Getting to visit a new city, a new country, a new culture is such a privilege. We live in a time when travel is fast, efficient and far reaching. This post is dedicated to our family travel must haves, as our packing list has certainly changed since having children. I like to keep it quite simple, and have learnt to pack like a minimalist. I hate returning home with unworn, clean clothes, or things we didn’t get round to using. It makes me quite angry!
On holiday, you won’t often spot Jared and I lying on a sun lounger, sipping a drink or sunbathing. We have never been good at sitting still, even before we became parents. We honeymooned in Kenya, and after one day in the sun (the first one), we quickly filled our week long trip – a day in the city, three days on safari, one day at an orphanage, one day snorkelling…and every morning we were down at the beach early playing volleyball. It’s how we like it – tanning, talking and walking, all at the same time.
Adventure is something I want to nurture in my children – to visit new places, try new things, taste new foods, have experiences that test their outlook on life, to embrace new cultures, learn from them and always consider new approaches. I want them to feel moved by the possibilities that life holds, and be ok with stepping out of their comfort zones. It’s how we grow and develop. I want to experience, not just live, and remind myself of this frequently.
For my list, I’ve chosen things that I would take no matter the holiday destination, because the laughter, love, fun, thrill, joy and excitement come without an invitation:
- A bag for day trips – Packed inside our suitcase, this is so important. Whether it’s a huge bag for day after day spent at the beach, a rucksack for sightseeing, or an over the shoulder just for essentials. There is nothing worse than going out for the day whilst carrying a zillion separate bags, plus negotiating three small people.
- Snacks – Snacks are crucial especially when you are holidaying with children. Some in hand luggage – for changes, delays, and to save money, and some in our main luggage – so we can manage until we get our bearings on the other side. We love nuts, crackers and anything by nakd.
- Bedtime stories – Our boys love a story at the end of the day, and this brings some familiarity to time away. It also marks the all important bedtime, and calms everyone down after so much excitement.
- Tech – My husband and I binge read on holiday, so a Kindle is essential for both of us. We take an iPad and headphones for the aeroplane (for the boys), plus any adaptors, chargers and a camera.
- Capsule wardrobe – I’ve been guilty of over-packing in the past, but now this isn’t the case. For the boys, I pack clothes that can be mixed and matched easily. For me, I have a whole set of summer clothes that can be worn in lots of different ways. I certainly wouldn’t pack a different outfit for everyday, and paraphernalia is kept to a minimum.
- Travel wallet – In our family, I am the keeper of the travel documents when we’re passing through an airport. I like to keep them in a travel wallet, and next to me at all times – I get nervous if they’re not, and have been known to get aggressive.
- Warm socks – Even if I’m visiting a hot country, I always like to take a pair of thick socks for when I’m in for the evening, and it is cooler. I could be reading, or sitting outside and watching the world go by – they make me feel cosy and relaxed. They’re also handy for aeroplanes, as I always find them a little too cold.
- Travel candle – This sounds so ridiculous, but a candle is the perfect tonic to unwind at the end of any day. The emission of low light is calming, and it’s a subtle piece of home. My husband and I almost always do a few exercises before bed, and I love it when we have a candle burning.
- Sunglasses – Essential for any holiday. They keep the hope of sun alive, and hide a make up free face. I tend to start a holiday wearing make up, and by the end I have given up entirely.
- Baby carrier – Our baby carrier has saved many a tricky situations on holiday, and at home. Perfect for a tired toddler, or a napping baby. They are also fantastic for the airport, when you don’t want to take a buggy. Just don’t need the toilet when your little one is having a nap…and you are wearing dungarees! Nightmare. Baby carriers make day trips on holiday a breeze (or breezier).
I asked our boys to have a go at packing our family travel must haves, and here is how they got on:
The music used on our vlog is courtesy of Bensound, and I am so grateful to him – thank you.