Travel Essentials - What I'm Taking on Holiday

April 30, 2014

I am extremely lucky to be going on a 10 night family holiday to Crete with my hubby's family. It'll be us three, the parents in law, brother in law and his long term girlfriend. 

We're really excited to spend some quality time as a family and with our extended family too. It'll be great for my 4 year old to spend that much time with her grandparents and uncle.

We are going to be staying in an all inclusive hotel - although this is not every one's cup of tea it is ideal for us in our situation; it means no stress, no carrying money around, etc. This does mean that I can pack accordingly - we don't need to bring towels or much food with us although I have some home comforts I want to take with me!

Picture of our hotel from their website
You can either watch **this video** or read on to see what my packing essentials are for a young family going on a long holiday. Next post, what's in my make up bag!

Now, I won't show you every single thing I've packed as that would be a long and boring post! But, I will show you a few key things that we are taking and maybe explain why on a few points!

Books & Games for Maddie

Travelling with a 4 year old means you have to be super organised and prepared for every eventuality. Maddie is a very high energy child that needs constant stimulation, she is not naughty or stroppy (too often!) but she does want to be entertained all the time! 

We've flown with her twice before so I kind of have this down! We take lots of mess and fuss free activities plus new, little toys that she's never seen or played with before. The novelty factor of things being new means they hold her interest that bit longer. I buy silly little things from the party bag section (wind up toys, stickers, etc) and she loves them. 

Oils, Aloe Vera, Honey

Of course I cannot go on holiday without my oils! I'm taking almond oil for make up removal, coconut oil for body moisturising and hair oil (see my hair care 101 - summer edition *here*) and rosehip oil for my face.

I need honey for cleansing, I'll use the aloe vera in my hair (read why *here*) and it will be great as an after sun.

Hand Luggage

We're taking a lot in our hand luggage but here are my main essentials. Lip balm, hand sanitiser, travel tangle teezer, face oil sample, perfume sample, emery board, lip gloss, hair ties, hair clips, mirror and sandals. I'm taking sandals with me so that when we land I can roll up my jeans, take off my socks and shoes and slip into some cooler footwear. With travelling clothes it's all about layers! 

We also have a Trunki - we bought it second hand for our first family holiday and it has more than paid for itself! It holds lots of toys and games, it qualifies as hand luggage and it is a built in ride on/pull along toy! Hours of fun both in the airport and at the hotel. Here is a picture of it in action at Gatwick before we went on our first family holiday in Tunisia back in 2012.

Food and Snacks

Although we will be all inclusive we will take some of our own food with us so that we have something we know Maddie likes (and me, I'm much fussier than her!) and available for the times that the snack bar and restaurant isn't open.

I also want to take some of my favourite teas with me! I don't know how often I will drink them but it will be nice to have the option. I will also take my ceramic cup with me so I can take some hot water back after dinner to have the option of a nice relaxing evening drink in the hotel room.

Sun Cream & Insect Repellent

I have returned to a tried and favourite sun screen by Lovea - this stuff smells nice (for sun cream) and it goes on easily. It can leave you a bit white but I think that's the balance - an effective 'chemical free' sun cream is more of a physical barrier and therefore you have to expect a bit of whiteness. This quickly fades and I don't see it as an issue.

We're trying out this The All Natural Face bug spray. I don't get bitten, the bugs ignore me and Maddie but they love my husband!! He gets swarmed by them, bless him. This one smells very citrus-y and seems great, I'll report back on effectiveness after the holiday!

DVD Player

We will have this in our hand luggage - if Maddie is awake she will use this in the car. We have some headphones for her in case she wants to watch any films on the plane but we will also use this throughout the main part of the holiday too. On previous holidays we have found that when Maddie stayed up late... she didn't wake up late! Even if she went to bed around 9.30pm she would still be up bright eyed and bushy tailed before 7am. This meant we were all exhausted and didn't get any time to chill out as a couple. 

