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My top 5 family travel essentials

This is a collaborative post.

I’m sitting here writing this while I watch the swarms of insects flying around. It seems as soon as the sun comes out, the midges come with it. It got me thinking about family travel essentials and the holiday that added an extra item to my list.

Family Travel | So you're going on holiday as a family with children. What do you need to take with you - what are the must-have travel essentials for holidaying with kids? Here are my top five - and the story behind why I need them! What do you take on holiday with you that's essential when travelling with kids?

The holiday to Rome

It seems like a lifetime ago now that my then boyfriend and I went to Rome for a long weekend. I have some incredible memories from that holiday. Visiting iconic buildings like the Colosseum, my boyfriend proposing in the Sistine Chapel (he passed me a note – he’s now my husband).

Protecting the family from bites with Jungle Formula

And then there are the memories that are funny now but at the time, they were a bit of a nightmare. Like paying over £100 for two mediocre pizzas and two glasses of wine. And the fact that I was covered in hundreds of insect bites that came out in horrible, purple blotches about the size of a £2 coin. They were so awful that people wouldn’t sit near me on public transport in case I was contagious. That was the first time I realised how badly I reacted to some insect bites. Since then, I’ve been keen to make sure the children don’t go through the same thing.

My family travel essentials

1. Jungle Formula Insect repellant

I know, you saw that coming didn’t you? Jungle Formula sell a range of insect repellants. For tropical areas, their 50% DEET jungle spray is ideal for children aged 3 and up. For the UK and Europe, Jungle Formula Kids protects against mosquitoes and biting insects for up to six hours. We’ve been testing it out during our holiday and it’s perfect. I’ve been applying it at the same time as suncream in the morning, then reapplying in the evening when the insects started to bother us. I even put some on the dogs’ collars so they don’t get bitten!

Find out my top five family travel essentials. And why insect repellant is the first thing I pack!

As an extra layer of protection or when we wanted a quick solution, we’ve been trying out the Jungle Formula Slap-It for kids. They’re waterproof slap bands that last for up to two weeks when used for eight hours a day. Perfect for a summer holiday. The active ingredients in the slap bands are 100% natural and don’t come into contact with the skin. And best of all, the children love to wear them.

Find out my top five family travel essentials. And why insect repellant is the first thing I pack!

2. Sun cream

I know, you’d probably have put that first wouldn’t you? Okay, I’m going to level with you. I rarely use suncream on myself. I’m not the type to sunbathe, in fact the last time I went on that sort of holiday was around 2003. I’m often covered up or in the shade, so when I am out in the sun I’m happy to soak up some vitamin D. If I’m in the sun long enough to burn or damage my skin I’ll put some cream on though.

Of course, for the children sun cream is essential. I like to use a cream that doesn’t need to be reapplied too frequently. Anything that goes on easily is ideal too. Extra marks if the sand doesn’t stick to it.

3. Sun hats

Again, this is another thing I don’t wear. But my husband and the children are always in hats when they’re out in the sun. For the girls in particular, hats stop them from getting sunstroke as well as preventing sun damage to the delicate skin on their faces.

Find out my top five family travel essentials. And why insect repellant is the first thing I pack!

4. Sunglasses

Yep you’ve guessed it, I don’t wear sunglasses as often as I should. I do now have some gorgeous sunglasses, but I’m so worried about losing them that I often don’t even put them on. I’m more concerned about making sure that the girls have good sunglasses. I don’t like the fact that you can buy such cheap sunglasses for children. They’re unlikely to offer sufficient protection for children’s eyes so I’d much rather spend the extra money on a decent pair.

5. First aid kit

There’s nothing worse than the children hurting themselves. Libby seems particularly accident prone and we have already ended up in A & E with her once when we were away from home. I’ve got a children’s first aid kit from Yellodoor which is perfect for throwing into a bag or the car when we go away. It has everything you need from a first aid kit, with a Humpty Dumpty theme.

Yellodoor Child's First Aid Kit Review and Giveaway

There are a few things I always take on holiday that can’t really be classed as essential, such as swimming kit, wetsuits for the children and bikes. I almost always take my running kit too. What would be on your list of holiday essentials?

Plutonium Sox
Please note, the Jungle Formula products were sent to me to allow me to provide an honest review and I was compensated for my time. All views, opinions and itch-free children are my own. As for me, I'm itching just thinking about insect bites!


  1. June 2, 2017 / 8:17 am

    Great choices for essentials! The slap bands are big hits with my two as well, we definitely need extra protection with all the midgies up here. Jealous you don’t need suncream much, I can burn in the shade in Scotland…so lots of factor 50 on when I’m in the sun for any more than a few minutes! 🙂 x

  2. June 2, 2017 / 10:03 am

    I’m laughing at you not wearing suncream, a hat or sunglasses! I’ve always worn suncream myself and I have to be even stricter with myself now I’m on Roaccutane. My menfolk are doing the Three Peaks in a month’s time and they definitely need insect repellant, so this was a very good reminder to me, thanks! Obviously they’re perfectly capable of getting it themselves, but if I left it to them they would probably remember at about 10pm on the day before they set off!

