Travelling with little ones can seem incredibly daunting, but luckily there are a whole host of brilliant products on the market to make your holiday that little bit easier. From safety to sleep, there’s an invaluable product for just about every aspect of your trip, so if you’re heading off to sunnier climes on a family holiday this summer, here’s a selection of essential summer buys that we never leave home without:
1 // Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind, £29.99 (currently on offer for £19.98 on Amazon)
This ingenious blackout blind fits directly onto window glass using suckers, ensuring the closest possible fit. It can be used vertically or horizontally and adapts to fit any size window up to 130cm x 200cm. It can also be reduced by around a third for tiny windows using the velcro fastenings.
This Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind is the ideal way to block out light on those long summer evenings and super early mornings and we never go on holiday without it.
2 // Britax Eclipse Car Seat, £120 (currently on offer for £84.70 on Amazon)
This is the ideal seat to choose once your little one has grown out of their Group 0 seat. It’s suitable from 9kg to 18kg (9 months to 4 years) and with its lightweight shell and slim base, it’s the ideal solution for cars with limited space (i.e. your standard holiday hire car!).
Forward-facing, the Eclipse is easy to install and fits into the car using the car’s three point seatbelt. It has side impact protection plus performance chest pads and importantly, multi-position recline.
Most importantly for a recommended ‘travel seat’, the Eclipse is TÜV Certified for air travel.
We used the Eclipse for the first time last month when we went to France and we were really impressed with it. It’s sturdy, well made and most importantly Phoebe was really comfortable in it. It’s also really lightweight to transport so it will, without question, be joining us on every holiday abroad over the next few years.
3 // iSafe Universal Car Seat Travel Bag, £34.95 (currently on offer for £12.95)
I can’t rave about these bags highly enough. We have two of them, one for each car seat and they are just brilliant. They’re made from heavy duty, waterproof, rip resistant fabric and they work like a charm, keeping our seats protected and clean. They’re also massive, meaning we’re always able to pack a few extra things in them with the car seats (usually soft, bulky items such as nappies, wipes and towels) ensuring our suitcases don’t go over the weight allowance.
4 // An SPF-protective swimsuit
For the little ones, having a swimsuit that covers their necks, arms and legs takes the stress out of slathering them with suntan lotion all over and means we can relax knowing their little bodies are protected from the sun’s rays. We always take a handful on holiday with us and our favourites are from Konfidence (the best fitting) and John Lewis.
5 // Swimming aids
Jack is now able to swim without swimming aids but for a good few years he’s been making brilliant progress in his Konfidence Swim Jacket. Wearing the jacket gave him the confidence and support he needed to learn, whilst crucially allowing his arms to remain free to practice swimming strokes. Phoebs also loves her Konfidence Float Suit, but as she’s still that little bit too young, she also wears a pair of armbands for extra buoyancy and will happily float around for hours on end following her big brother!
6 // Divesticks
These Dinky Divers Dive sticks were a game-changer on our last holiday and were brilliant in building up Jack’s confidence underwater. Phoebs also loved playing with them on the poolside too, along with her super cute Funky Floaties.
7 // Suntan lotion
Suntan lotion is such a personal choice but there are a number of brands that I wouldn’t leave home without including Ambre Solaire and Sunsense.
I suffer from prickly heat on my chest, however since using Ambre Solaire’s Light and Silky, I seem to have avoided it on the last few holidays. (I also take sulphur tablets, Urtica Urens and anti-histamines to keep it at bay!).
For a higher factor and for the little ones I can’t recommend Sunsense Sun Protection Ultra 50+ highly enough. I originally came across Sunsense when we were travelling in Australia many moons ago and we were so impressed we bought as much as we could shove in our backpacks for the rest of our travels. So when I heard that it had finally reached our shores I was over the moon! It’s light, non-greasy and absorbs into the skin so easily ensuring you don’t feel like a greasy mess after applying it. I also love the Sunsense lipbalm and I’ve been really impressed with their Daily Face Invisible Tint Finish too; It’s light, non-greasy and gives a lovely healthy glow.
8 // Travel games
Travel games are ideal for keeping your little ones entertained on the go and this year our firm favourite on our South Of France adventure was Orchard Toy’s ‘Build a Beetle‘.
Based on the classic game of Beetle, ‘Build a Beetle’ is brilliant fun for all the family and is from Orchard Toys’ new mini games range. These new mini games are Orchard Toys smallest games yet and are the ideal size to pop in your handbag or luggage when going away.
9 // Maclaren Techno XT, £220
The Maclaren Techno XT is a brilliant, dependable choice for taking on holiday. Its umbrella fold makes it easier to pack in amongst the luggage when you pick up your hire car and the one hand fold is ingenious allowing you to carry your little one and collapse the stroller at the same time if needs be.
It also has a nice modern design, four handy reclining seat positions and an extendable, three piece canopy that will protect your little one from the sun even when the seat is fully reclined. It’s available in a variety of colours and can be used from birth.
We’ve had an XT since Jack was a baby and it’s travelled all over the world with us from Europe to Thailand, Bali to Singapore. Despite being bashed around on many a luggage conveyor belt, it’s survived brilliantly and is still in great condition which is a true testament to the XT’s durability and standard of manufacturing.
10 // Snoozeshade Plus Shade, £34.99
Perfect for travelling to brighter countries, this ingenious shade fits all single prams, pushchairs, buggies, strollers and 3-wheelers with hoods and not only creates a peaceful, dark environment for your baby to nap in on the go, it can also be used as a sunshade protecting your little one from the sun (blocking up to 97.5% of UV) when they are sitting up.
11 // Grobags
Gro Company’s sleeping bags are my absolute favourite sleeping bags for little ones and both my two used them until they sadly grew out of them (Jack when he was 2 and Phoebe last month after our holiday, although I so wish she was still in them as she is now constantly kicking her duvet off and getting cold!).
We have a whole variety of Grobags from the thicker 2.5 togs to the thinner 0.5 togs and prior to our french adventure we were also sent the Sandcastle Bay Travel Grobag for Phoebe to test out.
This was our first travel bag but I was so impressed. I’ll be doing a full review soon but if your little one currently uses a sleeping bag at home, a Travel Grobag is perfect for holidays as it not only has all the safety features of the original Grobag, it also has a clever travel opening making it easy to use with a 5 point harness such as in a pushchair or car seat.
12 // Trunki
Love them or loathe them, Trunki’s are brilliant for entertaining children at airports. Not only are they easy for little hands to open and pack, they make your little one feel terribly grown up as they can pull the case along themselves. They also come into their own when you realise you are buggy-less after checking it in and the gate is 3 miles away; your little one can straddle it and rest their little legs whilst you pull them which is guaranteed to replace moans with squeals of delight.
What are your holiday must haves? Please do share in the comments below.