Most people take months to plan for a holiday, especially when taking a baby on their first trip abroad. We took 2 weeks! Ha! My usual planning self went out of the window and we decided to book a last minute holibob to mark the end of maternity before I started work full time again.
Sun, Sea, Sand and Convenience is what we wanted for our trip and we found a fab all inclusive deal to Cape Verde, somewhere a lovely mum friend of mine recommended and luckily neither Dan or I had been.
Paradise awaits at Cape Verde!
Usually, we’d avoid staying in a hotel room now and opt for an AirBnB style stay as Austin self-settles to sleep so us being in the same room isn’t the greatest option but, we wanted to completely relax with drinks on tap and no washing up so an all inclusive option was the way to go this time.
Luckily I didn’t have months to work up the worry of what to pack and after getting some advice from mums that had been away recently, my packing list pulled together pretty quickly. Of course, it’s overwhelming to pack for an 11 month old. Knowing what they’ll need one moment to the next away from the home comforts had me worrying probably more than I should but apart from a couple of items that would have been useful, we did pretty well!
For other families looking to take their little ones on holiday, I’ve popped down some packing essentials and a few tips we found to be a Godsend…
Now, if you don’t have this already in the UK, get one. It’s amazing for any baby like mine who sleeps better in a dark room. It’s breathable, has a SPF50 rating and makes the pram a ‘dark room’ for baby (or toddler) to sleep on the go. This was our ultimate item for the trip allowing Austin to sleep in the shade poolside while we caught some rays!
In the dark…
SILVERCROSS AVIA STROLLER
I love my beloved iCandy but it just isn’t practical for a trip abroad. After a lot of research (it took me a spreadsheet and 6 months to pick the iCandy!) I settled on the Silvercross Avia and I’m so happy we did! It pushes like a dream, has a big basket, has an extra long SPF50 sunshade, has a completely lie flat functionality, is ridiculously light and folds small enough to take onto the plane should you wish! Plus, it looks pretty too!
We left the straps loose so he could move about and this smile says it all
WHITE NOISE AND COMFORTER
Although we relaxed with the routine while away, we still wanted to create as much of a familiarity as possible for Austin when we expected him to sleep in his stroller. The myHummy and Comforter simply came out and about with us meaning he felt as relaxed as possible.
I guess this depends on how much space you have but we found this really helpful to again keep in his usual bedtime routine. And as much as we thought he’d only sleep in a nappy, our room was a lot cooler than expected meaning this was a must to ensure he wasn’t too cold at night!
SUN HAT WITH TIES
Austin literally was a struggle to keep the lovely wet suit style hats on so we really found the sun hats with ties to be super helpful at keeping them on and his head safely covered.
Rocking his little hat
COLD WATER STERILISER
A recommendation from a mum friend and this one has been a must. Filled with bottled water, a 1/4 of a steriliser tablet and the water lasts 24 hours to keep on top of cleaning his bottles.
Yet another recommendation from a mum friend! We were told to bring toys (especially on the plane) that Austin hadn’t seen before in the hope to keep him occupied when needed. We packed a whole hand luggage sized case (Austin’s 10kg checked allowance) and he was happy all holiday with new toys appearing day and night.
Keeping himself busy on the flight
We have the Connecta carrier and since it folds up super small, this came with us for times the stroller wouldn’t be useful. I knew the plane would be a struggle to get Austin to sleep for example and this helped (with walking the aisles for an hour) guarantee a nap from Austin on the plane. We also visited a local town and felt a lot safer with Austin strapped to his dad rather than in the buggy.
Enjoying being up high with his daddy
BOOTS AIRPORT COLLECT
I swear, having mum friends is my lifesaver as this was another helpful tip that I didn’t know about. But saving the weight in the main case and carrying an empty hand luggage case through security to be filled up at the Boots departure lounge was the best holiday hack! I only wish I knew about this one sooner to have allowed me to pack more shoes pre-baby life!
I’m not usually too fussy about wiping the high chair before it’s used but in an all-inclusive resort where I didn’t see the chairs be wiped down once between families using them, these were a cheap and useful addition to make room for.
I’d hoped to have a week off washing but there’s always something you could do with more of such as a white vest so having some handy wash means less items to pack and useful if you need to wash any baby sick clothes before packing them for the trip home too!
BOTTLE BRUSH AND WASHING UP LIQUID
You couldn’t live without these at home so these are a must to take away too!
WHAT WE COULD DO WITHOUT
And the items we would waste time bringing next time included a bedsheet (all done for us at the hotel!), a baby towel (an adult one allows for more dips in the pool) and too many dinner bibs (we have about 4 with us but have used the same plastic one every meal cleaned with the anti-bac wipes!).
AND WHAT WE’D TAKE NEXT TIME
We were luckily enough to not feel like we forgot too much but next time we’d look to take a dressing gown for Austin post pool dips and a Hypoallergenic face sun cream. We’ve not used much suncream on him before but he got a rash (like hives) on his face. Sadly we didn’t have anything else to use so have had to keep using the culprit so having a back up hypoallergenic would have been clever.
Aside from these packing tips, my main advice is to stay relaxed. They’ll feed off your mood so the more relaxed you are, they will be too.
We took the advice of everyone we spoke to and were happy to let the routine (that we’d spent months working on) go. Luckily Austin kept is routine but just on the move with all naps in his stroller and bedtime just shuffled by an hour to allow for a family dinner. I know we have been super lucky there though!
And finally, enjoy all the crazy moments as these are memories you’ll cherish forever.
If you’re heading on holiday and need any tips or have any questions about my post, ask away in the comments box and I’d be happy to help!
Note: No items were gifted and this is not an advertising post. All thoughts are my own.