Experts in family travel, magazine stylist Vivienne Harris and Telegraph travel journalist Amanda Hyde reveal how to prepare for trips with the kids.So whether you’re planning a family-friendly beach escape at Verdura Resort in Sicily or a city break in Berlin, follow their advice and you’ll be ready for every adventure.
Pack light: a capsule wardrobe for kids
Vivienne, who has worked for fashion brands including Lacoste and Clarks says, “you only need around ten to 15 pieces per child. Choose a loose colour scheme so that everything can be mixed and matched.”
If you’re off to the beach in Puglia or Sicily, “don’t forget flip flops or sandals,” Vivienne advises, “and a towel and sunglasses. I also like the rubber Birkenstock Arizonas for teens. Towelling pieces make great pool or beach cover ups.”
Packing for a family city break
If you’re going sightseeing on a city break in London, Brussels or Berlin, packable raincoats are a necessity, says Vivienne. “And get the kids to wear good trainers, not plimsolls. I especially like the velcro styles for small children.”
Amanda adds, “for city breaks, I buy soft denim jeans that are comfortable. My kids are still at the messy stage, so we always take spare t-shirts and shorts. For evening, I add a smart shirt or an overshirt, as well as smarter trainers (black Vans are comfortable and go with most things). I also pack a couple of jumpers as, even if the destination is hot, it can get cold under the air conditioning.”
Under 10s: en route extras
Amanda’s top travel tip for under 10s is Trunki Boost A Pak booster seats – “they are brilliant. They double as rucksacks so the kids can carry them themselves, filled with toys and gadgets for the plane, and then jump straight into the hire car or taxi (we never hire seats from the car rental as they are invariably old and tatty). For younger kids, I love sticker books – they’re great for days under a sun umbrella, as well as on long journeys”.
Teens: the gadgets
“I’ve just given my teens new cabin baggage,” Vivienne says, “to correspond with some of the airlines’ changes to luggage sizes. We went with the Eastpak Transit’R which is great. They pack their clothes in there and we put bulky items such as shoes and toiletries in the family hold luggage. We use Apple AirTags to keep track of it all.
“My teens also take their AirPods (younger kids do better with noise-cancelling headphones) and phones, iPads or Amazon Fires. If your kid is old enough for a phone, get them a charging case to avoid battery drama. No matter what age they are, pack Top Trumps, Dobble and Uno – they’re all good for travel delays or evenings out.”
What not to pack
Snorkels and masks, pool toys, sarongs and sun cream are all items you can buy when you get to your destination, says Vivienne. When you stay at a Rocco Forte hotel, beach towels are provided so you can leave them at home too.
Amanda loves that, “European supermarkets and pharmacies have brilliant sun cream. My favourites are Avene, who makes a 50+ version for kids, and Nuxe which goes on brilliantly and moisturises at the same time. If your child is suncream averse, try the Nivea roll-on, which is coloured for novelty factor and very easy to apply.”
If you forget to pack the essentials, our hotel teams will be happy to help. From sustainable toys to high chairs, bibs and bottle warmers, Rocco Forte Hotels can provide everything you need for a wonderful family holiday.