Top 10 family travel must haves

Getting to visit a new city, a new country, a new culture is such a privilege. We live in a time when travel is fast, efficient and far reaching. This post is dedicated to our family travel must haves, as our packing list has certainly changed since having children. I like to keep it quite simple, and have learnt to pack like a minimalist. I hate returning home with unworn, clean clothes, or things we didn’t get round to using. It makes me quite angry!

On holiday, you won’t often spot Jared and I lying on a sun lounger, sipping a drink or sunbathing. We have never been good at sitting still, even before we became parents. We honeymooned in Kenya, and after one day in the sun (the first one), we quickly filled our week long trip – a day in the city, three days on safari, one day at an orphanage, one day snorkelling…and every morning we were down at the beach early playing volleyball. It’s how we like it – tanning, talking and walking, all at the same time.

Adventure is something I want to nurture in my children – to visit new places, try new things, taste new foods, have experiences that test their outlook on life, to embrace new cultures, learn from them and always consider new approaches. I want them to feel moved by the possibilities that life holds, and be ok with stepping out of their comfort zones. It’s how we grow and develop. I want to experience, not just live, and remind myself of this frequently.

For my list, I’ve chosen things that I would take no matter the holiday destination, because the laughter, love, fun, thrill, joy and excitement come without an invitation:

  1. A bag for day trips – Packed inside our suitcase, this is so important. Whether it’s a huge bag for day after day spent at the beach, a rucksack for sightseeing, or an over the shoulder just for essentials. There is nothing worse than going out for the day whilst carrying a zillion separate bags, plus negotiating three small people.
  2. Snacks – Snacks are crucial especially when you are holidaying with children. Some in hand luggage – for changes, delays, and to save money, and some in our main luggage – so we can manage until we get our bearings on the other side. We love nuts, crackers and anything by nakd.
  3. Bedtime stories – Our boys love a story at the end of the day, and this brings some familiarity to time away. It also marks the all important bedtime, and calms everyone down after so much excitement.
  4. Tech – My husband and I binge read on holiday, so a Kindle is essential for both of us. We take an iPad and headphones for the aeroplane (for the boys), plus any adaptors, chargers and a camera.
  5. Capsule wardrobe – I’ve been guilty of over-packing in the past, but now this isn’t the case. For the boys, I pack clothes that can be mixed and matched easily. For me, I have a whole set of summer clothes that can be worn in lots of different ways. I certainly wouldn’t pack a different outfit for everyday, and paraphernalia is kept to a minimum.
  6. Travel wallet – In our family, I am the keeper of the travel documents when we’re passing through an airport. I like to keep them in a travel wallet, and next to me at all times – I get nervous if they’re not, and have been known to get aggressive.
  7. Warm socks – Even if I’m visiting a hot country, I always like to take a pair of thick socks for when I’m in for the evening, and it is cooler. I could be reading, or sitting outside and watching the world go by – they make me feel cosy and relaxed. They’re also handy for aeroplanes, as I always find them a little too cold.
  8. Travel candle – This sounds so ridiculous, but a candle is the perfect tonic to unwind at the end of any day. The emission of low light is calming, and it’s a subtle piece of home. My husband and I almost always do a few exercises before bed, and I love it when we have a candle burning.
  9. Sunglasses – Essential for any holiday. They keep the hope of sun alive, and hide a make up free face. I tend to start a holiday wearing make up, and by the end I have given up entirely.
  10. Baby carrier – Our baby carrier has saved many a tricky situations on holiday, and at home. Perfect for a tired toddler, or a napping baby. They are also fantastic for the airport, when you don’t want to take a buggy. Just don’t need the toilet when your little one is having a nap…and you are wearing dungarees! Nightmare. Baby carriers make day trips on holiday a breeze (or breezier). 

family travel must haves

I asked our boys to have a go at packing our family travel must haves, and here is how they got on:

E xx

The music used on our vlog is courtesy of Bensound, and I am so grateful to him – thank you. 



  1. 20th February 2017 / 7:59 am

    Lovely post Esther…I really hope it is!! Your family would be perfect and your video skills are lovely (you should do more). All the best and fingers crossed x

    • Esther
      20th February 2017 / 8:54 pm

      Thank you! x

  2. 20th February 2017 / 10:04 am

    Otto has definitely got the right idea when it comes to packing, sit down and eat the snacks 🙂 Lovely post, you guys would be perfect for a Mark Warner Adventure. We are taking the boys to France this year as our first big holiday and I’m keeping hold of your list, especially the warm socks…I wear mine all the way through summer xx

    • Esther
      20th February 2017 / 9:02 pm

      Thanks Hayley! I am so glad you take warm socks too. Seriously! I can’t do without them. I’m so excited for you all to go on holiday. I hope the sun shines for you x

  3. 20th February 2017 / 9:00 pm

    I love that your eldest basically does ALL the work while the youngest two just have a laugh! That’s the dynamic in our family too!!! Such a cute video! Hope you’re successful!!!

    • 22nd February 2017 / 7:14 pm

      Thank you so much Claire! and he totally does do all the work! x

  4. 20th February 2017 / 9:13 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! Your three boys are so so cute! I love your video especially Esther. Lots and lots of luck lovely, got everything crossed for you. Xx

    • 22nd February 2017 / 8:57 pm

      Thank you so much Amelia, you are so kind x

  5. 20th February 2017 / 9:39 pm

    Such a lovely entry Esther. I really enjoyed your video, your children are so sweet I love the green flippers I was giggling to myself. Also you are making me want number 3, too cute sitting and eating the snacks you have three very gorgeous children xx

    • 22nd February 2017 / 9:11 pm

      Thank you Tanita! You are so kind. We left them to it, and we were really pleased with the outcome 🙂 X

  6. 22nd February 2017 / 3:21 pm

    I’m so impressed that there was no UNPACKING going on. What an action packed honeymoon you had. I love the bag tip, it’s the one thing I ALWAYS forget.

    • 22nd February 2017 / 9:14 pm

      I was too. The baby usually would do this job…but he was too busy eating! We’ve forgotten ‘the bag’ before and it ain’t pretty! 😉 x

  7. 28th February 2017 / 11:10 am

    Great top 10 and your honeymoon sounded amazing. I loved watching the children pack and walk about in fins! Good luck

    • 2nd March 2017 / 9:39 pm

      Thanks Hannah. That is so kind of you x

  8. Alice
    28th February 2017 / 9:37 pm

    What a lovely post, really enjoyed your video your children are so sweet. Good luck xx

    • 2nd March 2017 / 9:40 pm

      Thanks Alice. That is so nice of your to say xx

  9. 1st March 2017 / 10:20 pm

    Such a lovely post and video. Good luck!

    • 2nd March 2017 / 9:43 pm

      Thank you so much! x

  10. 5th March 2017 / 7:49 pm

    Oh Esther!!! I LOVE this!!!! Bless Otto — sitting watching the others and hoovering up all the snacks!!! He’s most certainly a boy after my own heart! Wishing you the very best of luck chickie!!!! I’ve loved being an ambassador — I’m so excited to pass on the baton to someone else! GOOD LUCK! xx

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