekend doing the same to my own home. Some of the tricks stuck and became a habit but the majority fell by the wayside and that sense of satisfaction at seeing a drawer of neatly rolled up kids tops, color coded and cross referenced for occasion was, sadly, a one off event. However I took those half learned lessons and applied them to packing for family holidays which use dot be the chore that filled me with dread before any adventure. So here are my (and Marie's tips)...
1.Ziploc bags are your best friend
When you are packing for your children, plan their outfits for each day and place them in individual Ziploc bags. After the clothes are worn, simply place them back in the bag .You can label the bags for different occasions, marking them off as 'dirty' when they have been used. This way, getting them dressed each morning is quick and easy, with the added bonus of having a clothes-free floor and a jump start on the post-holiday washing.
2.Don't panic over lost documents
Have you ever experienced the terror of losing your plane tickets? Even if they were in your hand the whole time? We've all had our mini meltdowns in the check-in line at the airport. One sure way to ease the stress of keeping track of your itinerary paperwork is to make several copies and pack them in each piece of luggage, or you can take photos of all your documents and store them in your iphones, tablets and laptops. You can relax knowing that you will always have a back up. 3.Keep your hands free of clutter
Invest in a few large Carabiners and attach them to the outside your carry on luggage. This will ensure that you will always have your child's necessities (sippy cups, teddy bears, hats) within reach. Your hands will be free at all times and you won't have to waste time picking a quiet spot in the airport to dump everything on the floor to look for Mr. Snuffles.
4.Spread the load
Giving the younger members of your travelling troupe some small responsibility can be beneficial for everyone. Grab a small bag and encourage your child to pack it for themselves. It's important to give them guidelines on what is suitable to pack, you wouldn't want to get to the airport only to discover the pet hamster hidden away in their bag! Allow them to pack one small toy, a book, some crayons and a small blanket for the plane. Don't forget to include a sun hat and sunglasses in your instructions if you are travelling to a hot destination. Not only will your child feel much more grown-up, it also means that you don't have to root through your bag every five minutes.
Always remember to pack Baby Powder when travelling to beach resorts. After a long day making castles, (which often escalates to burying each other in the sand), one of the most common complaints from children is that they are itchy from all of the tiny grains stuck to their clothes. Try as you may, the sand will never go away. It will follow you home and haunt you for weeks! Baby Powder resolves this quickly and effectively. It soaks up moisture and the sand just falls away. 6.Toiletries for the whole family
If you are travelling on a sun holiday, make sure you have enough sun screen and after-care lotion first and fore-most! We're afraid there are no short cuts when it comes to protecting your skin from the sun. Now that the essentials are out of the way, we can try to whittle down some of the things that take up space in your luggage that you do not necessarily need. Where possible, try to pack products that are suitable for everyone, (ie; shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothpaste), and pack them into one bag that can be left in the bathroom for convenience. While teenagers may be put out, do try to remind them that hair straighteners are rarely needed on holidays. Depending on your budget, an alternative would be to buy inexpensive products once you arrive and discard them before you make the return journey. You'll have more space and won't have to deal with any shampoo mess.
If you would like to keep your children entertained on long flights while, at the same, create some lasting memories, why not pack a journal that the whole family can add to? It doesn't take up much space and will serve as a great memento of your family trip for years to come. It's also a great way to tackle the post-holiday blues on the flight home.