I love making lists – shopping lists, to-do lists, checklists! Packing for a holiday can be an overwhelming task, especially if you are traveling as a family. To make life easier, I have a holiday packing list on my phone that I update depending on the family holiday we are taking. Of course, my packing list for the beach is very different to my hiking packing list. But there are a few travel items that are I always pack. Here are 7 of my tried and tested travel packing hacks for families.
Even if you stay at fancy hotels that provide toiletries in their bathroom like shampoo, shower gel, etc. conditioner is still going to be a rare find. Since my hair is dry and wavy and my daughter’s hair is curly, I always pack a bottle of hair conditioner in my suitcase. If we are going to wash our hair frequently then it is an essential travel item. Your rented apartment doesn’t have shampoo? Use the conditioner instead to co-wash your hair. Is the weather outside humid and you’re worried about frizzy hair? Use it as a leave-in conditioner to keep those curls smooth. Didn’t have time to be swimsuit ready because you were busy packing everyone else’s stuff? Use it instead of shaving cream.
I saw this hack on a Facebook page run by a mother of autistic children and thought it was absolutely brilliant. After a day at the beach, she uses talcum powder to get the sand off her kids’ hands and feet. Have you been walking around in your sneakers all day? Add some fragranced talcum powder in those sneakers and air them overnight. Run out of deodorant? Rub some in your underarms before you make a dash for the store. If you or anyone in your family experiences any chafing, you can add some talcum powder to remove any friction or moisture. It can also be used to cool skin down after shaving or if you happen to have very dry skin on your elbows or feet. You can even use it as a dry shampoo for your dog!
Canvas tote bag
This literally takes up no space in your luggage but is so versatile. Before going on any family trip, I always pack at least one canvas tote bag that is machine washable. I fold it up and put it in my handbag before we go sightseeing. If we happen to buy any snacks or souvenirs, I can just get it out and use it as a shopping bag. If we are going to the beach or pool, it transforms into a beach bag to carry our sunglasses, sunscreen, water bottles and anything else that won’t fit in my backpack. You can also use it for gym clothes, dirty laundry or wet swimming suits so your hotel room stays nice and clean.
Another one of my travel must-haves is a shawl. My favourite shawls are made of cotton or satin. But I also have a few posh ones that are wool or silk. Just make sure you pack at least one that is inexpensive. Forgot the stroller blanket? Cover the baby with the shawl. Visiting a house of worship and worried about your sleeveless top? Use the shawl as a wrap. Kids decided to have an impromptu picnic after a museum visit? Whip it out and lay it on the grass. If it gets chilly at night you can use it as a scarf. If it is big enough, you can even wear it as a sarong at the beach or pool.
Long before the world population became germaphobes overnight, I always carried a pack of disinfectant wet wipes with me. Aside from its obvious use in disinfecting surfaces when you are out and about, it is a mother’s best friend when it comes to dealing with sticky fingers and faces after ice cream! If you are hiking with your furry friend and don’t want their muddy paws to ruin your car, just wipe them down. Did someone spill their juice on their clothes? Use a wet wipe to remove that stain quickly before it dries. Did a glass break in the hotel room? Canvas the floor with a few wet wipes to pick up the small shards after carefully picking up the bigger pieces.
We all grew up knowing that chewing gum during a flight helps with airplane ear. I have realized that it also helps children relax, especially those with sensory needs. It gives them something to focus on during take-off and landing. It is also a lifesaver if your family has been enjoying the local cuisine and has too much garlic on their breath! Chewing gum helps me stay awake which is important when I am visiting a new place and want to stay vigilant of my surroundings.
Family travel probably means carrying a dozen different devices. We usually travel with three mobile phones, two tablets, an e-reader, speakers, headphones and maybe even a laptop or two. So, investing in a high-quality power strip made so much sense so we just find one plug and voila! Needless to say, please be safe! Make sure you only use it with compatible devices, keep it indoors and unplug it before you leave the room or go to sleep. Also, doublecheck the voltage in the country you are visiting before plugging in anything.
What are some of your packing hacks for families?
Do you have any other practical travel hacks that should be featured on this list? If so, please let me know in the comments! Meanwhile, check out my ultimate guide to visiting my home country; Egypt to get you in the mood for a family holiday!