With the uncertainty of going abroad still looming, many of us are turning to staycations this summer to enjoy our time off with family and friends. Staycations are great as they remove the hassle of airport queues and plane delays, however when travelling with children in the car, there can definitely be some complications!
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Luckily Nicola Lewis, aka This Girl Can Organise, is here to help. Nicola has teamed up with MINI to share her top six hacks for a fuss-free journey, so that you can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
WATCH: Nicola Lewis shares her top travel organisation tips
1. Clear the clutter
Children or not, before you go anywhere, it’s important to make sure the car is clean before more mess can be made! The perfect way to start your trip, there’s no greater feeling than getting into a clean and tidy vehicle before you head off on your holiday (even if it doesn’t stay that way for long!).
Nicola’s hero hack: “I always store a couple of microfibre cloths inside the glove compartment to keep the inside of the car dust free and clean. These cloths only require water to work efficiently so no harmful chemicals will be breathed in, plus this cloth is safe to use on all materials giving you confidence that it won’t tarnish the interior of your vehicle. When it comes to clearing clutter away, my MINI’s interior has easy-access storage throughout, including the glove box, push cupboard, door storage, cup holders and more, making going clutter free simple!”
10 microfibre cloths, £7.60, Amazon
2. Good food means good mood
No one wants the boot to be taken up by the weekly food shop. So, remember, you don’t need to take the entire fridge with you when you leave for your holiday, just a few essentials to see you on your way - this is especially important if you have fussy eaters to cater for!
Nicola’s hero hack: “Organise a food delivery to arrive at your destination after you arrive to avoid needing to pack groceries for the week. This will give you more space for other essential items and there will be no risk of smelly food leaks!”
Nicola Lewis is an expert when it comes to packing up the car for a holiday
3. Perfect your packing
It sounds simple but having a plan before you pack is a must! Not only is it reassuring before you head off on your journey, but it will also allow you to pack with confidence, ensuring you have all your essentials to hand.
Nicola’s hero hacks: “I love to use packing cubes filled with essential items and then store them underneath the front passenger seat. Items such a tissues, wet wipes, sick bags, sanitisers and face masks can all be stored neatly together. I’d also advise people to consider using soft luggage bags, as these can be manoeuvred into tight spaces inside your boot more easily than hard luggage cases. Lastly, use a rucksack to pack all your electrical items, such as iPads, laptops and chargers. Then, once unpacked at your destination, you will have a useful bag for any day trips you plan to take.”
6 piece set of packing cubes, £11.95, Amazon
4. Comfort is key
A relaxing time away means more than just physical comfort, there are simple practices you can put in place to make the whole holiday more comfortable for all the family too.
Nicola’s hero hack for kids: “Use a small, soft velvet bean bag and get your child to fill it with their favourite soft toys and comforters, the things they will miss most from home. Not only will this keep them content, but this bag also doubles up as a soft pillow for the journey and an additional toy bag to keep their new holiday bedroom tidy!”
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Nicola’s hero hack for you: “I love using a beach cart to pack items into the boot of the car. The cart can then be used to easily transfer items from the car to accommodation and can also be used while on holiday for things like carrying essentials to the beach or camping site.”
Folding beach trolley, £93.95, Amazon
5. Snack smart
Every seasoned staycationer knows that snacks are a must for any longer journey! However, when kids are involved, this can mean a mess in the car. What’s more, snacks can be easily mislaid amongst your packing, making for a stressful situation when you or the kids need to refuel quickly.
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Nicola’s hero hack for kids: “A hanging seat organiser will keep the kids entertained and occupied with their favourite toys and snacks. They hang behind the front passenger head rest which is easy to reach for children. Alternatively, you can create individual snack boxes using compartment containers and store them in the hanging seat organiser or the side well.”
Nicola’s hero hacks for you: “I love to use a small or medium-sized craft box as a snack box, as it has lots of compartments for different snacks and can be passed around easily. Equally, when snacking is over and the mess remains, having a handheld vacuum stored in the car will allow you to clear up any mishaps or food crumbs quickly at any given time, keeping your car clean and fresh.”
Car seat organiser, £13.99, Amazon
6. The journey home
Let’s face it, the thought of packing up your car at the end of your holiday can fill you with dread, particularly if you're dealing with tired children too! However, you can bring calm and clarity for your journey home with a few simple steps.
Nicola’s hero hack for throughout the holiday: “Pack as you go throughout the week of the holiday, this keeps everything tidy in your accommodation and allows you to take your time packing up gradually. Separate dirty and clean items of clothing and place them into different holdalls; I recommend placing your clothes in colour order, as this will help speed up the washing process when you get home.”
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Nicola’s hero hack for the day before you leave: “Pack up the car the day before you leave, not on the day you go. This will make the end of your holiday as stress free as possible.”
Nicola’s hero hacks for packing the car: “If you’re struggling for space inside the car boot, then vacuum bags are a fab solution. You simply pack your clothes and then suck the air out to condense them down. This way you can save time on folding, but still enjoy more space in the car for items you might have purchased whilst on holiday. Having your handheld vacuum in the car will make this simple! It’s always a good idea to double bag the messy things too. I always carry a handful of samosa folded carrier bags in the boot area. They are particularly great for double bagging items like buckets and spades from the beach, to ensure sand stays confined and doesn’t get into the car. Make sure you do the same for muddy welly boots too!”
6 vacuum storage bags, £14.59, Amazon
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