*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Youi.
It's the holiday season and post-Christmas is time for many of us to pack our bags and depart for sunnier destinations to unwind a little more freely without all the pre-Christmas obligations.
Where families are concerned, the job of preparing for a holiday can be mammoth, especially when we no longer have the luxury of regular school days or day care and other arrangements in place, to take the kids off our hands for a few precious hours in order to pack. (Though having the kids around is precious too!)
It's times like now when I need to resort to lists to help me get through the extensive set of tasks and essentials to reach the golden destination at the end - the holiday itself.
I thought it would be fun to approach a packing and preparation list this year in an A to Z fashion. Setting a list of reminders and prompts in this format really forces you to consider just about everything but it also makes it a fun and simplified way to get through the boring bits. Hopefully you too will find it of use and if I've overlooked anything, go right ahead and leave your suggestions in the comments!
A is for Aerogard. Insect repellent in Summer is a must and no matter what your chosen brand or approach, don't forget this important essential.
B is for booking confirmation. Read over all of your holiday documentation and confirm departures and arrivals, tours, flights and accommodation and whatever else you have planned prior to the day so that your travel is not interrupted by stressful oversights or cancellations.
C is for car. Is your car insurance up to date? Is your Registration paid? Are any outstanding fines paid? Do you have roadside assistance? Imagine the worst possible scenarios and map out your mental list of to do's. Don't get caught out in a costly way on vacation by skimping on these important matters.
D is for deodorant! Make sure you pack you basic necessities. There's nothing worse than making routine trips to stores for dull items when you should be lying on the beach instead!
E is for entertainment. Think about wet weather and evenings at your destination. Does your accommodation have a TV? A DVD player? Movies for kids and board games? Consider all options and take some of the kids' favourite forms of entertainment along with you for the quiet times. (Or times when you anticipate craving some quiet for yourself!) Take along your iPad or tablet PC for a bit of video gaming on the go.
F is for food. Pack lots of snacks for the car for the kids and for yourselves. Save dollars by taking your own. If staying in a hotel or a holiday home, taking your own food will work positively for you in this same way, plus it will make your holiday more relaxing too, when the worry of supplies has been covered.
G is for goody bags. A must have item in the car for bored kids on long trips. Pay a visit to a junk store and stock up on everything from notepads, colouring books, lollies, crayons, puzzles etc. Keeping the kids entertained will ensure you maintain your sanity.
H is for hamper and can cover two sorts of items: A hamper of nice foods and drinks for treat times such as a sparkling by the beach or some chocolates late evening can be something lovely to look forward to. Likewise a good collapsible hamper for dirty washing is invaluable for storing the piles of clothing young kids can produce and will take the stress out of cleaning and sorting at your destination each day.
I is for insurance. Make sure you have travel insurance if you are going on a costly journey that involves interstate or international destinations or for an extended period of travel. Check your home and contents insurance is up to date before you depart to protect your home and goods from fire or theft in your absence. Make sure your car is covered by the best car insurance policy too, such as those offered by Youi. This is especially important if you are embarking on a driving holiday.
J is for jewellery. Keep it safe. Don't take your precious valuables on holiday to prevent loss, theft and heartache.
K is for keep it simple in terms of packing. Give the kids a small bag each to take in the car or on the plane and once it's filled, they're at their limit. Do the same for yourself. Really scale down your packing so that you have the barest of essentials only. Remember you can always buy a few things at your destination and this part can be fun indeed!
L is for leave it behind. Carefully weigh up each and every item you pack into your bag or car. Do you really need three pairs of sandals? Three sunhats? The best holidays by far are the ones where you have packed so light that there's barely any choice to make when it comes to clothing. More time to grab and go which equals - relaxation.
M is for medication. Don't forget your regular medications and prescription items. For kids, anticipate various worse case scenarios and pack Panadol and antihistamines etc. This includes a first aid kit containing everything from Band-Aids to insect bite creams. A tube of antiseptic is an essential too.
N is for nappies. If you have a child in nappies, don't forget them! Likewise, overnight pants for the older, yet-to-be night trained kids as well as swim pants for littlies comes under this banner. (Don't forget wipes too!) I have written a post specifically on flying with toddlers previously and this may be another place to read up on important points if this is you too. Find tips for packing a nappy bag here.
O is for organising things before you leave. Ask a kindly neighbour to collect your mail from your letterbox or arrange postal re-direction or holds. Have you got parcel deliveries scheduled to arrive in your absence? Again, ask a neighbour or friend to check daily for items that may be stolen in your absence. Cancel newspapers and weekly deliveries of any kind for the duration of your departure. Give a friend a set of keys to your home for emergencies and a full itinerary to ensure that you can be contacted at any point.
P is for pets. If you have a cat or a dog, who will feed them while you are away? Organise a kennel or cattery or enlist the help of a neighbour or friend to keep your pets happy while you are on vacation.
Quit procrastinating about what you need to do and get onto it the minute you think of it to ensure it gets done!
R is for reading material. Holidays mean relaxing and there's no better way to get into that mode than via a book. Don't forget to pack a few!
S is for swimwear. Make sure everybody has their bathers, rashies and towels in order as well as a set of thongs to get to and from the beach on the hot sand. Sunscreen is a must too as well as hats and sunglasses. Don't forget boogie boards and water play items such as buckets and spades.
T is for toiletries. Toothbrushes and toothpaste, tampons, moisturiser, lip balm and even toilet paper. Don't forget your essentials. Find tips for Summer beauty essentials on a budget here.
U is for underwear and socks. So essential and yet so easy to forget in the rush and excitement. An Umbrella both for rain and the beach can come under this header too.
V is for visit the App store and download Apps to keep kids entertained while on holidays. Choose books, games and even download a packing checklist App to specifically check off items so that you are completely covered.
W is for what tech do you need? USB cables, mobiles, spare batteries etc. Don't get caught out without a connection, especially on holidays involving self-driving or flights. If you are travelling through, or holidaying in high risk bush-fire areas, you will definitely need a phone to keep up to date with spot fire outbreaks and it could save your life.
X, Y and Z are the perfect acronym for miscellaneous. Do you need sleeping bags? Bedding? Do you want to take your own appliances such as a coffee maker or milk frother? Do you require a Portacot for an infant? A baby sling or pram? A child's favourite toy or a box full of toys to keep kids entertained is a great idea. Add whatever you like here and have a great holiday!
What would you add to your own packing list?
Have I forgotten something?! Please leave your suggestion below.
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