Holiday packing like a pro

Your essential holiday packing checklist (kids’ stuff included!)

Start relaxing before you’ve even left for the airport with this step-by-step guide to packing like a pro

If your holiday packing usually involves a last-minute scramble where you throw the entire contents of your wardrobe into a case – oh and then you get to your hotel only to find you forgot to pack any underwear – then you should follow our pro packing advice.

And we’ve not only got you covered, but your kids too, so there won’t be any tears in paradise when they realise they don’t have their favourite T-shirt/book/hairclip.

Read on for our top tips – and then relax and enjoy your holiday!

One week to go: clothes and travel documents

1. Take some time to plan your outfits. Think of how many days you are on holiday for, and how many nights, plus any particular activities that you might need appropriate clothing for.
2. Lie out each outfit (or just a few bikinis and sarongs if you plan on being pool-side the whole time, you lucky thing), and don’t forget to include underwear, accessories such as jewellery, belts and bags, and shoes to go with each one.
3. Streamline your packing by eliminating any outfits that mean you have to pack an extra pair of shoes or a particular bra to go out with it, instead opting for more flexible options that look good with the same accessories, or items that would double up from daytime to night-time with a small addition, like a glitzy shawl.
4. Think of other items you need, including nightclothes, swimwear, trainers, waterproofs, sunglasses, a sun hat etc.
5. Check if anything needs washing and throw it in the machine with some Ariel 3 in 1 Pods to make sure it’s fresh and looking like new for your holiday.
6. Hang all your outfits in a separate part of the wardrobe to keep them crease-free, but also to remind you not to wear them before you travel.
7. Gather together everyone’s passports, print out the tickets, airport parking information, car rental documents, hotel booking form, travel insurance documents and anything else you may need. Store them in a document holder and keep them with your suitcase so you don’t forget them.

And for the kids…

Write out a list of what they need – 3 pairs of shorts, 5 dresses and so on – drawing pictures for each is a fun touch. Then, using the list, let them choose which items to bring, ticking each one off as they go along.

Once they’re done, check what they’ve picked to make sure they’re practical – as, while they might love their Elsa costume, it might not be suitable for the beach…

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Two days to go: think about your daily routine

1. Go to the bathroom and put all your toiletries in a wash bag, not forgetting the 100ml allowance if you’re taking hand luggage. You can leave your wash bag in the bathroom for when you still need your toothbrush and so on, but it will be easy to grab and go when your flight day arrives.
2. Do the same with your make-up, hairbrush, products and accessories.
3. Think about what else you do every morning and evening – any vitamins or medication you need to take, and don’t forget sun tan lotion!

And for the kids…

Your kids can share most of your toiletries, but make sure you remember the kiddie toothpaste and high factor sun block. Also help them pick books, games and toys for the pool and beach to keep them entertained.

One day to go: pack methodically

1. Put shoes at the bottom of the case, stuffing underwear into the shoes and gaps in between. 2. Next pack T-shirts and other smaller items. Roll them up to save space.
3. Take heavier items, like trousers, and bundle them around a cluster of the smaller rolled items. This will prevent crease marks, which saves you from having to iron when you unpack your clothes.
4. Lie out dresses and skirts on top as best you can, but let’s face it, you will probably have to iron them after spending hours in a suitcase.
5. Pop your toiletries and make-up in the zip section of the case, so if anything does leak it doesn’t get on your clothes.
6. Pack your hand luggage with, books, games and snacks for the kids and your all-important travel documents, and you’re good to go!

And for the kids…

Kids love feeling like grown-ups by having a suitcase of their very own – plus it saves you having to lug an extra heavy case around. Our vote goes to a wheely case with a pull-along strap, because they’re also great for carrying tired legs through the airports on long journeys.

For more family travel advice, check out our holiday budget planner.

Do you have any great packing tips? Share your savvy secrets in the comments section below.

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For sunhats, roll up and pack smalls (underwear or socks) into hat, helps to keep hat in shape!

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Less jeans n more dresses (stretchable material) , night dress than pajama works great for space saving. Glasses n other jewellery in spare shoe box n then goes in luggage. Cut nails n get threading done on the last day so you don't have to carry accessories with you. Take a plastic bag for wet costumes. We download map on phone of the country to use it as a satNav , saves ur cost of mob data n buying it with car rental can cost too much.

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After going on a weeks Spanish holiday with flight bags only we realised how much we could do without on holiday. Not forgetting scarfs that can be worn in the evening or as wraps or sarong during the day.

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Packing cubes and a hanging toiletry bag. Bought these for a recent holiday for my husband and I made things so much easier. I've now bought my mum, daughter and niece them. Just packing to go away again with husband and I share one holdall and it's great as we each have a different colour so I can easily pick out my things rather than having to rummage. To be highly recommended.

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I don't take any liquids in hand luggage & that way save time fiddling about at the customs check desk.

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