9 tips for packing light this family holiday

Heading away with the fam these school holidays? Packing for yourself can be testing enough, let alone getting the world in one bag for little ones as well. Sure, it’s a challenge but packing light for a family holiday is definitely doable! You just need some helpful packing hacks – here are nine of my favourites.

1. Change your thinking

Sure, packing light may be the holy grail but in order to get it right, the key is to think ‘smart’ not ‘light’. Do you really need a charging cable for each member of the family? Could you skip stowing a sunscreen and a moisturiser and pack one that does double time with a high SPF? Clever choices can make the world of difference to your holiday… and your luggage weight.

2. Invest in good quality gear

That top-notch backpack or suitcase might cost more than others but trust me, it’s worth the investment. Travel items that are thoughtfully well made (I’m a big fan of Samsonite, myself) aren’t just durable and long-lasting – they’re lighter and often, far more practical in terms of their design, so definitely consider splurging to make every trip that little bit easier.

If it’s not the time to upgrade however, make use of what you have and challenge yourself to start with the smallest bags first. This way, you can only take so much.

3. Labelled packing cubes

In a small bag, space is important. That’s why I love packing cubes – they save space AND help you organise everything. If you’re packing everyone’s stuff in one bag, make sure everyone has their own cubes and that they’re clearly labelled – or, go for a different colour per family member so you can immediately see what’s what. Don’t go past packing sacks either for bundling chargers, cables and other odds and ends. Trust me, you’ll save so much time and clutter with this method 😌

4. Grab bag

In addition to the main suitcases heading into the boot or under the plane, pack all your essentials in one single day bag (or grab bag) that you can keep on your lap or at your feet. What goes in the grab bag? Paperwork, IDs, chargers, favourite toys – you know the drill. Everything you need on-hand and in a jiffy should be carried in one backpack, ready to go. This’ll help save space in your luggage and give you easy access to what’s truly essential.

5. Consider your clothing

Get the most out of your suitcases by being smart about the type of clothes you (and the whole family!) pack. Activewear isn‘t just great for outdoor adventures – it’s also super comfy for transit, as a second pajama set and, most importantly, it weighs way less than jeans. You can also aim to share items between family members where possible. Use big beach towels that you can share between two little ones and take refillable toiletry containers that you can all share.

Don’t forget that it’s not just the type of clothing that can cut down on luggage weight – it’s the hue, too! Dark-coloured options hide so many sins (what dirt?!) and minimise the necessity to wash after one wear. Not only will it make your bags lighter, it’ll cut down on the laundry pile when you get back home 🙌

6. Choose your accommodation carefully

Speaking of laundry, it might be the last thing you want to do on holiday but if you’re a family that struggles with a suitcase zip before every holiday, you might want to consider a hotel room or property that has laundry facilities. A quick spin of the family’s clothes a couple of times while you’re away won’t feel half as bad as throwing on a dusty, dirty tee for the final four days of your trip.

Also, choosing your accommodation accordingly (or calling the place you‘ve already booked ahead of time to check what they have on hand) means you could cut down on all the necessary kid paraphernalia. If there’s a high chair, travel cot, pack-n-play and bath in the property, awesome! You’ve just eliminated a few extras things from your packing list 👊

7. Bring bars

Skip the hefty plastic bottles and swap your toiletries for the bar version – you’ll be amazed at how much space this’ll save. Body wash, facial cleansers, shampoo and conditioner bars (yep, they all exist and can be bought from major stores!) stowed in simple Ziploc bags will last longer and and take up less room 💅

8. Don’t pack what you can buy

Unless you’re heading to a super remote holiday location, there’s little point carting around things that can easily be purchased at your destination, especially if they’re non-essential. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be anywhere without access to food, extra nappies, or even games and activities for the kids (every town has a newsagent with puzzle mags for kids, right?).

9. Think small (really, really small)

Ask yourself of anything you’re packing: is there a smaller or easier version of this that could work just as well? Plastic toys are bulky and awkward so why not consider an inflatable alternative? Are there mini versions of the family’s most beloved books? (Hot tip: there usually is!) How many movies can you fit onto the tablet of one hard drive? Change your mindset to minimise items and maximise your enjoyment.

Although it may not always feel like it, packing can be a really exciting part of the pre-travel experience, so try and keep it in the ‘fun’ bracket (as hard as it may be sometimes!) You might end up sitting on your suitcase so you can get it closed again but hey, at least you’re off on an adventure, am I right? 😄



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