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.
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?