Long haul, short haul, sunshine, snow, and storms(!) the three of us have been lucky enough to spend the first part of this year travelling to some amazing places - including South Africa, Mauritius, Switzerland and the Canaries - all with our tots in tow.
Based on our adventures, and many misadventures en route, we thought we'd share our ULTIMATE TRAVEL MUST-HAVES that we have personally discovered make holidaying with a halfling that little bit easier. Pack wisely people!
PUT. THIS. ON. YOUR. SHOPPING. LIST. NOW. literally one of the best purchases we have made since having Emilia, and not just for the sunnier days but this brilliant accessory came in so handy on the long haul flight to South Africa as well. The SnoozeShade allows babies to rest without distraction, protects them from UV rays during the midday sun, and blocks out light/ background disturbance during the evening's fun. Lightweight and super easy to pack, it won't even add any precious KG's to your luggage allowance either. This is one item that should be in your top 10 things to take on holiday.
Fly Tot - the original - £63
After deciding to take the leap and do a long haul flight with our 21-month old toddler while I was 6 months pregnant, we knew we had to do our research to see what could potentially make the flight a bit more bearable. We opted for a night flight and bought the best thing we could pack in our carry-on: the Fly Tot cushion. This inflatable cushion blows up to fit in the leg space by your seat, and allows your little one to lie flat to go to sleep. This really only works when they have their own seat (whether by a stroke of luck on a quieter flight or because they're the age when you have to start paying for them). It also meant I didn't have to worry about how to balance a sleeping tot on my pregnant belly, particularly with me having to get up to go to the toilet every hour or so! As a result of the Fly Tot we had one of our best family flight experiences to date, and Finn got all the sleep he needed to enjoy the sights of Mauritius when we landed!
LittleLife child carrier - from about £99,99 for the most basic model
When your little baby becomes a heavy toddler, its time to admit defeat and upgrade your baby carrier to a full on rucksack child carrier - particularly if you are planning a particularly adventurous holiday. We had to do just that when we took our 16-month old son to Canada last year, where we did lots of long hikes around the Rockies. After a lot of online research and grilling our fellow baby friends we opted for LittleLife's Voyager S3 child carrier (see pic above) and it was amazing. Our son was extremely comfortable, so comfortable in fact he would often fall asleep while being carried up mountains. It also comes with a sun shade, and lots of storage options too, so much so that I felt guilty at how much my husband was having to carry! We've used it lots since on other holidays so it has been a good investment.
Ergobaby Omni 360
I’ve always been firmly in the baby carrier camp. In the early days, wearing Theo in one around the house was the only way I could get anything done! But he's a chunky chap and as my Baby Bjorn began cutting into my shoulders, it looked like our baby wearing days were waning. However, the Ergobaby Omni 360 gave us both a new lease of life in that department – just in time for holiday! We took it on beach walks, boat trips, and through flights and airports barely breaking a sweat.
Perfect holiday features include: four carry positions (inwards, outwards, hip or back); built-in baby hood for sun protection (UPF 50+); handy, detachable pouch, perfect for key cards / wallet and a mini suncream. Extra wide, comfortable padded straps mean the weight feels much more evenly distributed and a lumbar support waistbelt to ensure lower backs don’t feel the burn. Admittedly, it is a little trickier to put on solo than some of its competitors but the pros far outweigh that con. As it works from newborns right through to toddlers, we wish we’d discovered this earlier, rather than almost one year in.
Mountain Buggy Pod Portable High Chair
When we purchased the Mountain Buggy Portable High Chair, I expected us to use it on holidays, and then for it to be another baby item that clutters up your house when you get home. However fast forward a few months and this has fast become one of those items that we use most weekends/ when out and about. Whether trying to fit into a small cosy cafe, turning up at friends houses who don't have children (and so you have no where to put your little one when it approaches dinner time) or indeed packing it up ready for our next family holiday we can't recommend this enough. It attaches so easily to the table, and folds away completely flat when you are finished using it. The perfect travelling companion!
EasyMat Mini - £16.99
Ever since our little human was weaned, we've found the EasyMat mini portable baby suction plate (see pic above) one of the handiest things to take with us on holiday. It comes with a lid and carry case, perfect for traveling and fits on all the highchairs that we've come across. Comes in a range of bright colours as well as several separate compartments for different foods. It gets a massive tick from us!
WEAR. SUNSCREEN. I can’t be the only person who has that Baz Luhrmann song running through my head every time I hit the bottle (of SPF) on holiday, but never was a better piece of advice given – especially when it comes to the little ‘uns.
Theo has unfortunately inherited my sensitive skin genes (with added eczema) so I wanted something that would keep his baby skin super safe but wouldn’t irritate. Step forward Childs Farm, a natural children's skincare and toiletries brand, using naturally derived ingredients and fresh smelling essential oils to make mild, kind and safe products - created with sensitive and eczema prone skin in mind.
While I found some brands’ thick textures left a greasy white coating on his skin, the new Childs Farm 50+ sun spray was light, easy to apply, ultra absorbent and gave the high level SPF protection against UVA and UVB rays that we were looking for. He thought the squirty spray was fun, I wasn’t trying for ages to rub it in yet the coverage was brilliant. It was by far the best that we tried and has become our go-to sun protection for him.