My no brainer list of must have travel essentials for holidaying with children!

Without a doubt the question I am asked most is ‘how do you make traveling with children look so easy?’

I am not going to pretend to you that it is a walk in the park.  We all have our days, we all have our moments.  I still remember the reality check of our first family vacation and the sudden realisation that things were ‘different’ now.  Call me crazy but I wouldn’t swap back to those lazy beach days, and genuinely love the beautiful chaos of travelling as a family of four.

With that said, there is a small but non negotiable list of travelling essentials which I ALWAYS pack for our trips.  These items are guaranteed to make holiday life easier!

Each store in linked for easy shopping…

CoziGo – The CoziGo is a dual purpose cover which can be used on both airline basinets and prams.  It provides 97% light blockage, so that babies and toddlers can fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer.  The fabric is UPV50+ keeping children safe from the sun, and is 100% air permeable to allow air to flow freely through the cover.   The design is a universal fit meaning it works on all strollers and most airline bassinets.  This is a simple and far more effective (and much safer!) solution to draping blankets over a pram.  I love that I can not only use this during travel but also on my pram at home.

Plane Pal & Packing Pal – Pane Pal have two incredible products; the Plane Pal and the Packing Pal.  Both products massively enhance your travel experience whether in a plane, car, camper van or bus.  The Plane Pal is a custom designed inflatable cushion which fills the space between your own seat and the seat in front of you.  This creates a bed like arrangement making sleep time so much more inviting.  We have one each for Ari and Chloe, and when they let me I sneak my legs up on it too!  The Packing Pals are mesh packing shells which help you to effectively pack and organise your suitcase.  I use a system of packing tops in one, bottoms in another and so on.  They com with a separate bag for shoes and another for dirty laundry.

Very Busy Bag – The perfect take anywhere entertainment for busy and time poor parents.  The Very Busy Bag is vital for keeping children entertained during travel.  It can be used on planes, car trips, trains, buses, in hotel rooms, you name it!  Each bag is filled with age and gender appropriate toys, activities and games for little ones to enjoy whilst on the move.  There is so much variety in these bags, Ari and Chloe’s kept them entertained for three weeks in Europe!  There are straps on the back of the bag so that older children can carry it themselves. My favourite thing about it is that the Very Busy Bag provides screen free time!

Bubba Bump Baby Bag – After lots of trial and error I have found the perfect solution for hand luggage when traveling with little ones.  A back pack is hands down the way to store all of your essentials.  This way you hands can be free to manage children, negotiate customs and all the other busy parts of airport travel.  The Bubba Bump Baby is the baby bag I chose to use not only when traveling but also at home, which means I don’t have to purchase addition items.  Its also great to use for day trips, once we have arrived at our destination.  This bag is luxurious, stylish, and many pockets are perfectly positioned to store all of those quick grab items like dummies, bottles and comforters.

Nordic Naturals – Staying healthy whilst travelling is key to the success of all holidays because no one wants to be sick on a trip!  Nordic Naturals is made from purified Cod Liver Oil, which benefits multiple body systems including brain, eye, heart, bone and joint health.   It also aids in overall energy and  vitality, which is so important on busy holidays.  Nordics Naturals have products to suit both adults and children, lots of which are naturally flavoured to test delicious.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to receive my exclusive discount codes PDF which includes some of the brans listed above.

Now that you have all of your travelling essentials its time to book your next family holiday.

Enjoy!

Thank you to the wonderful brands mentioned above for sponsoring this blog post so that I can share our favourite products with you. My opinion is of course and always is my own.

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Our family (2 adults and 2 children aged almost 3 and 16 months) recently spent 3 nights in Abu Dhabi during a stopover on our way to Europe.  Abu Dhabi is located in the United Arab Emirates and although I had flown through before I had never spent any time there.  I had been to neighbouring Dubai 10 years ago, with my husband pre children, and I loved it so couldn’t wait to see what Abu Dhabi had to offer.

What I learnt during our trip was that Abu Dhabi is a destination in its own right and not just a stopover.  It was all glitz and glam from the moment we stepped off the plane after our direct 14 hour flight from Brisbane to Abu Dhabi.   We were met in the airport arrivals lounge by a hotel representative and were driven to the Yas Viceroy.

