The Ultimate Guide for Kids to Pack Your Own Suitcase

Welcome to our ultimate guide for kids to pack your own suitcase!

When I was a kid, my parents were Scout leaders and one of their rules was that kids should pack their own suitcases. My mum always said that if the kids packed themselves, they knew what they had in their bag or rucksack and how to find things. And they were able to pack to go home.

Now I have my own kids, I can see exactly what she meant. My kids have been packing their own suitcases since they were little. In the beginning, I’d check to ensure that they didn’t have 12 t-shirts and one pair of trousers for a week-long holiday but now I just remind them to take their toothbrush and any vital pieces of kit.



Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

First think about where you are going, how long you are going to be away, and if there are any cultural norms in the country you are visiting. In some countries, for example, girls wearing strappy tops or shorts is frowned upon, particularly when visiting religious buildings.

What kind of holiday is your family planning? Do you go to the beach for two weeks or camping and hiking in the mountains? You’ll might still want to take swimwear to the mountains but can leave your walking boots at home for the beach holiday!

How are you getting there? If you are flying, what limits do you have for luggage? A lot of airlines limit weight of suitcases to 20kg but check with your parents to be sure.

Will you be in a hotel or a holiday home, which may have a washing machine? Your parents may not want to do washing while you are away so check with them. Put the clothes you want to take in the washing at least a week before you start packing. This avoids arguments with your parents the day before you leave on holiday because your favourite t-shirt is in the washing basket!


Make a List

Photo by Honza Kahanek on Unsplash

Some people pack complete outfits, others prefer to take a selection of trousers/skirts and tops/tshirts that they can mix and match. Whichever way you choose, it’s a good idea to take a couple of extra items in case you spill something and have to change clothes more than expected.

Start with these items and adjust to suit your preferences and the time you’ll be away. If you are going away for more than a week, you’ll probably have to wash some clothes after the first week is over.

Example Packing List for One Week

  • 10 pairs of underwear
  • 10 pairs of socks
  • 3 – 4 bras or cropped tops if you wear them
  • 7 t-shirts or tops
  • 3 – 4 pairs of trousers or skirts
  • 1 – 2 dresses if you wear them
  • 2 PJs
  • Shoes and sandals
  • Jacket and/or cardigan/pullover (depending on weather)
  • Swimwear
  • Sunhat
  • Toiletries
  • Toys and games
  • Gadgets
  • Favourite cuddly toy
  • Book or magazine


Lay Everything Out

<span style="font-size: 8pt;">Photo by Priscilla du Preez on Unsplash </span>

Photo by Priscilla du Preez on Unsplash

Now take everything out of your wardrobe and cupboards and put on your bed.

If you aren’t packing complete outfits, make sure you have items that you can combine in different ways. You don’t want to come home with unwashed tops that you couldn’t wear because they didn’t go with any of your trousers!

Get rid of bulky and heavy items unless you really need them. If you are going somewhere cold, it’s best to wear these items to travel rather than take up space in your suitcase.

Shoes take up a lot of space and weight so think about which ones you really need. Flipflops or slipper socks are handy for wearing around the hotel or holiday home.

Now is the time to discard a whole lot of unneccessary items. Take a good look at the stuff on your bed and ask yourself ‘Do I REALLY need this?’.


Pack Your Own Suitcase!

Rolling clothes saves space but can make your clothes more wrinkly and harder to find in your suitcase. This video is pretty amazing – I’m not sure it’s necessary unless you are REALLY short of space but you can try out both methods and see which you prefer!

Rolling up socks and putting them in your shoes saves a lot of space. Fill gaps as much as possible with small items.

Leave space in your bag for souvenirs from your trip.


Gadgets and Chargers

Photo by Ady TeenagerInRO on Unsplash

Check with your parents to find out which gadgets are allowed on the trip. Get them out the day before and ensure that they are fully charged and have new batteries. If you have a camera, does it have a specific charger for the battery?

Can you double up any of the chargers? If you are taking a phone and a tablet, check to see if you can use the same charger for both.

Is the journey a long one? Will you need some of your chargers while you are on the go? Find out if you’ll need hand luggage for the trip, and decide which of your gadgets you can do without, and which you’ll want for the journey.

One way of saving space and hassle is to take a multi USB charger plug like this one which can be used in many different countries – don’t forget to check if you’ll need an adaptor before you go! If you and your family have a lot of devices, it might be worth taking a extension lead with you so you just need one adaptor.



Image by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

If you are going on holiday with your parents, check with them to see if they are taking shampoo and shower gel for the whole family. Otherwise, travel sizes are a good way to limit weight.

Make sure your toiletries are closed properly so they don’t leak and pop them into a washbag so they nothing gets onto your clothes.


Hand Luggage

Image by PHUOC LEOC LE on Unsplash

Depending on where you are going and how you are getting there, you might need hand luggage for the trip. Here are some things to put in your hand luggage:

  • Gadgets and chargers (see above)
  • Essential medicines and toiletries
  • Spare set of underwear – again, if you are flying, this doesn’t take up much room and could be really helpful if your case gets lost or delayed!
  • Book or magazine
  • Neck pillow or a cotton scarf that you can use to rest your head on
  • Snacks and water – no chocolate or messy food, and water is better than fizzy drinks that might spill and make a mess

Ensure that you comply with safety regulations if you are flying.

