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What to pack for your family summer holiday

Perhaps you’re jetting off to warmer climes this summer and can’t decide what to take. Or maybe you’re holidaying in the UK and are worried about forgetting something important. Either way, the checklist below will help you remember the essentials.

  • Medication. If anyone in the family takes regular medication it’s important that you pack enough for the full holiday plus a few extras just in case. Order prescription meds in advance to ensure you have adequate supplies, and keep a list of who takes what and when. If you’re going abroad you may need a letter from the GP explaining what the meds are. It may also be worth taking a first aid kit, including plasters and Calpol, in case of minor injuries.
  • Important documents. If you’re heading overseas you’ll need valid passports for every family member. You may also need a driving licence if you’re planning to hire a vehicle. Take along any documentation relating to hotel, transport and day trip bookings as well as travel insurance information.
  • Cards and currency. You may want to take some local currency for expenses like bus and taxi fares or tips, though some people prefer to use debit or credit cards for the majority of foreign expenditures. Inform your bank or credit card provider before you jet off to ensure that you are able to use your cards without any issues and to find out if there are any fees or rates involved. 
  • Gadgets and gizmos. Many families have a host of electronic items, from satnavs and games consoles to tablets and mobile phones. Don’t forget to take the relevant chargers and check with your network provider that your mobile will work overseas. It may be worth downloading films, games, music and audiobooks before you travel to keep everyone busy and entertained. If you’re hoping for a break from technology, pack plenty of books, board games, packs of cards, bats and balls, buckets and spades, and craft supplies. Don’t forget your Bible or Bible app.
  • Suitable clothing. The type of holiday you’re going on will likely inform your clothing choices,  but it’s always worth packing a variety of layers so you can dress up or down depending on the weather. A warm jumper or raincoat can be useful even in hot countries, and an umbrella may be necessary wherever you’re going. You’ll also need several pairs of comfy shoes. Items that are often forgotten include pyjamas, (sun)glasses and underwear, so don’t be caught short! A sturdy backpack for each family member will help share the load and give everyone the autonomy to carry their own things around hands-free.
  • Specialist gear. Skiing holidays will require very different equipment from city breaks, beach holidays and camping trips, so do a bit of research to find out what specialist equipment you’ll need, for example hiking or ski boots, gloves and goggles; swimming costumes, snorkels and wetsuits; or sleeping bags, torches, tents, folding chairs, insect repellent and matches.
  • Cosmetic items. Unless you’re staying in a hotel that supplies all your needs, you’ll most likely need items such as shampoo, face and body wash, toothbrush and paste, sun cream, hair products, shaving equipment and make-up. If you’re camping or heading to the beach you may also need to take your own towels.
  • Baby or child-specific items. You’ll need about twice as much stuff if you’re travelling with a baby or small child! Remember to pack items such as nappies, baby wipes, bibs, dummies, bottles, formula, sterilising equipment, a buggy or baby carrier, a thermometer and plenty of clean, seasonally appropriate clothes and accessories. Before travelling, check whether any of the gear you are taking is available at your accommodation to avoid taking unnecessary baggage.

Happy holidays!