If you were going on a holiday for a week, would you ever think it would be possible to pack for a family of four – for a whole week away – into just one piece of checked luggage? What about for a fortnight? Even longer? I can tell you it’s absolutely doable – you do NOT need one suitcase per person, and even babies don’t need their own case.
How to pack for a family holiday in just one checked bag
Do you know that song by Baz Luhrmann – sunscreen? It was a massive hit at the end of the 1990s, and I think it resonates with most people who were in their teens during the months it was in the charts and on the radio every day. A lot of popular culture quotes it, so even if the song passed you by, you’d still have read a quote or two and thought that it was speaking sage advice. The lyrics are taken from a famous essay — written in 1997 by Mary Schmich, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune — which gives some amazing advice for life.
If I were to paraphrase that advise to you now, I would say,
Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
Use packing cubes
If I could offer you only one tip for the future,
Packing cubes would be it…
If I could offer you only one tip for your holidays, packing cubes would be it. They will help you pack just one suitcase for a family of four!
Normally the most stressful part of taking a trip, organisers make packing a little easier and a lot more glam. They are great for splitting up your packing and helping you take control.
You can organise your clothes into days, and have one packing cube per two days. This is ideal if you are on a road trip and have a couple of days in one hotel, before moving on to the next. You don’t want to be lugging the whole suitcase into your room every time.
More packing tips
For more tips, go and read my other post on packing for a family of four with one suitcase. It’s from a very long time ago, but we are still packing as lightly as ever for our holidays, either week-long hops or month-long road trips. We still manage to pack all our stuff in one checked bag if we are going long-haul. When we fly short-haul we only take hand luggage as the airline restrictions (and extra charges) are so ridiculous!
Hand luggage tactics
If I am going to sneak you one more tip, it would be to be canny with your hand luggage. Wear layers onto the plane. Aeroplanes can often be chilly anyway so this is an excellent opportunity to sneak an extra outfit or accessories to your destination without being penalised for the excess weight. Layer a vest with t-shirts and a hoodie or leggings under skirts for serious packing efficiency.
Something I have always done, even pre-children, is to make sure I have a full outfit in my hand luggage in case my suitcase doesn’t turn up at our destination. I pack a bikini, underwear for a couple of days, shorts, sarong, two t-shirts and gym leggings (because they’ve got wicking technology and will work in hot or cold places. They also dry really quickly; if I needed to wash them at night, they’d be ready the next morning).
Pack a beautifully scented soap or too – I like these by Vie Naturals, as they’re handmade and gorgeously long-lasting. Soap is great for hand luggage as you can pack it without worrying about the liquid allowances!
All these things take up very little room, and packing the same for my children doesn’t add much to my hand luggage at all.
Packing cubes help here too because you can be really organised with your hand luggage. You can easily divide your luggage any way you like, by day, by clothing type or by category.
Put the baby’s stuff in an organiser, so you’re just grabbing one little sack when you go to change their nappy, rather than taking the whole changing bag!
Win a set of Beautify organisers
I have one set of gorgeous Beautify packing cubes to giveaway. They are super soft suede-feel polyester bags to organise your suitcases and take the stress away from your packing! I like the rose gold detailing as it makes packing a lot more stylish. You also get an astonishing two-year manufacturer’s guarantee – how many trips will you squeeze into two years?!