**UPDATE 22/6/16: Having now had a chance to test out the Prince Lionheart stroller clip I can confirm it is AWFUL and I can’t recommend it. So, I’ve swapped the link for another similar product that – although I haven’t tested and therefore can’t personally recommend – gets much better reviews online. Apologies.***
Holiday travel with a baby or toddler (or both) isn’t easy – especially when you’re me. I’m fairly obsessed with planning for every eventuality, and am the proud owner of about a million different travel gadgets as a result.
For our family holiday to Sicily in a couple of weeks, I’ve spent hours trawling the internet trying to prevent any major outbursts on the plane (we’re waking the kids up at 1.30am for the 6am flight = it’s going to be carnage), making sure they’re not going to drown in the pool when we’re out there (neither can swim/both have a death wish) and just generally preparing for every possible scenario in my head (yes, we do have two different types of mosquito repellents – just in case one doesn’t work).
On the way, I’ve come across a few really brilliant products that are actually incredibly simple. There’s no snazzy gadgetry, no batteries needed, and no massive price tag (the max price is £55) – they’re just really, really useful. I’m still trying to come up with my ‘million dollar idea’, but I’d be proud as punch if I’d dreamed up any of these…
1. A stroller clip that links two buggies together
I guess this buggy clip – which turns two strollers into one – is intended for parents of twins and multiples, but it’s also a potential life-saver for parents who have two young children in separate buggies. With a one-year-old and a three-year-old, we’ll definitely need to take something, but our trusty Phil & Teds double buggy is just too heavy for travel. So, we’ll be taking our old, half-dead stroller, and a brand spanking new Joie Baby Nitro LX. Factor in several suitcases plus hand luggage, and that doesn’t leave any spare hands. By joining the two strollers together, only one of us grown-ups will need to push it (me), leaving the other one to deal with the bags (him). Genius.
Munchkin stroller links, around £49, Amazon.
2. A snuggly toddler chair that pads out the plane seat
We’ve never done long-haul with the kids, but if we did I’d definitely invest in a TravelSnug. This portable chair-and-blanket combo fits into a plane seat and makes it more comfortable for a child. It can be used in the airport lounge, on the coach – pretty much wherever. And anything that makes them more comfortable, and therefore less likely to lose the plot, is a winner in my book.
TravelSnug airline seat cushion liner, size 1 £54.99, TravelSnug.
3. A tiny portable mattress that lets baby sleep properly on your lap
My two are too big for this now, but I love the idea behind the SkyBaby. This little portable mattress is designed to be used with the aeroplane’s infant loop belt, so your baby can sleep on your lap undisturbed. I distinctly remember having to wake my son, then 9 months old, on the way home from a holiday to Tuscany when he fell asleep without the seatbelt on. He’d spent the previous hour going loopy, and only just given up and zonked when the seatbelt sign came on and I had to wake him up again. If only I’d had one of these…
SkyBabytravel mattress for baby, £33, JoJo Maman Bebe.
4. A car booster seat that folds into a rucksack
If you’re hiring a car on holiday and wondering whether to take your own booster seat, this portable version could be the answer. It’s a Trunki product, so it’s as clever as you’d expect from the makers of the ubiquitous toddler suitcase. It’s basically a child booster seat that converts into a backpack for easy transport, and includes space for storage. It’s hand luggage approved, suitable for children under 135cm in height and between 15 and 36 kg in weight, and perfect for lift-sharing or taxi rides.
<a href="https://www.trunki site link.co.uk/boostapak-133″>Boostapak booster seat, £44.99, Trunki.
5. A twin swim float for two kids in the pool
I don’t have twins, but I do know it’s virtually impossible to go swimming with both my kids without it being a serious safety risk. I wish I’d known about the Twin Swim Float when my daughter was born. It’s suitable for children from 6 to 36 months old, so it’s great if you’ve got kids who are close in age. In fact, I wish I’d known about it when I’d just had my first and was on maternity leave – my NCT friends and I would have had a lovely time taking turns to float around with the babies while the other one nipped off for a solo swim.
Twin Swim Float, £34.95, from various sellers.