The main one you need to know about is no liquids over 100ml, and all toiletries must be kept in a clear plastic bag that you take out and put on the security conveyer belt. You can buy these bags at supermarkets and chemist or online. You can also use a ziplock bag, which is a bit less expensive than these bags. It does have to be resealable though, so a normal sandwich bag won’t do!

You can’t take aerosols, knives, scissors or other dangerous items in your hand luggage. These items have to be packed in your main suitcase which goes in the hold of the plane.

Find out more about the hand luggage restrictions in UK airports here and in the carry on bag restrictions in the United States here. If you live elsewhere, google the name of your country and ‘hand luggage restrictions’ but they are generally very similar worldwide.

Important Information about Medicines

“There are some weird rules about medicines, so it is sensible to get your parents to check the FCO website, take labelled meds (which might mean having the outer box) and have a copy of your prescription so you can prove what it is for. I always recommend taking meds in hand luggage so there is no panic if checked-in luggage goes astray and it is more temperature controlled so less likely to cause drugs to deteriorate.”

Thanks to our contributor Asha for this information!

Coming Home

Image by Ludomił on Unsplash

Take a bag with you for dirty laundy to keep clean clothes separate from the ones you’ve worn. It’s best to dry swimwear before packing to come home, but if you don’t have time, put it in a plastic bag to make sure you don’t get everything all wet!

When you get home, unpack right away – the longer you leave it, the more annoyed you’ll get when you keep tripping over your suitcase!













How to Stay Safe at the Beach

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Sam has worked as a forensic scientist as well as for the British government, and has degrees in both archaeology and osteoarchaeology. She has 2 children, is passionate about science, reading, history and music, and loves dyeing her hair bright colours!

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Although beaches are fun places they can also be dangerous, and you may have heard some stories in the news lately about people getting into difficulties when they’re in or by the sea. Our science editor Sam Gouldson, who lives on the Sussex coast, shares her tips for beach safety.

Go to a Beach with Lifeguards

lifeguard sign


Many beaches have lifeguards, who are trained to keep people safe whether they’re on the beach or in the sea. You can find out where these beaches are by searching the Good Beach Guide (for the UK), Irish Water Safety (for Ireland) or the ILSE (for Europe). Find out more about the RNLI Lifeguards in UK here.

Pay Attention to the Flags

Beach Safety

Beaches in the UK use a flag system to inform you of possible hazards. If there are red and yellow flags this means that there are lifeguards in that area and that it’s safe to swim.

A black and white chequered flag means that the area is for people using paddleboards, surfboards and kayaks, and that you should not swim there.

A red flag means that the area is dangerous and you should not go into the water for any reason. There may also be information boards and signs at the beach, and you should read these thoroughly.

Stay With Your Group

beach safety

If you stick with your family or friends you can all keep an eye on each other. Find somewhere distinctive to use as a base while you’re at the beach and agree where you’ll meet up if you get separated.

If there are younger children in your group make sure they’re with a responsible adult or older teen. Some beaches have a wristband scheme so that children can be easily identified and their group members contacted if they wander off; if the beach you’re visiting has one of these schemes, take part.

Learn About the Sea

beach safety

Different beaches have different conditions. The tide can come in much faster at one beach than at another, and you should always keep an eye on the water and which direction it’s flowing in. You can look up tide tables online so that you’re aware of when the tide is likely to turn and don’t get cut off from the shore.

Some beaches have dangerous features called rip tides, which are strong currents that can quickly sweep you out to sea without warning. Always check with the beach’s lifeguards if there are any areas that you should avoid – many beaches have a noticeboard to inform visitors about the current conditions.

Waves can also be dangerous, depending on how fast the water is moving and how steeply the beach shelves. Some beaches will have sharp rocks or other hazards that may not be clearly visible from the shore. Again, check the lifeguard’s advice before you go into the water.

If the weather is cool, consider wearing a protective suit to keep you warm in the water, as cold water shock can affect your breathing, blood pressure and heart rate.

Be Careful When Using Inflatables


Inflatable toys and beds are designed to be used in swimming pools, not on open water. But if you do use them make sure there is an adult with you and that you’re in the lifeguarded area between the red and yellow flags.

You should stay near the shore and never use inflatables when there are big waves or an windsock is flying; these are signs that the wind is too strong.

Know What to Do If You Get Into Trouble

A photo by Pierre-Olivier Bourgeois.

If you find yourself in difficulties, stay calm. If the water is shallow enough for you to stand, wade through the water instead of trying to swim in it. Raise at least one hand in the air and shout loudly and clearly for help, and don’t try to swim against the tide because you’ll just tire yourself out.

If you have a board or an inflatable hold onto it; not only will it help you stay afloat it will also make you easier for rescuers to spot.

