Picture this, you're about to embark on the journey to your family getaway and you have a strange sense of achievement, because this time, perhaps the first in a long time, you actually feel fully prepared for the venture ahead. This isn't something I usually feel, as I am a bit of a last minute kinda lady, I air on the side of improvisation. Why do today what you can do the night before you're leaving. But this sort of planning, often means that I live my life in hindsight.
So may I give you this opportunity to learn from my recent spout of 'If only I had thought to bring that' moments from our holiday to Disney Land Paris.
Here is a top ‘eureka that woman’s done it’ list for your next trip and with six weeks of summer holidays laying ahead of us I’m guessing it will come in handy pretty soon.
Think of it as Baz Luhrmann ‘Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen’ life advice, except far less profound.
I will dispense this advice now.
Snacks, pack plenty of snacks. If you're going on a long haul journey or a mini break to a theme park you will need a trolley full, particularly if you have a fussy eater. Purchasing snacks from places such as Disney Land, may leave you considering the option of remortgaging your house to release enough capital to buy a bag of crisps. Trust me, two days into your trip you’ll recall in a way you can’t grasp right now, how many days lay ahead of you and how useful a small sized suitcase of snacks really would have been.
Shoes! Don’t waste your time on uncomfortable shoes. If you think there is a risk of the slightest rubbing or blister, DO NOT pack them. If you are going on a holiday where there is lots of walking, even your reasonably comfortable shoes will feel like you're wearing 6 inch stilettos by the end of the day, so go for extreme, exceptional comfort.
Bring lots of lightweight distraction aids. There are certain inalienable truths you need to accept as parents, your children willplay up at some point on the holiday, usually at dinner time when you’re sat next to the perfect family who all sit nicely and eat everything on their plate, or when you're travelling.
Children obviously get very excited and totally preoccupied with being somewhere new. After a few late nights and busy days the self-destruct switch is bound to flick at some point. A mix of educational toys such as colouring books, reading books, Top Trump cards, a travel version of guess who, and apps and videos for your tablet are a winner for traveling and dinner time, if you want any chance of a resonably relaxed meal. Be sure to download plenty of free apps and videos that don't rely on wifi and check that you're children enjoy them before your trip.
Bring your own headphones.
Despite my new talent, since having children, of an improved tolerance to hearing noises from all directions, I also appreciate that most people don't have this. So bring your own headphones. If you have two children who share a device, I recommend buying aheadphone splitter
so that they can both listen to the same film. I have linked to products on Amazon so you can pick one up at a good price.
A mini mode of transport for your minis. Particularly if you are going to Disney Land you will most definitely need a pushchair. If there was an adult sized one when I was in Disney I would have happily hitched a ride. Your feet will ache every single day, so it is no surprise that your tinies (even the ones aged six) will feel absolutely exhausted. To hire a pushchair from somewhere like Disney Land for just one day costs £25. Grab a secondhand one, pick up a very cheap one from a shop or bring a buggy board before you go.
Let them get cosy with a cushion. Don't forget their cushion and blanket for long journeys and evening travelling so that they can get cosy and sleep easy.
The thought of losing your luggage when travelling abroad and being left with the possibility of having to either squeeze into your kids clothes or wear your husbands is an interesting prospect. Play it safe and put a back up set of each family members clothing in someone else's suitcase. If you want to be scarily organised, you can purchase colour coordinated bags
to pack each persons things into so you can easily identify whose is whose.
Refillable water bottles. Let's save on the plastics people and go for the refill option...and on the cost!!
Babies and toddlers
Important items you need to pack plenty of are: nappies/diapers, wipes, food (lightweight options to avoid going over your weight allowance) bottles, travel sterilisers
Feel free to share in the comments anything else you recommend. Let's get a mammoth guide going so we can all feel calm and prepped before our escape.