  3. June 5, 2017 / 11:07 am

    Your Rome trip sounds epic! It’s great to be able to look back and laugh at things that weren’t so much fun at the time. We’re off to Scotland this summer, so I’ll be packing Jungle Formula to guard against the midgies!

    • June 5, 2017 / 6:49 pm

      Oh gosh, you so need insect repellant in Scotland, eek! Have a fab trip.

  4. June 5, 2017 / 11:52 am

    That children’s first aid kit looks handy. I’ll have to check out the Jungle Formula insect repellant – I often react badly to insect bites but never think to try anything like this.

    • June 5, 2017 / 6:46 pm

      Oh it’s a lifesaver if you react badly to bites.

  5. June 5, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    I adore Rome and have been a couple of times. Italy is somewhere that I could just keep going back to. I think we need some insect repellant for when we go camping, I can’t be coping with the kids getting bitten! x

    • June 5, 2017 / 6:41 pm

      Oh gosh yes, I couldn’t cope with camping without insect repellant!

  6. July 10, 2017 / 8:08 pm

    I’m a bit guilty of not putting on enough suncream when I should too! And yes how many midges are about at the moment? Love the idea of the Slap-it bands for kids. #familytraveltips

    • July 10, 2017 / 10:30 pm

      Thanks Carrie, eek I’m itching just thinking about the midges!

  7. July 11, 2017 / 8:54 am

    I’m terrible at remembering essentials and rely far too much on being able to buy what I need at my destination – making my essentials merely tickets, money, passport! I should learn from my experiences – like getting sunburnt in The Gambia because I couldn’t find any suncream… #familytraveltips

    • July 12, 2017 / 10:06 am

      Haha oh dear, I totally get this though. I’m not much of a planner either 😉

  8. July 11, 2017 / 9:12 am

    I love how you have linked up something about Rome as I have just linked up something about Italy. How lovely to be proposed in the Sistine Chapel though!

    You should really wear sun cream though! We definitely make sure we have hats after my husband learnt the hard way. I am loving the slap bands may have to look into getting some of those. #familytraveltips

    • July 12, 2017 / 10:04 am

      Thanks Joy. You are right of course, I must try harder with the suncream.

  9. July 11, 2017 / 9:15 am

    I haven’t heard of slap bands before. all of the others we definitely pack! #familytraveltips

    • July 12, 2017 / 10:04 am

      The slap bands are great, you should definitely give them a try.

  10. July 11, 2017 / 12:13 pm

    We’re heading to Italy this summer, including a quick trip to Rome so I’ll definitely be trying those wrist bands! #familytraveltips

    • July 12, 2017 / 10:03 am

      Oh how wonderful, I do love Rome. I hope you have an amazing time.

  11. July 11, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    Good tip about the jungle formula slap bands! Definitely going to get those for the kids for our next holiday to a mozzie area #familytraveltips

    • July 12, 2017 / 10:03 am

      Yeah they’re great, I’m going to get some more for our next trip.

  12. July 11, 2017 / 3:04 pm

    You poor thing! Hope you still managed to have fun on you Rome trip? The Jungle Formula is a must for us here in India – especially as it’s Dengue season! Also, our absolute essential here is hand sanitiser and toilet paper 😉 #familytraveltips

    • July 12, 2017 / 10:02 am

      Thanks Jenny, definitely something to remember if we head that way in the future!

  13. July 11, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    We are huge jungle formula fans here too. The childrens first aid kit is a great idea.

    • July 12, 2017 / 10:02 am

      The first aid kit is definitely a necessity for our accident prone madam!

  14. July 11, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    We love jungle formula too, It is a great list. Sunhats, plasters, jungle formula, and calpol for us!

    • July 12, 2017 / 10:01 am

      Ahh good one, I hadn’t thought of calpol!

  15. July 12, 2017 / 10:05 am

    Oh isn’t it irritating that they just go for certain people??

  16. July 12, 2017 / 7:19 pm

    I’m so with you when it comes to donning a hat, wearing suncream and wearing sunglasses maybe it’s baby brain. #familytraveltips

  17. July 13, 2017 / 10:35 pm

    Completely agree on all of these. I like the sound of the slap bands. Every time we go to our local forest school, I come home covered in bites. Somehow the kids seem to escape bite free but I think the slap bands are a great idea. #familytraveltips

    • July 25, 2017 / 8:16 am

      Oh yep, it’s always me that gets bitten too!x

  18. July 15, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    an excellent list of family travel essentials. I even like better that you admit to not doing a few of them!!! I’ve found that its so much easier to get the kids to wear hats if I do too. #familytraveltips

    • July 25, 2017 / 8:14 am

      Luckily my husband always wears a hat so the girls are lucky to follow his lead. I just look so awful in them!x

  19. July 17, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    Great post – I have just done a similar post and included a mini first aid box – its such a necessary with little ones isn’t it. I think I might just go and buy this Yellodoor one!! #famillytips

    • July 25, 2017 / 8:10 am

      The yellodoor first aid kit is amazing for kids and yes, a first aid kit is so essential!x

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