This is definitely a tricky scenario, you want to pack for all eventualities but as the kids are pretty useless at carrying much weight you have to resigned to carrying stuff for all of you.
There are of course a number of other factors, duration of stay, climate, age of the kids, so rather than provide an exhaustive list I’ll stick to sharing some of the mistakes and occasional good moves that we have made.
1. Kids don’t mind wearing the same thing day in day out.
I remember on our first holidays we’d take clean clothes for every day before we realised that it was much easier to take enough for about 5 days and then just hand wash.
2. Noodles can save your life.
A little of your kids favourite freeze drive snack can save your bacon when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere with a hungry 5-year-old in tow. This does NOT mean take a suitcase full of food, two or three emergency rations is enough.
3. Sometimes there’s no soap.
Take hand sanitizer it can be a lot easier than trying to find soap at a Jordanian truck stop.
4. Take swapsy toys
if your kids have some old toy cars they don’t play with anymore then take them along to give to kids you meet, (unless you’re going on holiday to Monaco), it helps your kids see that not everyone has as much stuff as them and is a way to make friends.
5. Everywhere has toilet roll…
And tooth paste and soap and deodorant….you do NOT need to take enough toiletries for a month, yes it’s a good idea to stick a few napkins in your pockets when the opportunity arises, but to take (as I once saw a group on a flight to Ecuador do), multiple toilet rolls is completely barmy. Also the less stuff you pack, the more room you will have to bring back goodies.
6. What about the gadgets?
On the plus side an iPad can keep ’em quiet for hours, on the negative side this is at the expense of looking out the window and realizing there is world out there. It’s a tough one and for the first time this year we left all the electronics at home, and you know what? After a couple of days they stopped asking for them.
6. A stroller can also save your life
Even when the kids were too old to use a stroller at home we would take one with us on holiday. When you are doing a serious city tour they can take it turns to rest their weary bones. Of course if you’re going out to boondocks then don’t bother, there are no paths flat enough…