Travel tips & gear

First family holiday abroad: toddler packing list

Packing for our first family holiday abroad starts in ernest this week. While I haven’t actually put anything in a suitcase yet (wouldn’t want to peak too soon), I have been making copious lists!

Sticker book, flash cards, slinky soft book, colouring book, card books

I love a good list. Don’t you? I feel a great sense of relief when I’ve put pen to paper and captured all the thoughts flying around in my head. I think that’s why I like writing in general. Once something is in print, you can forget about it until you need it.
Anyway, this is my last post about our holiday before we actually board the plane, so I thought I’d share Tin Box Tot’s packing list. We are not away for long – just four days in Sweden to coincide with our friends’ wedding – but, as you’ll soon see, we might as well be going for two weeks! 

After a bit of a scare about how long passport applications were taking to process this year it would be ironic to leave TBT’s shiny new one at home, so that’s top of her packing list. She’s also got her own European Health Insurance Card – it’s the new E111 to anyone over a certain age!

Toddler clobber

I’m going to be packing two outfits for each of the four days we are away to allow for spills and accidents. Then there’s TBT’s special outfit for the big day. 

We’ve also bought a new legionnaire-style sun hat in the Boots sale (£2.50) and have plenty of factor 50 suncream. We may be heading to Sweden, but temperatures have been reaching above 30°C in recent weeks!

Legionnaire sun hat

I know some travellers prefer to buy nappies when they reach their destination, but we have decided to take TBT’s with us as we’re only away a few days and we don’t want to spend all our time in supermarkets.


TBT loves to brush her ‘teat’ so her 0-3 tooth brush and tooth paste will be in my toiletries bag, along with a flannel and her baby wash.

We also won’t be leaving home without nappy balm, nappy bagsbaby wipes and our travel change mat.

Bedtime comforts

We have been using sleeping bags to keep our little nocturnal wriggler snug since she was about three-months-old. I’ll be packing two as TBT has just worked out how to slip her hands back inside the arm holes and take her nappy off in the middle of the night. There have been leaks aplenty!

I also got a good tip from a fellow blogger who (now offline) found her airline charged for blankets and pillows. I picked up a ladybird pillow friend in the Asda sale (£4), which will double as a toy, and will also be packing a blanket TBT was given as a present.

Meal times and snacks

I’ve got loads of snacks for TBT to munch while we are travelling: Asda Little Angels oat bars (£1.50 for five); Asda Little Angels raisins bags (£1.50 for five); Cathedral City Baked Bites (£1 for five bags at Asda); Asda mini bread sticks (£1), bananas; grapes; and sticks of pepper.

Bib, cutlery and drinking cups

TBT is most insistent on using her ‘boona’ (spoon to you and me) with every meal, so I’m packing her toddler cutlery, which we were given as a present. She’s prone to putting her fork and spoon in her hair and throwing them around so we’d rather she did this with blunted implements than anything sharp we’ll be given in hotels and restaurants.

To help get as much use as possible out of TBT’s wardrobe we always use bibs at meal time. I particularly like the ones with arms and, considering it’s going to be used in company, I have bought a pretty new one to take with us. It cost me £3 from George at Asda.

For slurps of water and milk I’m packing two Tommee Tippee Explora drinking cups (two for £6 at Asda) – we’re bound to lose one!

Something new that we have just been out to buy is a Tomy Freestyle 3-in-1 Booster Seat (£19.99 from Boots). TBT loves eating at the table, but hasn’t quite mastered staying in her chair. I added this to my list after reading a post about travelling with a toddler by Where’s Sharon.

Tomy Freestyle 3-in-1 booster seat


A firm favourite with TBT is her Vtech Hello Kitty Soft Book. She was given this as a birthday present and adores it. It lives in the car as she asks for her ‘booook’ whenever we go anywhere. We’ve just had to change the batteries as it’s so well used!

I’ve been scouring the web for other inflight entertainment ideas and have picked up a few things in the past week: 

  • a sticker book from The Works (£2.99) 
  • Little Miss Pocket Library card books from Asda (£3)
  • A Magic Spring (slinky) from The Works (99p)
  • My first words flash cards from The Works (£1.99)
  • An activity book and crayons, which are part of a pack from Poundland (£1)
In case old fashioned entertainment wears thin, I’ve also downloaded a few free kids apps to my iPhone and iPad. TBT likes poking the screen when we put on Little Lamb Phonics (Little Lamb Publishing), the Giggle Gang (Fisher-Price), or Peek and Play (Fisher-Price).

Thanks to the bloggers I mentioned in Two weeks to lift off for all the entertainment inspiration.

Toddler transport

Our fantastic Quinny Buzz is unfortunately going to be too cumbersome for the plane, so a lovely friend has offered to lend us her Bugaboo Bee. It’s a well-travelled stroller, having survived cruises as well as flights. I’m sure it’s more than up to the challenge of a Tin Box holiday.


After sharing my initial post about our first family holiday abroad on Facebook, I had lots of advice about flying with a toddler. While I think Gin would be helpful for our nerves (thanks Mr BTBDC), I think we’ll get some funny looks from our fellow passengers on our dawn chorus flight!

I am however taking up the advice about packing Calpol (who would go anywhere without it?!) and lollipops for sucking on take off and landing.

So that’s it – everything you need for travelling with a cheeky 18-month-old. Or is it? What have I missed that might come in handy for three hours on a plane followed by another three in a car? I’d love to hear from you.

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