✨How I Pack For a Family Of 5 (Summer Holiday Abroad)✨

Oh packing that’s a love/hate relationship right there now isn’t it. If I was packing solely for myself I feel it wouldn’t be such a chore, in fact I would love it but I have 5 of us to pack for. As you can imagine this requires an awful lot of organisation, pre-planning and possibly a few curse words to boot. Apart from the most obvious which is make a list of the main things such as plane tickets, currency and passport this is pretty much everything I do so hopefully you can pick up a few tips that you might find really useful to know…


I start around 4/5 days prior to leaving. I don’t mean it takes me 4 days to put everything into a suitcase here, although judging the amount we take it’s hardly surprising it doesn’t! What I mean is that I start removing all of the items from our wardrobes and storage I know will be needed for the holiday, so they aren’t going to be worn in the up coming days and end up in the washing pile the day before we have to leave. Similarly in this time I am washing, drying and ironing like a mad woman then creating a pile of clothes for each person usually on my bedroom floor.


Once I believe we have all the clothes and shoes we need I will begin creating full outfits for each of us, 2 per day, 1 for daytime and 1 for the evening. I literally put the whole outfit together including shoes, underwear and accessories which makes getting dressed so much easier when we are at our destination and we aren’t wasting valuable holiday time, wondering which shirt goes with what shorts etc. There is no indecisiveness and this deters away from overpacking too and panic throwing in hoping ‘this’ might go with ‘that’.


Again 4/5 days prior is a good time to see if anyone needs any last minute items. Has one of the kids outgrown their flip flops, could they use a few extra day T-shirt’s etc. I study my piles of outfits and make a list of items to pop out for over the next coming days.


I make a list of all the health and beauty bits we need to take and I find the best way to do this is in 2 ways. Firstly I mentally take myself through my morning jotting down all the things I/we use as I go. Puffy and shower gel for shower, followed by body butter/lotion, then deodorant, perfume, toothbrush for example and so on. Secondly I will then go onto things I/we use but not on an everyday basic such as nail polish remover, razor etc and the best way I do this is mentally start from the top of my head to my toes. Head:-shampoo, conditioner, brush, hair dryer, straighteners, bobbles and hairspray. Face:-facial scrub, toner, bio oil, foundation, you get the idea.


We always take 3 large suitcases between 5 of us, 2 carry on backpacks for the kids and my handbag. Now 3 suitcases of clothes is a breeze its all the toiletries, nappies, wipes etc that take up the most space and luggage allowance weight wise. I tend to put all of the kids clothes in one case along with some wipes and nappies. All my clothes in one case, my husbands in another then evenly distribute the weight of the toiletries and electrical items between my case and his. I never mix clothes in suitcases I just believe they will get there fine, law of attraction and all that. I hold back a few packs of wipes to pack in the carry ons as it’s surprising how weighty they are.


I tend to buy all new toiletries and toothbrushes for each holiday rather than taking the ones we already have as I find 1 it feels more of a treat using fresh products on holiday and 2 because I know it’s all packed well ahead of time and won’t be left behind. We always leave in the middle of the night for the airport and don’t really have time to be unzipping suitcases to pop in last minute wet toothbrushes, deodorants and shower gels etc.


When packing toiletries I’ve learned the safest way to do this is pop everything into a carrier bag, pop the bag into your beach bag then wrap your beach towel around it to act as good protection. I’ve had 2 incidents in the past, an exploded body butter tub and a smashed perfume bottle before I started doing this.


Tumble dryer sheets are a good tip for your suitcase too as you spend so much time washing and ironing holiday clothes but as soon as you unpack they have lost some of that freshly washed scent and adopt that suitcase whiff. Doesn’t flatter how long you aired your case before you pack or how new they are. The sheets can then be used to line the drawers in the hotel before you put your clothes in.


I tend to fold ‘day’ clothes when packing into the suitcase and keep ‘evening’ clothes on hangers but I double up outfits on as few hangers as possible to save space. People think I’m mad when I say I pack stuff on coat hangers but I find this easier to distinguish ‘day’ from ‘night’ attire when choosing clothes for each person for each day when we are there. When you have 2 types of clothing day/night per person that’s 10 sets of multiple outfits, so this saves time when getting ready for the evening for instance. I know anything hung is an option and similarly in the morning I am not sitting through piles of clothes as I know anything folded is a ‘day’ option. Plus there are never enough hangers in hotels.


My kids are really fussy about drinks when they are abroad as they don’t like the taste of the milk and unfortunately aren’t fond of water that isn’t flavoured with a dash of sugar free cordial. So leaning towards the ‘I’ll do anything to keep them hydrated when it’s 30+ degrees’ I have found 2 gems I wouldn’t go away without. The first is no added sugar milkshake straws, what a great invention all you need is a glass of plain milk, pop the straw in and your good to go! The straws already have the milkshake inside in the form of balls and melt as the milk is sucked through so they don’t go a whole week without any milk. You can buy these so cheap in home bargains. Secondly is the mini double concentrated squeezable cordials. They are handbag sized so really handy for popping in the beach bag for adding a squeeze into bottled water when out and about.


On the subject of my children we have the famous carry on bags and usually my pre teen son takes his backpack to share with my youngest son and my daughter carries her own small one. They usually consist of the following:-

•Books •Playing cards •Animal Dominos •Dinosaur figures & a couple of cars for the pool (my kids love to let them slide down the slides) •Barbie dolls •Little figures like LOL or Hatchimals •Colouring books & crayons •Boombar/Bluetooth sound bar •wipes •pull-ups •Snacks for everyone~raisins, mini cheddars, jelly babies & oaty grain bars are a usual choice

All I carry in my bag is all the travel documents, video camera, phone, a book, sunglasses, chewing gum and my lipstick.


The final thing I’ve learned is I never wear more than 3 pairs of shoes so only take 1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of wedges and 1 pair of flip flops. Gone are the days I’d pack more shoes than knickers and these days I need more space for my daughters shoe and accessories collection!

Hopefully by seeing what I do when I pack you have picked up a few different kinds of tips that aren’t usually displayed on generic packing tip lists.

Let me know if you do any of these

Do you have any other suggestions that might be useful?

Thanks so much for reading~take care until next time

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