We are just a few weeks out from our big Europe trip and it’s about now that I start to turn my thoughts towards packing. Longer trips require careful thought and travelling with a child usually means more for Mum to think about.
We are travelling Business on Emirates to Rome, so the first and last legs are easy. At a whopping 42 kgs and two bags per person, we can literally pack the kitchen sink. Add to that the chauffeur driver at each end and it is a walk in the park.
Things come a little unstuck however between Malta and Sicily, where we are limited to one bag each weighing no more than 20kgs. Anything over that and the costs will start mounting.
We learned the hard way last trip that you need to think carefully about what you really need and what you can do without. Travelling with a child in tow you are going to end up collecting treasures at almost every stop (especially if that includes Hamley’s, Disneyland or Harry Potter World) and after 5 weeks it can all become a little overwhelming.
Charlotte’s need to read, added a whopping 13 heavy novels to the last trip, along with wands, cuddly toys and all manner of witchcraft and wizardry. As things progressed moving about became an increasing drama. Especially in a heatwave, 4 flights up in an apartment in Paris without a lift or air con. (Hubby was not impressed!)
So this time I am laying down the law – two pairs of shoes per person (it’ll be me who struggles most with that rule!) and 7 days worth of clothes and NO more. I’ll be packing the washing powder and we’ll be making do.
We have opted for Kobo’s over books (the small person is not impressed) and we are definately limiting the cuddly toys.
By stopping in Dubai on the way home, everyone can shop up large – at the end, not half way through and hopefully that will get us through the short, luggage limiting flights in the middle.
My favorite family tradition fits in perfectly with the idea with travelling light. Every port of call we buy a Christmas decoration. It means we have a souviner from each place, that has a purpose, is small enough to carry around and every year it gets pulled out, dusted off and enjoyed, without adding out of context clutter to our lives. Not to mention the fact that there are endless tacky souviner shops that Charlotte desperately wants to explore and I can get her practicing her maths skills while she converts currenies and works out how to maximise her dollar spend.
So with all that in mind, I turn my thoughts to dusting off suitcases and starting to pack.
My top tips for packing:
- Pack a simple first aid kit with everyone’s must haves. Keep it light and easy and limited to the things you really need. We always travel with Pamol, throat lozenges, Panadol and plasters – along with any medications we can’t do without.
- Limit the shoes. Take the most practical ones – a pair for best and a pair for walking and make do. Especially if you are travelling to Italy – you know you’re going to add them!
- Colour coordinate your wardrobe so you can mix in match. If you can get away with one jacket – even better.
- Pack 14 days in advance and then start taking things out that you just don’t use in that time. Chances are if you don’t need it for 2 weeks at home you probably don’t need it while your away
- Think about steamlining devices. Do you really need the iPad if you have a laptop and a phone and a Kobo?
- Roll everything you can. It avoids creases and it saves space.
- Leave lots of room for adding treasures – make a game of how little you can take so the small people get used to the idea of leaving things behind.
- If you have suitcases that fit inside suitcases – take them. As your collections inevitably expand so can your luggage!
- Most importantly pack washing powder in a resealable bag or container. A quick wash and rinse and clothes go another round. In hot climates they dry super fast.
- Pack a couple of empty containers and bags for little treasures that would otherwise get crushed so you can keep them safe.
What are your top travel tips?