Tips for families preparing for a holiday

Preparing for a holiday needs just that – preparation. We all know as a parent the number one rule to survival is to be a day ahead. Same goes with preparing for a trip but perhaps a few months or weeks out instead dependent upon the complexity and the length of your trip.

Break it down. Simplifying what you need to achieve into smaller parts is an easy way to get rungs on the ladder and start working through all that you need to do.

Accommodation– where are you staying and has your booking been made? With kids in tow there is much you need to consider in relation to accommodation. You may need blackout curtains for sleep. You may need a sink to wash bottles and prepare baby food. You might want to consider there is a bath rather than just a shower. Create a list of what you must have and what would be nice to have. For me a bedroom is essential in that I want to be able to put kids to bed and then stay up and read or watch the TV.

Luggage – consider what luggage you have and if that is suitable for your trip. When we go on our summer vacation we drive so we usually pile a canvas bag into the car and off we go. It does mean there are several bags and additional bags because we don’t have luggage large enough for everyone. We are heading overseas for 3 weeks in a month and I have succumbed to buying what I would call ‘real’ luggage – you know with locks and wheels etc. Last year when I headed to Malaysia I had to make sure the luggage was able to be thrown on my back as some of the places we were heading to were remote and wheels not actually at all handy. Using this same luggage for the state is possible but as it is essentially a backpack on wheels I am not sure whilst fine for packing jungle clothing my dresses and shirts I want to pack for the US will look all that great upon arrival.

Activities – what do you want to do whilst on holidays? On our summer vacation the activities are essentially beach every day. That means we have snorkels, surfboards, towels and beach chairs to pack. Going to the US we are going to be walking around Disneyland and then the following week swimming in Hawaii. We will be staying in resorts with lounges by the pool and welcome packs for the kids (which I know at one hotel is a bucket and spade set) We are planning some hikes so we will need some walking shoes (already packed for Disney) but I am planning some adult time with a few meals out with just hubby and I. Apart from tickets into theme parks I have left a few days free to do just whatever we fancy as we get there.

Transport – we will be flying from Australia and then we have car hire for a few days when we arrive in California and again the following week in Hawaii. MY travel agent has booked transfers to the hotel and between hotels. She has made sure the car booking includes car seat hire and that it will be big enough to transport us and luggage. MY husband’s dream of driving a Mustang down the coast forgotten.

Documentation – beyond what bookings you have made you need to consider insurance and visas. What is required for where you are going and adequate insurance for your trip. Be sure to read the fine print for travel insurance it can be a very expensive exercise if you are not adequately insured. I have been violently ill and the hotel would not get a doctor to come and visit me and help me get ready to fly home. A call to the travel insurance sure helped in getting me not only access to a doctor but also the doctor following up to make sure I was indeed feeling better. Makes a lot of difference to your trip to be able to get up and going again quickly. Be sure to have copies of passports and booking documentation. A girlfriend recently had her bag stolen and all 4 passports stolen which meant she was stuck in New York for an additional week whilst she waited for new passports to be produced. Travel insurance paid the additional night’s accommodation and the changes in tickets to fly home.

Packing – too many times I have not had a chance to pack until late the evening before we were heading somewhere. DO NOT DO THIS. This is the number one reason for over packing. Ensure all the clothes you want to take with you are laundered and ready to go. I use large zip-lock bags for my kids and put their daily outfits in each bag. Given our next trip we will be away nearly 3 weeks I am not sure I will have 3 weeks of outfits so they may need to wear somethings twice. Last year we had time in the jungle and time in Singapore. I packed a bag for Singapore and a bag for the jungle. Socks were in a bag in the luggage. I constantly found I had to take all the bags out to find the one bag I was looking for – pants, shirts etc. See through plastic bags make this so much easier or colour coded bags for each type of clothing in whatever bag. I also find having a drawstring bag for laundry very handy as when opportunity to do some laundry arises you can access the dirty clothes quickly.

You do not “just-in-case” items and you do not need more than 3 pairs or shoes (people would argue you actually only need 2)

Now that you have the various departments organised you are ready to set off on your trip. Biting off small tasks makes for simplified organisation and minimal stress.

Guest post published by Virginia from –

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