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4 years, 10 months ago

10 Top Holiday Packing Tips

Great packing cheats to save time and money on your family holiday rental this summer.

According to veteran actor Joan Collins, packing comes down to two basics: pure white tissue paper and cashmere lounge wear. That sage advice in The Guardian a few weeks ago certainly put our minds at rest on the worry of unsightly creases and staying luxe even when ‘lounging’. But, much as we like Joan and love the fact that she can rock a turban like no one else, we felt her capsule wisdom might be a bit limited for Housetrip travellers this summer.

So here’s the slightly more practical version of holiday packing for real people. And, sorry Joan, having discovered pure white tissue doesn’t abracadabra up sugar-free snacks or entertain a toddler on a five hour flight and cashmere needs to be hand washed by 1000 year old monks in the tears of angels, neither made our final cut.

DON’T pack more than you need. The trick is to think 14 days, make a list, then half it. Most Housetrip holiday rentals have washing machines, so a seven day supply of pants and socks is more than enough. Buy multi-packs of oversize white t-shirts for children and use them as sun-protection on the beach when it’s hot. They also double as cool pjs and they’re virtually disposable cover-ups for messy eating when you’re out. Plus they roll up tiny and fit into spare bag space for travelling. Sunny Europe has pretty much everything in the way of beach shoes and sun hats and if you let kids choose their own there’s a higher chance they might actually wear them.

DO find out as much as possible about where you’re going. If it’s a central location, close to supermarkets and pharmacies, think about packing first-night only essentials and buying anything else once you arrive.

DON’T forget sunscreen and total sunblock and buy at home before you travel. You’ll be able to get most brands on holiday but inevitably they cost a fortune and you can’t always rely on a good choice of the factor 30s and upwards. Our advice is to look at online pharmacies with free delivery, they usually have summer offers on a wide range of sun stuff.

DO check out temperatures for day and night and be bug-wise. Travel mosquito nets aren’t expensive, pack up really small and they’re brilliant if you want to leave a window open in the evening or it’s too hot for bed covers.

DON’T forget your phone and device chargers, you’ll definitely need those. If you’re taking more than one phone or several devices think about getting a universal charger. We like Power Monkey Classic not least of all because it’s only about £30, pretty much compatible with everything and one of the few that’s Apple approved. A spare 16gb plus memory stick is always worth packing too.

DO make up your own First Aid Kit. Most European countries aren’t big on own-brand, so stuff like plasters and painkillers are expensive. Keep to the basics – painkillers, waterproof plasters, antacid tablets, rehydration sachets (miraculous after upset tummies or too much sun), tweezers, travel thermometer, antiseptic cream, antiseptic wipes and a roll of fabric plaster.

DON’T pack for baby until you’ve checked out local equipment hire companies. Type ‘baby gear hire worldwide’ into a search and the top results are all parent-recommended. And don’t be shy about asking your Housetrip host exactly what’s included in a family-friendly holiday rental, the less you have to take the easier travelling is going to be.

DO put your prescription into your phone if you rely on glasses, even just for driving. It’ll save time and money if you accidentally sit on your specs or lose them – it’s one of the most common minor travel emergencies. Contact lens’ solution is easily come by in most pharmacies and some larger supermarkets.

DON’T leave blanky or monkey or bear or whoever behind. Any parent who has made the mistake of forgetting to pack the bff before heading off on holiday can describe the pain of separation in detail. Check once, check again and then check just in case. And same goes for the return journey.

DO put these must-haves on your holiday shopping list, they’re all tried and tested and one or two have (almost) saved our life on occasion.

  1. Lavender Essential Oil – a drop on a pillow helps you sleep, a couple of drops in a warm bath soothes beach-frenzied little ones.
  2. Vaseline – it doesn’t make tea in the morning and that’s about all it doesn’t do – doubles as lip balm and suffocates ticks, what’s not to love?
  3. Travel Bottle Sleeves – take small thermal bottle sleeves to keep water cool in the car and on the beach and to carry a chilled water spray (water sprays aren’t luxury fashion items in Europe and they cost buttons in any supermarket)
  4. Wax Ear Plugs – anyone who has ever suffered through a holiday ear infection will tell you why you need these.
  5. British Tea bags – if you can’t start the day without a strong cup of tea you’ll be miserable anywhere but the UK. Don’t even think about the alternatives, just take your own.

We’ve shared our top packing tips, now it’s your turn. Let us know what you can and can’t live without on holiday, we’re open to all ideas except tissue and cashmere.

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