I remember when I used to go on holiday before we had Little Man and Boo. The Husband and I would pack the night before, or sometimes on the morning of our departure, and it’d be a case of throwing some clothes and toiletries into a case, a few books, passports and money and we were all set. Simple.
Hmm, not so much nowadays! For people so small, they sure come with a lot of luggage!
I break our holiday packing down into thinking about what we need to actually get there all relatively calm and happy, and then what we’ll want while we’re away. We do travel quite a bit lighter now that the children are 5 and 2, but it still remains something of a military operation, and I always have my lists on the go to ensure we don’t forget anything. Having done it a fair few times now, my top tips for travelling with little ones would be…
For the journey..
1. Dress them in comfortable, loose clothes and ensure they’re not too warm. The back of the car can get so hot, so quickly, and you needn’t have them getting restless about that as well as boredom kicking in!
2. In car entertainment is key, whether it be CDs, audiobooks, a DVD player, colouring books, be prepared! Get the children involved in making their selections, as they’re more likely to actually listen to /watch them then, and while they’re busy doing that, you can actually pack. It’s useful to time your journey around a naptime if possible, and always have a few word games up your sleeve, too.
3. Plan in stops. Ideally, a proper outing, rather than just services to break up the journey. Whenever we’re off on holiday, we look at the map, choose a point around halfway there or a little after, and then check the area for local National Trust sites, zoos, parks, anything that gives us a nice stroll and fresh air, and that the children will enjoy. It means we make the most of the travelling days, too, and they often return to the car tired, which helps!
4. Take snacks. Never ever forget the snacks, and don’t make the mistake of packing them away in the boot with everything else.
For the holiday…
5. Be prepared by checking exactly what’s included in your accommodation. Do they provide travel cots and high chairs? We always took ours with us, saving paying extra for it and ensuring the kids would be comfortable with their own.
6. If you’ve a big pushchair, as we have, consider picking up or borrowing a small umbrella fold type buggy. They take up so little room, freeing up loads more boot space. They’re also very flexible if you’re out and about at attractions, hopping on and off transport etc. Holidays are the exciting unknown, so a lightweight, flexible stroller helps.
7. If you’re self catering, it’s worth checking out whether there’s a big supermarket near to your stay and either getting them to deliver to you on your first evening there, or drop in en route. You’ll be all sorted then, and even though we often eat out when we’re away, it means we have breakfasts, fruit, drinks and so on all ready for us.
8. Whilst most things can be bought if you realise you’ve forgotten them when you arrive, important cuddly toy sleeping companions can rarely be replaced so easily, so do not forget these. Grabbing Little Man and Boo’s toys from their bed is usually one of the very first things I do when I pack as I know they cannot be left behind if I want happy little sleepers while we’re away.
9. Have a rough idea of the things you’ll want to see and do whilst you’re away before going. This helps as you may be able to grab vouchers, discount codes, exchange Clubcard points and such-like in advance, saving you money whilst you’re away.
10. And finally, remember the buckets and spades – total necessities!
What are your travelling top tips and essentials?
Disclosure: Written in collaboration with Online4Baby