When we booked our first family holiday with Lola, I was sooooooo excited. I could of got up and packed her stuff straight the way with 3 months still to pass. I was straight online shopping for her new holiday clothes and spent the next 3 months making lists, packing and unpacking – you get the idea (a little holiday OCD).
We were lucky enough to be able to take her Spain when she was 10 months old, and then to Portugal when she had just turned one. She took her very first steps on the hotel balcony just to the right!
Here are some of my top tips that I swear by! If you are taking your little darlings away for the first time and are feeling a tad nervous about what to take etc. please have a read and feel free to ask me any questions.
Top Tip #1
Basics – make a list of all general basics you need, you can find advice on this just about anywhere on the web from Baby Centre to Thomas Cook. All these include, travel cot, pushchair, wipes, nappies, clothes, comforter, medicine, first aid, sterilizer, bottles etc.
Top Tip #2
Pack spare travelling clothes for yourself – Don’t make the mistake I did! Spent god knows how long packing Lola’s bag for the aeroplane, with about 4 sets of spare clothes and mid way through the flight with a toddler flinging her arms around I ended up being covered in drink. It was great. So I spent the rest of the flight soaking wet AND had to get through the airport covered in a weird orange colour. Never again will I travel without a spare change of clothes, I learnt the hard way! Although everyone else found it hilarious, least I got their holidays off the a good start!
Top Tip #3
Fitting in all the baby junk – Packing for babies and toddlers is a full blown nightmare, purely because they need so much stuff. Once you’ve packed all their cute outfits, shoes, swimming costumes, toys and creams – where on earth is everything else going to fit! I needed to take powered milk for both trips and the tubs are enormous, it was never fitting in, plus the tub would last me for about a month normally – I really didn’t want to take the whole thing. So instead, I bought a medium sized Tupperware container and I scooped out how many ounces I would need per day for the whole week, and then added an extra few just incase. This saved me a tonne of room! I also suggest with nappies, not to take the whole pack as it is – I opened the pack and crammed nappies wherever they would fit, the sides of the suitcases, in-between towels, in everyone’s hand luggage. I found that helped to save on space too. I was still finding nappies weeks later at home!!
Top Tip #4
Baby Hand luggage – Whilst on topic of packing, many people don’t know that airlines offer extra hand luggage for babies under 2 years old. This means you wont just have your hand luggage to cram everything in, you can also take on board another bag up to 5kg (depending on airlines) for your baby. I was crazy anxious in the run up to holidays and I would research every little detail I could think of, I was so happy when I saw the words BABY BAG! I thought to myself at least now I can keep everything together in separate bags instead of having both of our stuff mixed up in one bag. Its definitely worth reading up on.
Top Tip #5
What was in my Baby Bag –
- As many toys as I could cram in
- Change of clothes
- Bottles for take off and landing
- Anti-bacterial wipes
Top Tip #6
Paddling Pool Trick – Now this saved me so much hassle, especially with the first holiday we went on, because the pool was very cold and the ground was very rough she was so limited to what she could do (and of course they get a little grouchy with that). Lola wasn’t walking at this stage and we couldn’t stay in the pool with her constantly nor could she crawl around and explore – so the poor little lamb literally just had the sun bed to sit on. Not much Fun. So the following day, we went to the little holiday tack shop and bought a tiny little paddling pool for her to sit in, filled it with a little water and she absolutely loved it. At not even 1 years old she had her very own pool in the shade, surrounded by toys it was GENIOUS! SO much so that I saved it and took it on her next holiday! Enjoy!
Top Tip #7
iPads/Tablets – I would 100% take the iPad or DVD player on our next holiday, Lola probably was a little too young for them when we went but the amount of kids we saw on holiday that took a little time out now and again and either watched something or played a game. They don’t need to be glued to it all holiday – but its definitely worth it for a little bit of peace and they can calm down and chill out for a little while, maybe in the room after a busy day.
Top Tip #8
Self Catering – If you are staying in a Villa or hotel that is self catering, don’t forget to take baby/toddler eating essentials, its so obvious but it didn’t cross my mind once until I had to give her a VERY breakable plate and and a metal fork to eat with #Badmum
Top Tip #9
Sun Safety – Babies and toddlers burn really quickly in the sun if they aren’t protected. Always apply lots of suncream and keep reapplying every few hours or after being in water if the suncream isn’t water resistant. A good sun hat will also keep the risk of sunstroke down, aswell as protecting their head/face/ears. What sun protection do you use for your children? Below is a mixture of SPF50+ suncreams
Top Tip #10
Don’t stress and enjoy it – This ones really important, as a lot of people going on holiday with babies and toddlers for the first time can find it really stressful. Its a big change from holidays without children, if your used to sunbathing all day and ready a book – it will be different. You wont have as much time to yourself on your holiday as before you had children, but it will be a memory forever and you will love seeing you son/daughter explore new things and even learn new things whilst you are away.
Try not to stress when they are hot and tired, or want to make a run for the pool with no inflatables, or have covered their entire body in ice cream. You will look back and laugh and you will always remember their first holiday.
I on the other hand, was a complete stress head.
Here’s Lola enjoying her breakfast in Portugal 2015
Look at the face!!!!
I hope you found this helpful if you were looking for a bit of advice, I’d love to hear some feedback and comments, and any holiday advice you would offer to someone.
Or if you have not long been away with your baby/toddlers get in touch and let us know how you got on!