Packing List for a Self Catering Holiday; perfect for a family beach holiday by car!

Here is my packing list for a self catering holiday (by car!)

This packing list for a self catering holiday should make holiday life easier. Travelling light is awesome but a few little extra bits and bobs lead to smugness worth the extra bags…in my head anyway!

Just to be clear, don’t let your toddler actually do the packing!

I’ve split the list up into categories. Please comment with anything I’m missing – my husband is always happy to squeeze in that extra bag (he isn’t).

Butlin’s Skegness heralded the start to our beach holidays this year and I have to say we loved it there 🙂

Travelling – a good packing list makes for an easier journey…

Anything that makes travelling with toddlers easier is well worth it. After all, if they’re happy, you’re happy!

  • Busy bags – I used to think that they were my invention but Instagram has taught me lots of people do them! They can definitely buy a few more minutes and less moaning. I keep them in the front and pass them back when it starts to “turn”.
  • CDs for the car including story ones. And there is alway “Fun Kids” radio station too!
  • Snacks with increasing sugar content. Making sure that the food is as safe as possible for eating in the car – ie nothing that is likely to cause choking.
  • Drinks
  • Blankets or coats for knees if early departure. Since taking a friend’s advice last year, we are converts to leaving at 5am!
  • Phone charger / SAT nav


  • Foil – for that dirty oven tray or picnic on the beach.
  • Small washing up liquid & sponge
  • Tea towel
  • Teabags
  • Water bottles
  • Tupperware
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Bin bags
  • Big reusable bags for an impromptu shop or to help with packing on the way back
  • A couple of carrier bags for wet clothes etc

Food – the main event on any packing list for a self catering holiday surely!

Having said that, if at all possible I arrange to have a supermarket delivery on the first day or so.

Ignore if you are going somewhere with a shop literally on your doorstep. Otherwise…

  • Easy tea and breakfast well worth it!
  • Frozen milk – keeps things cold and means no popping out for breakfast or their bedtime drink
  • Frozen drinks
  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Snacks

You’re almost halfway through my packing list for a self catering holiday (with a car or massive suitcase!)

Bathroom and Health Care – what to bring!

  • Antibacterial Spray
  • Calpol and Nurofen
  • Child thermometer
  • Insect repellant
  • Panadol for you
  • Suncream and aftersun
  • Plasters and First Aid Kit
  • Toilet seat and/or potty nothing worse than a reluctant toilet goer on holiday. Well there is but remembering this always saves us a lot of heartache.
  • Baby Bath – great if you only have a shower and they’re not keen
  • Bath toys – they only need something little. Holidaying always makes me think we should de-clutter as just a few cups and a couple of little boats / people are plenty to keep them busy.
  • Shampoo and shower gels – you and them!
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Razors
  • Make up – so much effort with their stuff and forget our own!
  • Hairdryer?
  • Hairbrush
  • Hairbands
  • Tweezers
  • Nappies
  • Wipes
  • Nappy bags
  • Nappy cream
  • Changing mat
  • Cotton wool
  • Cleanser and moisturiser
  • Bottles, dummies and steriliser
  • Nail polish, remover and cotton wool because you never know!
  • Hand soap

Sleepy time

  • Blackout blind
  • Baby Monitor
  • Bed Guard
  • Story books
  • Beakers or whatever they have drinks in
  • Dummies
  • Cuddly toy
  • Baby’s bedding or sleep suit
  • Bedding if necessary


  • Ball
  • Bubbles
    Little games
    Drawing stuff – one wallet of paper, stickers and pens is so easy to pack and has loads of mileage. Throw in some envelopes, glue sticks, feathers and cards, and creations can really take off!
  • DVDs – £8 spent on new Paw Patrol DVD turned out to be the best childcare EVER on our last holiday!
  • DVDs and reading for you because you never know you might get chance….🤞
  • Address book if postcards a possibility

Beach Stuff 

  • Beach towels and mats – this one lets the sand fall through and is fab! There seem to be a few others on amazon since we got this a couple of years ago, so you may want to check them out as well!
  • Mini buckets & spades
  • Ball that won’t blow away / other toys
  • Any inflatables
  • Pump
  • Swim suits!

Accessories and other

  • Sunglasses
  • Hats
  • Suncream – yes I’ve said before but so annoying if you forget!
  • Talc for the no sand trick!
  • Headtorch – a game changer for packing late at night apparently!
  • Hairdryer
  • Straighteners
  • Extra bags – bags for life, bags for day trip over spill! Bags!
  • Bin bags
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Phone charger
  • Other chargers
  • Umbrella
  • Door finger savers and socket covers – I normally whack these in to save having to keep towels over the doors. We’ve had a scary finger and hinge incident so always pack these.
  • Toilet paper
  • Electric Fan (I updated this after a heatwave!

And lastly on this packing list for a self catering holiday…. Clothes

  • The easy bit although I forgot my socks this time 🤦🏻‍♀️ If there is a washer dryer five days worth for the kids is probably enough; you want to make sure that there is zero stress re keeping on top of the washing.
  • I’ve not done a clothes list as depends so much on forecast. But here are the things I often forget!
  • Pants 🤦🏻‍♀️
  • Waterproofs (wellies?). If the weather is bad being prepared makes it so much more bearable!
  • Shoes
  • Belts
  • Jackets

Please get in touch with what I’m no doubt missing from this packing list for self catering holiday (with toddlers/little kids and their families/staff!)

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