Self-catering holidays with a young family is a great option as it provides you with flexibility and space as you navigate new routines and feeding schedules.
However, packing for a self-catering holiday with a baby or toddler for the first time is a whole new experience and can feel overwhelming. Suddenly, there are so many more essential items to consider.
To help you prepare for your self-catering break, we have put a list of questions to ask your accommodation provider and a packing checklist to help make your first trip away with your baby run as smoothly as possible.
Questions to ask before you arrive:
- What food essentials do they provide in the kitchen, e.g. tea, coffee, milk?
- Do they provide toilet rolls, tea towels, cleaning products and bin bags?
- Are laundry facilities available, and do they offer detergent and softener? You may prefer to take your own eco-friendly or baby-friendly versions.
- Do they provide a high chair, crib or cot?
- Is there a TV and a way to play DVDs?
- Is WIFI included?
- Is there a First Aid Kit? Ask for phone numbers for nearby doctors, pharmacies and the local hospital in case of emergencies.
- Can they suggest good local shops, child-friendly pubs/restaurants and takeaways?
Hopefully, having asked these questions, you’ll be able to cross a few of the more oversized items off the following lists.
Baby travel essentials for your car journey
- Car seat
- Car window shade
- Bottled milk/ prepared formula and bibs
- Changing bag with nappies, sacks, wipes, nappy rash cream, changing mat and muslins
- Change of baby clothes for the journey – plastic bags just in case!
- Favourite toy
Prepared playlist of songs if used to help baby sleep
Baby essentials for your self-catering stay
- Travel cot and linens
- Toys, books and playmat
- Breast pump/powder formula
- Bottle warmer
- Dribble Ons bibs
- Baby food pouches
- Feeding equipment – cutlery, bowls, beakers
- Sterilising equipment
- Hand-held blender
- Portable high chair
- Baby monitor
- Baby bath/ bath mat and bath toys
- Baby wash, shampoo and lotion
- Baby toothbrush and toothpaste, teething gel
- Potty/ toilet seat cover
- Clothing for each day – don’t forget the Sock Ons!
Baby essentials for days out
- Baby carrier or back carrier, a lightweight stroller/pram
- Sun hat and sunglasses
- Armbands, pool floats and life jacket
- Splash About Swim Nappy, swimming costume or Splash About Wetsuit
- Pop up tent for the beach
- Beach toys – we love Sand Pals, fun for the whole family
- Beach bag
- Beach towels
- Sun cream (if your baby is over six months)
- First aid kit
Rain cover for pram
Final preparations for your self-catering holiday
Order an online food shop to be delivered in time for your arrival. You’ll save space in the car, and it’s one less thing to worry about when you’re packing up to leave. It also means you won’t spend valuable holiday time roaming around the supermarket!
- Check-in times are often reasonably late to accommodate back-to-back bookings, so double check before you arrive. If you know you’d like to check in early, contact your host ahead of time to see if it’s possible.