It’s all well and good having an amazing holiday – whether abroad or on UK shores – but if the journey there and back is as hellish as going to a soft play centre on a bad hangover, it can make you wonder if it’s worth going away at all. I’ve admitted before that my hesitance to book a family holiday abroad until now was partly down to fears over the travelling. But we did it! And now that we have achieved it – ticked the “going on holiday abroad as a family” box – I feel such a sense of relief! We can do it again and I know it’ll probably be OK. Silly, isn’t it?
But the smooth journeys to our holiday destination and home again were helped by a few carefully selected items…
1. A special suitcase for the toddler
We’ve toyed with buying a Trunki for a while – they look really cute – but after being sent it to review, it was this LittleLife Ladybird suitcase that we took away with us, and it worked a treat. Because it’s a trolley suitcase, it’s just like Mum and Dad’s suitcases, so it made the two-year-old feel like a grown up big girl. We used it as her carry-on luggage (thankfully it is small enough to comply with airline size restrictions) and packed it with all the essentials we’d need for the flight. Peppa Pig books, hooded sweatshirt, spare clothes, nappies, wipes, ballerina dolly, paper, pens and snacks – it holds a deceptively large amount of stuff, and as we were walking out of the door and she suddenly decided she HAD to take her large teddy, we even managed to squeeze him in too. She loved pulling it along through the airport and watching it go through the X-Ray machines at airport. Having a long extendable handle and being a (sophisticated and unbabyish) ladybird means that this bad boy should last us years – I can totally picture an eight year old Grace still using it (covered by then no doubt in 1D or Justin Bieber stickers no doubt.)
2. A decent supply of snacks
My daughter probably hollers “SNACKS!” on the hour, every hour. It’s usually met with a response of “How do you ask nicely?” And the well-trained tot chimes out, “May I have some snacks please, Mummy?” So a good supply of snacks is key for a smooth journey. I quietly congratulated myself for having the foresight to make up two small bags of her favourite snacks, one for each journey. Each bag had a packet of Organix rice cakes, some raisins and a couple of Ella’s Kitchen fruit pouches. Having the second snack bag to produce on the flight home was brilliant, and kept her happy (full disclosure: the snack bag was fully munched and gone by around 4 minutes into the flight, but they were a happy 4 minutes).
3. Kids’ headphones
We bought these bright yellow and blue JVC kids’ headphones in Dixons Duty Free on a recent trip to Scotland and they are worth their weight in gold. As soon as we are in the air, we pop the iPad on, with a few pre-downloaded CBeebies shows, and the headphones mean other passengers aren’t disturbed by Mister Maker cheerfully shouting “Let’s make it in a minute!”
The headphones automatically limit the sound, meaning little ears can’t be damaged, they’re padded and soft, and even though they’re for ages 3+ and a bit big for my toddler, they still stay on most of the time. Here is proof of how good they are: I’m writing this ON THE PLANE home from holiday. Before now, I couldn’t even imagine a world where a parent of a two-year-old could do their own thing on a plane. JVC headphones, I salute you.
There is just SOMETHING about stickers that can keep any toddler happy for a long time. On our outward holiday flight, 30 minutes were passed by Grace peeling off sticker after sticker (freebies from CBeebies Magazine) and grouping them in colours on paper. Then they were peeled off and placed on the back of the plane seat in front of us. Then they were peeled off and put on the tray table. Stickers. Are. Fun.
What are your kids’ travel essentials? Have you discovered something recently that you wish you’d known about sooner? Share!