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Say you were going on a family beach holiday for a week, would you ever think it would be possible to pack for a family of four – for a whole week away – into just one piece of checked luggage? I assure you, we’ve been to Majorca for a week with the kids, and believe it or not, it was more than doable!

The lovely team over at On the Beach specialise in these sorts of holidays and asked me to put my top tips together for packing for a family getaway. So I’ve made a video proving that you can pack for the entire family into a single suitcase.

I’ve even got a packing list based on two adults and two little ones (I know how much you love a good packing list!).  So see below for everything you could possibly need on how to pack light for that beach holiday.



Did you know you can get shampoo and conditioner in bars? Not only are they mess-free (ever had a bottle of conditioner burst all over your flip-flops?). They can be more environmentally friendly than many bottled shampoo and conditioners. Especially as they often contain all-natural ingredients. Likewise, they are more compact and fit neatly into a spare corner or pocket of a case.


Take travel size toiletries instead of full size and refill with local products when you get to your destination. Alternatively to save money (travel size toiletries can be more expensive than standard sizes) decant large bottles of moisturiser or shower gel into small bottles or waterproof pouches.

Using kids’ products such as toothpaste and sharing deodorant with your partner are other ways to save space and are fine for short trips.


Don’t bring towels in your luggage if you can help it. Check with your accommodation if they provide towels and request them if possible. If you really have to take towels with you, purchase a quick drying and compact travel towel. They often come with their own compact waterproof case or can be rolled around other clothes/shoes to save space in your checked luggage. This has to be our number one space and weight saving tip.


Use packing cubes. Not only do they help squash clothes down. They are a great visual guide that stops you from overpacking. If you only have one cube per person, anything that doesn’t fit in can get left behind.

Use cloth drawstring bags for storing underwear or dirty clothing. These squash down and can be flattened out on top of the rest of the packing, right before you zip your case up.


Roll your clothes! This minimises the gaps in between them and rolls out any air that might be taking up room. Along with packing cubes, this is the best way of fitting in as much as possible into your case without wasting space. Take clothes that you can dress up and down instead of packing separate outfits for different occasions.

For example, swap flip-flops for pair of nice sandals and earrings to transform a sundress from a casual daytime outfit into something suitable for evening dinner. Don’t forget to stuff your shoes! Use the space inside your packed shoes for things like socks, headphones and anything else small enough to stuff inside. Maximise every bit of space.


Wear layers onto the plane. Aeroplanes can often be chilly anyway so this is a great opportunity to sneak an extra outfit or accessories to your destination without being penalised for the extra weight. Layer a tank top with t-shirts and a hoodie or leggings under shorts for serious packing efficiency.


Do you really need to take a hairdryer for a casual week at the beach with the kids? Most hotels and apartments provide things like irons and hairdryers as standard, or can source them on request. Try and ask for as much as possible to be borrowed from your accommodation so that you can leave your own electrical products at home.

To be honest, I am totally fine with the wet hair look when I’m away. If you’re looking for that kind of holiday do some amazing short and long haul trips from the UK.


Vacuum bags are your new best friend. For bulkier items like jackets or baby blankets, simply pop them in a vacuum bag and watch as it shrinks down by sucking the air out. Layer them on top of each other for easy stack-packing.

Talking of baby blankets, consider things that can double up. Can the quick dry towel discussed earlier be used as a blanket?


Bring a small amount of laundry powder with you so that you can hand-wash items on the go! This means you need to take fewer clothes with you on your trip. You can also purchase all-purpose soap bars similar to the shampoo bars, which are suitable for washing both your clothes and body!

Bringing your own laundry detergent also saves money on expensive hotel laundry services. I really love the laundry eggs. They are eco and compact.


Our extra tip for taking one piece of checked luggage within airline weight requirements is to get a lightweight suitcase. This can save you several kilos when purchasing a super lightweight case compared to a traditional suitcase.

We’ve used ZFrames over the last year. It’s been zipped and unzipped hundreds if not thousands of times. Not to mention being dragged through 23 countries in a short period of time.


Although there are a few things on this list you won’t necessarily need, I just wanted to show its possible to get a lot in. Especially when packed well!

Swimming outfits (kids’ x 4)

Shoes (kids’ x 2)

Sunhats (kids’ x 2)

Tops (kids’ x 11)

Babygrows (x 7)

Dresses (kids’ x 3)

Shorts (kids’ x 5)

Jumpers ((kids’ x 2)

Trousers (kids’ x 3)

Sunglasses (kids’ x 2)

Socks (kids’ x 4 pairs)

Underwear (kids’ x 14)

Bibs (x 4)

Dresses (adults’ x 3)

Shoes (adults’ x 5)

Short (adults’ x 4)

Swimming outfits (adults’ x 4)

Tops (adults’ x 14)

Underwear (adults’ x 14)

Bras x (2)

Socks (adults’ x 4 pairs)

Trousers (adults’ x 3)

Sunglasses (adults’ x 2)


Nappies Baby wipes (x 2)

Cuddly toys (x 2)

Travel bags of toys (x 2)

Children’s books (x 4)

Kids eating utensils (x 2)

Beach towels (x 4)

Fan  and Beach bag




Hair straighteners

First aid kit

Make up

Toothbrushes (x 4)

Adult toothpaste

Kids’ toothpaste


Shower gel

Body lotion

Sun screen factor 50

Sun screen factor 30

After sun

Hand cream

Lip balm

Shaving foam

Men’s razor

Women’s razor

Washing powder tablets

Menstrual cup

Insect repellent

Hair bands

Hair flower grip

Phone battery pack

SLR camera

Kindle Tablet with charger

Laptop with charger Phone chargers (x 2)

WiFi solace

Travel adapter

Kids’ life jacket

Pool drinks holders (x 2)


Inflatable beach ball

Have you got any packing tips for a family taking just one piece of checked luggage on a trip? Let us know in the comments!

This post is sponsored by On the Beach.

Belinda Kusumo

Sunday 19th of May 2019

Thanks for sharing it. This really helpful (enlightened) me as newbie packing mom who don't know what to pack for my family of 4 1st trip to Seoul (hopefully next Autumn). Is the luggage you used on this video, is 24"inches size? (Cause i almost bring my 32"inch hardcase luggage). Could you send me packing idea outfits set items to bring for my trip? I really need your advice. I believe your suggest, base your experienced, could help me packing the right things. Thanks in advance for your time and favor. God Bless.


Thursday 26th of July 2018

Thanks for the article and list! But I always wonder how to use the vacuum bags on the way back? Any tips?


Sunday 31st of March 2019

They make vacuum bags for travel that you roll the air out of, no vacuum needed!!

Eszter Stanley-Boden

Thursday 26th of July 2018

Great post! We're off to New Zealand and Rarotonga in September for 3 weeks as a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 young kids) and will need winter and summer items! I've been preparing what to take for months as in the past I have seriously over packed but now won't have that luxury!

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