I don’t know about you but when we decide to go on a family day out, there’s always that moment just after we’ve left when I think I’ve forgotten something.
That’s one of the reasons that we have a Summer bag in the back of our car – our bag has lots of things in it that we might need on a day out like sun tan lotion in case it’s hot, a beach towel in case we get wet, hats for sunny days and even change for parking. It’s looking a bit depleted right now as we’ve been using the things in it over the last few months and haven’t gotten around to replacing the things we’ve taken out so I really need to get it re-stocked.
Even aside from the things in our Summer Bag, there’s still a lot to remember to take with you when you’re off out for the day. Honestly, we’ve had many a fun day interrupted with an argument about directions (usually Mr Frugal) or a stress because of a dead battery on a phone or camera (that may have been me).
To us all remember everything we need to take on a day out, I’ve put together this list of things to take with you which will help your day run as smoothly as possible – and possibly even save you a bit of money along the way!
Stay on the right track
First of all, make sure you look up the directions in ahead of the day. If you don’t have a sat nav it’s wise to save the route into your phone in advance, especially if you’re going somewhere off the beaten track without signal. If you don’t have a Sat Nav then you can get a free Sat Nav app called Waze on your phone which is much better than any Sat Nav we’ve ever had. To be absolutely sure, go old school and print out a map and directions.
Are we there yet?
Depending what age your kids are and how long you’ll need to drive, toys and activities are a good idea. Print off some car bingo sheets and you can all have fun spotting what you can see out the window. For younger kids it’s wise to have things to do for the car, queues and while waiting for food to arrive.
I always keep a load of change in my car to use for parking, as inevitably the time you don’t have any coins is when you can’t pay with notes or card. Another tip is to take a photo of where you parked if it’s a big car park, like when heading to theme parks or festivals. You may even choose to get an aerial topper so you can spot your vehicle more easily in the carpark. Honestly, next time I buy a car I ‘m getting a bright yellow one so I can spot it a mile off!
A ticket to ride
When you arrive at your destination your excited kids will want to get in sharpish. Buying tickets in advance rather than on arrival usually saves money, can save time on queues, and also avoids disappointment if it’s somewhere that books up quickly. Another money-saving tip is to search for discount vouchers online before you go, making entry all the more affordable.
We Brits can’t really pack light when one minute the sun is blazing and the next there’s a downpour, so it’s best to take lots of options. Pack wellies and rain coats if there’s a chance of rain, a hat and suncream if the sun will make an appearance and bug spray if you’ll be going anywhere with standing water or staying until sundown.
Fed and watered
The very least I take with me when heading out for a day with the family is some water and snacks, but in order to save some money I usually try to pack lunch. Keep everything cool in a coolbox with ice packs, while a coolbag backpack is more convenient if you’re walking a lot and plan to have lunch away from the car. We’re planning another trip to explore Warner Bros Studio Tours soon, so will pack lunch to eat on the way and then get a tasty butterbeer ice cream at the Backlot Cafe. It’s halfway round so a good resting point during the Harry Potter Tour.
(sorry for the poor photo, it’s been a few years since we last went and this is the only photo I could find – a lesson to you all to organise your photo collections better)
Accidents can happen
Hopefully your day will go smoothly but you never can tell with children in tow. Pop a few things in a makeshift first aid kit and you’ll be able to resolve minor issues. Wet wipes are a brilliant solve-all for wiping hands, faces and getting marks off clothes, plus hand sanitiser is useful if you’re heading to somewhere with animals or limited toilet facilities. You might also want to pop in some plasters, tissues, an antiseptic spray and some Calpol, as well as paracetamol for you.
Don’t overlook the Electronics
Electronics are definitely your friend on car journeys with younger children so get them charged up and loaded with fun apps and games to keep them occupied. Electronics are even more of a consideration for us now that ours are older as they love to be able to snapchat and instagram photos of where we are and what we’re doing. I’m the same and I always have my camera charged up and ready to go too. We have a spare charge in the car and one of those lighter USB things that you plug in so you can charge on the go!
Have I missed anything off the list – what can’t you do without on your family days out?
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