We have just returned from ten glorious, sunny days in Mauritius. Well deserved after two seven-hour flights and a four-hour stopover each way, with a toddler and a newborn in tow. Travelling for 18 hours with two little ones is no easy feat and you definitely have to be super organised with certain family travel essentials.
As you can imagine, we needed a whole heap of baby paraphilia for the newborn, but surprisingly it was the toddler that took up most of our time and attention and needed entertaining when we were travelling.
It feels like we’ve learnt a lot about travelling with a toddler since our first family holiday last year, and now I’d like to think we’ve learnt a bit about travelling with a baby so I thought I’d share the 14 family travel essentials that make our holidays stress free.
Family Travel Essentials
1. I’d recommend investing in a Trunki or any suitcase ride-on for your little one. It’s the perfect size to take as a carry on piece of luggage on the plane and easily fits into the overhead compartments. It’s also great for them to ride on when walking around the airport and a great distraction for them to play on when you are waiting.
2. Take a couple of snacks for your little one at the airport and on the plane, especially if they are a fussy eater. Aeroplane food is always a little hit and miss, so better to have some of the things they like to hand just in case.
3. Take a blanket for the plane so that they don’t get too cold when the air con kicks in. This is probably less important if you are only on a short flight, but if you are going anywhere long haul then definitely try to take your own as the plane supplied ones are usually quite thin.
4. I always take socks for the plane so that we can get a little bit more comfortable, especially if we’re going to need to sleep during the flight. Again, its something that is more useful for long haul flights than short ones.
5. For babies or toddlers in nappies, take a travel changing mat so that you can lay it on top of the changing table in the toilet. The changing tables are quite hard plastic and probably a little cold so it helps to have something soft to lay them on. We use this gorgeous Aden + Anais portable changing pad which is fab and would highly recommend.
6. For babies take a large muslin, swaddle or light blanket to line the bassinet with. The airlines usually provide a blanket but it will be more comforting and hopefully more settling for your baby to be wrapped or covered in something that smells familiar to them.
7. For babies consider investing in a Sky Baby mattress. We used one for our newborn and found it invaluable. Not only does it allows your baby to lie or sleep on your lap more comfortably, but it provides extra comfort for them in the bassinet. I was surprised at how often the little guy ended up having to sleep on our laps rather than in the bassinet because of turbulence.
8. For babies try to breastfeed on take-off and on the descent to prevent their ears popping. For toddlers, it can help for them to have a dummy if they have one or a lollypop to suck on (if they are allowed, sweets).
9. Take a travel pillow or neck support for little ones. We took a Trunki neck rest and a travel pillow that the little lady has to help make her more comfortable when she slept. The airline did actually provide travel pillows, but these weren’t as well padded as the one that we brought with us.
10. Pack a range of toys and entertainment for toddlers. The iPad is an obvious choice, although surprisingly our little one didn’t actually end up touching it at all during our trip. However, she was much more interested in the other bits and pieces that we brought along, like colouring and sticker books. It also helps if there are some new bits and pieces in the mix as the novelty will usually hold their attention a little more.
11. Phase the toys and books that you bring out for them. Don’t give them everything at once and instead give them one or two things every hour, or a couple of hours. That way they won’t play and look at everything before the flight is over. We found that by doing this we were able to make the toys and books that we brought last the entire holiday including the return flight.
12. If teeny tine ones are a fan of white noise, take your Whisbear or Ewan the Sheep or download a white noise app on your phone. You never know how useful this might be if your little one is very unsettled on the flight and can’t get off to sleep.
13. Take an all in one for babies and pyjamas or comfy clothes for toddlers to change into during the flight, especially if you have a night or long haul one. It gets pretty cold with the air con and it isn’t comfortable for anyone sleeping upright, especially little ones. Put outfits together in a ziplock or sandwich bag so that they are easy to find and pull out.
14. It goes without saying when you have children, but make sure you have at least one spare set of clothes for little ones. We had a spillage incident with the toddler and luckily I had a spare set of clothes for her to change into, otherwise, it would have been a very uncomfortable flight for her. Again put sets of clothes into a zip lock or sandwich bag so that they are easy to find.
So those are our 14 travel essentials for family holidays. I’d like to think that after two holidays and two sets of flights we are starting to get the hang of travelling with little ones. What travel essentials cant you do without on a family holiday. What would you add to this list?
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