Self-catering holiday packing list - suitable for holidays in cottages, yurts, tents or camper vans
Camping, glamping, caravanning, Resorts & holiday parks, Travel tips & gear

The Essential Self-Catering Holiday Packing List

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We love a self-catering holiday and the freedom it gives you to plan your own day and meal times. With a baby and toddler in tow the second part is extremely important. Catered resorts often plan meal times later than the Tin Box girls deem acceptable. However, the challenge with self-catering holidays is to find a balance between having to use the onsite store for essentials you could have brought from home and packing so much that you have to dig the kids out of the car. If you’re planning a self-catering holiday, whether it’s in a touring caravan, luxury lodge, cottage, or glamping tent, you’ll probably be in the same position. So I’ve given it a bit of thought and below is my self-catering holiday packing list.
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Self-catering packing list: what to take on a family holiday

  • 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
  • Squash – we will easily go through a bottle in a week
  • 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.

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.
Of course, all self-catering holiday accommodation is different so check what basic kit will be available when you book.
What have I forgotten? What’s at the top of your self-catering holiday packing list?

More tips for travelling with kids

If you’re looking for more tips for travelling with kids then check our my travel tips posts. Or if you need some inspiration for you next family holiday take a look at my tried, tested and recommended trip ideas.
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*Disclosure: this post contains Amazon affiliate links which means I may earn some advertising fees if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. You will not be charged extra for this.
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Self-catering holiday packing list - suitable for holidays in cottages, yurts, tents or camper vans

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