Mum reveals her expert packing tips for kids' school hols – & they'll never lose their clothes again | The Sun

IT'S that time of year again when school trip planning is well underway.

While children are balls of sheer excitement, parents are often baffled by the amount of kit required for a few nights away.

For newbies who've never sent their child on school residential, receiving the kit list can be a bit of an eye-opener.

But in the last 12 years, I've made every mistake in the book, so you don't have to.

I recently overheard a conversation between two mums, who decided they would need to buy bigger suitcases for their children as they'd never fit all the footwear required for four nights away.

I simply couldn't resist leaning over and telling them not to bother as, in my experience, you'll be lucky if your child even puts on clean clothes while they are away.

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I've been packing for school trips for a dozen years.

On that first residential, I diligently followed the kit list making sure my stepson had everything he needed for each and every outdoor activity.

I spent the week he was away congratulating myself on a job well done.

But when he returned from his trip, he was still wearing the same clothes he'd left the house in days earlier.

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As I rummaged through his bag, I discovered most of its contents were exactly where I'd left it before he set off.

I realised that he probably could've gotten away with taking a tiny backpack, a spare T-shirt, a couple of pairs of pants, and some clean socks – and I'm not even convinced all of that would have been worn.

Since this first trip, the same pattern has only repeated itself whenever any of my sons have gone away without me.

One year, two of my sons went to a Cubs camp for a weekend, where they were told to bring wellies, walking boots, and two pairs of trainers each.

Needless to say, I didn't bother packing four pairs of footwear for each child for two nights away.

One to wear and one for spare is plenty for that length of time – and neither of them bothered to dig to the bottom of their bag to get out the extra pair anyway.

My top tip is never to buy anything new if your kids are going away without you.

This is because you may never even see that new piece of gear again.

Only pack stuff you're happy to be trashed or lost, and then you can't
really go wrong.

If you've been given a kit list for a trip that's a while away, it's worth keeping any clothes that get stained or torn in the meantime, so they can be shoved in the bag when the time comes.

It won't matter if items like these come back soaked or ruined, because they were destined for the bin regardless.

Instead of trying to clean clothes that have been caked in mud, or
covered in grass stains, just bin and save yourself a load of washing.

If there's going to be a disco, and your child is desperate
to wear their best outfit, put it all in a separate see-through bag in their luggage so it's kept clean until the big night.

And don't forget to label anything you definitely want
returned, as you'll never see it again if it's not got your child's
name in it.

In my experience, sending a wallet or purse, even if it's on the list,
is pointless.

We've gone through the missing wallet debacle at least three times after various trips.

I now only send my children away with some tuck shop spending tucked inside a ratty old wallet that won't be missed.

School trips already cost enough without buying stuff they'll never
use and that might not even make it home.

Keep the kit to a minimum, no matter what the official letter home says, and buy anything you think will actually be needed secondhand.

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