On arrival at the hotel we were greeted by the politest people you can imagine and the hotel was spotlessly shiny.  We were blessed to be given a room upgrade to their 110m2 Yas Grand Suite featuring a master bedroom, separate living area, kitchen, state of the art home theatre and floor to ceiling glass windows.   Yas Island is home to one of the Formula One racetracks, the hotel sits on top of the course whilst at the same time taking in views of Yas Marina.  Some of its standout features include their buffet breakfast, kids playroom (which is better than any daycare i have seen,) rooftop pool and huge gym/wellness center.

Our days in Abu Dhabi were jam-packed with activities as we wanted to make the most of our time there.  The heat in June is 40 degrees plus so we had to be mindful of where we planned to be during the middle.  On our first day b we opted to laze by the hotel pool and order room service for lunch, then in the afternoon we headed to the Yas Mall which was jammed with luxury designer labels (none of which i bought!)

The following morning we headed straight to Yas Waterworld which was the UAE’s first mega water park.  It features 43 rides, slides and lots of fun family experiences.  It was perfect for our kids at their ages, and would have been even better for older littles who could go on even more rides.   There were numerous splash areas and slides that even Chloe our 16 month old had a blast on.  If you have children I definitely wouldn’t visit Abu Dhabi without heading to Yas Waterworld.

That night we caught a taxi from our hotel to Yas Marina where we hired bikes and rode along the F1 race course.  This is my favourite memory of our time in Abu Dhabi because our whole family were full of giggles pretending to be cars driving around the track.  It was a free activity other than paying a small fee for the hire bikes, trailer and baby seat.  This experience only happens once a week so look into it before flying out.

On our second and final day in Abu Dhabi we went dune bashing, which was an absolute treat!  I was really nervous about taking the kids racing through the sand but it was completely fine, Chloe fell asleep and Ari spent the whole time giggling.  I wasn’t overly pleased with the company we used so I won’t promote them but I will promote the experience and say that it was a must do!  We did our tour in the morning time which made it too hot for camel rides or sand boarding, so I would recommend doing an afternoon/evening adventure where you get to have dinner out under the stars.  There are plenty of companies who offer this kind of service so just google them.  After the dune bashing we were dropped at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which is known to be the most loved landmark of the Emirates.   Trumped as one of the worlds largest mosques it features 82 domes, 24 carat chandeliers and can hold 41,000 worshippers.  It is truly a site to be seen and I highly recommend going there.

Another thing I would suggest is a trip to the Louvre Abu Dhabi which was opened last November.  It’s a must see for both adults and children as they have their own kiddies museum, however we missed it not knowing that they were closed on Mondays!

A note on Ramadan – We visited the UAE during Ramadan which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, where Muslims fast to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad.   This means that locals do not eat or drink anything including water until after their evening prayer.  Holidaying during this time does make eating out slightly more challenging, as not all restaurants are open, and you also need to remember to be respectful when eating in pubic.  Ryan and I opted to not eat in public places other than restaurants that were serving, and we also asked if it was ok with taxi drivers to drink water in their cars.  Of course we allowed the children to eat and drink as needed.  The people were lovely and never had an issue with us eating or drinking, and it was explained to me that the fasting is something that is inside of them to show dedication to the faith, and that they do not push it or look down upon travelers.

Without a doubt I would highly recommend people travel to Abu Dhabi for a vacation.  Our family had a wonderful experience and we will definitely head back to explore more.

Small-Signature-Nat

Click on the linked sites below for more information:
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Yas Viceroy
Yas Mall
Yas WaterworldYas Waterworld
Yas Marina Circuit

TOP FIVE THINGS I LOVE MOST ABOUT TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN:
You see the world through new eyes.
It strengthens the bond of siblings.
Like with adults, holidays are a reset button and I always find they are better behaved when the get home!
You get to spend real quality time as a family with no distractions.
You get to jump airport and hotel queues!

*Disclaimer: At times this website contains posts where items and experiences have been sponsored, gifted or blog posts have been paid for in return for advertisement/promotion.  Where this applies it will be clearly stated at the bottom of the blog post. Natalie Sullivan and www.thissweetlofeofmine.blog only endorses brands/items that her family uses, loves and highly recommends. To read the full disclaimer see here