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Family Ski News | June 14, 2024

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What to pack for summer holidays in the Alps

Everyone should have a backpack for mountain hiking essentials

Planning ahead for your summer family holiday in the Alps, and packing in good time will take a lot of the worry out of travelling with a young family.  To help you, we have compiled basic checklists for hand luggage and suitcases for you, your children and your baby.

Remember that the weather in the mountains is very changeable, even at the height of summer.  It can be blazing sunshine one day and cold and rainy the next… or even snowing at altitude.  Plenty of light, thin articles of clothing – that you can layer up – are best, plus sun hats, sunblock and rain coats too!  It’s a good idea for everyone to have a small, lightweight rucksack or day-bag in which to put water, snacks, sunscreen, extra layers and jackets, especially if you’re hiking in the mountains where the weather can change in a matter of minutes.  

That said, don’t go crazy with your packing – you don’t want to be weighed down with heaps of baggage, as well as push-chairs and screaming children during the journey!  As a rough rule of thumb, plan for two large suitcases for a family of four… ideally on wheels!

If you are flying, check out luggage weight allowance in good time – not the morning of the flight!  Make sure you suitcases conform to any size restrictions too, especially your hand baggage.  It’s all about minimising stress: once you’re at the airport, you want everything to run as smoothly as possible.  Having to go to another desk with oversized suitcases, or to pay excess baggage is an unwelcome and costly hassle!

Don’t forget to pack binoculars to spot the wildlife!

Hand luggage
money and credit cards and/or traveller’s cheques
passports (and photocopies in case of loss)
flight tickets, itineraries, reservation details
house and car keys
mobile phone
camera (plus spare batteries and memory cards)
travel insurance and EHIC card
any vital medication and prescriptions
glasses/contact lenses
spare jumper and socks for each child – it can get cold on public transport
sling – useful for carrying Baby around at airport
push chair (NB: these sometimes get damaged in the hold.  You may wish to buy a cheap second-hand one for travelling.)

Babies’ hand luggage
sterilised bottles with water/milk formula (NB check with your airline on latest restrictions on fluid restrictions in hand luggage)
nappy bags
wet wipes
blanket, hat and socks PLUS at least one total change of clothes
favourite toy/dummy/rattle/comforter

Toddlers’ hand luggage
favourite toys/teddy
story book
colouring book and crayons
travel games
snacks and drinks (NB: you need to purchase drinks after customs if flying)

Your suitcase
3-4 changes of clothing (for a one-week holiday), ideally all coordinating so you can mix and match – including trousers/shorts/t-shirts/tops
smart outfit(s) for evenings out
warm jumper
rainproof jacket
comfortable shoes – trainers/sandals/hiking boots
swimsuit(s)/goggles/swimming aids
sun hat

Check in advance at your destination whether you need to bring specialist sporting equipment

specialised gear – for hiking, camping, golf, etc
drinks bottle
mobile phone charger and plug converter
spare batteries for camera
(portable DVD player with films/stories)
book/guidebook/maps/language guide

Baby’s Suitcase
2 outfits per day
1 babygrow/sleepsuit per day
1 or 2 baby sleeping bags/blankets
nappies and nappy bags (bring a few then buy at destination)
baby food (plus dish and spoon)
milk formula (bring a small amount then buy at destination, unless your baby is a particularly fussy eater!)
baby bottles
steriliser (check if you accommodation can provide this)
spare comforter (one already in handluggage)

Remember to pack sunhat, sun screen and sunglasses for everyone!

Kids’ suitcases
7 outfits, plus two extra tops (for a one-week holiday)
smart outfit
warm jumpers
rainproof jacket
shoes – trainers/sandals/hiking boots
swimsuit(s)/goggles/swimming aids
books and toys
drinks bottle
specialised gear – for hiking, camping, etc

Toiletries (for all the family)
shower gel (suitable for baby too)
shampoo (suitable for baby too)
sun block
baby wipes
makeup (plus cleanser/toner/moisturiser)
hair products (including hairbrushes and combs)
shaver/shaving cream and razor

First Aid Kit
sunscreen (SPF50+ for baby and for glacier skiing)
sachets of Paracetamol/ibuprofen/cough medicine
sachets of Baby Paracetamol/ibuprofen
nappy rash ointment
teething gel (if appropriate)
antiseptic cream
insect repellent/lotion for insect bites (summer months)

… plus a few extra (lightweight) items worth considering:

hand gel
plug-in battery packs – there’s nothing more frustrating than a flat iPad when you’re delayed at the airport. 
scarf or pashmina – in case little ones get chilled by the air conditioning on the plane.
a picnic for the transfer journey.
snack bars and sweets – for daytime energy and to spur on tired children.
dental floss – as well as keeping your teeth healthy, it’s thread for sewing up torn clothing; an emergency shoelace; a temporary washing line….
duct tape – for fixing everything that dental floss doesn’t…. and it’s waterproof!