Holiday Packing tips: going on holidaying with a toddler


All you need to know if you're going on holiday with a toddler

A few weeks ago we braved our first trip abroad with a toddler and we had such a wonderful time. Lots of people might try to put you off doing it saying it’s more stress than it’s worth but I couldn’t disagree more; as long as you are prepared, you can have a great time. Here are my holidaying top tips for packing with a toddler.

Task 1

– Make a list (and then another one)!

Think about everything you use on a daily basis and write it down (do it as you go to make sure you don’t forget something you simple wouldn’t think of because it’s almost like second nature). Once you have your everyday items, add essential items you will need if you are going on a sun holiday for example, like sun-cream, UVA suit, hat, etc. I had two lists: suitcase and hand luggage. I think the most important one for me was the hand luggage list because you can buy most products when you are on holiday, it just usually costs more than in the UK but if you forget something in your hand luggage, you just have to grin and bear it. The lists I used are at the bottom of the page for you to use if you so wish!



Task 2 – Pack

I packed all of Isabella’s clothes (and most of mine) at least a week in advance; the hubby tends to do it the night before – that just stresses me out unnecessarily though! I made sure I had at least two outfits for each day for Isabella – one day time and one evening outfit. We also packed several outfits for colder days/nights as you are never guaranteed heat. I would also recommend packing a few sets of pyjamas too – night time was much cooler and long trousers and sleeves were a godsend for Isabella; they also came in handy for the night flight home as we could get her ‘ready for bed’ and she slept on the fight home with an easy transfer to her cot when we arrived home.

We ordered a baby pack to be delivered to the hotel which included a buggy, travel cot (we took our own mattress), high chair, bottle warmer, baby bath etc for £50 so save on the packing. It was a brilliant idea and I would certainly do it again next time.

Over estimate the amount of wipes you need – I think in 7 days we nearly used 4 pack of baby wipes. We used them for everything: cleaning the table, high chair, Isabella’s cutlery we brought from home, hands, face, bum, you name it, we used a wipe!

Quiet Book

Task 3 – Be prepared and don’t worry about what others think

Toddlers are bound to get tired and irritable so pack your hand luggage sensibly. My entire bag was full of snacks, toys, magazines and colouring pencils (and a blanket as it can get really cold on the plane) and my husband’s had everything for the two of us. We made a fatal mistake on the way out and decided to not let Isabelle nap in the car because we thought she would sleep on the plane instead but she was so excited with the new surroundings that she didn’t sleep at all; this made everyone a little more irritable than usual but we took it in our stride and here is what I would say. As far as you can, stick to their usual routine, if they sleep, they sleep, if not, you can entertain them with lots of things.

Walking round the airport and going in all the shops was great fun. We didn’t take a pushchair so used reigns instead and this worked perfectly as she could walk around without getting lost. We also had a small healthy snack and drink in the airport before we boarded the plane.

Once on the plane, we used a range of activities to entertain her. One of the best things I did was made a ‘quiet book’ and you can read all about how I made it here; this was full of activities that she could do while she waited and because I didn’t let her see the book before we went, she was really excited by it. I also brought a couple of very inexpensive toys that I got out at varies points during the flight when she started to get irritable. This worked brilliantly. If you wrap them up in paper too, it’s an added bonus as they love unwrapping presents. You don’t have to buy things though, you could always take a few of their toys they like from home; if you take them away a week or so before you go, it will be like seeing an old friend again. Sticker books always work for us too. If all else fails, give them a snack. I took all of her favourite snacks and didn’t care if they weren’t healthy – it’s only for the flight! I also took enough for the return flight but packed these in my suitcase.img_2667.jpg
Tip 4 – Enjoy

It’s never going to be a ‘relaxing’, feet up by the pool reading your book holiday but it will be brilliant fun if you just go with it. They are going to get their way a little more than at home and are more likely to eat more treats than usual but I think that’s what a holiday is all about; indulging your family and enjoying the quality time spent together because it will soon be back to reality.

Would I do it again?

Yes, yes, yes! As long as I feel prepared, I would certainly do it again wouldn’t listen to negative comments that aren’t constructive. We had a wonderful time and Isabella enjoyed every second!

Hand Luggage Checklist

  • FOOD AND SNACKS – whatever they like! We took: breadsticks, rice cakes, raisins, dried fruit, Goodies crisps and a large secret stash of milk buttons!
  • EXTRA CLOTHES – pack an extra outfit for the little one and a spare top for yourself in case they are ill or wipe food/snot etc all over you!
  • DUMMIES/BOTTLES of milk or something the can suck for take off and landing. We usually only let Isabella have a dummy at night time but as a treat on the plane, we let her have it when she wanted it and encouraged her to use it on take off and landing (she didn’t need much encouragement!)
  • TISSUES – more than one pack of travel tissues
  • TOYS (wrapped in paper even if they aren’t new)
  • MUSLIN (for those extra spills)
  • iPad stacked with favourite shows (we also downloaded a Duplo game for free that is BRILLIANT)
  • any other entertainment you think they will like

Suitcase checklist

Pack what you usually would for yourself – perhaps only two pairs of shoes though!

For your toddler:

  • 1x swimming costume
  • 1x UV swim suit/top
  • 2x hats which will protect neck and ears too!
  • 1x hooded towel or poncho style towel for when they get out of the water and are cold
  • 3x shorts for the daytime
  • 5x t-shirts for the day time (these can be worn more than once as it’s just when they are out of the water)
  • 9x evening outfits (I took a couple of warmer options just in case)
  • 3x cardigans/jumpers
  • 3x bibs (I took the ones with sleeves so she didn’t ruin her clothes and washed them in the sink)
  • 1x croc style shoes for round the pool (I think EVERY child I saw had some of these)
  • 1 or 2 pairs of evening shoes
  • 3 pairs of pjs (one long sleeve just in case)
  • If you use them at least 3 dummies
  • Favourite teddy/night time comforter
  • 2 x large muslins – sun shade/blanket
  • Sun cream 50+ factor
  • Liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • Antihistamine
  • Plasters
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Tooth paste and brush
  • Wipes, wipes and more wipes
  • 5x nappies per day (in case they get an upset tummy)
  • 3x swim nappies per day
  • 1x nappy cream
  • nappy bags
  • teething granules
  • antibacterial hand gelimg_2670.jpg

If you’d prefer to stay in the UK, why not see what we thought of Bluestone Wales?


  1. Rebecca says:

    Thanks just what I’ve been looking for. We go away in July and I was getting really nervous.


  1. […] If you would like some ideas on what to pack when you go away, why not check out my tips? […]

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