Three Essential Holiday Items for Toddlers

Disclosure: The twins were given two swim jackets from Konfidence and two ponchos from Little Life for the purposes of this three essential holiday items for toddlers round-up. This is an unpaid post but all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.

It seems crazy that we’ve been back from our amazing first holiday abroad  for over a month now.

The last few weeks have flown by and I don’t feel as though I’ve properly caught up yet!!

It was such an amazing week away— the perfect place for a first ‘proper’ holiday away  with our little family.

Having not been abroad before with the boys, packing was a little bit hit and miss.

Must Have Holiday Items For Toddlers

I looked at lots of websites with lists of essential holiday items for toddlers; and got a bit carried away with all the ‘must have’ items that were suggested.

I think I probably overpacked for them (if I’m totally honest). But of all the things we took, I thought I’d share the three essential bits of kit. Ones that I don’t think we could have done without.

Sun Protection Suits

These were a last minute purchase. In hindsight, they were something that should have been really high up on the list of priority items to take!

We bought ours from JoJo Maman Bébé but there are lots of alternatives out there.

The fabric they’re made from is rated UPF 50+. They’re 98% effective at blocking UVA rays; so they’re a great way of keeping sensitive skins from burning.

I’m not sure why they weren’t high up on the packing list. But, as a mama of two little waterbabies, one of whom has incredibly pale skin like his dad — these were a must-have item.

Pair of cool customers
I love this one!! So funny!!
Essential Holiday Items for Toddlers
Cosmo; indulging in a bit of spywalking
Essential Holiday Items for Toddlers
Bertie Bean — ready for the water
Beautiful Perdepera — and my beautiful boys

Poncho Towels

Such a simple idea but we found them SO useful.

Ours were from Little Life and are made of a superfast drying microfibre fabric (they feel a bit like chamois leather) which means that they can dry up to eight times faster than standard towels.

Plus they can absorb up to nine times their own weight in water.

They’re really lightweight and, when they’re squished up into a tiny ball, they make perfect packing material for shoes.

They were brilliant for wrapping the boys in, when they got out of the pool.

They acted as blankets for afternoon naps, and as they’ve also got a SPF rating of 50+, they acted as a very useful sun barrier. As essential holiday items go, these are a must have.

Perfect for drying off after a swim
Essential Holiday Items for Toddlers
Playing in…
Essential Holiday Items for Toddlers
Looking like a cute mini clown-fish
Essential Holiday Items for Toddlers
Or just looking like a cool surfer

Swim Jackets

Following an incident that happened on holiday, this is something that I won’t ever be without again; if ever we’re taking the boys swimming.

Ours are from Konfidence; if you’re taking your little ones swimming — either at home or abroad — this is an essential item.

We’d brought them with us to Sardinia but they were packed in our cases (rather than in the boys’ suitcase). Annoyingly BA lost our luggage for the first 4 days of our holiday.

I didn’t think twice about the swim vests, to be honest; until on the third day when we were all playing in the pool together.

We were in the baby pool; the water came to chest height on the boys and they were easily able to stand up without support.

Dickie and I were both watching Bertie — he was jumping about and being really funny. Whilst our attention was on him, Cosmo silently slipped under the water.

It happened literally in a matter of seconds.

I turned round to see him floating face down. We dragged him up and out of the water as soon as we realised.

It was terrifying.

There was no flailing about or commotion. It happened very quickly and quietly.

Needless to say, I had a couple of sleepless nights afterwards; mulling over what could have happened if we hadn’t been so quick to act. It was a truly terrifying experience and one I never, ever want to repeat.


Cosmo was very cautious of the water following his experience. He didn’t want to go in for the rest of that day — or the next. He was happy just to play on the side of the pool.

When our cases arrived the following evening, we were so grateful to see the swim jackets.


We told Cosmo that it was a magic jacket and it would keep him safe in the water. And it did.

And not only that, it really, really did give him his confidence back.

What Does a Toddler Need on Holiday?

In my humble opinion, those are the three indispensable items. Plus their favourite cuddlies and sippy cup!

It also goes without saying that you should take a basic first aid kit — with Calpol/Ibuprofen and children’s antihistamine syrup (if over a year old). Everything else — pretty much — is stuff that you can buy in a supermarket.

  • Nappies and wipes
  • Snacks and cereals
  • Bowls and spoons
  • Toys and books

To see the sun suits, swim vests and ponchos in action; have a look at our little film of our holiday to Perdepera resort in Sardinia.


Do you have any suggestions for essential holiday items for kids? I’d love to know if you do!

Caro Davies editor of The Listed Home
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Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.

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4 thoughts on “Three Essential Holiday Items for Toddlers”

  1. Oh my gosh, poor Cosmo. That sounds like every parent’s worst nightmare. I am so glad that the Konfidence swim jackets helped him to feel secure in the water afterwards. And those JoJo Maman Bebe Sun Protection Suits are gorgeous. I love Bertie’s one with the shark. Stunning photographs lovely. What an amazing place. Hugs Lucy xxxx

    • Aaah Luce, it was awful. It literally happened in seconds. SO glad we were literally right next to him. It’s SO silent. No splashing or struggling. Really, really scary. Those vests really gave him his confidence back in the water, they’re so aptly named xx

  2. God those moments are horrible. I still have nightmares about a skiing accident our middle boy had while I was with him.
    Those ponchos look great. We almost bought some in Ireland but we needed them for warmth at the beach after swimming, not for sun protection :D

    • Totally horrible. I had proper trouble getting to sleep, the night it happened. Kept getting flash backs. It all happened so, so quickly. You can see how these tragedies happen, you really can xx

      PS — ponchos are BRILL. We’ve even been using them here, after bathtime!

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