Family Life · Travel

Non-essential Essentials for a Fab Family Holiday

Stuff that isn’t essential for your holiday but can make a huge difference when travelling with kids!

We love our holidays in the sun, taking at least one sunny holiday a year. I want the kids to have fun and for us to be able to relax, which with young children, can be challenging! We’ve been on lots of different sunny holidays, from villas to all inclusive. With babies, we found villa or apartment holidays the best option but now with our youngest being 5, all inclusive is the only way to go! Whatever type of accommodation and package you choose, there are certain essential items that I would recommend you take, having been there and done that! All suggestions are based on things that I have learned about the hard/ expensive way!

Buzymum - Essential items to take for a fantastic family holiday. Items include suncream suggestions, moisturising aftersun creams, essential spares, lots of things I've discovered over the years of travelling with kids.

Potty bags for the plane! – We were caught short once with the Boy when he needed a wee during take-off! Luckily, we had half a bottle of water (which J downed quickly) and he just managed to wait long enough to get it in the bottle! I now carry these bags that have an absorbent pad in them ‘just in case’- not so good for girls but they seem to be able to hold on longer!

Combination of P20 (factor 50) with a once-a-day factor 50 cream – I love the P20 range as it combines with the skin so there is no need to reapply all day, but it is drying on the skin. We therefore tend to alternate with a cream sun-lotion every few days and also only use a cream on their faces. The best one with 5* UVA and reasonable cost is Boots Soltan Once 3 hour water play (6 hour protection) factor 50.

50 factor sun stick – Great for quick face top-ups. Again, the Boots Soltan one is great!

Kids beach towels even if you are going all inclusive – I’ve often arrived at all-inclusive hotels to find that you can only change your pool towel 3 times a week or that the ‘towel-hut’ is only open certain times of day. With the kids in and out of the pool all day, it’s really handy to have one drying on the back of the lounger, while the other is being used.

Kids zip-up dressing gown towels – Last year’s best buy! Just so handy and far easier than the ones that go over their heads, and more covering (if they want to remove swim suits) than the poncho style towels. When we went away in the February half term to Agadir, they wore them virtually the whole time, by the pool!

Buzymum - These zip-up towels are really handy

Putty ear plugs – Lou suffered with repeat ear infections, glue ear and had grommets so we had to use these for a while whenever she went swimming. Now, I always pack them just in case the pool looks a little less clean than it should, as she is prone to infection. As they are such water babies, ear infections or just swimmers ear (water in the ear) are also likely and wearing the plugs allows them to keep going in the pool! We’ve found ‘Putty Buddies’ the best, as they mould easily, rarely fall out and float in the water (if they do fall out)

Spare goggles – My lot spend all day in the pool. Chlorine and sun reduce the life of goggle straps and buying replacements abroad has been challenging and/ or expensive.

Travel wash – Though useful for obvious reasons, I always take a couple of tubes for rinsing out all our swim wear each evening. I’m not talking scrubbing, just literally a squirt of travel wash in the sink, swish about a bit, rinse and hang out. This makes such a difference to the life of these garments especially the kids rash vests.

Kids sun/ sea shampoo – We have had instances of pools turning their gorgeous blonde hair green! This stuff removes the chlorine each evening, reducing the effects.

Deep conditioner – Essential for long hair.

Alokui moisturising cream– Perfect to combat the drying effect of sun exposure and also soothing for mild redness. Click here for more details.

Aloe Vera gel – The best stuff for the accidental burn (bad mother!), we like BananaBoat.

Water proof mattress protector – The ones they supply are often plastic, hot and really noisy! The Boy still very occasionally, wets the bed. He tends to do it if he’s really tired or has drunk an excessive amount before bed. When away, the kids are always going to bed late and they are allowed a limited amount of fizzy drink (not allowed at home!) so that’s a recipe for disaster!!

Buzymum - The items we take on our holidays to make life easier!
I’ve still got a bit of shopping to do before we go! And I’ll be taking the mattress protector from the Boy’s bed!!

This list is not ‘everything you need’, just things that I have found made my family holiday easier and wouldn’t travel without!

I hope you’ve found this useful! Have you anything to add?

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31 thoughts on “Non-essential Essentials for a Fab Family Holiday

  1. Kids dressing gown towels are amazing aren’t they – we have bought one each this year. Great list and I have a portable potty that fold down into nothing

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  2. A nice list that I think is really essential if you want your trip to be better! This made me wish that we are going somewhere! We are just staying over the whole summer vacation but would keep this in mind just in case situations will change =) #ablogginggoodtime

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  3. We have those potty bags, but it never crossed my mind to bring them as a just in case for emergencies. Great tips. Also, not heard of those zip up dressing gown towels. That is such a good idea! *going to check them out* #FartGlitter xx

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  4. Yes, that’s an excellent list. The potty bags are a life savers for long train/car/boat rides as well. I have not heard of the dressing gown towels but sounds like a great product. I must go and have a look. I did find bringing our own beach towels handy too. It is the little extras which can make or break a holiday. I rather bring everything just to be safe. Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink

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  5. How come I didnt know about these sun sticks! That is a great idea and I am definitely going to grab some of these 🙂 xx #fartglitter

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  6. Great list – all things that make life just that bit easier. Am another who hasn’t heard of potty bags . Kudos to your boy for being able to pee in a bottle ! Not sure mine could manage it #fortheloveofblog

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  7. A post like this is worth its weight for parents with young kids. There’s such good advice here. Mine are older, however, totally agree with what you say. Very helpful. Alison x #fortheloveofBLOG

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  8. This is a great list, one that I want to book mark for our holiday to St Lucia later this year. I can imagine it must be very different taking a baby on a plane, than taking a toddler on a plane. A toddler needs to be so much more entertained. I plan to make the journey a bit easier by having a new toy for her to play with every hour of the flight. In my opinion preparation and planning is key for any journey with a child. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

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  9. Some great tips, definitely some things I wouldn’t have thought of. I think I’d cry if the pool turned my boys beautiful hair green though! #KCACOLS

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  10. Our holidays are very different! We do a 2 hour drive and haven’t ever flown with ours (aged 10, 9 and 5). P20 is a bit overkill for sitting in sweaters on a Tenby beach or walking around Laugharne castle ruins in cagoules.

    For us, the holiday non-essential that has made the biggest difference has been the DVD players that strapped on the car headrests. There’s an occasional row about which film to watch but it does make the journeys fly by. When we went to France (twice – by ferry not plane) they’d watch shorter kids shows on the shorter journeys as we visited different places. Favourites were Maid Marion and Round the Twist.

    Big ferry fans! Don’t have to stay buckled in one seat, there’s a bar(!), cinema, bunks, a kids play room, entertainment, a café, competitions – it’s like an overnight Butlins!

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    1. Oh yes- we have tablets each so they watch what they want on planes or in the car. We’ve only ferried to France once when they were small and J had to sort the kids as I was too busy throwing up!!! Needless to say, no one really enjoyed that trip!! My essential next time would definitely be seasickness drugs!! Xx

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      1. Haha, I’ve been alright on the France crossings but our “babymoon” “mini-cruise” (basically a ferry to Bilboa) was just a solide few days of projectile vomiting poolside, in the cinema, the café etc. Grim.

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