This Family Travel Checklist is designed to be used with 1 month until you depart on your family holiday
With 1 month to go, the pace changes around our house. Suddenly, we have a deadline, and everything needs to be done by D-day (Departure Day). While the tempo picks up, so do the stress levels which is not ideal! By being well organised and doing bits and pieces off the checklist starting 4 weeks before departure, I have a sense that things are “on track”. When we get to 2 weeks before departure the logistical aspects of packing should be under control, and there is not a mad rush at the end.
At 4 weeks prior to D-Day, I set aside a chunk of time to think through everything that we “need” for our destination. Nearly always I end up with a long list of ‘needs’, repairs or even simple mending. All these things take time and invariably, if you realise that the suitcase has a broken handle the day before departure, you will go and buy a new one. Or do it at midnight.
At the bottom I have included my Family Travel Checklist – a list to check off. But 4 weeks prior to departure is the time that I sit down and THINK about what the trip will involve and work out what is needed. For this mumma, it’s a more creative process than simply going through a list!
Be very conscious of health
- We are extra conscious to get in fruit and veggies; and get out for walks.
- Ensure that everyone is taking multivitamins regularly.
- Before you can pack you need to know what you are allowed by the airline!
- Call airline to confirm child luggage – Read through the entire travelling with children and infants section of the relevant airline’s websites. It explains what you can and can’t take, including liquids.
“Most” airlines allow you for both infants and children a collapsible stroller or push-chair, collapsible cot or bassinet; or car seat or baby capsule. We’ve also had airlines accept our Deuter Trekking carrier as one of these pieces. We have large Tatonka duffel bags that we put the carrier or collapsible cot into after showing the airline staff what it is.
Baby/ toddler paraphernalia
Babies and toddlers come with a lot of paraphernalia. Deciding which items to take is a first step in the travel packing planning for us, because it gives you a sense of how much stuff! (Will you have enough hands for all the pieces of luggage you have?)
- Baby Carrier or Sling – we always take one
- Decide whether to take a stroller – or not.
- Consider the baby car seat – pros and cons of taking your own, vs hiring it.
- A high chair equivalent or booster seat. (Or will there be high chairs where you are travelling to?)
- Portacot/ Portable crib / or Travel Tent
Even for older kids that are able to walk, say in the 3 to 5 year old range some thought needs to be given regarding ‘how’ they might get around when tired. Try to imagine how the child will act after a long flight. Or… check out this super useful blog about getting around airports with a pre-schooler
- We have a list in our medical kit that is supposedly updated when we use something – though in reality this doesn’t always happen.
- So a review of the medical kit is important and then a purchase of any necessary items. I allow some time 30 mins to 1 hour to do this task properly.
- we have written a blog about what we include in our Family Travel Medical Kit
In 2016 we made the commitment to reduce the level of synthetics and artificial items in our life, which means that popping to the shop in the last few days of travel is not possible. We will post a separate blog about which natural/non toxic products we use.
Depending on the length of trip, I will decide whether to take small bottles (about 100mL) or decant into smaller ones. As the whole family uses the same shampoo we need a relatively large amount even for a week, especially if it’s a swimming holiday or the like.
- hair care & moisturisers
- Sun and Insect protection
- Toothpaste & toothbrushes (did you know that you are supposed to get a new toothbrush every 3 months – going on a trip might be a good idea to get a new one!)
Schooling (for school aged kids)
Talk to Teacher about work while Miss 7 is away. Be mindful that teachers are busy people. One teacher said to me, “Why should I spend hours preparing work for your child when you choose to take them out of school, I need to be doing things for the class as a whole!” This stopped me in my tracks (I must have sounded so demanding!) Now I am much more considerate, and go in and do some photocopying. The plan is to generally make it as easy as possible for the teacher to pass on what we need to do. I’ve also spent an hour a week in class learning about what the kids are learning and essentially a bit about ‘how to teach.’ (It’s not easy to get a ‘free hour’, especially if you have younger kids at home BUT I highly recommend it to learn about what the kids learn, class dynamics and what to expect from your child).
This is a task that can be started well before departure and one that is enjoyable as you seek out things that will (hopefully) captivate the kids. Left to the last minute, I tend to throw in a range of used colouring books or toys I have hidden. To start with, take a look at our super useful 21 activities to do on the plane. Not only does this give me ideas, it helps me to visualise the flight and how we want things to go. (Check back soon>> or email me >> downloadable printable of the 21 activities coming soon!)
The Visualisation process & How it Works!
A checklist doesn’t really make the grade of sitting and thinking…so I end up looking up the weather and doing some doodling, thinking or visualising. This process kicks off the packing planning and then I get into serious lists. This is important because you figure out if you are short of some things and then need to work out where to buy them. (Or whether they can be bought from an op shop which can take time!)
I am writing this as we prepare for a Fiji trip. By putting the following items on a list we are being a tad over prepared, but better to consider them and then decide against them; than not be prepared at all. The things that is ‘different’ than other trips are:
- Flippers for kids (we already have snorkels)
- Are there child sized lifejackets (we have our own but they would be quite big to lug
- Reef shoes.
- A swim hat with wide brim for our daughter.
- Does Miss need flip flops? Have got a few spare pairs around.
“THE” Family Travel Checklist – 1 month to departure day
Was this Family Travel Checklist – for 1 month useful?
We would love to hear from YOU about what you do about 1 month from departure, to make departure day much easier!
This family travel checklist is designed to be used with our other lists.
For the last 24 hours – check this one out Departure Day: a final checklist
For the week prior to departure take a look at Travel Packing List – 1 week to Departure
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