Summer holidays are an exciting time for the whole family, but packing for a trip with young children can be overwhelming. With so many items to consider, it can be difficult to make sure you have everything you need without traveling with everything but the kitchen sink. To help make the process easier, we’ve put together some top tips to help you pack for your little one. From wardrobe and toiletry items to activities and extras, these tips should help you ensure that your little traveller has all the necessities for a safe and enjoyable vacation.
Create a Checklist for Peace of Mind
List-making is old school, but it works. When there are many things to consider, making a list and planning what you’ll need ahead of your holiday will massively help to get your thoughts in order and ensure nothing important gets left behind. You can either make this list with a pen and paper, using your ‘notes’ section on your phone, or even get savvy with a checklist app such as Paperless: Lists + Checklists. It’s never too early to start your lists. In fact, the earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to accommodate those bits that tend to pop up before falling asleep at night.
Know Your Baggage Allowance
Before you start packing any bags, part of your planning should include checking what baggage allowance you have for yourself and your child. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or car, it’s always a good idea to know what capacity you have to avoid over-packing. If you’re travelling by plane, there will be restrictions on the number of bags you can take, as well as weight limitations and regulations around what is allowed in yours and your little one’s hand luggage. You can check all this information with your trainline/airline.
Top 10 Essentials
Here’s a list of the top essentials to add to your holiday packing checklist…
- Travel Documents
It’s obvious but essential, so it’s first on our list! Make sure you pack your little one’s passport and any visa documents required along with your flight/train tickets and booking confirmations. Other documents might include travel/medical insurance, car rental documents and anything related to your accommodation booking.
- Feeding Equipment & Snacks
There are few things worse than dealing with a hangry child while in transit, so bring more snacks than you think you’ll need – you’ll want to be prepared for any unplanned travel delays. Some good snack options include rice cakes, fruit (dried or fresh), and cereal bars. It’s also important to have plenty of liquid to avoid dehydration – especially if you’re traveling somewhere hot or will experience high altitudes.
Pro tip: bring along some bibs and have plenty of wet wipes on hand to clear up any sticky fingers or spills.
- Milk Supplies
If you’re still breastfeeding, you may find it easier to pack some expressing equipment. That way, both you and your partner (if applicable) can easily feed your toddler while out and about.
- Nappies and Nappy-Changing Accessories
It’s up to you whether you’d like to pack all the nappies your little one will need (this will depend on how long you’ll be away) or if you’re planning on buying most of your nappies at your destination. Either way, Remember to take along any nappy-changing accessories such as wet wipes, creams, and reusable plastic bags for used nappies. You might also want to consider bringing a changing mat along.
- Travel First Aid Kit
Having some first aid essentials with you while on holiday will help you to deal with minor mishaps or any illness that might occur. This way, you won’t have to try and locate a pharmacy in an unfamiliar city. Along with any prescribed medication, some essentials include:
- A thermometer
- Children’s Paracetamol/Ibuprofen
- Anti-nausea/motion sickness tablets
- Toddler Toiletries & Sunscreen
Again, this will depend on your destination and whether or not you plan to purchase what you need upon arrival or bring along your own supplies. It might be the case that your child has sensitivities and does better with familiar products. Some essential toiletries include:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Baby bath wash
- Some sponges or flannels
- Children’s sunscreen
- Travel Accessories
Having the right equipment with you on your travels can make such a difference when you’ve got a little one in tow. These accessories can include baby carriers, a booster seat, and a good travel stroller and bassinet/cot. You may even want to consider a small, fold-up beach tent for sun protection and shade if you know you’ll be spending lots of time in the sun. Foldable UV umbrellas are brilliant if you’re going somewhere with outdoor queues, like amusement parks, as they work for rain or sunshine.
Aside from travelling, which can prove to be a stressful experience for some young children, arriving to a new destination can be unsettling. It helps to bring along some comforting accessories to aid in providing some familiarity for your child. This can be their favourite blanket, toy, teddy bear, or book.
- Swimming Gear
Given it’s a summer holiday, your child is likely going to need some swimming gear. This can include swim diapers, swimming costumes, swim cover-ups, hats, arm bands/swim jacket, etc. This may also include inflatables, water toys and buckets and spades – however, it might be easier to grab some of these items once you arrive at your destination to avoid feeling like a pack horse.
Packing your child’s wardrobe can feel overwhelming. There seems to be a fine line between over-packing and under-packing. A good way to aim for ‘just right’, is to factor in how many days you’ll be away, the weather (and its variations), and a couple extras here and there. Don’t forget to factor in travel clothes too. How much you pack will also depend on if you’ll be able to do any washing while you’re away.