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packing list for self catering holidays with a baby

Self-catering holidays with baby

What you need, what you should find at your destination and what to take with you

Going on holiday is such an exciting time for a new family and you’ll want to relax and savour every minute with your brand new baby. Going for the self-catering option is very popular with parents, as you can please yourself when – and what – you eat and you’re never going to be worried about your child screaming all through dinner in a restaurant! 

Here’s our essential family self-catering checklist., whether you’re looking forward to a Staycation or heading overseas… 

First, you should contact the owner or agent for your holiday home destination and ask the following very important questions:

  • What food essentials do they have in the kitchen – cooking oil, salt, pepper and sugar, drinks, spices?
  • Do they provide toilet roll, tea towels, cleaning products and bin bags?
  • Do they offer a shopping service, so that you can pre-order enough food for the first couple of days?
  • Are there laundry facilities and do they offer detergent and softener? You might want to take your own if you prefer an eco-friendly or baby-friendly version
  • Are there facilities for kids, such as beach towels, mats and buckets and spades?
  • Are there books and games and are some of these suitable for kids?
  • Do they have a highchair, a crib or cot, child safety items such as stair gates, kids’ cutlery and crockery, a potty etc?
  • Is there a TV and a way to play DVDs, or to use your streaming service on it? Is there good internet coverage?
  • Is there a First Aid Kit and have they noted numbers for nearby doctors, pharmacies and the local hospital? Can they suggest good local shops and take-aways?

Once you have asked these questions, you’ll have a list of things you won’t need to take with you – and a list of things you need. You can then check them off your list and pack a little more lightly!

Essential documents and must-have items

Passports and Visas

Booking confirmation

Insurance documents

Tickets and boarding passes

Mobile phones, tablets and computers and chargers with adaptors for the country you’re going to


Camera and charger, film if necessary

Foreign currency or a travel money card

Any regular medication (make sure you have enough in case of delays) plus pain killers suitable for adults and baby

Cooking essentials shopping list; if you are driving to your holiday home, you can pop these in the car. Buy these in advance on your usual weekly shop and choose smaller sizes for easy portability, or put some into small screw-top jars (make sure you label them). Pack all bottles and jars upright in a box with some paper or padding around them to prevent breakage. If you have to buy it at your destination, use this as a basic shopping list.

Cooking oil

Margarine or butter

Small containers of ready ground salt and pepper, plus any other spices you use frequently

Tea bags and coffee

Mini cereal boxes

Baby’s milk and food (pouches are great for travel) – make sure you have enough if you are delayed

Kitchen roll

Pasta or microwave rice sachets and a jar of sauce – great for the first night

Bread, crackers and biscuits

Milk or plant milk

Snacks for all the family

Favourite drinks for each family member

A cool box for perishable items – this can double as a beach box for picnics

Household essentials

Toilet roll

Cleaning items – an all-purpose eco spray and a couple of cloths, washing up gloves, tea towels, bin bags and washing up liquid

Bin bags and re-usable shopping bags

Soap or hand wash (or use baby bath for everyone)

Toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and conditioner

Sun cream and after-sun

Re-usable plastic boxes for picnics, travel cutlery


A travel First Aid Kit

Insect repellent

Baby and child essentials

Baby’s bottles, steriliser (microwave steriliser bags are ideal for travel) bowls and spoons

A backpack changing bag that doubles as a bag for days out

Nappies, nappy sacks, biodegradable wipes, baby toiletries

Baby transport – a carrier or back carrier, a lightweight stroller, a travel cot, your car seat

Travel potty and toilet seat

Sun cream suitable for kids (babies under six months must not use sun cream), a shady hat, long sleeved tops and trousers, swimsuit

A pop-up UV-resistant beach tent

A couple of favourite toys (don’t take that irreplaceable one), books and TV shows

SnoozeShade for pushchair, car seat and travel cot

Blackout blinds for baby’s room

Baby sleeping sack

A cot sheet so their bed smells of home

Bibs and muslins

A travel highchair

Other useful items 

A torch

Waterproofs and Wellies

Matches or lighter

Pillow slips if you’re fussy!

Taking the dog with you? Don’t forget their lead, collar, treats and food, plus a small bed. 

Further reading:

Get the most out of SnoozeShadeand decide which one to choose 

First holiday with your baby? See our tips to make it a success!

How to use SnoozeShade on a plane bassinet

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