On Wednesday, my little man left home with a large suitcase. As he was walking in front of me on the way to school, it hit me. How could my teeny weeny Crevette have grown so much? It seems like yesterday I held him for the first time, my first-born, my little man, and yet he is nearly 9 and going on overnight trips with school…
The suitcase he was pulling was the one I bought as my hospital bag when I was expecting him. I packed it for all four of my births (hospital packing tips here if anyone needs them). This suitcase holds so many special memories and I am glad he took it on his first ever camping trip with school.
A residential trip is a big deal and a memorable experience for any school-aged child. I vividly remember bits of every single one of my school trips. In fact, I might even go as far as saying that the school trips I went on had far more impact on me than sitting in front of a blackboard in those formative years. How can Crevette be at this stage already?
Right, enough of the Mummy soppiness, I actually wanted to write a useful post today, not a whiney one. You will probably be given a packing list when your little one is going on a school trip, so I won’t bore you by listing the entire contents of Crevette’s suitcase, but here are my top packing tips for school trips.
10 Packing Tips for a Smooth School Trip
1- Label, label, label
Label it, or consider it lost! Seriously, it’s hard to keep track of what belongs to who during school trips, so to make your child’s life easier, just label everything. I might have gone overboard, but I had just received a new pack of cute customised labels by Petit Fernand as we were packing, and every single thing that went in that suitcase was labelled, from the torches to the toothbrush to his pencils. Every. Single. Thing. You know what? I don’t think he lost one thing!
2- Plastic bags
If it rains during a school trip, mud ends up getting everywhere. I must have packed 7 or 8 ‘bags for life’ in Crevette’s suitcase, so he could keep larger wet items (wellies, towel, duvet, etc.) in different bags if he ended up in a festival-like mudslide situation.
Would you leave the house without wipes? I wouldn’t. Ever! Wipes didn’t figure on the packing list, but I gave Crevette a pack and he got some good use out of them.
4- Keeping Dry
Is there anything worse than putting on a wet pack-a-mac? I bought Crevette an extra Regatta raincoat in the next size up. It’s the same one as mine and I love it (it was also 75% off, whoop whoop!) and I only packed it in his bag as an emergency extra coat.
He also had waterproof overtrousers (Regatta as well) and comfy but sturdy wellies. The children and I are always in wellies so I buy well-made ones. I used to buy Hunter wellies, but switched to Aigle last year as they seem even more comfortable. We all wear shearling insoles in ours, all year round, as it turns our wellies into really comfy boots.
5- Make it Simple
When it comes to toiletries, make it as simple as it can possibly get. The stuff is likely to be closed carelessly and to leak everywhere, so if you can pack one bottle of soapy stuff and one bottle only, go for something that closes well and also does body and hair. I really like Childs’ Farm hair and body wash so that’s what I gave Crevette for his trip.
Seeing your offspring get on that coach and leave without a look back is tough for you, but at some point, your little ones are more than likely to get a bit homesick. Think about packing a little surprise in their suitcase, whether it be a note, a photo of the family or a small gift. Crevette had a small packet to open each night, that could be shared with his tent buddies. On the first night, they had a small set of Minecraft figures, then a Minecraft magazine (see a running theme here?) and a set of Minion activity books for the last day.
Disposable cameras always result photos ranging from bad to awful, but they’re also part of the whole experience, aren’t they? They don’t cost much and think about the excitement on your child’s face as they take the film to Boots to be developed? I remember the anticipation I felt every time my photos were ready as a child. In a world where everything is instant, it is so nice to be able to restore that feeling of anticipation we used to get as children.
I might have gone over the top with torches, headlamps and lanterns, but I wanted to make sure my little man didn’t end up panicking in the dark in the middle of the night. The pièce de résistance for Crevette was his Varta lantern, which is designed to repel insects. It’s also water resistant and shock proof.
9- Pack with them!
I know it’s tempting to pack your child’s bag for them, but how are they meant to know what’s gone where if they were not involved in the process?
10- Leave Space
Make sure there is space left in their case. Stuff always takes up so much more space at the end of a trip, especially when you’re 8 and not a packing ninja!
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Have you got any other packing tips for school trips?
Disclosure: I was sent the VARTA lantern, the Child’s Farm soap and the Petit Fernand labels, but this blog post is not sponsored. I mentioned them because I thought they were perfect for a school trip. I also linked to a few products on Amazon. As an affiliate, if you click on these products and make a purchase, I will get a small commission.