We’ve all been there. You’re gearing up for your precious summer holiday, but totally dreading the packing process. To make proceedings as smooth as possible, we’ve compiled our canniest packing tips from our expert team of i-escape parents.
Nikki Tinto, i-escape founder and mother of one child aged 12
Packing cubes. Once you’ve started using them, there’s no turning back. These lightweight fabric cubes keep your clothes compressed and organised so you can cram more into your suitcase and you’ll know exactly where everything is – essential for multi-stopover trips and travelling with the family. Unpacking on the other side is a breeze – just pop them directly into the drawers and unzip. We each have a set of cubes in a different colour, then mix and match in the suitcases so one person doesn’t lose everything if their case goes missing in transit (as happened to us a couple of times). It’s best to roll your clothes, Marie Kondo style, before putting them inside the packing cube. This way, your clothes are less likely to crease and it’s easier to see everything and pull out what you need rather than from a folded stack.
Anna Hughes, i-escape Senior Marketing Executive and mother of 2 children aged 5 and 7
Entertainment for their ears! When it comes to keeping our kids happy on a long journey, nothing is as powerful as a tablet full of films and a couple of sets of headphones. But if you’d prefer to avoid screen overload, podcasts and audiobooks are the next best thing. Kids get to listen to their favourite band, book or Cbeebies character whilst still watching the clouds through the window, which in turn allows us parents to dig into that novel without an ounce of guilt. Simply download onto their tablet, your phone or a separate MP3 player. Check out this BBC guide to kids podcasts or browse Audible for a whole range of kids titles.
Michael Cullen, i-escape Director of Hotel Partnerships and father of one child aged 11
A scooter-suitcase for mid-aged kids (6-12) to pack their stuff in. We chose this one because it fits in cabin baggage, it has a neat lean-to-turn steering mechanism, a very efficient foot brake (important!), a strong-yet-flexible suitcase shell, and a built-in Bluetooth speaker for listening to music as you scoot. My son loves burning up energy on holiday, scooting around attracting admiring glances. But a word of warning: ‘scootcases’ are not great in crowded airports, especially with younger kids who lack road sense and risk bumping into people. Hence my recommending this one for kids of six or older, rather than the cheaper versions for younger kids.
Kate Parsons, i-escape Head of Reservations and mother of two children aged 5 and 8
It might sound fairly basic but tissues, plasters, water bottles and pens are all common essentials for me. Plus snacks – LOTS of snacks. On long trips we usually find Kindles and Smiggle folding headphones are really useful, plus a headphone splitter if they want to watch/listen to the same thing. I love Usborne sticker books and puzzle books, and Dobble is a great game for the whole family – not too tricky. Don’t forget travel bands for kids that get travel sick. The Trunki booster seat backpacks have had a lot of use in our family – our kids take them filled with their stuff as hand luggage and then they slip into a hire car as their booster seat.
Nadine Mellor, i-escape Kids Collection Editor and mother of two children aged 8 and 11
Involve the children in the packing process so they take some ownership, yes it takes longer but it is a life skill they need to learn! We always pack additional cloth bags which function as beach bags, shopping bags and clothes dividers within the suitcase. We find a couple of packs of cards, and games such as Set, IQ Fit, Hive and Bananagrams are essential for family bonding in transit and at our destination. And of course, the mantra we strive to follow (although most often fail to adhere to) is to leave room in the suitcase for holiday purchases. Unless you’re heading into wilderness there will be shops and services at your destination so if you need something you’ll be able to buy it: don’t overpack!
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