I would be the first to admit that I am the world’s worst packer. I start thinking I will take the minimum possible, end up with far too much and then start all over again before forgetting something really important. Whilst what everyone takes on holiday varies immensely, I believe the things on this list are essential to have close at hand when you are heading off on holiday with one or more toddlers:
1. Nappies, wipes and a change of clothesOK so that may be stating the obvious but you need these somewhere to hand in case of accidents. Packed in the bottom of the boot is not ideal.
2. BlanketsThere’s nothing worse than a cold, sleepy toddler so a familiar blanket is a must.
3. Toddler's cuddly/lovey/blankeyWhat-ever you call it DON’T forget it … take a spare if your toddler is OK with that otherwise be very vigilant and don’t lose the one you have. You don’t want to know how many hours I spent searching for “Dog Dog” and “Cloth” when the boys were little or how long we spent scouring the shops in Ostende for a replacement lost muslin cloth.
4. A bag of surprisesPack up a bag with a variety of things to keep your toddler amused over along journey and bring things out at regular intervals. Include items such as a cuddly toy, a game, a book, some sensory toys and snacks.
5. PottyIf your toddler is at potty training age it’s worth popping a potty in the car. Ben decided to start training himself when we were on a 2 week break in France and although the gite supplied a potty we didn’t think we could really take it out and about with us each day.
6. Favourite toysEven though your destination will probably supply some toys it’s best to take along some favourites. However don’t think you need to pack loads, plenty of “normal” things will often keep young hands happily amused. Some crayons and a colouring book are a sure winner as well as anything popped out of that Bag of Surprises.
7. A First aid kitInclude whatever medicine your toddler is used to for pain relief or reducing a temperature, a thermometer, plasters, bandages and some sterile gauze pads, antiseptic cream, calamine lotion, rehydration powder, insect repellent, sunscreen and lip protection, a cold pack and some tweezers. Check all the medications can be used on a toddler. Also once at your destination add the local emergency numbers to your first aid kit and take it with you when-ever you go out.
8. Snack foodThings that are easy to eat and not too heavy on the sugar – also include plenty of drinks and a bag to put the rubbish in.
9. Sick boxNo-one wants an ill toddler but if the worst does happen be prepared – have a lidded plastic container to hand as well as a large plastic bag to pop it in afterwards. A container is much easier for toddlers to throw up in and easier for you to dispose of.
How much more stuff your toddler will need will very much depend on how much your holiday destination supplies. Having had to cram so much into a boot and roof rack when travelling with boys aged 3 months and 19 months we knew it was essential for parents' sanity to supply as much kit as possible at Eco-Gites pf Lenault. This link gives you a list of everything we supply free of charge. With none of that to pack you may well find you can get away without the roof rack.
So, did I forget anything?