How to Pack for your Family City Break – that seems like a daunting task, as I myself find filling a luggage for myself alone, not easy. How about you?
If you’ve been sweating it out in the office, trying out that new product your boss installed on your PC, you most probably feel that you owe it to yourself, and to your family, to take them out on a much needed vacation especially if you are a family of five.
More than planning the destination and itinerary of your trip, you must think about what and how to pack. Your travel needs may be different from those of your 12-year old son’s after all. While we’ve published some packing tips years ago, it’s time to upgrade those now that the kids have grown. So do consider these pointers when you pack for your family city break.
1. Bring a hand-carry bag or backpack
Most handily a backpack, fill it with a few essentials – including emergency undergarments, some shirts, and pants. Also throw in some protein bars, a small bottle of water, and energy-giving snacks like salami. This will save you some trouble just in case your luggage doesn’t arrive with you when you get to your destination. Yes, that does happen, unfortunately!
(Photos: 1. Going to terminal 3 at VIE airport. 2. Bags with drinks, snacks, and a book – somewhere in Venice. 3. At Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin. )
We personally like Herschel backpacks like this one. We recommend also Fjällraven’s aesthetically beautiful rucksacks, but any that can hold a bottle of water is wonderful! Having a travel backpack that is waterproof, easy to carry around, and holds a lot are some things to consider.
2. Coordinate Colors
It would be best to color-coordinate the name tags on each of your suitcases, to help with easy identification on the carousel. At home, we each have a pair of shoes in the same style. So I thought, why not go beyond and have matching bags, too. This to the dismay of my kids. 😀 Citing convenience, color coding suitcases and tags, even backpacks is a way to go.
3. Pack Some Handy Games
Since kids naturally have short attention spans, it would help to bring along a few games they could play with while waiting at the airport. You can keep long hours of travel short of boredom by being resourceful. A colouring book or a Travel Scrabble set will come in handy here. We usually bring rubik’s cubes, sudoku and puzzle magazines, and their favourite books in their hand carry/backpacks. Mom and Dad (us) could also have their books or e-readers with them.
4. Brief the kids about the city/cities you are visiting.
What may be allowed in your own city may not be ok in other cities. As early as now, teach the kids how to be considerate. It is true, that when one travels, it’s when he learns how insignificant the space he occupies in the world is…exposing kids in different culture will make them understand diversity and tolerance. Ask them to choose clothing that would be appropriate to wear while out in that city. But, as you are the one packing, you can explain to them why a particular statement shirt is not ok to bring along.
Bring weather-appropriate clothing. An extra windbreaker or rain jacket for the unexpected downpour won’t hurt. It’s best of course to check on the weather forecast beforehand to minimize packing unnecessary items.
Bring comfortable, soft on the sole shoes or wear them readily. Expect to have a lot of walking – sole-friendly, anti-shock shoes are your first choices when picking what to use. That said, you don’t have to sacrifice your fashion sense for comfort – a lot of shoes are pretty and soft, like the Nike Air Max ’97, which is one of my favourites.
5. Document Check
Make sure that you have all your passports with you. And be sure that none of them has expired! It is frustrating to learn this last minute as all that you’ve prepared for and the expectations would sadly be put to waste. Bring your health or insurance cards along too.
If you purchased insurance, make sure you both have hard copies and online documents of the contract in case it’s needed.
6. Necessary Medicine
Bringing you medications is better than buying them abroad.Check on regulations of the particular country you are visiting, as well as the airline’s. You can ask your GP to provide documents regarding your condition which you can easily show to officials when needed. Always put your medicines in a carry-on for easy access.
Include a first-aid kit as well, in cases of small untoward incidents.
Antihistamines, inhalers, paracetamol are some that we always carry with us. How about you?
You do well know that when flying out, it is only allowed to bring a small amount of carry bottles for your hygienic needs (usually 125ml). So ready these bottles if you must carry special shampoos, lotions, shower gels with you. Do not forgot to put them in a ziploc or transparent carry bag.Try not to inconvenience other passengers with such subtleties (because you are being checked by security personnels a lot longer than usual).
8. Don’t bring the cats. ^_^
As much as we wouldn’t want to miss the cats, we can’t bring them along on long days of travel. The cats may frown upon it, but if you miss their cuddles you can visit a cat café if there’s one in the city you’re going to. Make sure that you have a catsitter arranged to tend to the cats, dogs, or fish.
Simply put, don’t bring unnecessary this or that on your travels.
Follow these tips, and you’re sure to have a worry-free vacation with your family.
Conveniently Pack for your Family City Break
Travel light sometimes won’t apply, but getting the essentials right would really make it a lot convenient. Here’s a “Free How To Pack for Your Family City Break Checklist” for you.