Essential packing list for holiday with baby or young child

Since our first travelling experience with our four-month old son to Mexico I have learnt from experience and learnt to pack the essentials to keep baby safe and happy in the sun.  Remember if baby is happy, the family is happy!


A few weeks before I travel I always contact the hotel in advance and check what facilities they have available for infants. This ensures that I know exactly what I need to take with me or hire in advance.  For example a cot with a decent mattress and for my first essential packing item below a microwave….

Micro steam sterilisation bags – These Medela quick clean micro steam sterilisation bags are fantastic, so easy to use and can be reused up to 20 times each.  They were a lifesaver for me in Mexico (there was a microwave in the bar area), they made cleaning and sterilising bottles so easy and I have used them many times since.

Anti bacterial wipes and hand gel  I use Milton sterilising wipes and hand gel when travelling in large quantities.  Perfect for wiping down any grubby area that baby is going to insist on chewing upon!

Sun cream – There are so many brands to choose from, I use Nivea SPF 50 for my boys.  It is easy to apply, sinks in reasonably quickly and does as it says on the bottle and protects even after swimming.

Deet free mosquito spray – To protect my little ones from being bitten I pack the deet free Vie spray on mosquito repellent and after bite 

First aid kit – I make up my own by buying all items individually but you can purchase a ready-made one.  The Wallaboo baby first aid kit is well stocked, teething medication such as Nelsons homeopathics teething granules are also a necessity.

Push Chair – For our first holiday with baby I took our everyday push chair a Britax B-Ready Travel System.  (I bought this in the states and it is not available in the UK however the B-Smart and Affinity look to be very similar.  The Affinity was shortlisted for the Prima Baby Awards in the Best Travel System category).  This meant I had a car seat with me for the taxi journeys to and from airports and a comfortable push chair for baby to ride in throughout the holiday. 

I love our Britax and as it is so durable and sturdy I am using it now for my youngest son too.  It has a multi position reclining seat which can face forwards or backwards – great for keeping baby out of the sun on holiday; a peek hole for seeing if baby is sleeping; adjustable handles (useful for hubby who is tall); it is easy to fold and place in car/storage; and very importantly a large shopping basket underneath to carry the bags and bags of baby paraphernalia!!  A word of warning on traveling with your push chair… make sure you protect it when you fly with it see push chair bags in Essential packing list for flying with a baby and or young child

Mosquito net for push chair – For our first holiday with my son I had packed a mosquito net from Britax which was sold as an accessory for our push chair.  I found however it was too heavy duty to use in the Mexican heat as it did not seem to allow air through to keep baby cool.  I have since purchased a Clippasafe pushchair universal mosquito/insect net which is lightweight and yet keeps baby covered whilst preventing him from becoming too hot.


Mosquito net for cot – We have always stayed at hotels that have air conditioning and so we keep windows closed to keep mosquitos out of the room however for our first holiday our pediatrician advised us to get a net to put over baby’s cot

Stroller/Push chair fan –  Whilst living in Savannah for my eldest son’s first year of life I used this push chair fan constantly to keep him cool in the heat and humidity, an invaluable piece of kit!

tips for a stress free family holiday

Extra large muslin blankets – I use them in lots of different ways – as a burp cloth; blanket for baby to sit on; a nursing cover and even for dipping into the pool and laying over my baby in his push chair to cool him down!  I would not travel without muslin blankets now, they are invaluable!

Water ring with shade – Our swim ring with sun shade was a hit with my son’s new friends he made in Mexico!  It also came in handy as a comfortable place for baby to rest on the sun lounger.  It is similar to this Swimways baby spring float canopy 


High SPF bathing suit and hat with neck protector – I feel it is worth paying the extra to get SPF 50+ plus long sleeves and legs to really cover my sons up.  This bathing hat and bathing suit are similar to the ones I purchased


Kids wet suit – If you are travelling outside of summer holidays consider packing wetsuits for kids so that they can still swim in the ocean/pool.

Sun tent – We never have enough room when flying on holiday to take our sun tent however we have used one on many occasions when visiting beaches closer to home.  We find a baby tent is a great way to give essential shade and a novel play area (it can become quite tiresome trying to prevent babies to stop eating sand!) This nursery tent offers factor 50+ sun protection and is easy to pop up quickly.

Push chair parasol – This is a great product for push chairs that do not provide enough shade – Babymoov anti-UV umbrella.  It has a universal fastening and claims to fit any push chair.  It won an award from the Mother and Baby magazine 2015 so comes highly recommended.

Black out blind – If you have a baby who is a light sleeper this black out blind could be a life saver and give you a few extra hours of crucial snooze time!  Definitely worthwhile making a little bit of room in your suitcase to pack this invaluable piece of kit which has received over 1,700 great reviews on Amazon.

Items to buy upon arrival…

Bottled water for making up bottles (alternatively take pre mixed formula) – I also use bottled water when abroad for washing bottles etc, it is better to be safe than sorry!

Additional nappies, baby wipes, sun cream, baby shampoo etc.  I always take enough for a few days and purchase the rest when on holiday.  (It is worth checking in advance if you are going to be within easy reach of a large supermarket).

Essential packing list for holiday with young children…

Many of the above items plus –

Water shoes – Although I do find it amusing to see adults hot footing it across the sand into the sea, I’ve always protected my boys little feet:-) My favourites are Crocs as they are fashionable and easy to put on.  These Splash About water shoes are also very practical for small feet.

Towel with hoody – These hooded swimming ponchos are one size and so can be used for holidays (and swim lessons) for years.  Great for using as a cover up when kids get older and want to protect their modesty! 

Water bottle – Take your child’s favourite water bottle and keep them hydrated in the sun.  CamelBak offer a great funky selection for your child to choose from.

If space permits (lol!) you could pack your child’s favourite water toys, bucket and spade etc although these can usually be purchased very cheaply in the resort.

I wish you happy shopping and packing!

Have you travelled with your little one?  Can you add any suggestions to the above list? 

Disclaimer – Article contains affiliate links. 



  1. Anonymous
    5th July 2018 / 4:36 pm

    Excellent article. I am experiencing some of these issues
    as well..

  2. 17th July 2016 / 11:36 am

    Some great tips here. We always try to take a couple of quiet games or toys, so the children can hae some downtime. And yes, crocs are an essential!

  3. 15th June 2016 / 9:07 am

    What a great list! I will now be adding water shoes and hooded towels on my to buy for holiday list x

  4. Kristi Butler
    21st January 2016 / 3:28 pm

    Thanks for the packing list! You reminded me of so many items that I forgot to pack. I guess because it’s our first traveling and I am under much stress!

  5. Ting at My Travel Monkey
    16th August 2015 / 10:27 pm

    A concise and informative list Lisa. You definitely have to factor in so much more when you’re travelling with children. I love the shaded pool ring – I’ve never seen one of those before!

    • Lisa Jane
      17th August 2015 / 9:50 am

      Thank you Ting! Yes travelling with children certainly takes a little more planning and packing!

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