March 7, 2007

What to take

Children of this age will naturally want a say in what they want to take with them, but it is not advisable to let them pack their own suitcase, or you will end up with all kinds of surprising items.

Here are some tips:
  • The type of holiday you are planning influences what you should take. If it involves swimming, take at least three swimming costumes or trunks, so they have dry ones at all times
  • One comfort toy should be sufficient - not six
  • Allow for layering. Even though you may be going on a hot weather holiday, the evenings can be surprisingly cool
  • A torch for reading, if they are sharing a room with younger siblings
  • Books and story tapes, plus their own tape recorder. It may be bulky, but it will prove invaluable, especially on long journeys
  • A couple of favourite videos if you have access to a video player. Excellent for relaxing at the end of the day
  • Do not take pool inflatables with you. Buy them there, but remember that they're not recommended for the seaside - children can get swept away by the current
  • Don't buy new shoes just before a trip - they may rub
  • Wellingtons are a good idea, whatever the weather
  • Shoes for the beach, such as "jellies" - many injuries are caused by sharp objects hidden in the sand
  • One outfit per day per child should be enough, with two or three "smart" outfits for evening
  • Even though they are older, pre-moistened wipes are a must
  • It is rarely worth taking bikes with you, most resorts will hire them out
  • A sun-hat, whatever the age
  • Sunscreen - it no longer needs to be total sunblock, but you must guard against sunburn
  • Do not take any clothes that need hand-washing or dry-cleaning. Wool is not a good idea, because it is hot and itchy
  • Take more pants than you think you will need, unless you want to spend the whole holiday washing
  • One jumper and fleece is normally enough, unless you are going somewhere chilly
  • Take a light raincoat that folds away to nothing. You can always layer underneath for warmth
  • Insist on one pair of comfortable shoes, even if you have an 11-year-old girl who is adamant about taking platforms. Compromise with trainers
  • Let them each take a disposable camera - it will keep them occupied for hours
  • Say they can pack one small bag of toys. There is no point taking mountains of toys because in the excitement of a new place they will not play with them
  • Make sure you have a change of outfit for each child easily accessible in hand luggage on the plane. They are not too old to spill drinks all over themselves
  • Pocket money for the holiday. Give each child a set amount according to age, and explain why this is fair.
Make sure they have a safe place to put it, and do not complain when they buy tacky rubbish with it. It is their money.

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