Getting my bags out of storage is always exciting for me because it means soon I will be on my way to a new adventure.(I probably need to get a few more hobbies)
This post is essentially a few points that help me to be more efficient when organising and packing for a family of 6. I’m sure there are far better ways but this works for us and maybe can help you too.
Make a packing list a few days before you start
So depending on the type of trip we are taking, I do a basic list of what I need for everyone and then do a more detailed per person list. I will include an example at the end .
This usually happens late at night on my iPhone notes
eg : for an island holiday ,everyone needs swimwear, sandals, hats, casual day wear but my youngest child would need swim diapers and arm bands specific to him.
Do a shopping trip
Get all essentials for your trip.
Mine generally includes kids and adult medication/ toiletries, snacks for the journey,Any particular items that the kids need to eat while on holiday (Marie biscuits and Instant Cup noodles are staples for us)
Do one person’s packing at a time
We generally travel as a family of 6 (2 adults and 4 kids ) so I try to do each person’s separately or it becomes too overwhelming.
Use packing cubes
Since I discovered them(which I think was far later than the rest of the world) I love using these to keep my suitcases organised. They are lovely to separate clothing, underwear and pyjamas. I also like to use them if I need to use one suitcase for 2 kids then I put each child’s into their own cube. Also when you arrive at a hotel and need to unpack into different rooms this makes life much easier . Each set comes in a variety of sizes so they work to separate socks and other small items as well. If you are packing for a few people, Try to get a different color for each person. I use the really small one to keep all the chargers and other electronics organised in my carry on.
I used to be a big fan of using ziplock bags to separate items in luggage but the cubes seem to be far more efficient ,more eco-friendly and look good too. I do carry a few ziplocks as well mainly for items that could leak and mess.
I am not a backpack kind of person (maybe lazy is a better word )so all my carry-on luggage is always cabin trolleys. We generally carry 4 of them between us. One shared between the 2 adults , one shared between the smaller kids which one of the adults can pull along for them and then the 2 older kids get their own. Each carry on must have one full set of clothing in one of the smaller packing cubes , gadget of choice, headphones, chargers, snacks and for the smaller kids toys/games .
Carry a fold up duffle bag
We always come home with more stuff than we left home with because who travels and doesn’t shop? Well definitely not me!
A soft duffle bag or empty suitcase has always been thrown into our bags to fill up on holiday shopping but since a very savvy travel friend told me about these fold up duffle bags, I can’t travel without them .
I couldn’t get the exact one she mentioned which was Samsonite’s Tote-a-Ton(available in the USA) so I looked for the most similar one available locally which was the Cellini stowaway which is great. They fold into a small bag and comes in 2 colors, red or black.
These can be used for your shopping and can hold up to 30 kg or even just to toss all your laundry into and use the extra space left behind in your main luggage for the shopping.
Label Label Label
I can’t start packing without my label maker. I make labels with each child’s name for their individual suitcases which comes in handy as we travel with plain black luggage with covers over them which all look the same and on arrival at a hotel it’s easier to tell concierge where to send the bags if they labelled.
I also make labels for each of our passports with our names on them which I place on the side of the passport so they easy to identify and recount after immigration.We don’t travel with passport covers because immigration always needs you to remove them and when we are in a hurry to get to the boarding gate, I don’t want to have to be replacing passport covers on 6 passports.
Sometimes I go crazy with the label maker and label obvious things like snacks, medication etc. just because it makes me feel like I can find things quicker when unpacking.
All our passports have an info sticker on the front with the basic details that are often asked for on immigration forms. This really helps speed up filling in forms on arrival or just before we land. I also carry in my passport bag a bookmark with each person’s name and passport info.
Passport info on both the front of each passport and on the bookmark includes full name ,passport no ,date of birth, date of issue and expiry.We keep scanned copies of passports and all confirmation on our Dropbox and also use the Tripit app.
My luggage glove bag covers have really been a good buy.
Besides protecting the items in the bag from being tampered with ,they have kept my bags in great condition. I have them for all my medium and large suitcases and don’t do an overseas holiday without them.The only downside to them is the space they take up in hotel room cupboards or drawers
We carry a small luggage scale with us mainly for the return journey.You need to have some serious arm strength to lift up between 23-32kgs. At most hotels the concierge will send someone to assist as well.