My husband and I have always enjoyed being busy and active. Our first dates were spent snorkelling, scuba diving and parasailing in the Caribbean and although our life has changed significantly since leaving a life onboard cruise ships and becoming parents, we still rarely spend a day at home. We spend holidays with our boys discovering new places and free time visiting attractions and meeting up with friends located all over the UK. Of course travelling with kids involves more consideration and careful planning than travelling as a couple… long gone are the days where my husband and I jumped in the car with only a rain jacket each! Here are my packing tips for life on the go with kids, I hope you find them useful.
Essential kit for the car
Our first aid kit containing plasters, bandages, anti bacterial wipes, indigestion tablets, Calpol, Nurofen and teething medication has come in handy on many occasions, to deal with cuts, grazes, heartburn and high temperatures.
As the weather starts to get warmer I load our car with a bottle of high factor sun cream, deet free bug spray and a picnic blanket ready for our next family adventure. We rarely go on a family day out without taking a picnic in a cooler which means I can make sure we all eat a healthy lunch and as a bonus saves us money for treats.
In the autumn I replace the sun cream and bug spray with waterproofs and wellies. Although we wouldn’t purposefully choose to visit an outdoor attraction in bad weather, being prepared for the weather changing provides us with the option of whether to stay and play in the rain, or take shelter! We also have seat protectors and a waterproof boot protector, to prevent our car getting muddy from dirty wellies and pushchair wheels.
Essential kit for the journey
I speak from our experience in Wales when I say it is no fun starting a family day out covered in sick due to one of your kids projectile vomiting in the car!
To avoid car sickness, we use anti nausea/motion sickness travel wrist bands. We also prepare for the worse case scenario by carrying lots of baby wipes, a plastic sick bowl or absorbent sick bags for long journeys and packing a change of clothes for both boys.
Although my kids like to read books whilst we are driving, looking down whilst the car is moving causes them to feel sick. We therefore tend to listen to audio books or play games. If you need some help entertaining your kids during road trips these I-Spy books are great (and cheap too!)
Of course a tablet fixed into a car mount (to make sure kids are looking forward and not into their laps) can come in very handy too. We always take some time to preload cartoons and movies in advance so that we are not relying on wifi whilst on the move.
Essential kit for a day out with kids
I load up our pushchair and rucksack with a picnic and blanket, refillable drinks bottles, baby wipes, sterilising wipes and hand sterilising gel. Sterilising wipes are useful for wiping down grubby high chair trays and sterilising gel is useful for the whole family, particularly when kids have touched animals at petting farms or picked things up from the floor, (my kids cannot be the only ones who cannot resist a stick!)
For attractions that do not allow pushchairs, or for enjoying a country walk, baby slings are great for carrying infants, and backpacks are perfect for toddlers.
To avoid carrying toddlers who refuse to sit in pushchairs give them the option of riding on a buggy board or, if permitted into the attraction, take along a scooter. (We can thoroughly recommend Micro Scooters which are really stable and easy to use for kids from the age of three).
Of course snacks, toys and sticker books are an absolute necessity for a life on the go with kids! I like to pack healthy snacks for all of us including fruit, hummus and breadsticks but I always have an emergency stash of sweet and savoury treats too, such as crisps and biscuits, for those unavoidable toddler meltdowns!
If we are visiting a place that I know will be busy I dress my boys in bright clothes so that they stand out in a crowd. From attending a few festivals last summer I also like the idea of writing my mobile number on a wristband in case my boys get lost in the crowds.
To avoid being pestered for souvenirs during a day out with my kids, and to save myself some money, I try to plan and pack accordingly. For example, when we visit Warwick Castle I dress my boys in their knights outfits as I know they will pester me for new ones from the souvenir shop if I forget!
And finally, it doesn’t matter how hard you try to plan a day out with kids, when children are involved it’s almost guaranteed that you will have an ‘eventful’ day. Remember to take along your sense of humour and camera to capture the family chaos for years to come!
Do you have any packing tips for life on the go with kids? Please share them in the comments section below
Disclosure – This post is in conjunction with Rennie® but all thoughts are my own
If you found this guide useful, check out our other guides to travelling with kids
– Tips for cruising with kids by experienced cruisers
– Essential packing list for cruising with kids
– Tips from a Flight Attendant; Flying comfortably with children
– Tips from a Flight Attendant; Preventing travel sickness
– Tips from a Flight Attendant; Flying safely with children
– Top tips for a baby (and parent) meltdown free holiday
– Essential travel kit; tips for a holiday with a young child
– Essential packing list for flying with a baby or young child
– How to survive road trips with a baby or young child
– How to survive and enjoy camping with young children
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