December travel essentials: the round-up

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The countdown to the New Year is practically underway – I’ve started plotting some new travel for 2018, I’ve a shiny new diary to fill and the champagne is going into the fridge later tonight.

Girl in a field with a suitcase - my travel essentials for the month, from beauty, books and fashion to my latest suitcase must-haves

First, a journey that’s going to require a lot of packing without travelling too far as we’re starting the New Year by moving house. So between decluttering, making lists of which utilities I have to contact and mentally decorating my new office, plus all the present buying, my own shopping list has been short.

I do have a few December purchases and additions to my packing lists, but this month, I’ve decided to pick out a few of my favourite family travel essentials from the year as well, which have stood the test of time (and travel).

Travel essentials
There’s nothing quite like watching my daughter’s face opening presents – or the sheer glee when she discovers that one of them is a set of 80 Crayola felt tip pens.

Between drawing, colouring and writing, we rarely go anywhere without some (washable) pens, so apart from realising that we now need some way of organising them all – according to my five-year-old, there are *thousands* of them – and realising that she wants to take all of them everywhere, these are going to keep us going a while.

Tripp suitcases, ProPacking cubes and crayola felt tips - my December family travel essentials and top buys of 2017

Best of the year: Unsurprisingly, my winners are ones which make travel with kids just that bit easier… Firstly, my lovely new suitcases from Tripp which have now accompanied us on quite a few trips themselves, and are currently on sale.

Then my ProPacking Cubes which have made the inside significantly more organised. I never quite understood how people got so excited by the idea of packing cubes… until I tried them. If you only buy one thing for 2018, these are fantastic.

And for Minnie, pens, stickers and activity books are probably more exciting but wherever we go, I’ve started packing her Zoggs kids little seal goggles which make her so much more confident in the water, as well as our dinky Pabobo Super Nomade nightlight which guarantees she’ll always have some light in any hotel, without me needing to worry about plugs (and it charges by USB too).

Ah, there’s nothing like making videos in the harsh light of midwinter to see me reaching for some kind of revitalising skincare – having run out of Pixi Glow tonic, I can see a difference! Now I just need a magical new serum to do the same, having felt a bit disappointed by my latest buy from Clinique. Any suggestions?

Best of the year: I’m still bulk buying John Frieda Frizz-Ease Forever Smooth Anti-Frizz Primer which is continuing to work its own magic on my frizzy wavy hair, both in the drizzly UK and more humidly exotic locations. And proof that old favourites can be the best, Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Soothe has replaced the various lotions from children’s ranges – although Child’s Farm is still our go-to for bubble bath and shampoo.

Warehouse jumper, Pixi Glow tonic and my daughter in her H&M cat hat - my December family travel essentials and top buys of 2017

I am looking forward (hopefully!) to a new office that’s not quite as freezing as my current one – although it’ll give me fewer excuses to buy new jumpers. For now, I’ve been all but living in this striped flare cuff one from Warehouse, as well as a black jumper with sparkly collar – now out of stock, but similar to this navy one.

Best of the year: It’s hard to pinpoint a single wonder purchase (although my palm print trousers from Matalan would make a good case for most worn on our travels) – my ever increasing collection of lace tops and print trousers from Oasis deserve a mention.

And for Minnie, it’s a close tie between H&M and Mini Boden with some very fun prints and her ever-present cat hat.

If we need any help plotting where to go next year, my daughter’s present pile also contained the Usborne Children’s picture atlas for her to look through – with lovely illustrations, easy to understand facts and a mini quiz, it’s perfect for her.

Usborne Children's atlas, Leap and Hop Cambodia, The Invisible Library - my December family travel essentials and top buys of 2017

Best of the year: As ever we’ve collected quite a few great new additions from Lonely Planet, including books from the LP kids range and activity books, as well as traditional guides but I also want to rave one last time about the Leap and Hop Cambodia book – well, the range in general.

Part journal, part activity book, part guide, it made exploring the temples at Angkor far more entertaining for her. Although you won’t find them for every country – there aren’t quite a dozen titles – if you’re looking at Asia in particular, it’s worth making sure if there’s a book for your destination before you go.

As to my own reading? I’ve had a few new finds relating to countries we’ve visited, and other discoveries which suit my rather eclectic tastes – but perhaps one of my favourites is the Invisible Library series, which I’m now guzzling up again for the second time in three months.

With a heroine who scours alternate worlds for rare works of literature (but would often really rather be curled up with a good book), meeting dragons and fae in the course of her adventures, it’s the kind of book which reminds me just why I fell in love with reading – and that you needn’t move a millimetre to travel.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases you might make are unaffected but I may get a few pennies. Some products have been sent for review over the course of the year, but all opinions are my own, including that reading a great book comes only second to exploring the world.