The Essential Self-Catering Holiday Packing List
Self-catering checklist: what to take on a family holiday
Self-catering shopping list
Here’s a list of things to add to your self-catering shopping list or bring from home:
- Kitchen roll – handy for spills, noses, bottoms…the list goes on
- Toilet roll* – no need for explanation but very pricy if you’re just buying a few
- Tea and coffee – I’m big on brews
- Condiments* – what Tommy sauce or strawberry jam lover would be without it?
- Cooking oil spray – much less likely to leak during the journey and its healthier
- Cling film – you’ll definitely need it for sandwiches and resealing any open containers on your return trip
- Margarine – you’ll be dipping into it every day, so why not bring your own supply
Check before you travel, do they: allow supermarket deliveries? And where is the closest shop, take away, cafe and restaurant?
Folding packing crates* make shifting essential groceries from your car to your accommodation easy peasy:
Basic cleaning stuff when you’re hiring a cottage, holiday home or glamping tent
- Washing liquid and sponge – these may be supplied but better safe than sorry
- Antibacterial wipes – I always like to whip round with one of these when we arrive
- Bin bags
- Hand wash* – the last thing you want on holiday is to pick up a bug
- Washing detergent – if you have any sample sized detergent sachets these are ideal to take with you.
Check before you travel, do they have: washing up bowls, a dishwasher, a washing machine, a tumble dryer.
Kiddy must-haves for self-catering holidays
- Nappies, nappy bags, rash cream, baby wipes – if you’re in this stage you wouldn’t go anywhere without them anyway
- Buckets and spades – its so much cheaper to take them with you than buy again at the beach
- Milton bucket* and tablets – for baby bottles
- Compact travel stroller* – we love the Baby Jogger City Tour as it’s light-weight and compact. Read our review here.
- Baby carrier* – we used a few different types as our girls grew. Backpack and front carriers with structure suited us better for outdoor activities. If you’re wondering what your options are for baby and child carriers, then we can recommend BabyBjorn for young babies and the Freeloader child carrier for toddlers.
- Travel cot – we used the pram top off TBB’s Quinny Buzz*, which fitted into small spaces easily.
- Travel games – magnetic board games*, activity books* and Top Trumps* are handy for the car and for when you arrive at your destination.
Here’s a longer list of games that are ideal for holidays.
Check before you travel, do they have: children’s cutlery and plates, high chairs, a potty, stair gates, blackout blinds.
Pet packing for dog-friendly holidays
- Dog food – we would be in big trouble with Tin Box Dog if we didn’t take this
- Dentastix – see above
- A lead
- Poo bags
- A dog towel
- Dog bowl* – yep, she’s fussy about eating dinner off the floor.
Check before you travel, do they have: dog beds, dog towels. If you need inspiration for dog-friendly places to stay in the UK here’s some tried and tested ideas.
Everything else for you self-catering holiday packing list
- Bedding and towels – some holiday home owners may ask you to pay a supplement for bedding so check ahead
- Beach towels* – most self-catering accommodation won’t supply these
- Clothes – just because. Check out my suggestions for bargain holiday wardrobe buys
- Toiletries – if you ask Mr Tin Box he’ll say this is what fills up most of the car
- Pencil case – because there’s never a pen around when you need it
- First aid kit* – you don’t like to think of accidents happening while you’re on holiday but it never hurts to be prepared.
More tips for travelling with kids
- Must-have items for travelling with young kids
- Essentials for caravanning with a baby
- Best ideas for entertaining kids during a long car journey
- What equipment you really need when you start caravanning
- A packing list for glamping with kids
- Great travel games for camping holidays
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