English Mum’s Family Holiday Essentials

Becky Wiggins is the writer and editor of food, travel and parenting blog English Mum.  Becky writes extensively in print and online for publications such as Cruise International, The Guardian, Tesco Magazine, Nat Geo Traveller and Royal Caribbean’s blog.  She was shortlisted in Red Magazine’s Red’s Hot Women Awards and won Best Cruise Blogger in the 2014 Cruise Awards.  She knows a handy tip or two about how to get the best out of your family holiday so here’s some pointers on packing for a stress free break!

Summer is coming!  And with it, our plans for day trips, long weekends away and longer summer holidays.  Of course, with family travel, it’s never as easy as just packing up and heading off.   There are snacks to make, sunscreen to buy, bags to pack, first aid kids to check, various car seats to fit, and much more.  To help you off on your sunny (hopefully) journey, here are my top tips for travelling by car with the children:

Firstly, make a list (and check it twice).  Yes, I know it’s boring, but when you’re rushing around packing the car, you can guarantee that something vital gets forgotten.  It’s helpful to go through your list the night before so you can remember to pop cool packs into the freezer and start to stack things you need in a designated corner.

Rather than packing a ton of pillows to keep your sleeping children in the right position, the very clever BeltUpp is a seatbelt kit that clips onto your existing seatbelt to support snoozers in high back boosters and prevent them from slumping forward when they nod off.  Very comfy for your child and a lot less room than pillows!

Firstly, make a list (and check it twice).  Yes, I know it’s boring, but when you’re rushing around packing the car, you can guarantee that something vital gets forgotten.

Another of my favourite brands is Outlook.  Their auto-shades fit straight over the car door a bit like a stretchy sock.  They cover the whole window and protect your little passenger from UV light and glare.  Even better, if there’s no air conditioning, you can open the window and as the material is breathable, there’s still some airflow.  What a great idea.  Outlook is an Australian company and their products are the only ones endorsed by the Skin & Cancer Foundation Australia.

If you’re packing for a beach holiday, it helps to take a few bits and pieces with you to play with on the sand.  Award winning Belgian brand Quut have some really unusual and well-designed toys made especially for the beach.  The Scoppi is a strong, colourful spade (great for the snow too!) that has a little clip-on tray as well – perfect for beach treasures!  The Ballo is a clever, spherical bucket which is soft to the touch and easy for little hands to hold.  It’s even got an easy pour spout for those all-important castle moats.  Quut also do a fabulous set of stacking pots called Alto that are hard wearing and perfect for building sand castles.

If you’re short of room in the car, the Scrunch bucket can be rolled up and squished into a little corner and is perfect for beach play as well as potential car sickness emergencies.  If you’re planning on catching a few tiddlers, the matching net doesn’t take up much room and has a sturdy design and telescopic handle too.

So you’re ready to go!  With a little forward planning, you’ll be starting your journey still relatively stress-free.   Happy holidays.

A bit more about Becky…

Her blog attracts an average of 50,000 visitors every month, plus 12.6k Twitter followers. It is one of the longest-established parenting blogs (live since 1996) and English Mum is listed in Channel 4’s best family food blogs, Morrison’s top blogs, Good to Know’s top food bloggers and is ranked in the top 10 Wikio travel blogs.  Becky was recently shortlisted by the Good Housekeeping Cookery Team as one of the best food bloggers in the UK and fronted Sainsbury’s Love Your Freezer TV campaign.

Becky lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband, two teenage sons, neurotic whippet and a Maine Coon kitten called Tails.