Three more sleeps and we are off on our holidays, so I should really start thinking about what to pack.
No doubt some of you will be having palpitations that I haven’t got the suitcases sorted and stacked in the hall already, but there is really no need to be that well prepared. We are last-minute packers in this house. If I packed any earlier, I can guarantee that someone would decide that they couldn’t live without whatever is at the bottom of the largest suitcase and would create chaos retrieving it. Besides we are still wearing clothes that will need washing before we leave.
We leave early Thursday morning, so DH will get the suitcases down from the loft tomorrow night and I will start packing on Wednesday. For me, that’s pretty good. Before we went away for Easter, I got up at 5 am the morning we were leaving, in order to pack!
I may not be planning on actually putting clothes in suitcases for a couple of days but I have start making lists of things to take. I do the clothes and toiletries lists. DH is in charge of lists of documents/ the car/ entertainment.
We are driving to the Alps for a family adventure with Esprit, so we need to carry stuff that we wouldn’t need if we were taking the fly drive or train option. Chunnel tickets, in-car gear for driving in Europe, European breakdown cover documents, maps and stickers for the motorways and driver’s licenses; these are all essential items when you are planning to drive 6 people 700 miles, under the sea, across France and into Switzerland.
And packing for summer in the mountains is not like packing for a beach holiday. You need more clothes and sturdier foot wear; it’s often warm and sunny enough for short sleeves and shorts, but the weather can be changeable so you do need to take a fleece and a waterproof jacket as well as longer trousers. Layers are the key. And if you are planning on going up a mountain, you may even have to take thermals. Yes, I know it’s August, but it can get cold up there!
I pack my clothes and DS’s, and give a list of requirements to the girls. They are old enough to choose what clothes they want to take with them, but I make sure I go through all their choices with them before we close the case up. DD1 is almost at the point where I don’t have check, but I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. It is essential that I oversee DD2 and DD3’s effort. Last year DD2 presented me with a case containing 3 pairs of knickers, her school PE kit, a skort two sizes too small for her and 7 books. I do pick up some bits and pieces for DH when I’m making sure the kids have everything, but I do not play any part in packing his cases. He’s a grown man and perfectly capable of doing it himself.
DH and I have a big suitcase each and the girls each have a little one on wheels. DS has our last remaining trunki. Our original two have lasted over 5 years and survived many journeys, but in the end the little ‘u’ shaped parts that the straps clip onto finally gave up the ghost. We all carry a rucksack each; the children carry a couple of changes of clothes and some toys/books in theirs, DH is in charge of iPads, Nintendos, maps and money and I carry food, games and wet wipes.
We tend to keep our own clothes in our own suitcases, but inevitably there is some overspill from the kids’ smaller suitcases into our larger ones. Nappies, for example, have taken up a large amount of space in the past, but DS is now toilet trained, so we will get to reclaim a % of our suitcases for this trip. However the gap will probably be somehow taken up by something, probably shoes.
Of course, all this luggage has to go somewhere.
We drive a Toyota Previa which actually has enough room for a couple of cases, even with all 7 seats in. We take one seat in the middle row out for some extra space, and this year we won’t take a buggy but we will still need our secret weapon, aka The Roof Box.
The Roof Box allows us to pack the bags before the children, and means the children have enough room to get in and out of the car without us having to excavate them. The downside is that it increases the height of our vehicle enough to exclude us from parking anywhere with a height restriction. Last year we managed to avoid wedging ourselves under any steel bars while on the continent, but did exactly that in the local car park 5 minutes from home.
Which reminds me; we haven’t used it since we went to Newcastle last year so we really need to make sure we know where the key for it is. DH has asked me to write him a note, reminding him to check.
I wonder if this post is enough of a reminder?