Holiday essentials

It’s that time of year again when everyone seems to be going on holiday. I can’t help with booking the holiday as in our house that’s Daddy Saving Money’s job, but packing is mostly my domain so that’s where I can offer some ideas.

Let me start by saying that I HATE packing…whether for one night or two weeks, I get very stressed out by it and the fear that I might forget something.  So when I pack it does tend to involve everything but the kitchen sink, but that does mean that we have everything for all eventualities, thereby avoiding those trips to the local resort shop to pick up something that at home would cost about 50p, but in the resort somehow costs £3!  So here are my tips for a few bits to pack in your suitcase to avoid being caught out at the expensive resort shop.  (Some of these don’t apply so much if you have access to a supermarket while you’re away, but may still save you some valuable beach time!)

Suncream – everyone packs suncream for holiday (I hope!) but make sure you have enough.  It’s amazing just how many bottles you get through when you have kids. Don’t forget the after sun too!

First aid kit – I’m not talking a full on briefcase sized first aid kit here, although we just take the one that lives in my car.  But in the event of a headache the morning after drinking too many cocktails, do you really want to be searching round the resort shop trying to find the Spanish equivalent paracetamol?!  A few essentials would include paracetamol, calpol, plasters, anti-histamines, diarrhoea tablets.

Washing up – even if you’re staying in an all inclusive resort, if you’re staying in an apartment you may still need to wash up cups etc.  Squeeze a bit of your usual washing up liquid into a travel bottle before you go and throw in a cloth too, then you wont have to buy a full size bottle and a whole pack of cloths while you’re away which will inevitably get thrown away when you come home.

Hand wash – this is one thing that we often forget, but if you’re in an apartment you probably wont be given soap for hand washing.  Buy a cheap bottle at home, or decant some into a travel bottle.

Pool toys – if you think you might want your own pool inflatables while you’re away, consider buying before you go.  You can buy a beach ball on ebay for £1.39!

Bucket & Spade – these are surprisingly easy to pack into a suitcase as you can fill the buckets with clothes.  Buy a set from the £1 shop before you go and you will save yourself a fortune compared to the resort prices!

Blackout blind – if you have a travel blackout blind then don’t forget to take it for your kids to avoid the 5am starts.  But if you don’t have one then just take a roll of cheap tinfoil instead.  It works brilliantly at blacking out windows, although people walking past may wonder what on earth you’re up to!

Car seats – if you’re hiring a car while you’re away, consider taking your own car seats with you.  When we go away this year we’re hiring a car for around £70, and hiring seats for both of our children would have cost around the same again.  Most airlines let you take a car seat onto a plane at no extra cost, and if you use your own seat then you know its history too so can be sure its safe.

Snacks – Make sure you have enough snacks with you for the journey, but also if you have kids then pack a few small boxes of raisins etc for when you’re there.  If you don’t get a meal on the plane, consider buying a Boots meal deal at the airport and taking it on board.

Holiday credit card – this one is not so much about packing, but if you’re planning on spending a lot of money while you’re away, on meals etc, then consider applying for a specialist overseas credit card so you won’t get charged fees on your spending.  Have a read of this for more info http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/travel-credit-cards

Presents – for some reason it has become customary to buy presents for family and friends from holiday, but it can cost you a lot of money.  Before you splash your cash, just ask yourself if the person you’re buying for will really want your gift, or whether you’d be better saving that 10€ to buy yourself some food at the airport on the way home!

Hope these tips are helpful.  They won’t save you a fortune, but in the words of Tesco, “every little helps”!  And if nothing else they might save you some time and effort while you’re away.  Happy holidays!

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