February family travel essentials

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Spring is here! Just kidding, the snow is lying thickly outside – I wonder if I can blame the weather for being a bit late with my second round-up post of the year?

A girl in sunhat lies on a vintage style suitcase, flowers blooming in the background - as Spring supposedly begins, my new-look family travel essentials for the month

If you missed the update last month, my regular list of favourite family travel essentials has had something of a makeover. As well as my top products purchased and sent for review, I’m also rounding up some of the posts which have stood out, and any special offers which have caught my eye. If there’s anything particular you’d like me to include, let me know in the comments…

Family travel essentials

A slightly unusual travel esssential to start off this month – before our Porto trip, poring over possible activities and tours while we were in the city, I came across the Get Your Guide website for the first time. If, like me, it’s new to you, there’s a huge choice – for this one city alone, I was tempted by food and street art tours, but there were other sightseeing options, day tours, and skip-the-line tickets as well.

If you’ve used the Viator site before, it’s similar – but if anything, there seemed to be even more choice on Get Your Guide. Definitely one I’m going to be keeping in mind.

Two girls T-shirts and a straw hat with ears from H&M - some of my February family travel essentials... with one eye to the summer

It feels a bit bizarre to be looking at summer clothes (or anything that’s not woollen or thermal) at the moment, but the weather’s got to get better, right? And as I was browsing H&M for the final bit of Minnie’s World Book Day costume, I was tempted to pick up a few odds and ends for her for summer.

Because how could I resist a T-shirt with the slogan ‘Let’s Travel The World’. The giraffe top was just a bonus… and because we both love her cat hat so much, I decided to buy the next size up, just in case they stop making them. Despite having a slightly different face (spotted only by my five-year-old’s sharp eyes), it got the seal of approval for when she grows a bit more.

And for myself, a camera case. Even if my DSLR is threatening to be replaced, it needs to be carried around in something which isn’t frayed at the edges. I was tempted by the Pacsafe range (suggested by Laura from Have Kids Can Travel) but in the end decided to go for this Bagsmart Compact DSLR Shockproof Case… just in case I find myself having to buy another new one if I do get that new camera!

Plus a dinky new Lunabox portable speaker for my new office, which has also made it to Portugal and back with us.

DSLR camera bag and Lunabox bluetooth speaker - some of my February family travel essentials

Best of the rest

  • Tempted by a 10% discount, and the realisation my current knee high black boots are not *that* comfy any more, I treated myself to this gorgeous Victorian style pair from Moda in Pelle. Just as gorgeous in real life, if it wasn’t for the fact they were slightly too tight for me. *wail* There is more in the sale section though…
  • Having been recommended the Oliver Moon series by a friend, now Minnie has speed read through The Worst Witch series, we picked up Oliver Moon and the Potion Commotion to try out the series. And read it one sitting. So I’ve just bought the next two – Dragon Disaster and the Nipperbat Nightmare. With titles like that, I think they’ll be just as good.
  • And another book recommendation (from The Pigeon Pair and Me) to join our bookcase, the Mrs Pepperpot stories in which the main character shrinks to the size of a pepperpot… but she never knows when. Minnie swiftly commandeered it to take into school for her teacher to read to their class, so I only managed to skim one story before it was whisked away.

If you want more inspiration for books to pack on your travels, I’ve also written about our favourite bedtime stories in time for World Book Day.

Family travel: essential plans and reading

Our first trip of the year last month, to Porto, a city I’ve wanted to visit for years. And in so many ways, it didn’t disappoint. Such a beautiful city, all bright colours and tiles, twisting alleys down to the river (and lots of port cellars, of course).

The only downside was the weather. After a glorious first day, where we saw the city lit up against the blue sky, it then rained pretty much solidly for the final three days of our trip. Thankfully there’s still plenty to discover, even in dreadful weather, including one of the world’s most beautiful bookshops, trams and tuktuks, street arts and family-friendly port cellars. Well, when in Porto.

In fact, I found 37 things to do in Porto with kids, whatever the weather.

I’m holding out hope that the weather will be kinder on my next trip though, a (child-free) long weekend in Tuscany with Bookings For You. So far, it’s looking promising. And to whet my appetite (literally), I headed along to an Italian food masterclass run by the company and the Giovannini family, who own the villa where I’ll be staying.

After that, another weekend away, this time with Minnie in tow – to Bristol. It’s a city I lived in for a year, a LONG time ago, and one which seems to have become more and more vibrant over the intervening years. I’m looking forward to exploring it with her.

With a few more possible staycations planned for April and May, now I just need to sort out Easter. This time last year, I was looking forward to sun and sea on Sal in the Cape Verde islands and once again I’ve a week to arrange and ideas galore… But nothing actually booked yet.

If you’re after more travel inspiration for your holidays this year, I’ve been finding out more about Activities Abroad and their sun and snow trips for families.

Family travel: essential deals

And a few discounts to finish up. As it patently isn’t spring yet, New Look helpfully has up to £20 off selected coats and knitwear – or if you want to warm up another way, ebookers has a sale on this month. Phuket for under £600? I’m tempted. Opodo has discounts until Monday as well… including flights to Phuket for under £500 if you miss that ebookers deal!

Disclosure: Contains affiliate links: any purchases you might make are unaffected but I may get a few pennies. 

Main image courtesy of Pixabay. Product shots courtesy of the retailer. All other images copyright MummyTravels