April family travel essentials

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The weather hasn’t made up its mind, but I can tell that spring – maybe even summer – has arrived, as the number of trips I’ve been taking has shot up. In fact, I feel like I’ve been gallivanting so much in April, I’ve barely had time to write anything. Sorry about that…

A girl in sunhat lies on a vintage style suitcase, flowers blooming in the background - my family travel essentials for the month

Since my last round-up, we’ve had a wonderful week in Langkawi, I’ve spent two days aboard the wonderful Norwegian Bliss and been planning our next trips – a staycation in Suffolk (with a jaunt into Cambridgeshire) and a twin city break for half-term between Tallinn and Helsinki.

I’ve also been alternately revelling in the glorious and unexpected sunshine, and cursing because I need to hunt my boots out once again. But now May is here, I’m feeling optimistic that the rain might be (finally) gone for a time and all my summer family travel essentials are going to come in handy – as ever, my top products purchased and sent for review, plus a few special offers.

Family travel essentials

I bet I wasn’t the only person lulled into a false sense of security by that sudden April heatwave. Away went the big coats and the jumpers, I blitzed Minnie’s summer clothes collection (having discovered for our Langkawi packing that a lot was suddenly too small) and expected to be using all my lovely Ultrasun that we’d been sent for our holiday.

Hmmm. That didn’t last long. But at least when summer arrives, we’re ready for it – courtesy of Mini Boden and H&M (and two discount codes). Leggings, shorts, a travel-themed T-shirt (which she didn’t need but I couldn’t resist), a skort, a summer dress, summer pyjamas (aka sort of matching T-shirt and cropped leggings!). Bought and packed for our UK beach break. And a few cardigans, just in case.

A collage of children's summer fashion from Mini Boden and H&M including skort, shorts, leggings and tops - my April family travel essentials

Here’s the pick of some very cute prints – giraffe applique leggings and a mermaid print pair, dinosaur print skort, matching towelling shorts (was totally tempted by the strawberry print but they’d sold out), some printed shorts, flamingo embroidered top and a World Traveller T-shirt (I blame Dais Like These who told me about it…).

Best of the rest

  • This 2 in 1 Kit micro USB charger was so useful when I bought the first one, that I’ve actually worn it out (too much stuffing it heedlessly into bags finally broke the plug attachment. Oops). Working as both a plug, with two USB ports, and a portable charger, it’s got a European plug attachment too, so it’s great if you don’t have many sockets in a hotel room. And at £9.80, if it lasts the two and a bit years the last one did, I’ll be very happy.
  • In my quest to travel theme my life, I picked up this rather gorgeous map print duvet set from Debenhams. Essential might be stretching it, but I do love a map.

Family travel: essential plans and reading

For the times when we haven’t been travelling – and to indulge my daughter’s love of all things seaside – we’ve been poring over the new The Big Book of the Blue, which we were sent to review. We’ve already had The Big Book of Beasts which was a hit, and I knew this was going to go down well.

I wasn’t wrong. Octonauts may have been knocked off the top spot as my daughter’s favourite TV show, but she still knows her colossal squid from her giant Pacific Octopus, plus a huge amount about various fish, crabs, jellyfish, and other inhabitants of the sunlight, twilight and midnight zone. I don’t think you need to be such an aficionado to adore this though.

Beautifully illustrated, it’s packed with fascinating facts about the truly weird and wonderful creatures which live under the waves from the fabulously fearsome (ogrefish, anglerfish, gulper eels) to the quirky (who knew penguins had heavy bones?) And it’s ideal if you’ve ever wondered anything from why crabs run sideways to whether jellyfish are made of jelly. (Spoiler: they’re not… but I bet you didn’t know what happens if you cut one in half?)

I’m borrowing this while she’s asleep… which is about the only time I can get it off her. Even her assorted sea creature toys have been engrossed!

There’s been a sea theme to my own recent posts as well, looking at my mini cruise from Germany back to the UK on Norwegian Bliss – and nine reasons why I think Norwegian Bliss is perfect for families. It’s reminded me of all the reasons I’ve loved going on a cruise, and why they are so fun with kids.

New travel resolution is to get back on board with my daughter and spent a week appreciating one rather than 48 hours!

Then more seaside for the bank holiday weekend, with a short break in Suffolk – we’re staying in a gorgeous cottage courtesy of Best of Suffolk and driving a shiny new Hyundai Kona as part of a very fun campaign, #hyundaiadventures.

Check out the hashtag on Twitter or keep an eye on my Facebook and Instagram, including my insta stories, where I’ll be sharing more of our journey live. There will be history, there will be gorgeous countryside… I strongly suspect there’ll be ice cream too!

Family travel: essential deals

Hope you’ll be having a fab bank holiday weekend as well – and if the forecast sunshine is making you think about summer wardrobes too, there are some discounts around. Vertbaudet has 30% off its children’s and baby range, while La Redoute has 30% off its holiday shop if you use SAVE30.

And if you’d rather spend your cash on a trip, DFDS has ferry sailings to France from £35 each way (for up to nine people!) – plus I spotted this amazing experience from Viator. Not a bargain perhaps, but the chance to explore the Vatican with the official keyholder, entering the museums – and the Sistine chapel – before the doors open to the public for the day. Michaelangelo without the crowds? I’m seriously tempted.

Disclosure: contains affiliate links – any purchases you might make are unaffected but I may get a few pennies in return. Some products have been sent for review but all opinions, including the desirability of map print on evereything, are my own.

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