I am so happy to finally be able to plan a holiday again! It's been a long 18 months, but things are finally starting to feel a lot more normal, and we couldn't be any more excited to be heading off to the sun.
Over the years, I have learned to become a more essential packer. I know what basics we need, and the things that end up coming back home unused.
Of course when packing the destination is paramount and so is the time of year. We always book a sun holiday during the summer holidays which means clothing is lighter, and we spend most of the day on the beach or by the pool in swimsuits which means daytime clothing is down to a bare minimum. During the summer we holiday in destinations with an average daily temperature of between 25 - 30 degrees which means we don't need coats or layers to keep warm in the evening, so that really does take any bulky items out of the equation when packing.
So here is, after 15 years of travelling with kids is my go-to lightweight sun holiday packing list for the boys.
Every year we pack two carry-on suitcases for me and David and a larger suitcase for the boys which is filled with their clothes, beachwear and any extra items they may need. We also pack our toiletries in the bigger case so myself and David can just fill our carry-on suitcases with our own clothes (no liquids) which we can then take onto the plane as hand luggage.
After years of trial and error, I've got their packing list down to the exact number of items they need for our holiday. It may look small - 2 pairs of shorts for each of the boys - really! But yes, it really is manageable and especially on a sun holiday when, like I mentioned, you really don't need lots of day-time clothing.
The easiest way to plan is to divide up the kids packing list into categories. One for clothing, one for swimwear and another for any extra items they will need - remember the clothes they travel in are another set they can wear which can often be forgotten about when writing out packing essentials.
Daytime & Evening Wear (each)
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 4 T-shirts
- 1 polo shirt
- 2 pairs of runner socks
- 5 underpants
- 1 pair of pyjamas
- Runner socks and underwear
- Slip-on lightweight runners
- Lightweight waterproof jacket with a hood
- Sun hat
- 2 swim shorts
- 1 rash vest
- Sun glasses
- Arm bands
- Flat cotton or Turkish/Hammam towels
Thin Turkish towels are perfect for sun holidays, they’re hard wearing for humid conditions, less heavy when wet, and dry much more quickly. They’re lighter to pack so take up less space and they can also double as a sarong or picnic blanket.
We’ve been using individual backpacks when travelling for all the boys since our eldest was two. They’re essential on travel days for carrying snacks and activities for the plane and when we arrive at our destination they also come with us to restaurants to keep little ones occupied.
- Copy books
- Travel sized games like Uno, Rubix cube
- Phone for music
- Notebook and pen
Inflatable booster seats (x2)
These are an absolute must for us, they're great on the plane and save on the car hire cost. We have the Bubblebum brand which we love. They also attach to the carry-on bags which is ideal.
I pack all my makeup and toiletries in travel sized containers and buy shampoo, conditioner, body wash and toothpaste when I arrive which is enough for the five of us for the length of our stay. Other items we all use are:
- La Roche Posay sun creams - Factor 30 and Factor 50
- Nail scissors
- Mosquito repellent
- La Roche Posay Body Milk
Medical travel kit
Thankfully the only things we usually need in our medicine bag are plasters and Sudocrem for grazed knees, but it’s good to have these other supplies to hand just in case:
- Hydrocortizone cream
This has been a more recent addition to our suitcase and now something we would never forget to pack. Essential for picnics and imperative for keeping rose cool on the beach!
Travelling light has so many advantages. You have less to carry on travel days. When you arrive you only have the essentials so everything is easy to find. Packing to go home is so quick and easy and likewise so is unpacking.
I hope this helps for your next sun holiday and that most of all you have a fun and enjoyable trip!