Getting ready – last minute arrangements

Getting Ready for your trip to France

The last few days before your holiday are always the most stressful. The children always wear the clothes you wish to pack, so you have to wash them again and the man in your life… well how long have you got!  However over the years we have found ways to make life a little bit easier.

Last Minute Tips: Pack the car two days before you leave so that on the last day you can relax more! If you are leaving early, adjust your body clock during the preceding week so that you have a chance of sleeping the night before!

If you are really busy on the last day, get a takeaway or plan to have something ready made in the freezer.

Making life easier! Start with a packing list (see our list below)… never throw this away – keep it for next year! Start packing at least a week before the holiday. Older children can help get their clothes ready, but insist that you pack them to ensure that they have chosen sensibly! If you’re travelling by car, use average sized bags/suitcases, as they are easier to pack tightly.

Make a list for your day of travel – remember soft toys (!), passports, tickets, money… in fact anything essential that you don’t want to put in the car overnight.

Finally make a list of last minute food – your picnic and plenty of drinks, including water bottles for the car and flasks of tea and coffee, plus any baking you have prepared to take with you.

Preparing your home:

  • Make arrangements for pets well before!
  • Cancel milk (if you still have milk delivered).
  • Turn off non-essential electrical items.
  • Adjust your central heating.
  • Turn off washing m/c and dishwasher water.
  • Leave a light on a timer.
  • Ask a neighbour to park one of their cars on your drive and to move your post.
  • Put bleach down the sink and toilets.
  • Don’t forget the garden/greenhouse and household plants that need looking after! In order to make this as easy as possible gather your houseplants into the coolest room in large containers such as one or more washing up bowls.

On the last day:

There is nothing nicer than coming home to a clean and tidy house so it is well worth making the effort to clean before you go. The last day is perfect for this as you have finished the packing and have little else to do!! This can sometimes be a way of keeping the children occupied – ‘we’re not leaving until your room is tidy!’

– Passports and Driving License(s)
– European health cards (EHIC) and Insurance Documents (car, recovery, personal..)
– Train, Plane or Ferry/Eurotunnel Tickets
– Gite/Hotel/B&B directions and telephone numbers
– Road Map and directions (don’t forget an English Road Map for the journey to and from your destination)
– Money (Euros and a little English money)
– French dictionary + guidebooks

Find more information on what documents you need to take

For the car:
– Spare keys, footpump, spare bulbs, headlamp beam deflectors, emergency triangle, GB stickers, reflective jackets (one for each person), breathalyser kit.
– First Aid Kit – to include calpol, wasp sting spray and travel sickness medication.
– Audio CDs / Cassettes and mobile phones.

Find more information on how to prepare for driving in France

For the journey:
Picnic – rug/groundsheet, coolbags/icepacks, flasks + drinks, bags for rubbish, toilet paper and handy wipes, breakfast (if you are taking it), rucksack, camera/charger, spare digital photo cards, binoculars. Coats (in case of cold/wet weather).

Sample Packing List for your holiday:

Children’s holiday rucksacks containing:

  • Sweets (you may wish to keep these in the front!)
  • Books, puzzle books/comics, story tapes, iPods, DVDs etc (with batteries or power supply), paper and pencils etc.
  • Any electronic game consoles
  • Favourite toy or cuddly for little ones.

Clothes to include:

  • Shoes, hankies, dressing gowns.
  • Washing things to include:
  • Flannel, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb/brush, sun tan lotion.
  • Bedding:
  • Pillows / pillowcases (it’s worth taking some if you’ve space.)
  • Bedlinen – If needed
  • Plastic Sheet – for young child’s bed (if applicable)

Useful implements:
Potato Peeler, Tin opener, Sharp knife, Corkscrew (useful for picnics even if your gite has one), cherry stoner (really useful for pitting olives too), cafetiere, pepper mill, wine stoppers, tea-towels, washing up liquid (French stuff tends to be fairly weak), laundry tablets, dishwasher tablets (If appropriate).
Tin foil, stayfresh bags (good for keeping fresh produce in)

For pleasure:

  • Beach/pool towels and swimming costumes / goggles
  • Pool Toys and super soakers
  • Sunglasses, sun hats and flip flops
  • Buckets/Spades, wind break, brolly and mallet
  • Boules, Cricket bat/ball, Tennis Racket set, Badminton Set, Swingball, Football
  • Board games, Cards, DVDs and Videos (if your gite has a player, or you have a laptop with a DVD player. Worth it for wet days and lazy evenings).

Read more travel in France: