Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Travelling with young kids - things to bring

We've done our fair share of travelling with young children on a budget - why stay at home when going abroad is the same price? Each time we fly or float we discover new things that make the travelling experience that little bit more relaxed. Some we'd even call life- (or at least holiday-) savers. Here they are:

Sun and sleep cover - a black mesh cover for the buggy that gives UVA and UVB protection from the sun (so no need to worry about suncream) and makes the outside world less interesting when curious eyes need to take a nap (eg Koo-di). And then there's the buggy itself, which all airlines will allow the whole way to the aircraft door before sending to the hold. Don't even think about not bringing, it makes for a great bag/towel/food carrier too!

Car seat - if hiring a car at our destination we found it much better to bring our own car seats rather than rent upon arrival. Most airlines won't charge to do this, whereas the car hire company gets you for up to 8 euro/dollars per day. It's especially helpful to have your own seat if baby is under six months old as the hire seats don't seem to cater for small infants. Consider investing in a strong cover for the seat for easy transport and if you don't want it to get dusty in the aircraft hold (eg Sunshine Kids).

Bucket and spade - if there'll be sand where you're going, you'll end up buying an over-priced novelty set anyway!

Inflatables - when at the pool we've found inflatable baby seats to be fun for baby and release you to swim a little too. A ring or armbands help for toddlers' enjoyment.

Sticker-books and toy cars - these work for boys anyway - go to Asda/Tesco before you leave and grab a token 'new' thing for the journey. The novelty factor should buy you some valuable time when I-spy doesn't work any more :)

Soltan Once Kids Waterplay - it's five-star sun protection for up to six hours with three hours of water play. And it hasn't bothered our family members with sensitive skin. We've found the Soltan insect repellant range to work well too. Soltan is made by Boots.

DVD player - we were loathe to succomb to this one but are glad we did. Looking at online retailers it seems prices have gone up in the last couple of years, but you don't need a top-range model - a 7-inch screen is fine (a video output socket means it can be connected to a TV or projector at home) - just check reviews of battery life. Use in the car and on ferries and planes that don't offer screens and have a quiet child for 90 minutes of bliss! Your phone might also be able to show movies or play games...

That's our list for now, I might add to it if I remember more. What's worked for you?