If you see someone who is in trouble in the water, stay calm. Alert the lifeguards, or if you can’t see them call the emergency services on 999 (in the UK) or 112 (anywhere in Europe).

Stay Safe in the Sun


Although the sea can be dangerous, so too can the sun. Always use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, and re-apply frequently.

Keep your head and shoulders covered, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and stay in the shade at the hottest part of the day (usually between 11am and 3pm).

For more information read “Why is too much sun bad for you and how does sunscreen work?”.



Carnivals Around the World

Lynn Schreiber

Founder and Editor at Jump! Mag
A freelance writer, who lives and works in Scotland with her family and fluffy white dog.

Likes: Writing, reading, twitter and chocolate
Dislikes: Negative and angry people
You might have heard of the carnival in Rio, but did you know that there are carnivals around the world – from Germany to Greece, USA to Italy?
Millie Slavidou explains where Carnival comes from on her blog


Long before the advent of Christianity, people held celebrations at this time of year. In Germany, they once looked forward to sending Hel, the goddess of the underworld, back down to her abode so they could herald the coming of the spring. In Greece, it was a time to worship the god Dionysus. With the arrival of Christianity, the celebrations continued, but changed in nature, gradually becoming more and more linked to the new religion. The Carnival is held in the period before the start of Lent, and Lent is the time when good Christians were supposed to fast, to abstain from meat

In UK, we don’t celebrate Carnival, but we do prepare for Lent – that is what Pancake Day is all about, after all. Traditionally, pancakes were made to use up the eggs, fat and butter, that were not to be eaten during Lent!
Take a trip around the world with us, to find out how other countries celebrate Carnival!



Life in Saudi Arabia – Through the Eyes of a Child

Tina Price-Johnson

A Paralegal and Litigation Assistant by day, and Freelance Writer/Poet by night and weekend, Tina loves history, social studies and biographies, and enjoys writing about almost anything.She lives in London and travels in the UK and abroad whenever she can, and can usually be found wandering around crumbling ruins.

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As a very young girl I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to stay in Saudi Arabia for a few weeks, as my father was working there for British Telecom.  Saudi Arabia is a very different culture to ours, and I have vivid memories of my time there.  I remember walking around in shorts and a T-shirt because I thought it was very hot, yet all the Saudi Arabians were in big heavy coats because it was their winter!  That was in the 1970s, and Saudi Arabia has changed quite a bit since then. What is it like to be a child in Saudi Arabia now?




The Best Urban Beaches

Lynn Schreiber

Founder and Editor at Jump! Mag
A freelance writer, who lives and works in Scotland with her family and fluffy white dog.

Likes: Writing, reading, twitter and chocolate
Dislikes: Negative and angry people
Who else is looking forward to the summer? Whether you call your summer break a ‘vacation’ or a ‘holiday’, there is a good chance that some of you are heading for the beach.
Did you know that around the world there are hundreds of artificial beaches. Some are near the coast, but others are miles away from the seaside – perfect for those who don’t or can’t travel far.

City beaches are sometimes called ‘urban beaches’ like the one above in Cologne, Germany. This can involve the delivery of hundreds of tonnes of sand, to a place where there is no sand.


Islands Brygge, Copenhagen, Denmark


There is no sand here, but it is an oasis of fun in the middle of the city. For many years, this area was run down and neglected, but after a regeneration project, new life is blossoming. Who wants to jump off this diving board?


Festival of Love Beach, South Bank, London UK

This beach is all about relaxing and digging your feet into the sand. No pool (and the chilly Thames is certainly no alternative!) but great views over London, and the South Bank centre often has great activities for kids on offer. Check out their website for details.


Paris Plage, France

The capital city of France can get really hot and muggy in the summer months, so what better way than to cool off at an urban beach? Check out the huge showers in the picture!


Bundek Lake, Zagreb, Croatia

Lake Bundek

Lake Bundek

In the south of the city of Zagreb, this park was brought back to life after many years of neglect. It is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, hoping to cool off in the hot Croatian summers.



Baby Plage, Geneva, Switzerland


Baby Plage, Geneva

Baby Plage, Geneva









This might be the MOST fun urban beach for kids in the world. The huge trees are festooned with old tyres and bicycle tubes, knotted together to create ladders and swings.



San Alfonso del Mar, Chile

Ok, this is a bit of a cheat, cause it isn’t an urban beach, but it is the biggest swimming pool in the world, so we had to include it! It is 8 hectares, and holds 250 million liters of water. That is equivalent of 6,000 familiar 8m long pools! It is part of a privately owned complex in South America.




beach at homeNow, don’t tell your parents that we showed you this, and don’t try it out at home, but how awesome does this look? We can’t help thinking that this would be VERY messy, but it looks so relaxing and fun!

The artist Justin Kemp created home sandbox for under his desk.



Ocean DomeThis was built in Japan in 1993 – an artificial beach with a retractable roof. It was not commercially successful and closed over 10 years ago. Which is a real shame, because it looks really amazing.








Featured Image – Cologne KM689 Beach Bar in Germany