It’s that time again, planning school trips is in full swing.
While kids are brimming with excitement, parents are often confused about the amount of gear they need for a few nights out.
For newbies who have never sent their child to school before, receiving the equipment list can be a bit of an eye-opener.
But I’ve made every mistake in this book over the last 12 years, so there’s no need for that.
I recently overheard a conversation between two mothers who decided they needed to buy larger suitcases for their children because they could never fit all the shoes they needed for four nights.
I just couldn’t resist leaning over and telling them not to bother because, in my experience, you’re lucky if your child even puts on clean clothes while he’s away.
I’ve been packing for school trips for a dozen years.
On this first trip, I diligently followed the equipment list to ensure my stepson had everything he needed for each 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 in which he had left the house a few days before.
As I rummaged through his bag, I discovered that most of the contents were exactly where I had left them before he drove off.
I realized he probably could have gotten away with a tiny backpack, a spare t-shirt, some pants, and some clean socks – and I’m not even sure all of that would have been worn.
Since that first trip, the same pattern has only repeated itself when one of my sons has traveled without me.
One year two of my sons went to a Cubs camp for a weekend where they were told to bring rubber boots and go for a walkand two pairs of sneakers each.
Needless to say, I didn’t bother packing four pairs of shoes for each child for two nights.
One pair to wear and one to spare will suffice for this period – and neither of them bothered to dig to the bottom of their bag to retrieve the extra pair anyway.
My top tip is to never buy anything new when your kids are traveling without you.
This is because you may never see this new piece of equipment again.
Only pack things that you are happy about being thrown away or lost, and then you won’t be able to do that anymore
really goes wrong.
If you’ve been given a kit list for a longer trip, it’s worth saving any clothes that become stained or torn in the meantime so you can put them in your bag when the time comes.
It doesn’t matter if such items come back soaked or ruined because they were destined for the trash can anyway.
Instead of trying to clean clothes caked in mud, or
If you’re covered in grass stains, just throw them in the trash can and save yourself a load of laundry.
When there’s a disco coming up and your child is desperate
To wear your best outfit, store everything in a separate clear bag in your luggage so it stays clean until the big night.
And don’t forget to label everything you absolutely want
returned because you will never see it again if it is not your child’s
names in it.
In my experience, sending a wallet or purse, even if it’s on the list,
We’ve been through itAfter various trips, a wallet debacle at least three times.
Now all I do is send my kids away with a few shopping expenses stuck in a ratty old wallet that shouldn’t be missed.
School trips cost enough without buying things they will never buy
use and that might not even make it home.
Keep equipment to a minimum, no matter what the official letter home says, and buy second-hand anything you think you’ll actually need.
Read more at the Scottish Sun
Another smart mum has revealed three ways she can save money on her family holidays abroad – and you can too.