As someone who has only ever been able to travel during the school holidays, we decided to make the most of my maternity leave and book a reasonably priced holiday!
Once Thomas was born and the holiday was getting closer, I started to panic… we were going to have to pack a lot! I have never been one to pack light, so I knew I needed to find some ways to make packing, and travelling with a 5 month old, easier.
These are some of the packing hacks I found and used for little mans first holiday.
1. Write a list
First things first, take the time to sit down and write a list of what you will need. This will save time in the long run and ensure you don’t forget any essentials. Plus, if you’re anything like me, list writing is an essential part of life!
When I sat down to write a list of what we would need for Thomas, I broke it down into sections, such as feeding, sleep, clothing, toiletries etc. I found this a much easier way to remember everything we use day to day, and would need while away.
I wrote my list well in advice, leaving room to add things I had forgotten, things kept coming up…like teething! I was then able to gradually ensure I had everything we needed, avoiding a last minute panic.
You can see my packing list and holiday essentials on my ‘What to pack – Travelling with baby’ blog that is coming soon…
Home or away, you will need nappies every day! If you use reusable nappies, it’s much easier when travelling. Just make sure to take what you need to wash them so you are able to reuse. Additionally, you will always be able to find nappies in local shops. Just make sure you have enough to get you started.
The nappies we have used with Thomas, have worked very well and Thomas’ hasn’t ever had nappy rash. So we decided we wanted to take the nappies we usually use, and then buy back ups out there if needed.
I initially placed the nappies in, in a chunk. This took up so much room, so I decided to layer the bottom of each case with nappies to save space. The items packed on top flattened these and they made barley any difference to case space. We did this for both normal and swimming nappies.
3. Travel minis
Our luggage weight allowance was a big concern of mine. Milk weighs a lot, let alone the rest of the stuff we would need… As Thomas was also an infant ticket, he didn’t have his own seat. This meant he didn’t have a hand luggage allowance, and he only had 10kg checked in luggage. Luckily, you can also take two extra checked in items with most airlines, such as a buggy, travel cot or car seat etc.
One great way to reduce the weight of your case, is by taking travel minis. You can find most toiletry items you will need in miniature now a days, even baby items. Alternatively, you can save money and make your own! I picked up these bottles for £1 in Primark.
4. Packing cubes
When travelling with a baby, there are so many bits you will need more or less as soon as you get there. A great way to stay organised and pack efficiently, saving space, is packing cubes. I bought these really cheaply from amazon and they have worked really well.
I was able to group items together, which made them easier to find and unpack. I also rolled clothing items, to save space and avoid wrinkles.
5. Sandwhich bags
I love sandwhich bags… they’re one of those simple items, that can be used in so many ways. Before packing, I bought some large and small ones to make life a bit easier. One of the ways I used them was to save space by eliminating packaging. I unpacked items from their boxes, such as the sterilising tablets and the calpol. I then repacked them in a sandwhich bag and wrote the item on the bag.
I also put each of my liquids in a bag to protect the rest of the items, in case of any leaks.
Finally, I also used the sandwhich bags to separate clothing items such as short sleeved vests, long sleeved vests, baby grows etc. I have seen people use sandwhich bags per outfit. Now that’s organised!
6. Only pack what you need
Before Thomas, I would pack so much when going on holiday. I would have so many clothes to try on when I was there, deciding what to wear mood dependent. Half of which I never wore. However, I wanted to pack much less this time, as part of my case was going to be used for baby essentials. I decided to try on my clothes before I left, choosing an outfit for each night away and day outfits. I managed to pack half the amount I usually take and spent more time choosing my outfits, which worked really well.
One of the travel mini’s I came across was a travel laundry wash. This was also great as it meant I was able pack less and wash anything as and when needed. It was also very handy for any poo explosions we experienced…
If you are breastfeeding baby, this is where you can save lots of space! You wont need to lug formula in your case. Think about other items such as, breast pumps, milk storage bags, nipple shields etc.
However, if you are formula feeding not only do you need to think about sterilising and bottles, but also milk. You can generally find most formula brands abroad, somewhere. However, take enough to ensure your started and as a back up.
Thomas is on comfort milk due to constipation, so we needed to take all the milk he would need once out there.
To save space check out your airside boots. At lots of airports you can do a click and collect delivery to boots. This way you can order powder formula or pre-made milks to collect after security, saving space and weight in your checked in luggage. Amazing…unless your flying from North Terminal at Gatwick, like we found much to our disappointment. Unfortunately, this is no longer an option there, but it is at the south terminal. We will definitely use this service for future travels though.
As we were unable to order ours for airport collection, we packed a powder formula in our hand luggage and in our checked in luggage. This split the weight up and saved space in the main case. We also packed pre-made milks for travelling (ensuring we packed enough for the journey home as well).
8. A travel pushchair and a buggy bag
We spent a fair amount on our pushchair, it was quite an investment and we love it. The plan is to use this for any future children we may have, so we didn’t want it getting battered and bruised in the plane hold.
We searched for alternatives that would be suitable for a 5 month old, ensuring he could lay comfortably and sleep in the evenings. We found a selection of travel pushchairs which were fantastic, some of which can even be taken aboard the plane as hand luggage. However, most of these came with a high price tag.
We then decided we would buy a second hand pushchair, that was more compact than our Silver Cross Wayfarer. In the end we found a great pushchair on Facebook Market Place. We were able to get a Silvercross 3D for £50. The pram folds up much smaller and also has an additional compartment that is suitable for babies under 6 months. If this pram gets damaged it will not be the end of the world. Alternatively, if it doesn’t, as it is suitable from birth upwards, we will be able to use it for many holidays to come.
We also decided to add a little extra protection and we purchased a travel buggy bag. This way also a good place to pack Thomas’ play mat, as it fit inside the bag. We checked this into the hold and used our baby carrier around the airport.
9. Hand luggage
As I mentioned above, Thomas didn’t have a hand luggage allowance. This meant that I had to take his changing bag as my hand luggage and Mr Mitchell took a small cabin suitcase as his. Taking the cabin sized suite case was brilliant for extra packing space! We were able to pack some heavier items in here, such as one of the formula boxes and extra baby wipes. This also gave me piece of mind, if our luggage had been lost, we would have had formula for Thomas. The case was also a good place to pack clothing, bottles etc that we needed for travelling, or didn’t fit in the checked in cases.
To make the security process easier, I had a bag for any liquids, in each of the hand luggages. I packed these at the top making them easy to access. I also did the same for our passports and travel documents.
10. Nappy Kit
This is the first time we have traveled with Thomas, but from previous holidays I know how small the plane toilets are. This is also where the, fold down, changing tables are. It would be a nightmare having to take the big old changing bag in with you, while trying to juggle the baby and changing table. So I made up a nappy kit, which we could grab out the changing bag and take in with us. Inside I packed, 2 nappies, a small pack of wipes and nappy bags. I was able to restock this back at my seat.
I hope you find my packing hacks useful.
Let me know in the comments section below, if you have any go to packing tips?
I would also love to know if you use any of the above.
If you enjoyed this blog and would like to read more about travelling with a baby, click the follow button and check out the blogs below:
Check out my Instagram, where I’m most active – @mummymitchell18