The holiday season is soon upon us and as with all families a holiday checklist is needed, because running a well-oiled machine like a family home, things need to be sorted before you go. Also, you can’t just pack the one suitcase (as in your single days) and head off as lots have to be considered when packing for a family so a travel packing list is essential too.
We hope the tips and lists below help to make the preparation simpler so you can relax on your holiday and most importantly enjoy!
Pre holiday checklist
2 Months Before
- Make sure all your passports are up to date. As all the family passports probably run from different dates use a Google Calendar reminder for a few months before they run out then if you have a holiday booked you have plenty of time to get them renewed. Keep paper copies of your passports with you on holiday in case of loss.
- Ensure your travel insurance is up to date. There are many ways to have travel insurance these days – through an insurance broker, private company, your bank – so make sure you have all the up to date documents and check what they cover as they may not support the country you are going to.
- Apply for your European Health Insurance card (EHIC) – formerly E111 card – if you are travelling in Europe so you know you are covered if there is a medical emergency.
- If you have pets then book their “holiday” at the cattery, kennels or wherever at the same time you book your holiday because you never know if they will be booked up too if it’s family holiday time. If you have a neighbour popping in to feed the goldfish then make sure they will be around at that time in case you need to ask someone else.
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1 Month Before
- Make sure any vaccinations that are needed are booked in with the nurse or doctor before you go.
- Get your post re-directed. This may not be needed if you have a friendly neighbour or family member that will check on your house while you are away because they can collect the post for you, so you can at least open your front door when you get back. If you are going for a while or have nobody to collect the post then it’s simple to set up a re-direct or to keep yoour post at the post office for your return. Be aware though that the least number of “strangers” that know your house will be empty, the better.
- Check if you need any new holiday clothes. Especially if the kids have outgrown last year’s clothes/sandals.
Fun in the Sun!
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1 Week Before
- Research the shopping facilities where you are going as you may not need to pack so much if you can get nappies, wipes, toiletries etc when you are there.
- Get your First Aid Kit together and check out what you may specifically need for where you are going to.
- Check the best time or place to buy the foreign currency if needed. With the markets so up and down sometimes you may get more than you were hoping for…..and hopefully not less.
- Print off directions to where you are going if you need them. You coould maybe map this out in advance on Google Maps and save it to your smartphone or GPS.
- Make sure you have the adaptors that you end up buying each year because you’ve forgotten them. So take a few if you find them all.
- Buy the specific plastic bags for toiletries that the airport accepts on an aircraft – check what the airport allows before travelling to make the security check simple.
- Start getting the holiday clothes washed, dried and ironed for the holiday. Don’t pack yet – just lay them out ready as you’ll forget what you’ve packed closer to the date and end up unpacking them all again.
- Check in online in advance for your flights out and back if you can. This saves long queuing at the airports and you can just bag drop. Sometimes it’s worth the extra little expense to do this, although you may not think so pre holiday, you’ll be glad of it when the time comes.
- Confirm your car hire or transport the other side is booked and you have the paperwork to present when you are there.
- Empty the fridge and freezer of anything that may not last. It’s really not nice coming home to a smelly fridge.
- Set up the timer for your lights to at least give some pretence that you are at home and deter burglars.
- Set a temporary code for your alarm if you have people popping in to check post, water plants etc.
- Set the heating to a holiday timer depending on the time of year you are away – you don’t want any pipes to burst.
- Lock all valuables away and lock doors in your house that won’t need access and also check all windows are locked if they are lockable.
- Ensure all your favourite TV programmes are set to record for the whole time you are away – series link works wonders. Make sure this isn’t one for the electrical sockets you switch off though.
- Give your spare key to friendly neighbour/family member – you know the one you’ve roped in to check on house/post/plants/pets.
- Put reminder in your phone to pick up a present for the friendly neighbour/family member.
On the Day
- Check the gas and cooker are turned off before you leave. You never know what may happen so better to be safe than sorry.
- Check all other appliances or electric sockets not needed are all switched off.
- Empty your bins and/or arrange for the neighbour to bring them to the curb on the right day.
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Travel Packing List
- Kids clothes multiplied by however many days you are away plus a few more changes in case of emergency. Can be less if you have washing facilities……but it’s your holiday!
- Favourite toys that your kids can’t possibly live without.
- Activity and Colouring books with pencil case for the journey (and rainy days)
- Rainy day games in case you are stuck indoors…..hopefully not!
- Nappies, wipes, creams, formulas, bottles – don’t forget to check what you can buy when you’re away though and save on luggage space.
- Sun screen and after sun plus some aloe vera just in case.
- First aid kit to cover all incidents – insect bites, knee scrapes, plasters, tummy bugs, colds and coughs, etc. Again check what you can buy where you are going as it may be more specific to the region.
- Chargers and adapters – a tip for dealing with all the wires needed for phone/iPad/playstation/Kindle chargers – wind them up and put into glasses cases or similar so they don’t get all tangled or lost.
- A pack of cards can provide hours of fun for the children and also the adults after they have gone to bed.
- Tablets/iPads/iPods for the journey (and for any relaxing time you can grab).
- Swimsuits, beach paraphernalia – remember sometimes it’s cheaper to buy there and leave than take with you in luggage.
- Books/Kindles for the kids and adults. If you have a Kindle and not sure about Wifi access while away then download what you want before you head off.
- DVDs if you know you have a dvd player there or taking a portable.
- Washing powder if sensitive skins only used to the one brand.
- A few dishwasher tablets if your accommodation has a dishwasher as it will save you buying a box of them
- Your favourite tea bags or coffee if you only like the one brand.
- And finally don’t forget to pack your own clothes!!
I hope the above is of some help to you when preparing and packing for a family holiday. Anything to help the trip go easier is a bonus.
And finally, finally….don’t forget the kids!
Over to you. If you have any idea to add to the lists above we’d love you to share them in the comments below.