Top tips on what to pack for your child’s first overnight school trip

What should you pack for your child’s first overnight school trip?

An overnight school trip can be an exciting experience for your child, but stressful for you when thinking about what you should pack for them. Private and boarding schools, particularly, offer some memorable trip experiences for school children today, involving everything from water activities to hiking and outdoor pursuits.

So what should you think about when packing for your child’s first school trip? Here are some tips that should help.

What does the school require?

Once you know about the trip, you should read all the information your child has received about it from their school. It’s better not to just rely on your child. They might have told you about certain activities, but have forgotten about others.

The school should have provided them with a trip itinerary and a list of all the items they need. This can include key things like a backpack, wellingtons and a torch. If you’re unsure about any items, it’s best to check, not assume, what is needed. Details of trip supervisors should be included in any trip information, so it’s best to check with them.

Where is the trip?

While most school trips are usually no more than two hours away from a school, overnight ones can venture further north or south. It’s therefore a good idea to research the destination and check weather reports to get an idea of typical weather and temperatures.

This can help you know what essentials to pack. For instance, if the trip is in Scotland, your child will probably need layers and waterproofs, while, in the south, cooler clothes should be better.

When is the trip?

Is the trip happening in the summer or winter? Like the trip destination, the time of year the trip takes place is something else to think about when packing for your child.

For instance, in the summer they will need things like shorts and essentials, like a sun hat, suntan lotion and some bottled water. Whereas in the winter, they’ll need a warm anorak, hat and gloves, and a flask and hot drink.

What activities will your child be doing?

Will they be doing outdoor physical activities, or will they visit a museum? Will they be doing a lot of walking or going out for dinner? Knowing the different types of activities your child will be doing on the trip can help you determine what items you should pack.

For instance, if they’re visiting a farm or doing a woodland walk, they’ll probably go through some muddy fields. So they’ll need a pair of wellingtons, waterproofs and old clothes – see below. If they will be visiting a museum, they’ll probably have the chance to buy a souvenir, so you pack them a bit of money to spend.

Other things to consider when packing

Pack the essentials – depending on the above, this can include:

  • A packed lunch
  • Pyjamas
  • Towel
  • Wash bag, containing toiletries
  • A waterproof jacket, in case of rain
  • A bottle of water that can be refilled
  • Suntan lotion
  • Limited amount of money – just enough to buy something small, like a souvenir or snack
  • Bin bag – to carry worn clothes, if they get wet or dirty
  • First aid kit – while the trip supervisor should have one of these, there’s no harm in having, for instance, a set of plasters just in case

Note, the school might provide some of these essentials, like a packed lunch and bottled water, so it’s always best to check.

Pack spares – In case certain items get wet or damaged, it’s a good idea to have a spare set. This can include a spare set of glasses or contact lenses, if your child wears them, a spare towel, if they do water activities, and an extra jumper, in case it gets cold.

Pack old clothes not new – Particularly for trips with outdoor activities, it’s recommendable to pack old clothes and trainers. That way it doesn’t matter if they get wet, dirty or muddy.

Pack inexpensive items and avoid valuables – Finally, it’s best for your child not to take anything costly that could easily get lost or broken. This includes expensive digital cameras, mobile phones, computer games and jewellery.

With these tips, you should be able to relax a bit when packing for your child’s first overnight school trip. You can feel happy and confident knowing they have everything they need to make the trip an experience they’ll enjoy and remember.

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