You’ve made the decision to take a break and go on a well earned holiday with your little one – but when it comes to going abroad what do you really need to pack? And what if you run out of something?

Well help is at hand – we spoke to our Panel of mums about their holiday experiences and found out their list of holiday tips and essentials to help you come up with some handy pre-holiday checklists.

Check out the Hotel/Local Area Facilities

Firstly thoroughly research where you’re going, what are the facilities like? Are there cots available? If so do you have to book them/ pay extra, and do they include sheets (although you may want to take your own as the familiar smell may help to settle your baby in an unfamiliar place!). Also look into things like are there laundry facilities; otherwise you may want to take a little pack of your normal washing powder with you to save taking too many spare changes of “just in case” clothing. If you’re formula feeding see if there are sterilisers/ bottle warmers you can hire/ utilise whilst you’re there. Finding out what is available to you can save vital space in your suitcase for other essentials.

Package Holiday providers such as First Choice also have Baby Packs which you can buy as part of your holiday, these include many of the essential items such as sterilisers, baby baths, changing mats and even UV tents so it’s always worth asking!

Find out which brands are available in the shops – do they stock the nappies/ formula/ wipes/ or food that you use. Forums and Facebook Pages are great for doing your research, there are always helpful people who’ve been in the same situation on hand to answer your questions.

What to Pack?

The best way to start compiling a list is to keep a notebook and pencil handy for a week – write down everything that you use in that time. That way you’re less likely to forget anything which is easily done when you’re just emptying your baby brain onto a piece of paper! We spoke to our mums to compile this handy checklist:

  • Suncream – check that it’s suitable for baby’s delicate skin
  • Sunhats
  • Swim nappies
  • Light weight umbrella pushchair that lies flat and a battery operated Pushchair fan – our mums recommend the Sunshine Kidz one
  • Sling or baby carrier
  • Changing essentials – wipes, nappies etc.
  • Suitable water bottle if your formula feeding in hot weather
  • Bibs and Muslins
  • Sunshade for the pushchair – it’s not recommended to cover the pushchair in a muslin as these stop the airflow around baby and can actually made the temperature higher.
  • Bibs and Muslins
  • Lightweight cotton clothes and plenty of options for adding layers for the evening or to combat a cooler breeze
  • Light organic cotton sleepsuits and a sleeping bag (if your baby is over 4kg). Alternatively baby bundlers are great for warmer weather and cot sheets
  • Don’t forget your EHIC medical cards (used to be an E111) for the whole family! It can sometimes be beneficial to take your little one’s medical record book with you too.

For Older Babies

  • Usual spoons for feeding
  • Emergency food or baby porridge rations
  • Water toys or a little bucket and spade
  • A selection of favourite toys or books
  • Poncho Towels – great for throwing over wet little wrigglers!
  • Snacks – often restaurants are open later in the evenings than we may be used to and these are great for keeping little ones entertained or staving off hunger until the food arrives!

Surviving the Flight

Taking you little one on a plane for the first time can be a very daunting experience – but with a little research and planning it should all be “plane” sailing (sorry!)

  • Umbrella Pushchairs/ Buggies can go in the hold of the plane once you reach it, but make sure you get a luggage tag. Another option may be to use a sling or baby carrier to keep your hands free for those all important passports and tickets!
  • Check the restrictions for travelling through security with formula before you travel. Usually you can take any formula, bottled breastmilk or liquid babyfood to keep your baby comfortable during your flight. These are outside your liquid allowance, but to stop you getting held up at security don’t keep these in a flask. If you’re unsure, many airports let you reserve or order readymade formula or baby food to collect once you’ve passed through security. Please be aware any liquids you take through security may be subject to additional checks (and please check security at your destination for the return leg!)
  • Find out if there are cots available on the flight for small babies. Often these can be requested and make it easier to just let your little one sleep through the flight
  • If you’re breastfeeding try and feed during take-off/ landing to help little one’s ears adjust to the pressure differences or take a dummy if they normally have one
  • For older ones make sure you have plenty of toys and snacks to keep them entertained. It’s alway worth investing in an undiscovered toy that can be new to explore
  • Don’t forget their favourite cuddly or muslin to help them settle
  • Give your baby a change of scenery – take them for a little walk around the plane or let them have a look out of the window
  • Make sure to dress them in layers in case they get too hot or cold and take a blanket as sometimes it can get a little chilly onboard
  • Make sure your baby has an opportunity to move their legs about every hour or so

Hear from our mums who’ve survived the experience!

“Take quiet toys for the flight [if you’ve got babies that need entertaining] and don’t forget food (I nearly forgot this!) Depending on where you are flying from you can preorder nappies and formula from superdrug or boots to collect after security so it doesn’t take up luggage space or weight”

“Don’t forget to check the do’s and don’ts of what to pack in your hand luggage for foods and liquids – you can check on the airport or airline’s website before you travel”

“If your travelling with someone make sure they do their fair share. Give each other a break by taking the baby for a bit of a walk so you both get some rest. The travelling is part of the holiday so get to your destination as relaxed as possible!”

“The best piece of advice is to expect but ignore the tutters and those who look at you and your little one disapprovingly – you can guarantee there will always be one who thinks you shouldn’t ever leave the house!”

Staying Safe in the Sunshine

  • Try to keep your little ones covered up as much as possible, especially when in the pool. Chose sun-friendly clothes such as cotton and don’t forget a hat
  • Make sure all exposed areas are covered with sun cream, your little one’s skin is very sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays – don’t forget the tops of the ears, the nose and the back of the neck
  • Apply suncream at least 30 minutes before going in the sun and reapply regularly, especially if they’ve been in the water
  • Keep hydrated (and that means you too mum!) make sure you’re regularly offering milk and/or water
  • Try and keep them in the shade as much as possible to stop them overheating and keep them indoors for a rest when the sun is at its hottest

Have you been on holiday with your little one? Let us know how you got on and we’ll add any of your hot tips to our checklist!