Revealed! A family-of-four can pack for week’s holiday in one suitcase

Travel blogger reveals how a family-of-four can pack 200 items for a week’s holiday using ONE suitcase – including using vacuum bags to flatten clothes

  • Karen Edwards, aka Travel Mad Mum, 33, travelled around world with two kids
  • London nurse and influencer is no stranger to packing for her whole family 
  • Mother-of-two has 102k followers on Instagram and blogs about adventures 
  • Demonstrates how to pack enough for a week for four in a regular 20kg suitcase

Packing can be tricky at the best of times, but when you’re blessed with a large family, it can be the stuff of nightmares. 

Travel blogger Karen Edwards, also known as ‘Travel Mad Mum’, 33, from London, has explored the world extensively with her children and picked up some handy hacks along the way.

The mother-of-two has teamed up with holiday provider On the Beach to demonstrate how a family-of-four can pack 200 items for a week’s holiday into one suitcase – keeping under the 20kg allowance.  

Her tops tips include everything from doubling up towels as plays mats, to using vacuum bags to flatten clothes and decanting products into smaller bottles to reduce the weight. 

Karen Edwards, 33, from London, is a blogger who spent 10 months travelling the world after the birth of their first child Esme

TravelMadMum created a video to demonstrate how she packs enough clothes for a week for a family-of-four using only one suitcase

In the handy video, Karen first lays down the nappies for her youngest child at the bottom of the suitcase.

Then, she uses different colour-coded bags for each member of the family, revealing that this not only helps to easily identify which item belongs to who, but is also a great visual guide to prevent over-packing.  

Folding each item as tightly as possible, she even rolls some in order to save as much space as possible.

To keep clothes to a minimum, one of Karen’s top tricks is to pick items you can dress up or down depending on the occasion – from a walk on the beach to a family night on the town.  

Esme and her brother Quinn (pictured) enjoying a safari in Kenya back in February. The young girl peered through the binoculars trying to spot a giraffe

From left to right, Shaun with baby Quinn, Esme and Karen on a beach resort holiday in Spain in January

If there are some garments you can’t part with, she advises wearing them on the plane. This is not only be beneficial due to the often chilly temperatures on a flight, but is also a great way to sneak an extra outfit to your destination without the additional case weight.

To get rid of the air in some of the bulkiest items, the travel blogger uses vacuum bags for jackets and baby blankets and then stacks them on top of each other.

Instead of carrying big bottles of shampoos and shower gels, the expert also decants the products into small bottles or pouches. She adds that thin towels can double as play mats for children or blankets. 

To create further room, the busy mother stuffs pairs of shoes with cables, chargers and other smaller items – before placing them on top of the other items in the suitcases, along with hats, socks and sunglasses. 

Karen manages to pack everything her family will need for a week using only one suitcase – and she keeps the weight under the 19kg mark

The towel tip: Thin and quick towels can double as blankets and play mats for children. She also uses colour-coded pouches to pack her suitcase to ensure she doesn’t over-pack

What did Karen pack?

For the kids: Four swimsuits, two pairs of shoes, two sunhats, 11 tops, seven babygrows, three dresses, five shorts, two jumpers, three pairs of trousers, two pairs of sunglasses, four pairs of socks, fourteen pieces of underwear and four bibs

For her husband and her: Three dresses, five pairs of shoes, fourteen tops, four pairs of shorts, four swimsuits, fourteen pairs of underwear, two bras, four pairs of socks, three pairs of trousers and two pairs of sunglasses

Essentials: Nappies, two packs of baby wipes, two cuddly toys, a travel bag of toys, four children’s books, eating utensils, four beach towels, a fan, beach bag, Calpol, a thermometer, and a first aid kit

Products: Hairbrush, hair straighteners, make up, four toothbrushes, shampoo and shower gel, body lotion, factor 30 and 50 sunscreen, after sun, hand cream, shaving foam and razors, washing powder tablets and a menstrual cup

Other items: Insect repellent, hairbands, chargers, camera and other pieces of tech such as a kindle, computer, tablet, travel adapter, inflatable beach ball, pool drinks holders, a WiFi solace and a children’s life jacket.  

Shaun (left) looking over some photos with Quinn and Karen at home on the sofa. The family have traveled all over the world since 2015

Karen made headlines in 2017 when she used her maternity leave to travel the world with her ten-week-old baby girl, Esme. 

She and her husband Shaun spent 10 months visiting everywhere from Thailand to Antigua. 

The family set out on their journey just after their daughter was born. In 2017, by the time she had turned two, Esme had already visited 17 countries. 

They later welcomed her younger sibling Quinn, and still continue to travel the globe.  

The now mother-of-two, who works as a full-time nurse, blogs about her travels, and also shares her reviews of children’s travel products with her 102k Instagram followers. 

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