I'm lucky enough to have been on holiday already this year (although it already seems like months ago!) and hope to go again in September. Our June holiday was to Portugal with our little son Rowan who is 20 months old, and our good friends joined us with their 13 month old little girl. We stayed in a ground floor apartment that was family friendly and so already kitted out with travel cots, high chairs, changing mats and toys.
I blogged before about what to take on the plane to keep your little ones entertained and so thought I'd follow up with other items we found useful on a beach holiday.
Sun-Suits - these protect your little ones sensitive skin from the sun and also keep them a little bit warmer in the cold water. We would take a spare one with us so once it became wet we could change him into a dry one. We also brought normal trunks/shorts & t-shirts for when he was just playing on the sand.
Hat/Cap - although they may not keep it on & in that case a beach parasol may be a better bet. The Algarve was quite windy and it would blow down so luckily Daddy managed to persuade Rowan that wearing a hat was good, as they both wore baseball caps!
Armbands/Float Suit - last year we used a baby rubber ring but we knew he wouldn't be happy with that this year & thought we'd try his float suit or armbands, Turned out he loved both! It took him a little while to get his balance in the float suit, but by the end of the holiday he could swim right across the pool in it. The armbands were also a great success when used independently of the float suit, he was bobbing about shouting "swima swima swima" and doing "circles circles circles".
Large Muslin Square/Swaddles - these were really handy & performed a variety of tasks such as wiping runny noses and suncreamy eyes. They were also great to cover little legs in the sun or if it got a bit cooler in the evening. We include gorgeous ones by Aden & Anais in our baby gift baskets.
Large Juice/Water Bottle & Mini Cool Bag - a larger bottle is handy for when you are out and about as the kids tens to drink more in the warm weather. We would also pack their lunch into a little cool bag and take it with us as the kids liked to snack throughout the day, rather than having bigger meals.
Crocs/Sandals - really handy for walking near the pool as it can get a bit slippy when wet. They also just pop on & off really easily and help keep little feet cool. Rowan wore these out in the evenings sometimes too so we also took a cheaper pair of sandals for the beach.
Buggy With Large Hood/Sun Screen - we found the parasol to be really awkward and not even provide that much coverage and so we got a light, fold up buggy with a large hood. You don't want to risk your proper pram getting damaged on the flight or at the beach, and they are also quite heavy so a fold up buggy was much easier we found.
Of course there are other more obvious things to take like high factor sun cream and swim nappies that we don't really need to explain the reasons behind.
There's also the question over insect repellent, as you need to be careful which one you use on young kids and babies. So do your research before buying or applying any as they need to have a lower DEET content. Spraying onto their clothes rather than onto their skin can also help.
What items did you find particularly useful when on holiday with young kids?