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Our Favourite Ways to Pack for a Snow Bound Vacation

Every holiday is different and brings with it unique challenges of how to pack light and still have enough stuff! This issue is magnified when you are also packing for sprogs who not only need enough layers but also need entertaining!


While a winter destination holiday for couples means fun in the snow, skiing and quiet evenings by the fire with a glass of wine and a book. Once you have children, holidays become more focused on keeping overly rambunctious children, happy, busy and physically exhausted!

Every family packs differently, some make lists and pack days in advance while others throw things into a suitcase at the last minute and hope for the best. Some even let the children decide what to pack. Each has its pluses and usually some surprises when you arrive! Be it the goggles you left on the bench at home or the realization that last year's snow suit no longer fits, or that you've forgotten Simons' favourite toy.

Winter holidays with kids

In an attempt to help with this winter's chilly holidays, we've teamed up with our friends at Tots to Travel who are offering up their favourite ways to pack for a winter vacation.

Wendy Shand, mother of three, family travel expert and founder of child friendly villa company, www.totstotravel.co.uk says that there are plenty of ways to make packing for a winter holiday a far less stressful proposition…


checklistStart making a pile early and keep lists. You can even go as far as making printable checklists that can be used every year! Remember to go back after each vacation and add anything you wish you'd had and take off the items that never left your suitcase. Tots to Travel have put together a Family Holiday Planning Pack, complete with tick lists for a winter vacation.


Depending on your mode of travel, you'll want to have a think about what bags to pack. I like each child to have their own suitcase so that everything has a place and is easy to find.

For UK holidays and European car journeys I am a big fan of the big blue Ikea bags. They are great for bulky items like wellies, hats, coats and even Christmas presents that take up too much space in your suitcase but are very necessary.

If you are flying, make sure you don't take more than you can carry! There is nothing worse than getting to your destination and struggling to find transport while juggling suitcases and children!

Avoid a cumbersome pram and take a folding one instead, this will be useful in the airports, but probably not when you reach snowy terrain. For these instances, depending on the age and weight of your baby, a backpack of some sort is a much better bet.

Try to organise your hand luggage so you only need one bag close at hand or else you'll spend the entire journey emptying the overhead lockers.

Packing for winter holidays

When it comes to the winter, the key is layering, particularly for babies who do not move around very much. For really snowy holidays, base your packing on 6 layers. You'll need various combinations of thermals, t-shirts and winter jackets.

For babies and small children, all in one snow suits are great with multiple layers of clothes underneath. Thick socks and moon boots are a must.

Don't forget to pack sunglasses, goggles and sunblock as the sun is magnified by the snow, making it just as likely you'll catch some sun in the winter!

If you are planning to ski, packing helmets is a good idea, while other equipment can be rented at the resort, helmets should be specific to the individual. For those of you who have had to deal with nits, you'll understand that sharing headware is a no-no!

If you are brave or you want to get the children involved, give them the list and let them lay out what they think they should pack. Make sure you double check though as you may end up with a few surprise items in their bags, and they are apt to think they don't need as many pairs of socks and underwear as you suggest!

Missing essentials

Children grow like weeds and it is inevitable that you will need to replace some items by the time you reach the end of your checklist. Stores like Lidl and Aldi are surprisingly good places to find great winter kit. The choice is relatively limited but you can get a whole ski set for around £19.00 which is great value. You need to be on the ball though as stocks do not last long.

You can also find some good quality gear that has only been worn for one season at charity shops or on ebay, also a good place to recycle the ones that no longer fit your gang.


Teddy bear and suitcase

A good way to keep the kids entertained on long car journeys is to pack a car box, filled with some new games and some old favourites. Even a pad of paper and pencils, to keep track of the different countries license plates can be a life saver! Don't distribute them all at once, the treasure chest effect is all part of the fun!

If you are taking a flight, find a small backpack for each child and limit what they can take to what fits into the bag and what they can reasonably carry! Always a good idea to check what has been packed, and make a few suggestions so that there is a variety of activities!

Pack plenty of snacks and buy drinks and a picnic at the airport, once you have been through security. The best way to entertain the children is to have a picnic on the flight itself and to pack more food than you think possible. A few small surprises up your sleeve never go amiss either, a new colouring or sticker book, a new board book for babies, a kids magazine or a small toy, you never know when you'll need a quick distraction!.

Remember you can receive your FREE Family Holiday Planner Pack.

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