Maddie enjoying some time out of the sun in our Tunisian hotel room
We've learnt that, for us, it's best to stick to the program and put Maddie to bed at her usual time (around 7.30/8ish) then we go out on the balcony and watch a film together on our portable DVD player. We would also sneak a couple of drinks up from the bar... shh! So, although we didn't get to do much of an evening we did get to spend quality time together and Maddie didn't end up a tired and stroppy wreck! 

This time we will be there with family so we will try to go out a bit more in the evening or, because I'm not much of a night owl, I'll quite happily stay in with Maddie while Hubby goes and spends some time with his family.

First Aid Box

I've tried to cover all eventualities here and hope we don't have to use anything. I've taken this kind of selection with us before and luckily have never needed anything but it's better to have it than not, in my opinion.

I've packed some Nurofen for Maddie, pain killers for me and hubby, diarrhoea tablets, antihistamines, plasters and silver spray.

And Finally... 

There you have it. Some of my main packing essentials that I thought merited a mention. Are you travelling with little ones? Or have you? Leave any tips or questions below!
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  1. Crete, you're so lucky That's on my bucket list of places to go. Great packing tips!
    Ashley x

    1. I know, right?? I am so excited! Thanks :-) xx

  2. Looks like you are very organised :-) I'm with you on travelling with layered clothing and packing snacks. I was curious about Lovea sunscreen so interested that you recommend it :-) Have a super fabulous holiday x

    1. hee hee, I am the organisation queen! I have lists and plans for every ocassion lol. I have used Lovea before and got on well with it, I bought it last year when I wasn't super knowledgeable about ingredients (not that I am much better now!) and to be honest I haven't looked into it properly BUT it's enough of a step in the right direction for me and it doesn't irritate Maddie's skin so I'm happy to stick with what we know and use it again this year, it is nice to use and works well, no over powering smell either, it's actually quite pleasant smelling.
      Thank you! I will be sure to do a full blog post and video to try and make you all jealous ;-) hee hee
      Rach xx

  3. Have fun! I love the pic of Maddie on that Trunki haha they make me laugh they're so cool! x

    1. I know, I wish they did adult sized ones!! haha! I'd love that. She did get lots of smiles and 'aww's when were at the airport last time :-) xx

  4. I have 3 children (12, 10 and 8) and being Spanish living in the uk I'm really used to travelling with children. We've done all sorts of things over the years: plane, car, ferry, Eurostar but what we do every time is take lots of food and entertainment for the children (and the adults!). In the plain, I've always taken snacks, colouring books etc. now they're older the play on iPhones, iPad or watch a film. In the car we've always taken food, games, books and our DVD player (the best thing ever!). I've never had a problem and we've been doing it since my oldest was 2 1/2 months (it was easy then as he would breastfeed or sleep).

    1. DVD player is by far the best thing ever! We bought it over 2 years ago on special offer so it was around £70 but it has more than paid for it's self!! It has served us soooo well on so many occasions.
      You are a seasoned pro at travelling with kiddies then! :-) I almost think it's easier when they're very young or quite a bit older (6 plus) as they either sleep all the time or can entertain them selves a bit, Maddie's quite a good age now but a year or two ago it was a bit of a stress to travel with her as she NEVER sits still, she's always on the go and travelling means a lot of sitting still! Having said that, I look at it like a fun adventure rather than a stress and I think Maddie picks up on the 'atmosphere' so we all enjoy ourselves :-)
      Rach xx

  5. Thanks for the Lovea recommendation, that will come in very useful. I have every admiration for anyone who travels with young children, I'm way to disorganised, would probably leave one at the airport or something! Have a wonderful time x

    1. Haha! That's so funny... leave one behind lol.
      It's a bit scary travelling with little ones as you do not want to be THAT parent with this naughty/screaming/crying/whining kid but Maddie has always been great - I think in large part due to my planning and organising :-) (pride before the fall lol)
      Rach xx


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