Essential travel kit & tips for a holiday with a young child

This article will list essential travel kit which has proven invaluable during holidays with our boys and also provide travel tips to ensure fun memorable family holidays!  

Bed rail – I do not leave our house for an overnight stay without our bed rail.  Even for trips to Grandparents houses where my eldest son Charlie sleeps in their small single guest room bed it comes with us in the car. We use the Safety 1st compact portable bedrail as we frequently travel.  Of course if you are staying in a hotel before packing one it is always worth calling ahead and seeing if they have bed rails for young guests to use.  Often sofa beds in hotels are very close to the floor and then we surround our son with pillows to save us some space in the car!

Travel cot – If your child is not yet ready for a big bed, travel cots are ideal.  For Harry my youngest, I always check the hotel has a travel cot for his use.  If they don’t we take our travel cot along (we could never contemplate having a small car!)  Do not make the mistake that we did and attempt to use a travel cot without buying a decent mattress to go with it. Travel cots come with extremely thin and uncomfortable bases, trust me when I say that travelling with a tired and cranky baby who has had un uncomfortable night in a travel cot is no fun!  As we discovered after a night in an airport hotel prior to a trans atlantic flight back home to Savannah).  This mattress folds up and comes with a bag and so is perfect for popping into your car.   (Fitted sheet sold separately).

Child reins – These economical Clippasafe reins are the best sellers on Amazon and have won the Mother and Baby 2015 award.  I bought Charlie a Winnie the Pooh bear bag with reins as it was his favourite Disney character at the time and I wanted him to enjoy wearing the reins for our trip to Venice.  They proved absolutely invaluable in not only keeping him out of the canals(!) but also for carrying his treasured trains in the small bag section and keeping him entertained whilst sat in his push chair.  During our holiday, at the age of two he discovered he could clip and unclip the fasteners… hours and hours of fun for a toddler!  These Goldbug range of child reins are similar.

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Grooming kit – I find the Tommee Tippee kit a compact and very useful pack to throw into my luggage.

Child cutlery set – I find it annoying how many child friendly restaurants/cafes we visit as a family that do not offer small cutlery sets for little ones to use.  Charlie is not a great eater as it is and so any excuse usually means he just picks at his food 🙁 I therefore carry around a Tommee Tippee first grown up cutlery set for both of my boys as these are the ones we use at home however these Take and Toss travel ones come in a very handy travel case and so I intend to invest in some new ones!  They are much more hygienic and still BPA and PVC free.

Night light – My boys always struggle to sleep in a new place, particularly on the first evening away.  From experience though I have found that they have a better nights sleep if they have their nursery night lights on.  The night lights also help them to settle quicker if they awake in the middle of the night.

Trunki – My eldest son has this trunki.  Whenever we go away I let him pick his favourite toys, treasures and books.  This is a great trick for two reasons….. Firstly, it keeps him busy for at least 20 minutes whilst I quickly run around the house like a mad women trying to pack for the four of us.  Secondly, it restricts how many of his treasures come with us!  If it does not fit in the trunki, it stays at home!

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Travel tip – Recreating home sleeping environment

I actually try as much as possible to recreate my boys sleeping environments whilst we are away from home as I find they settle much quicker.  So in addition to the night lights I also pack a sleeping bag (for baby Harry), toddler duvet (for Charlie), favourite soft toys and books and when they were both younger I also packed their favourite night-time soother….  For Charlie this was a his Sleep Sheep, he absolutely loved his sheep and as a new mum I think I became a little obsessed with the sheep myself!   In my sleep deprived state I honestly thought that the sheep had magical powers because it was THE ONLY thing that would work!  I also bought it in the travel version so that I could get him to sleep whilst on the move and for about two years the only present I would buy my friends for baby showers were a Sleep Sheep…. seriously, I was just a tad obsessive about the fluffy creatures abilities!  I now know of course that every baby is different because Harry as a newborn slept for 20/22 hours every day for about six months and definitely did not require the assistance of a Sleep Sheep!  For Harry as a toddler, he seemed to prefer his cot mobile, similar to this Fisher-Price one

Travel tip – Do not forget your cutlery and night lights!

I have lost so many pairs of small cutlery sets by leaving them in restaurants and night lights by forgetting to unplug them from hotel plug sockets.  Now as soon as the boys have finished eating and as soon as they are awake in the morning I try to pack the cutlery/night lights safely away.


Going on a summer holiday?  Check out my essential packing list for a holiday in the sun.  Dreading the flight and want to be fully prepared?  Check out my essential packing list for the flight 

Have I missed any essential travel kit and tips for a holiday with a young child?  Please add your comments and tips below

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