We are taking our first holiday with our new born soon, and we are all very excited! But, what essentials do our new family of 5 need to take with us? Last year we took a trip to Clacton-On-Sea with the girls, and in November Jay and myself took a 1 night break to celebrate our anniversary in Scarborough, but it is a new experience for us taking another tiny human away with us. This break will be for 5 days in the idyllic Cornish town of St Agnes. So many things to pack, and remember. Its a good job that we have a car with big boot space!
Our suitcases will be packed with the usual huge range of holiday clothes, lots of new summer outfits but also items in case the weather is bad or cold (although we hope for constant sunshine all week – we can only hope) and essential toys to keep the kids busy during the journey. But what other items could we need? Taking a few extra careful packing steps can save you lots of money when away, holiday resort shops are often quite expensive and sometimes where you are staying can be quite a journey to the nearest big supermarket.
It doesn’t matter where you are staying, wherever in the world, you will need to go to the loo. That’s nature. Some caravans and cottages will supply you with one roll of paper, but it’s likely that the roll wont last very long, especially if there a few of you going to be staying in the one caravan. Just 1 or 2 extra rolls will save you buying a full big, bulky pack when away and it’s always worth keeping a roll in the car for spillages, runny noses and emergency stops for the toddler to use the potty.
The Easy Lock
The Easy Lock is a superb gadget that anyone who worries about extra security can really benefit from. The revolutionary new invention is the lightest of its kind in the world and is a favourite in the celebrity kingdom (Taylor Swift, Fearne Cotton, Davina McCall, The Saturdays and even Samuel L Jackson – to name just a few- are all users). The lock is as light as plastic and as safe as stainless steal. You can fit the lock in seconds and secures a majority of inward opening doors with a minimum 2mm visible gap between the door and frame. The door allows you to not only lock the door, but open the door slightly to receive letters and newspapers and check a callers identity. We found the lock very easy to install, and it fit easily into our luggage, protected by a lovely soft case. I recommend this lock for hotel rooms and doors in holiday cottages and apartments. The Easy Lock is priced at £24.95 with free postage in Europe, or just £4 worldwide. We think that The Easy Lock would make a lovely gift for any friends wishing to travel the world. It is available in pink or silver and can be purchased from the online shop.
Baby wipes are a must. Not just for baby’s bottom, but sticky ice cream, spilt tea, seagull poop. Better still you can take reusable baby wipes, just simple cotton or towelling squaes. These can easily be rinsed and dried to use later in the day. Saving you lots of money, and space in your suitcase. I like to keep a pack of disposable wipes in the car glove box to grab when driving and just throwing into the back for the girls to wipe their hands on when we can’t safely pull over.
Some accommodation does supply basic cooking utensils, but I do love our own frying pan. It’s worth packing, and doesn’t take up much room just in case you arrive to find there isn’t a pan. Lots can be cooked in a frying pan too. Pretty much anything if you put your mind to it! I once boiled peas in my frying pan when my saucepan broke. Admittedly I was living alone, and was willing to try anything! It worked.
Aquaint is a 100% natural, sanitising water that kills 99.9% of germs. A bottle of Aquaint has so many uses for the travelling family, and is great for lots of different uses for every member, young and old. You can use the water on hands, to rinse off any nasty germs, especially when we all know how toddlers like to touch everything, and then handle food- yuck!). It can be used on work surfaces before preparing food. When I first check into accommodation I like to give everything the once-over before doing any cooking and it is superb on cuts and grazes. When used on wounds, Aquaint doesn’t sting, so it is ideal for rinsing any debris out of a cut knee, with minimal tears. I really liked spraying Aquaint into my toddlers potty when we have to make emergency wee-stops, knowing that the potty is germ free when in the car – sanitising even though it is alcohol free. I also used the spray for cleaning our new born’s dropped dummy, when she spat it across the car park. The allergy friendly bottle (endorsed by Allergy UK) is safe on the skin (even from birth) and has even passed Official UK drinking water tests, so no need to rinse any items that you have sprayed before giving back to your child. There are 2 different bottles available, one is a small sized handy spray bottle (50ml) which I like to keep in my changing bag for various emergencies and a bigger bottle (500ml) is also available, to put into suitcases when travelling for longer periods of time or even for use at home. Aquaint is just like water; with no smell or taste, no stickiness and dries quickly. Aquaint is available from the online shop and is £4.99 for the large 500ml bottle and just £2.49 for the small 50 ml bottle. You can also pick up bottle from larger Boots stores, Ocardo, Amazon and the NCT shop.
You can get these nearly everywhere these days, including Poundland. The are great to use, not taking long to heat up and you don’t have to worry about carrying it back home with you. Just make sure you dispose of them responsibly and take any rubbish away from site. It’s not cool to litter, kids.
