Holiday packing tips for busy mums and dads

Pen Julie Cobbe Glasses 4 min read

When it comes to holiday packing, gone are the days when you would throw caution to the wind, pack a few clothes and toiletries in the bag and be gone. All of that changes with kids in tow as the concept of creating lists has never sounded so appealing! (Oh how life has changed). Along with that, common sense and creativity become key to both stress free packing and giving yourself the freedom to let your mind drift to all the holiday fun in front of you!

Here are my top tips to help you concentrate on the fun rather than on the fuss!


Simply spend half an hour writing down all the things you need to remember to bring. Put together a clothing, equipment, toiliteries, first aid, toys, documents and ‘additional’ list. Taking this time means a lot less stress. I really recommend an app called ‘Paperless Lite’ which allows you to create your lists and tick them off as they are packed!


Consider the ‘actual’ holiday you want to achieve for you and your family. We can be bad at packing for every eventuality but be honest with yourself. Do you want to relax by the pool and just have time with your kids? What’s the point in bringing hiking boots and high heels in that case. Anything that you don’t really believe you will use, should not be packed.


Young children love their toys and home routines, so they can be comforted while travelling (making your life easier) by having some favourite items from home at the ready. Let them help you choose two or three things they want to bring.


Aside from a stash of the usual crayons, paper, books and super heroes, when packing toys, consider the noise factor and the pain quotient. Don't bring anything that will give you (or anyone else nearby) a migraine. It can be nice to stash away a few unopened birthday presents to bring out when they least expect it. A great distraction and what child doesn’t like to open a present?


Holidays are all about keeping things simple. It is where the idea of the capsule comes into it’s own. Items should be chosen based on the fact they can be worn in at least two ways. For kids, it can be useful to create outfits, which you pack together. Use ‘packing cubes’ so you can pack each childs outfits together. Do pack lots of denim, darker colour and long sleeved PJ’s (for those air conditioned evenings). Avoid too many light colours and delicate fabrics.


I am a big beleiver in rolling clothes in the suitcase. You fit heaps more. Start by packing your shoes at the bottom and surround them with things like kids macs, underwear and other such items that creasing is not an issue for. This is also a great way to use this otherwise lost space. If you are packing anything remotely tailored, turn it inside out, tuck the sleeves in, roll and it will arrive in the best shape possible.


Having a small backpack with all the essentials right there for the airport is a godsend. Snacks and games for the kids, all documents, itineraries, passports and tickets, any medication, plasters, painskillers, international adapter, water and an extra pair of clothes for kiddies accidents.


It can be both fun and worthwhile to get your kids involved in the packing process. It builds their excitement for the trip and also helps to teach them the responsibility they share with Mum and Dad to mind their toys and bits and pieces. Ask them what they think they might need and let them pick out the toys, books and activities they want to enjoy while on the road. Perhaps about a week before you leave get them to help you pack either their own carry on bag or help to pack yours. 

Oh and last thing…laya healthcare offers 20% off holiday insurance for members. Check out our travel insurance here.

Julie Cobbe

Julie Cobbe is the owner of Stylefish,a fashion,training and events company she set up in 2009. Before fashion, Julie worked in the corporate world and she holds a Commerce Degree majoring in Law & Marketing. Julie has taught over 3,500 women with her Stylefish program. She launched her business on the back of a successful appearance on RTE’s Dragons Den and she now sits on the board of the Federation of Image Professionals International in the UK, the governing body for style professionals. Log onto for more information.