Disclaimer: We were gifted a ‘Made for Me’ Trunki, in return for a feature.
No links are affiliate, I’m sharing because I genuinely love the products 🙂
Holidays can be expensive, even with a stay-cation in the UK, but it is also where memories are made. With little ones in tow, holidays are never going to be the relaxing ones we so desperately need. After our holiday each year, we always come back needing another to recover! They are hard work but… they are great all the same, right?
We started taking Joshua away on long weekends away when he was just two weeks old; with him now being almost five years old, we have been away hundreds of times. There have been many times where we have got halfway in the car or a couple of days into the holiday before realising we could have done with packing some extra things.
So, here is my list of things to pack for a holiday with a toddler:
A tablet loaded up with favourite Netflix shows, fun apps and so on. Yep, those screen-time hating parents will hate that it is first on my list but BY GOD, it is a life saver sometimes. When we are going to be stuck in a moving box with a toddler for 5+ hours, I will take anything that works. We even treated Joshua to pair of headphones, so he could have some uninterrupted time. Yes, I’m talking about an hour or two of heaven where Joshua would zone out into the tablet and by then, we were almost half-way there!
If your child(ren) are sensitive to noise like Joshua, then a pair of ear defenders could possibly work wonders! We purchased a pair of Edz Kidz before attending an air-show event years ago, ever since they have come on every holiday with us. They come in handy for all the shows, especially the evening ones as they tend to be a bit louder. It keeps Joshua happy for longer, so we can all enjoy the shows together.
Invest in a Trunki! Honestly, I’m not sure why we didn’t just get one ourselves a while back because Joshua has been in love with his since we got it. We recently got gifted a custom Trunki (which Joshua got to fully design himself – one of the reasons why he loves it so much!) and it has been a life saver. When it is time to get packing, I find involving Joshua gets him excited for going away as well as making sure that we pack things that he will actually enjoy. When we went away for a long weekend earlier this year, we used it for Joshua’s toys and books, which he happily pulled along himself.
Snacks, snacks and… oh, more snacks. If your little ones are anything like mine, they will be wanting to munch almost every 20 minutes. Whether it’s because we are on a long journey or having a full-on day out on holiday, Joshua will want to eat his way through the week! We pack him a little ‘picnic’ box for the car journey, plus packing a bag for every day of the holiday too. Usually in the mornings, we load up on croissants and fruit in the restaurant to last us until dinner (sssh!)
A lightweight pushchair is usually high up on the list for parents, however we found that it never really worked for us, but then maybe we got unlucky with the particular brand we bought? But we always found that it was so lightweight that it was shoddy – however perfect back when he was much smaller. We decided pretty quickly that we would just stick to our beautiful (although, admittedly, bulky) Graco one as it was everything we needed when it came to having room for loading changing bags, snacks, things bought from the shop etc for the day, and still having room for Joshua to recline and nap. For us, practicality for the actual holiday far out-weighs packing room.
We always go away during the Summer holidays, which means the weather is always scorching. We learnt after the first year to take our own fans, sun hats, suncream and black out blinds for the room! We purchased the Gro-Anywhere Black Out blind and it has been a God send, we don’t go anywhere without it, even in the Winter. I sound like an awful parent, but suncream is something we almost always forget!
In the last few years we started giving Joshua his own wallet for spending money. Each morning, we load it up with his allowance for the day and he understood that once it was gone, it was gone, but he could spend it on whatever he liked. It made sure that we stuck to our own budget for the holiday spending as well as teaching him that things cost money and to make it last. It may sound… not very holiday-y and ‘fun’, and trust me we have had nasty comments from parents about it too, but we save up all year to make sure he has more than enough! After-all, most activities and gift shops are expensive, so we allow for that and he always comes away thrilled.
Lastly, don’t forget your car window shade either! The amount of times we have forgotten ours and had to make do with a make-shift one is insane. Once, we were travelling down a motorway and I was (very badly) trying to attach a blanket to the window to shield Joshua from the sun, so that he could have a nap. After an unsuccessful attempt and screaming from a tired toddler, we had to pull in somewhere to do it.
What’s on your must-have list, when packing for a holiday away with the kids?