Sun cream is essential not to forget, and it can be very costly when purchased from a holiday shop. The sun can be damaging, especially for young children and spending a week away suffering from the ill effects of the sun (or worse in hospital) is not how you probably planned your holiday. The Sun Mousse is a very effective and fun way of protecting yourself from the suns harmful rays. The can is small, is doesn’t leak or drip and its very water resistant. You can find a full review of The Sun Mousse here. Don’t forget to also wear sun hat, sit in the shade and wear loose clothing for maximum protection.
A Few Games
We love taking games on holiday with us, and we often choose small games that wont take up much room. We don’t tend to pack them for the kids, but for us adults instead. Once the kids are asleep in their bunks, we get out a game and spend some quality time together as a couple and having fun. Bananagrams is perfect for holidays. The fast paced anagram game will drive you bananas! The game comes in a light and portable pouch, meaning it can be stuffed into your suitcase easily. It is so easy to pick up, with no complicated rules and the whole family can enjoy. Me and my husband thoughrely enjoyed playing this, over a glass of wine. We had lots of fun, and couldn’t help but make rude words… of course, the kids were in bed before we started to play!
A full review of Bananagrams is soon to follow on my blog , So keep your eyes ‘Peeled’… geddit?!
Its worth taking your own food, rather than buying on site in the shop of cafeteria/restaurants each night. Eating out is a treat but can be costly when having 3 meals a day each. We like to take tubs of cereals, a few tinned dinners, a pack of eggs and some noodles etc, to keep lunches and some dinners easy. Best thing about taking food away is that you probably wont have to find room for it in the car on the way home, meaning more room for souvenirs! Reduce space by transferring some items from their big packaging into smaller tubs- I like takeaway tubs as they stack easily and you wont have to spend money on expensive Tupperware.
First Aid Kit
A good family first aid kit is essential. Its best to choose one that is light weight, compact and still holds lots of important items for dealing with many little bumps and scrapes, and emergencies alike. This first aid kit, purposely designed for families on the go with kids from Premier Healthcare & Hygiene Ltd has handy pockets to contain all of your bits, and a loop look so you can attach the kit to your belt, changing bag or buggy. You can read my full review of the kit here. At just £4.60 it is such a small cost for something so very necessary.
Paper Plates and Plastic Cutlery
Mainly if you are planning in having any BBQs or picnics. It saves you having to worry about smashing or loosing any items supplied in your accommodation if you are going out, and it also means no time wasted washing up- more time for playing and exploring! Paper plates also make good entertainment for bored kids to draw on when on long drives or waiting to go out n the morning, while you are making up picnics and getting ready.
I don’t have to worry too much about baby bottles, as I am still breastfeeding. But if you are taking bottles, breast pumps, or dummies you shall want a quick and easy method of sterilising. The Milton Solo Travel Steriliser is a super easy, small 2 in 1 steriliser. It can be used in a microwave or, when a microwave isn’t available can be used as a cold water (and solution) steriliser. Its very small, enough to easily sterilise one bottle, and still has room to chuck in a dummy too.
A Wet Bag
Wet bags are so useful. I recommend packing 2, especially when you have kids. They are fab for stuffing wet swimming costumes into, or if you are potty training a toddler, like we are at the moment, you can pop any wet pants into the bag until you get back to your caravan. Face cloths, Baby wipes or even wet sandy socks can all be stuffed in the bag to keep the rest of your luggage dry when traveling.
Taking a book can take up a lot of space in your suitcase, or handbag when travelling. If you are a fast reader like myself, you may even take 2 books. An Amazon Kindle is an easy solution. Take thousands (yes, thousands!) of books in one tiny little bundle of technology. You can download a book with it’s built in Wi-Fi and many books can be downloaded for free, from a huge range of classic novels to lifestyle and advice books. The Kindle has touch screen technology is even lighter than a paper back at just 191 grams, and it fits in to your pocket. The Amazon Kindle is £59 and red cover just £19.99. You can read my full review of the Amazon Kindle here.
It seems silly taking a selection of great big bottled products such as shampoo or washing up liquid when you are only going to be using a small amount on holiday. We have scaled down and used small empty plastic bottles to take just as much as we need. You can buy a lot of miniature versions of beauty and household products specifically designed for holidays, but just bottling your own can save a lot of money (and space). I decided to bottle up washing up liquid, hand wash and washing gel just in case I need to hand wash any clothes while away.
Carefully Collected Sachets
Every time we have a cheeky fast food burger, I ever throw away the unused sachets. I also like to take any individually wrapped tea bags and coffee serving from hotel rooms. These are so handy when travelling, when you don’t want to carry boxes of tea bags or tubs of salt. Those little hand wipes are really handy too when you have kids.
For everything! Dirty boots, rubbish, sick… You never now when you need a carrier bag. Oh and they scrunch-up into next to nothing! I also like to keep any bags from various charities that get popped through my letterbox. These bags are bigger than just a standard shopping bag, perfect for bagging up all of your dirty washing.
Can you think of any ‘holiday must-haves’ that you always make sure you pack when going away on a family trip? I’m sure we shall forget something anyway… haha!
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