Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Holidays (Pt 2) - top ten travel essentials

So here is the second part of the holiday blog - I know I missed Tuesday so it's not technically a "Tuesday Top Ten" but anyway... Here are my top ten travel essentials...

1. Brother max bibs
I thought these looked like a good idea when I saw them online but in reality they are much better than I possibly imagined! You get 3 bibs and 1 crumb catcher. You attach a bib to the CC via the poppers and you're good to go. Then after the meal you can fold the dirty bib inside the CC and do it up into a neat package with another set if poppers. There's even room for your dirty spoons in there :)

2. Koodi pop-up travel cot
Travel cots can be hit and miss in hotels - some are fine and others have big holes, uncomfy bumps or bent floors. For this reason we take one with us - made easy by the fact our one is not very big when folded and super light (around 1kg if I remember right) so us easily packed in your checked luggage without using up much space/weight allowance. In order to be so small when packed, the mattress supplied is pretty thin - you can buy an extra mattress but we just padded it with towels underneath and Doof seemed pretty comfortable.

Another bonus of this travel cot is because it has a roof it also acts as a portable sunshade during the day. You can put it next to you in the garden or by the pool, drape a muslin over the top and hey presto, an instant little cave where your baby can sit and play or lie and nap.

3. Carrier

We took our Ergobaby carrier and left the buggy at home. I don't use my carrier every day at home but use it enough that I knew both Doof and I would be happy only using that for 2 weeks. I'm so glad we made that decision as not having to lug a buggy around was great and we also therefore avoided the constant fear that the buggy would be damaged when being loaded on/off the airplane. I don't think I'd put anything else costing £700 in the hold, so why do that to my buggy? It also meant when we exploring towns etc we never had to worry about whether places were step-free or buggy-friendly or not.

4. Giant muslins

I LOVE giant muslins. They are so useful. For swaddling, for being a sunshade, for covering you whilst breastfeeding, for moping up messes... The list is endless. They are one if my essential must-haves.

5. Highchair insert or fabric seatchair

If your baby is weaning/weaned these are great. We bought the inflatable insert from Ikea - best £5 ever spent! It slots inside the frame of any highchair (but particularly useful in the wooden ones that all restaurants seem to use) and instantly your 4/5 month old who was all slouched and slipping out of the too-big-chair is sitting upright and well-supported.

The fabric seat is really useful if you go somewhere without a highchair or are trying to feed baby in your hotel room. It slips over nearly any regular chair and turns it into a mini highchair. It's also very portable as is smaller than your fist when folded back up. Your baby needs to be able to sit up though so we started using it around 6 months and it worked great. We've got the koo-di one from Kiddicare - there are lots of more expensive brands but this one works just great for us.

6. Swim vest, UV suit, dressing gown

We love swimming (Doof started when he was 7 weeks old) and as we were going somewhere hot we found these items really useful:
- baby "wetsuit" - a neoprene jacket which you wrap around baby when swimming. It keeps them warm and lets them swim in cooler pools than they would otherwise like. Doof even managed a short time in a 28 degree pool in his!
- UV suit - really thin so kept Doof cool when it was hot but protected him from the sun too. Perfect beachwear 
- "Apr├Ęs-splash" dressing gown - We used to put this on Doof when he got out of the pool after taking off his swim nappy and wetsuit. He'd then sit with us, all snugly, while we dried off in the sun. It's really easy on/off with poppers down the front and has little legs so all of him gets covered and warm, and when he starts walking it'll still do the same :)

All ours came from Splashabout and have all done a great job so far.

[Obviously ignore this point if you're going somewhere cold!!]

7. Tupperware steriliser

If travelling with a you g baby you do still need to sterilise but there is no guarantee your hotel room will have either a microwave, kettle or hob. For this reason, and for how easy it is, I love using Milton sterilising tablets. I have the Kiddicare mini microwave/cold steriliser box which is the perfect size to fit several spoons, a cup and dummy in (so it doubles as a storage container when travelling) then on arrival at the hotel is full it with water (up to a pre-measured line I marked on the side) and add quarter of a milton tablet. Within 15 minutes everything is sterilised and ready to use, no need for rinsing and anything you leave in the water stays sterile for 24 hours. Perfect.

8. Travel playmat

This probably depends in the age of your child. When we went to the US Doof was 4 months and not yet properly rolling. We found the playmat brilliant as we could take it down to the poolside with us, have it in the room, on the balcony etc and it gave him somewhere safe to lie and play (and that was also slightly padded). Our one (below) fitted in our suitcase so there was nothing extra to carry.
Now Doof is nearly 8 months I don't think we would take it though as he would roll off it in an instant.

9. Brother max spoon and bowl set 

It's a spoon and a bowl - pretty useful. The reason I like this one more than other travel sets I've seen is because:
- the spoons fit inside a compartment in the lid
- you can fit 2 spoons in the compartment (always good to have a spare?)
- there is an insert inside the bowl which has 2 food compartments - so you could use each side for different courses (eg main course and pudding) and then if you want to use the bowl again before being able to wash it properly you can remove the insert and just use the main bowl
- it has a sucker base which is pretty essential if your baby is anything like Doof...
The only criticism is that the spoons are not very big. So useful to have them but I often take another regular spoon with me to use instead

10. Ewan dream sheep (or whatever sleep prop you use)

The  only place we didn't use him was on the plane as that was noisy enough already! Otherwise I think it definitely helped Doof to instantly feel that any hotel bedroom was actually his bedroom.


This is not a sponsored post/I haven't received any items to review - these are just things I found really useful on our holiday and when out and about :)

Is there anything else you've found invaluable or just helpful when travelling?


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