Once your main luggage is sorted for your flight, you need to decide what you are going to take into the cabin with you. Before kids it was all about a good book, a couple of snacks and perhaps a blow up pillow, now you have a family, you have to cater for every eventuality. With that in mind, here is a guide to the essential items for your hand luggage on a family holiday.
Depending on the age of your child, boiled sweets are essential to prevent popping ears on take off and landing. Starting the journey with a meltdown isn’t fun for anyone and ending it in similar style makes shepherding children through passport control and the scrum for onward transport even more stressful.
This is probably best for those that are three and over, but you know better than anyone when your child is capable of safely sucking boiled sweets with minimal risk of choking. It goes without saying that you should remain vigilant. For smaller kids who still use dummies, these can also alleviate the popping, as can merely eating something soft, although to a lesser degree.
Emergency Change of Clothes
Most budget airlines seem to have a ratio of toilets to customers somewhere in the one per three million ballpark. In addition, the novelty and strangeness of the situation can cause strange effects for even the most robustly toilet-trained tot. Also, sometimes kids just soil themselves for no reason.
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This is why it is important to carry spare pants, socks, trousers, dresses and tops with you at all time. You never know when you’ll need them. It’s also worth bringing along a miniature antibacterial handwash bottle to help clean you up after an airborne poomageddon incident.
Water Bottles For All
Due to the fact that you can’t take full bottles of water through security, the lovely airside retail units price their H2O somewhere just north of the price per gram of gold. Taking empty reusable bottles with you in hand luggage means you can fill up for free at the water fountains and you feel slightly smug because you are helping save the environment too. Right up until you board that massive flying carbon-emitting monster of an aeroplane, obviously.
Many adults freak out on planes, so imagine what it is like for a child. One of the essential items for your hand luggage on a family holiday has to be a cuddly toy or equivalent. It could be a blanket or a doll instead, but the main thing is that they have an item that makes them feel secure to cuddle when they need it.
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Separate Zipped Bag For Travel Documents
Because there is so much child-related gubbins strewn throughout your bag, the essential items need protecting and organising. Don’t just shove your passports, boarding passes, insurance documents and car rental voucher into the chaos or you’ll just increase your stress levels unnecessarily when you get to passport control and again when trying to work out where to pick up your vehicle.
Get a back with a zip so you know where they are at all times and you can rest assured that they are safe. Obviously, you will still check to make sure they’re there every three to five minutes, but that’s just part of the holiday experience.
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You might be heading off to somewhere balmy and sunsoaked, but a plane can get very cold. Make sure there jumpers aplenty for the family so the other passengers around you aren’t disturbed by the sound of chattering teeth and low-level whinging throughout the flight.
Miniature Sun Lotion Bottles
You can’t take full sun lotion bottles through security, so they need to go straight into the hold luggage. However, when you reach your destination, it would be good to have sun cream handy to protect you straight away. To save yourself having to root through your suitcases outside the entrance to airport arrivals, pop a miniature sun lotion bottle in your hand luggage and that will see you through until you get to unpack at your accommodation.
Whatever your thoughts on screen time, during a long flight is the best occasion on which to allow your children to relax and lose themselves in some visual treats. Being on a plane can be claustrophobic and frustrating for kids, and watching a favourite film or television can really help keep them calm.
You can download programmes from Netflix and BBC iPlayer to watch offline, so make sure you stock up before you head off. Truly, a tablet is one of the essential items for your hand luggage on a family holiday.
More Essential Hand Luggage Items?
Do you have any other items that you can’t live without in your hand luggage? Or anything else to make life that little bit easier? Let us know in the Comments below.