Lisburn stylist Samara Prentice gives her top tips for packing for your family staycation this summer

''One of the benefits of lockdown for me has been rediscovering the beauty of our own wee country,'' writes Samara Prentice.

Samara Prentice with her young children on a recent staycation

We are so fortunate here in Ireland to have so many hidden gems to explore and enjoy. From our beautiful coastlines to our picturesque country scapes, there is so much to see right here on our doorstep.

I think it’s incredible to hear so many people are opting for staycations this year rather than going abroad. Not only is it a wonderful opportunity for the local economy, but it’s a chance to share our appreciation of our country with our children.

One question I am asked time and time again is how to successfully pack for a staycation when our weather here is anything but predictable.

Lisburn stylist Samara Prentice gives her top tips for packing for your family staycation this summer. Pictured: Samara's family is pictured on a recent staycation

I must confess, I am the Queen of minimal packing. I’ve had many years of practice! I don’t believe in overpacking. In fact, one of the many services I offer is shopping and packing for clients for their holidays and this year, more have been coming to me to create the perfect staycation wardrobe. Not just for themselves but for their husbands and children too.

This week, I’ve been inspired to write about how I’ll be packing for our family of six staycation in the wonderful North Coast.

This is my exact formula to my stress-free pre-holiday routine:

Choose a colour palette

I choose a colour palette for each of us, including the children, and build our outfits around this.

For example, navy may be the core colour. The secondary colour could be cadet blue and the accent colour could be a neutral, like soft white. For the children, I tend to pick complimentary colours (rather than dressing them the same).

It’s very easy to build your staycation wardrobe on these styling principles. It also means that the clothes are interchangeable so you can bring fewer pieces.

Layering is a must

When temperatures are unpredictable, the secret is layering with the right fabrics. Fabrics such as merino wool are ideal; lightweight but with added warmth when required. Knitted hoodies are always a great addition to the staycation wardrobe.

Outerwear is key!

It’s likely you’ll have an itinerary for your staycation. Consider what activities you’ll be partaking in and choose your outerwear wisely. I would always recommend outerwear with a hood.

Raincoats always work really well because they are light enough to be breathable, but equally a good choice in the event of a seasonal storm.

Comfortable footwear

Inevitably staycations involve plenty of walking and activity, so choose your footwear wisely. Break in new shoes before you ago. If your staycation is near a beach, I would highly recommend buying beach shoes for the children.

How much is too much

When it comes to packing in outfits, be really clever! A ratio of one pair of shorts/trousers to three t-shirts is a great starting point. What you pack will be determined by your itinerary and how many items by the duration of your style.

Roll with it

I’m somewhat of a pro when it comes to packing. It comes with the territory when you’ve got four young children. I roll everything! Not only does it give you more space, it also means fewer garments have to be ironed on the other side.

Other things we do are...

We make a list of everything each person is bringing, so we can tick it off when we are packing up again.

We bring a streaming device with us for the nights that the children fancy a movie.

We pack a mini BBQ for impromptu barbies on the beach.

We make up snack boxes in the children’s lunchboxes every morning. Once the food is gone, it’s gone.

We bring old school board games to enjoy real quality time with the children.

On a recent staycation, we decided to really go back to basics (much to the disgust of our older children) and limit technology. It was wonderful to enjoy proper interaction with them all. The conversations that happen when iPads and phones don’t get in the way make my heart sing.

I think even when life does return to normal and foreign travel resumes again, many of us will continue to explore Ireland. I know that there are still lots of counties on our bucket list now.

This year is only just the start.

I’ll be uploading staycation packing videos shortly to my social media channels, don’t forget to head on over to check them out.

Get in touch by contacting Samara at: [email protected] and follow Samara at ‘EVOLVE by Samara’ on Facebook and Instagram.