Sussex columnist: Going in search of better weather and trying not to have packing panics

​This is the last time you’ll hear from me this summer – don’t worry, it’s nothing sinister, I’m just taking some time off.
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​I might have mentioned it before but if you didn’t know I really like hot weather, so I tend to save my annual leave so I can use a decent chunk of it when the weather is warmer.

As you can imagine, I’ve been disappointed so far this month having got caught in the rain and been forced to wear a jacket because it’s chilly far too many times for my liking. (Can someone turn summer back on, please?!)

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But, some sun should be guaranteed, because I’m actually jetting off to Europe.

Katherine is jetting off this summer. Pic S Robards SR2108251Katherine is jetting off this summer. Pic S Robards SR2108251
Katherine is jetting off this summer. Pic S Robards SR2108251

Looking at the forecast for where we’re going, we thankfully seem to be avoiding the extreme heat (I like hot weather, but 45 degrees is way too much) and there aren’t any wildfires near us (at the moment, fingers crossed).

For that I am very grateful, but what I’m not so grateful for is packing.

It’s the necessary evil for any trip.

This is our first proper holiday abroad with our children. Previous trips with both of them have always been in the UK (bar a very rainy trip to Ireland four years ago), thus allowing me to fill up the car with items for every eventuality. ‘Why pack the kitchen sink, when you can pack the whole kitchen?’ could easily be my motto…

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So, it’s coming as a bit of a shock to think about having to fit everything I might need into a few medium-sized suitcases.

Yes, I know pretty much everything you take could be bought ‘at the other end’, if you needed it when you were there. But why go through the hassle of having to shop for and pay for something abroad when you already own it here and could just take it with you?

You see, I’m a ‘what if?’ packer.

What if it rains? No problem, I’ve packed rain jackets.

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What if one of the children gets ill? Don’t worry, I have two types of Calpol, Nurofen, and more. (Because do you really want to be searching for a chemist that’s open at 2am when you have a poorly child, if you can help it? I don’t!)

What if I fancy wearing a different pair of shoes every day? No problem, I have enough shoes to supply a small village. (This one might not be quite as essential, but you get the picture)

I’ve spent the last few weeks desperately worried I’m going to forget something essential, and spent many a night waking up at 2am thinking of something ‘I must’ put on my list.

Then, in the midst of one of my (many) packing panics, my husband decides to share his ‘advice’: “It’s no big deal, it only takes an hour to pack.”

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I’m sure it does, when you only have to throw in a few pairs of shorts and t-shirts for yourself. But I’m packing for three people and packing all the other bits. Oh and this is also coming from a man who has travelled without packing any pants before. And who, a couple of years ago, forgot all his medication prompting an emergency appointment at the local doctors’ surgery.

Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be listening to him.

Although, much as I have created the role of Chief Packer for myself, as I am kind of control freak that likes to know we have warm jumpers on hand ‘just in case the 30-degree forecast is wrong’, he will definitely be the first to ask where the nail scissors or such like are when he finds he need them.

I’d love to be the kind of ‘go-with-the-flow’ traveller, who breezes through the airport with only hand luggage and a ‘see what happens’ attitude. But that will never be me.

So, if you need me over the next few weeks, I’ll be the one working out how to fit a small life vest for my son into my suitcase (yep, I’m that parent).

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I’ll be back in September with tales of travelling with two excitable children and one laissez-faire husband. There should also be news of some days out, too – you lucky, lucky things!

Wishing all the parents lots of love and luck as they navigate the long summer holidays. May there be wine for everyone to ease the way!

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