what to pack for a family holiday

Tips for parents travelling with children

If you've not travelled with a child before the list below might shock you. However, it is better to be prepared beforehand than to have an horrendous trip that feels like a waste of money, time and energy because you were always having to find shops in the hope that they might have what you've overlooked to pack.

If you're off with your own car then you can take much more, but if you're flying then you need to give your preparation more thought.

Although not definitive, we hope that you find our lists below to be useful. If there's something you'd like to see added to list, then please get in touch. We love to hear suggestions from fellow parents.

For a driving holiday where you'll be taking your car from home:

  • Car Seat
  • Car window shade
  • Light-weight push chair and its shade and rain cover
  • Blanket or scarf/shawl
  • Baby sling / carrier
  • Bottled water
  • Bottled milk
  • Flask (for the two above)
  • Motion-sickness aids
  • Umbrella (you never know)
  • Keys
  • Sunglasses for you and baby
  • Sun hats for you and baby
  • Changing bag with wipes, nappies, nappy sacks, muslins
  • Changing mat
  • Travel Cot (if required)
  • A change of baby clothes and a change of top for you
  • A strong plastic shopping bag for numerous emergency uses
  • Any needed medication
  • Feeding utensils for the journey: bibs, plastic dinnerware, beakers, water bottle
  • Snacks and food pouches

If you're flying:

  • Changing bag with wipes, nappies, nappy sacks,
  • Checked in online days beforehand
  • Printed off boarding passes
  • Any needed medication
  • Sweets to stop ears popping when plane lands
  • Earplugs
  • Sleeping Mask
  • Snacks and food pouches

The papers (essential no matter how you're travelling):

  • Hire car or own car ownership documents
  • Plane/ferry tickets and hotel reservations
  • Maps, directions and contact details of holiday destination owner
  • Passports for all the family including baby
  • Emergency contact info
  • Inoculation documents (if required)
  • Medical insurance card (EHIC) if relevant
  • Travel insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Wallet
  • Cash (both domestic and destination currency)
  • Credit Cards / Debit Card / Travellers Cheques
  • Passports and visas
  • Driving Licence
  • Itinerary (stored online somewhere too helps)

Things that make life easier:

  • Little one's favourite soft toy (try not to lose it)
  • Light beach bag with a zip compartment to store the room key
  • Anything that will keep your child quiet on the plane or in the car (toys, books and fully charged electronic devices)
  • Adapters and cables for devices
  • Fold or roll the items of clothing before they go in the suitcase; you'll get more in that way.
  • A car seat headrest ipad/tablet holder that lets the device face your child is money well spent. They're cheap on eBay.

Bon voyage!