What you need, what you should find at your destination and what to take with you
Going on vacation 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 Air BnB option, be it a cottage, cabin or apartment 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 supper in a restaurant!
Here’s our essential family vacation checklist., whether you’re looking forward to a US-based trip or heading overseas…
First, you should contact the owner or broker for your vacation home 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 tissue, cloths, cleaning products and refuse 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 beach toys?
- Are there books and games and are some of these suitable for kids?
- Do they have a highchair, a crib, child safety items such as stair gates, kids’ flatware and plates?
- Is there a television 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 stores and food delivery services?
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
Tickets and boarding passes
Cell 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 vacation rental, you can pop these in the car. Buy these in advance on your usual weekly grocery 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 wadding around them to prevent breakage. If you have to buy it at your destination, use this as a basic shopping list.
Margarine or butter
Small containers of ready ground salt and pepper, plus any other spices you use frequently
Coffee & tea
Mini cereal boxes
Baby’s milk and food (pouches are great for travel) – make sure you have enough if you are delayed
Pasta or microwave rice sachets and a jar of sauce – great for the first night
Bread, crackers and cookies
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
Cleaning items – an all-purpose cleaning spray and a couple of cloths, washing up gloves, tea towels, refuse bags and wash up liquid
Refuse 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
Baby and child essentials
Baby’s bottles, steriliser (microwave sterilizer 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 infant 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
A crib sheet so their bed smells of home
Bibs and muslins
Other useful items
Waterproofs and rubber boots
Matches or lighter
Pillow slips if you’re fussy!
Taking the dog with you? Don’t forget their leash, collar, treats and food, plus a small bed.