What you need, what you should find at your destination and what to take with you
Going on holiday is such an exciting time for a new family and you’ll want to relax and savour every minute with your brand new baby. Going for the self-catering option is very popular with parents, as you can please yourself when – and what – you eat and you’re never going to be worried about your child screaming all through dinner in a restaurant!
Here’s our essential family self-catering checklist., whether you’re looking forward to a Staycation or heading overseas…
First, you should contact the owner or agent for your holiday home destination and ask the following very important questions:
- What food essentials do they have in the kitchen – cooking oil, salt, pepper and sugar, drinks, spices?
- Do they provide toilet roll, tea towels, cleaning products and bin bags?
- Do they offer a shopping service, so that you can pre-order enough food for the first couple of days?
- Are there laundry facilities and do they offer detergent and softener? You might want to take your own if you prefer an eco-friendly or baby-friendly version
- Are there facilities for kids, such as beach towels, mats and buckets and spades?
- Are there books and games and are some of these suitable for kids?
- Do they have a highchair, a crib or cot, child safety items such as stair gates, kids’ cutlery and crockery, a potty etc?
- Is there a TV and a way to play DVDs, or to use your streaming service on it? Is there good internet coverage?
- Is there a First Aid Kit and have they noted numbers for nearby doctors, pharmacies and the local hospital? Can they suggest good local shops and take-aways?
Once you have asked these questions, you’ll have a list of things you won’t need to take with you – and a list of things you need. You can then check them off your list and pack a little more lightly!
Essential documents and must-have items
- Passports and Visas
- Booking confirmation
- Insurance documents
- Tickets and boarding passes
- Mobile phones, tablets and computers and chargers with adaptors for the country you’re going to
- Camera and charger, film if necessary
- Foreign currency or a travel money card
- Any regular medication (make sure you have enough in case of delays) plus pain killers suitable for adults and baby
Cooking essentials shopping list; if you are driving to your holiday home, you can pop these in the car. Buy these in advance on your usual weekly shop and choose smaller sizes for easy portability, or put some into small screw-top jars (make sure you label them). Pack all bottles and jars upright in a box with some paper or padding around them to prevent breakage. If you have to buy it at your destination, use this as a basic shopping list.
- Cooking oil
- Margarine or butter
- Small containers of ready ground salt and pepper, plus any other spices you use frequently
- Tea bags and coffee
- Mini cereal boxes
- Baby’s milk and food (pouches are great for travel) – make sure you have enough if you are delayed
- Kitchen roll
- Pasta or microwave rice sachets and a jar of sauce – great for the first night
- Bread, crackers and biscuits
- Milk or plant milk
- Snacks for all the family
- Favourite drinks for each family member
- A cool box for perishable items – this can double as a beach box for picnics
- Toilet roll
- Cleaning items – an all-purpose eco spray and a couple of cloths, washing up gloves, tea towels, bin bags and washing up liquid
- Bin bags and re-usable shopping bags
- Soap or hand wash (or use baby bath for everyone)
- Toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner
- Sun cream and after-sun
- Re-usable plastic boxes for picnics, travel cutlery
- A travel First Aid Kit
- Insect repellent
Baby and child essentials
- Baby’s bottles, steriliser (microwave steriliser bags are ideal for travel) bowls and spoons
- A backpack changing bag that doubles as a bag for days out
- Nappies, nappy sacks, biodegradable wipes, baby toiletries
- Baby transport – a carrier or back carrier, a lightweight stroller, a travel cot, your car seat
- Travel potty and toilet seat
- Sun cream suitable for kids (babies under six months must not use sun cream), a shady hat, long sleeved tops and trousers, swimsuit
- A pop-up UV-resistant beach tent
- A couple of favourite toys (don’t take that irreplaceable one), books and TV shows
- SnoozeShade for pushchair, car seat and travel cot
- Blackout blinds for baby’s room
- Baby sleeping bag
- A cot sheet so their bed smells of home
- Bibs and muslins
- A travel highchair
Other useful items
- A torch
- Waterproofs and Wellies
- Matches or lighter
- Pillow slips if you’re fussy!
Taking the dog with you? Don’t forget their lead, collar, treats and food, plus a small bed.