What I Packed for My Family Holiday


packing for a family holiday

Phew, back from the 2 day (each way) road trip to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland with the kids for the winter school holiday break. I was asked what I packed, and I can tell you space is tight with 5 kids in the car, there is no boot space, so we all have to pack lightly.

Knowing that our trip would be basically casual I packed a bare minimum as I knew that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to go out anywhere fancy.   I looked for pieces that mixed and matched (mostly) so that I’d feel like I was getting a little variety on the trip.

Weather of course is important and evenings in Southern Queensland winter are cool around 12C-14C, so I needed to bring something warm as well as shorter sleeves for the very mild winter days which were 20C – 23C.

What to pack for a casual winter holiday in Queensland

I will now tell you about everything I packed and why!


  • 1 pair jeans
  • 1 pair clam denim clam diggers (longer shorts that end just below the knee)
  • 1 pair leggings


  • 2 short sleeve tees
  • 1 long sleeve tee
  • 2 tunic top
  • 1 dress that also can be worn as a tunic


  • 1 long sleeve shrug
  • 1 3/4 sleeve cotton cardigan
  • 1 long sleeve wool cardigan
  • 1 sleeveless puffa vest


  • 1 ballet flat
  • 1 rubber beach/casual flat
  • 1 wedge sandal (comfortable)


  • Exercise leggings and top plus sneakers

This selection of clothes allowed me to:

  • Hike to the top of Mount Coolum (exercise clothes) in comfort
  • Spend time at the beach (clam diggers and tee) and at Dreamworld (theme park)
  • Visit friends (jeans and tee)
  • Sight-see (clam diggers, tee with shrug or cotton cardigan)
  • Go out to dinner (leggings, long-sleeve tee layered under butterfly tunic plus wool cardigan)
  • Make videos with Jill Chivers (dress and kimono duster)
  • Layer on and off cardigans and vest as I needed
  • Sit comfortably in a car and drive the 2000km from Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast (leggings and tunic plus cardigan when needed)

We were lucky enough to have washing facilities at hand which always makes packing light an easier option.   These few garments meant I had over 30 outfit options!

For more packing tips and capsule wardrobe ideas check out these posts:

Printable guide to creating a capsule wardrobe

1 skirt styled 9 ways

How to pack 72 outfits into carry on luggage

Packing for a casual weekend away

Capsule wardrobe with a column of colour to look taller

Packing a wardrobe capsule for a cruise

What to wear on a road trip









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  • Good timing Imogen, I now find myself planning a trip to northern California for 2 weeks, driving and visiting city, lakes and mountains so I think I will need similar clothing plus hiking clothes, this will be a casual trip visiting family and being a tourist, I planned on taking 2 dresses as well as 1 leggings and ankle length pants. What do you think?

  • I wish I had this amount of clothing in my entire wardrobe. I read all your articles on basic supporting acts and how to build a wardrobe but I still don’t know what I’m doing.

  • I’ve looked at the free e-book but in that you assume that people know how to pick the items you list.I don’t have much trouble with basic pants and skirts but when it comes to tops, jackets and adding interest I have a lot of trouble. I much prefer fitted tops but if they are too fitted then it highlights my mummy tummy. Jackets are difficult as they usually seem to make me look bulky unless they are fitted and if they are fitted they often don’t fit my broad shoulders. Having a list of pieces to get does help but knowing how and where to find things pieces that suit me is my problem. Putting it all together so I have actual outfits I can mix and match has never gelled for me either. I have been trying since I was 20 and I am now 36. I so wish I could have a minimalist wardrobe that actually works for me so I can set and forget clothing for most of the time but I’ve never been able to work that out. Instead I have a few items, nothing really for winter without wearing my daggiest items that are the wrong colour for me. For most of the last 15 or so years I thought I was a cool and clear…seems ridiculous now that I thought that as I have pale skin, auburnish hair and blue eyes. My wedding rings are white gold and then I find that I am a warm and look better with gold. I have tried an image consultant a few times but as I can’t really afford it I was never able to learn how to really build a wardrobe. And there is no sense in purchasing for next winter when the sales are on if I don’t have anything for the current season. So I am always behind. Minimal would work really well for me but I still have to get the initial wardrobe to start with.

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