We’ve entered summer, the happy holiday time. Time for steaming off and relaxing. At least as much as you can steam off and relax with your preschoolers or toddlers around 😀 But first things first and before each holiday starts, there’s hugely unpopular packing part to be done. When packing for holidays with kids, you can’t avoid thinking about everything that can possibly go wrong. Don’t worry, we all do that. Mainly because we know that good preparation can ensure smooth course of our vacation. We can reach into our bag and find there exactly what we need in case something goes wrong. It’s like Dora the Explorer’s La Mochila that always has the best things.
1. Starting with medicine
Do you also start with medicine when packing? I surely do. And because my daughter and I need to take medications every day, I need to start thinking about this extra early. It’s not only the kind of medicine that you go & buy in the pharmacy night before you travel. We need prescription from the doctor, then going to the pharmacy where they often don’t have what we need so they need to order & wait for the delivery…
Allergy & Asthma medicine
- Always imagine the worst case scenario when you need to take the highest dosage recommended by doctor and described in your “emergency” action plan. You need to have enough pills/sirups/suppositories/inhalations in the inhalers with you for every single day of your holiday. Count the days of your holidays, including the day when you go, return day and 2-3 days after (especially if they fall on weekend.) Then multiply the number of days by your highest possible dosage and check if you have enough of everything.
- Make sure the expiry date on your quick relief inhaler is OK and it has enough puffs inside.
- Antihistamine meds should always be at hand.
- Epi-pen – again, with a good expiration date, ready to be used.
- Thermometer – take the best one you have at home, even if it’s bigger, it’ll be more convenient to use in case you need it.
- Fever relief sirups, pills and suppositories. Make sure your kids haven’t outgrown the ones you have, in which case it’s better to buy new ones, with bigger strength.
- Anti-mosquito spray and cooling gel to reduce itchiness of mosquito bites
- Sun creams with different factors
- After sun lotion/sun burn first aid
- Mild disinfectant for small wounds
- Plasters and bandages
- Meds for stomach bugs, including travel sickness pills
- Every other medicine you take occasionally
When it comes to food, I prefer self-catering. The main reason why is that my daughter has severe food allergies and I find it easier to prepare and serve her what I’m sure she can have than explaining over and over to the hotel restaurant staff that she really has bad allergies and the food she eats has to be 100 % allergen free.
With self-catering it’s good to have food for the first day with you. This way you can get to your accommodation, unpack and explore the place without starving & desperately looking for a good dining place. Even if it’s just a pack of dry pasta and ready to serve sauce. It’s better to have it than hope that you’ll have time to go shopping right after the arrival to your destination. If you’re ahead of schedule, you can always change your plans and enjoy dinner in a nice restaurant before the kids get too tired and need to go to bed.
Allergy friendly snacks
Kids are kids and they need snacks almost all the time. It’s easy to grab a pack of crisps at the first news agent you see at the airport. But if they don’t have the ONE KIND your child can have for sure, it’s a problem. You’ll miss the plane if you start reading all the labels on the crisps they have.
What I always pack for my daughter:
- Her favourite milk substitute
- Allergen free biscuits
- Vegan dessert/yoghurt substitute
- Small packs of savoury snacks
- Sweets, jellies, lolly pop or other “bribe” kind of treat
Going full board
Even if you go to allergy friendly hotel, you need to realize that the food choice for your allergic child will be limited. Taking into account the unfortunate combination of different food allergies, you will be crossing off a lot of items from the menu. It’s OK as long as the restaurant is able to provide good quality, 100% allergen free main meal of your choice.
Sometimes you can bring your own pack of breakfast cereals to go with the vegan milk substitute they usually have at all restaurants. I’m sure it will make a day for your little angel. Or you can bring any other food that she might miss over there too. Don’t forget to ask restaurant staff for permission in advance, maybe they have the choice you need, you just missed it in the menu.
I used to bring my own pancakes for my daughter to our favourite pancake place in the city centre. Very nice members of staff took them from me and served them to my girl on their plate, decorated with fresh fruits. She was over the moon when she saw it. After few family reunions we had at this restaurant, they introduced allergy friendly choice of pancakes. Isn’t that great? Much better and easier for all of us. I’m so thankful for it 🙂
Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo… Pack all the usual staff.
If you’re traveling to a different country, you might want to bring ALL the personal care items your allergic child will need. You don’t want to be testing new, foreign brands of shampoos and lotions when you know how picky her gentle skin is.
Don’t forget your usual washing powder if you’re planning to do some laundry too.
You can install some holiday games (and delete them right after coming back home) to your smartphone or tablet. Download some kid’s cartoons or movies and if traveling by car, get a car tablet holder if you don’t have one already. Add all the chargers, converters to local power sockets, few sets of headphones and you’re ready to go 🙂
5. Clothes, shoes & towels
Once you have packed everything important, you can move on to the fashion department of your house.
Tell your kids exactly how many toys they can bring with them. My kids have 1 little suitcase they can fill with toys. They’re so excited to pack it every time 🙂 I just remind them to bring some rainy day stuff like crayons, coloring books or playing cards and double check that they have similar number of toys each or that 1 toy isn’t taking up all the space in the suitcase.
I hope this packing list divided into 6 brief sections will speed your next packing up, no matter if you go away for a long weekend or your big summer holidays. The structure is always the same, isn’t it?
Read also my previous article packed with tips for traveling with babies & toddlers.
Be safe & create a lot of nice memories!