I don’t usually enter blogger competitions, but when I found out about the Mark Warner Holiday Ambassador programme today, my ears pricked up. Let me explain… The company are going to pick 5 bloggers to work with in 2017 – and the winners will get to pick a sunshine or snow holiday to review. Yep, snow. The white stuff my boys have never seen, but so desperately want to. So I decided I would enter and hope for the best.
The first part of the entry process is to create a mood board with my Top 10 Travel Essentials – and as I’ve been meaning to do this for my blog for a long time, I thought you may all enjoy it too. I’ve not gone for swimsuits and wide-brimmed hats (as for us, these things are part of day-to-day life) but I’ve gone for the things that make the actual travelling bit easier. The flights, the car journeys, the waiting around – essentially, the tough bits of traveling. And as a mum who has flown 30 long-haul flights with her kids since becoming a mother 4 and a half years ago, I talk from experience. These things work.
So here goes; my top 10 travel essentials – and please keep your fingers and toes crossed that my boys may eventually get to see snow thanks to Mark Warner (eek!)
1. Ergo Baby Carrier. I love this carrier, as the weight is taken around your hips (making it much easier to carry heavier babies and toddlers). I couldn’t fly without it – and it comes in very handy for getting around on holiday too, for those times when a buggy just won’t work (and I am imagining a bundled up Mabel in the snow here!) £89.90 at Amazon – shop here
2. YoYo Stroller. This stroller collapses down to overhead locker size with one flick of the wrist. We take it on every flight – and I have used for it for entire summers back in the UK as my only buggy, so it’s pretty efficient when you reach your destination too. It’s not cheap, but Ive had mine for over three years and used it nearly daily – and it’s still going strong, so I recommend it as an investment if you travel a lot. £402 at Smallable – shop here
3. Griffin Headphones. As soon as my boys get onto the flight, I hand over their headphones and they plug them into the inflight entertainment system (if there is one) or their iPads (if there isn’t). These earphones are designed to protect little ears – and the fun design encourages the littlest travellers to wear them. £13.37 at Amazon – shop here
4. iPad. We limit use of iPads at home – but on days we are flying, they have free reign. I make sure that I download lots of educational apps and a few of their favourite TV shows before we fly – and we have kiddie-safe covers too, just in case they get dropped. Case is £12.99 at Amazon – shop here.
5. Snacks. You can never have too many snacks! And I really mean that, as kids have a tendency to mistake boredom for hunger, so I get asked roughly every three minutes throughout a flight. Having healthy things to hand over like raisins, apples, and dried fruit means that hungry tummies can be kept full and happy when meals are missed or messed up due to time differences too. Oh and if you are flying, sugar-free lollies are great for handing over to little ones just before take off, with the sucking stopping their little ears from popping as you take to the skies
6. Wipes. From plane meals dropped down jumpers, to sticky snacks making sticky hands, to toilet stops when there is no loo roll, I would never travel without plenty of baby wipes stashed in my hand luggage. You simply never know when you are going to need them (and believe me, you always do).
7. Activity Books. I always throw a few sticker and activities books in for the journey – and it usually keeps my 4-year old busy for at least an hour. They are an inexpensive way to pull out a new treat from my bag when they are getting bored – and being lightweight, they are great for stashing in suitcases for the holiday itself too.
8. Spare Clothes. In 30 flights, I have been caught out without spare clothes once – and Stanley had to wear an airplane blanket as a sarong for the rest of the flight (oh the shame). I have never made the mistake again since, as I always make sure I have at least one set of spare clothes per child to make sure we are covered in terms of accidents and mess making. If you have a small baby, it pays to take a spare outfit for yourself too – after all, nappies explode and babies vomit – and it’ll be a miserable journey if you are the chosen one.
9. Spare Nappies. On that note, having far more nappies than you need is a very good idea. Stanley once pooed 4 times on a single flight as a baby (I think it’s something to do with the change in pressure, but I wasn’t impressed). Nappies are lightweight, so stash them in every spare inch of hand luggage space just in case.
10. Cuddly Toys. Finally, I always let each of the kids take their favourite cuddly toy along for the journey. This does mean you need to have your wits about you (leaving their precious comforter on an airplane isn’t the ideal start to a holiday) but it also means they are far more likely to be relaxed on the journey, sleep on route, and feel settled as soon as you arrive. I always pack a few identical ‘spares’ in the main luggage just in case disaster happens – and (touch wood), I’ve only ever left a comforter on a flight once and he was too young to notice the swap.
So there are my top 10 essentials for travelling with little ones – and I hope it comes in really handy for the next time you head away with the family. For more information on Mark Warner Holidays, visit www.markwarner.co.uk