Mark Warner Holidays Family Ambassador Programme

Mark Warner Holidays recently announced their fourth Blogger Ambassador programme, an amazing oppertunity for bloggers to get involved and help to promote their renowned family-centric holidays. 
As a travel company, Mark Warner specialise in holidays that allow the whole family to either take to the slopes in a skiing adventure or explore a warmer climate in some of the most beautiful sun-filled holiday destinations. Whatever your preference, MW holidays are all about creating the environment for truly memorable experiences with your family and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Hard not to swoon at the thought, isn't it?!

We all know going on holidays can sometimes feel a little stressful, especially if you know you are going to be travelling for a LONG time with very little ones! As a mum to three boys who have spent a lot of time on the road, I have to say I've learnt a trick or two about travelling with infants. Most importantly, I've learnt what kind of essentials are needed to minimise unnecessary stress and maximise the sense of adventure! Considering we have spent such a large wedge of our time on the road as a family, our children are well acquainted with trekking up and down the country and as a result, long journeys have become far easier for us to manage. 
But it goes without saying, as I am sure you parents will agree, preparation is key here! Travelling, whether by car, train or plane can be stressful enough but throw in a few tired, hungry toddlers into the mix and it can feel like a recipe for absolute disaster! Therefore, planning your journeys and ensuring you have everything from child-friendly entertainment down to snacks on hand can take a lot of pressure off queuing to pass through customs, or waiting for the next service station stop on the motorway!

Mark Warner Holidays have asked us to think about what our top 10 travel essentials are and to create a mood board from which to blog about. To be honest, I didn't have to sit scratching my head for long with this one! Over time I feel I have mastered the art of travelling with my young family and making sure all those little essentials are within grasp just as the moment they're needed arises. 
What I do know to be true is that the smoothest journeys are those where the back seats are calm and content, the smiles ear to ear and the joy of embarking on another adventure is as clear as day!

With this in mind, let me get to it and share with you what my top ten travelling essentials are, very much from the perspective of a family of five (of which I am outnumbered by four boys! )

1) Phone:

It's a bit of a no brainer here but a phone and quick access to the internet on the road can make life a LOT easier. Whether we're using ours to avoid long traffic jams by re-routing our journey, or to entertain the kids with the wonderful world of snapchat filters (works a treat every time!), a phone is definitely one travel essential that we use to keep the peace and to keep the pace!  

2) Go Pro: 

My husband has always had a great love of producing videos and films and where we go, the camera comes too! Go Pro's have amazing cases which are waterproof and more impressively, totally toddler proof so we often let the kids make their own 'home vids' on the road to keep them entertained. When the Go Pro isn't being employed by their curious little hands, my husband uses it to capture memories and make videos of the children wherever we are. It's a travel essential with many different uses but I think my favourite reason for this being up there as an 'essential' is because of the way it allows us to encapsulate precious family memories and relive them over and over. Holiday photos are wonderful to have but videos bring back so much more of those memories and you get to cherish them in greater detail for years to come!

3) Blankets:

Bearing in mind my youngest is only four months, blankets are very much a necessity for us whenever we step out of the front door- let alone travel long distance! Our children have always loved having a blanket on their laps when we are travelling. We find they have a wonderful way of soothing and comforting, encouraging LONG naps- which is something I am always happy to promote!  Because we do a lot of our long distance travel by night, blankets really are a necessity and not exclusively for children either!  In recent years I too have taken to bringing my own blanket for travelling to try and aid sleep between the driving shifts and I'm not one bit embarrassed to admit to it! :p
4) Cosy Socks:

Cosy socks are an absolute must! Whenever I've flown anywhere I've always felt my feet are cold due to the air conditioning and the same goes when we're driving too. I can't stand it when my feet are chilly though because it makes me shiver all over. Thick, comfy socks are always high up on my list of travel essentials and so when we are piling into the car to begin a journey, I normally pop a pair of cashmere ones in my handbag and ensure the boys all have a cosy pair each to snuggle down with too!
5) Snacks: 

Sometimes the only way to keep the peace is through a good old bargaining match! It works for me because as soon as food is brought into the equation, I know I'm going to be the winner! Being completely honest, when we're travelling it won't necessarily be the healthiest options that make it to our emergency snack menu...but who stresses too much about healthy eating on holiday, right? There is little that a cheeky bag of crisps or a couple of chocolate treats can't settle so we very much rely on snacks to ensure the sanity of all! It's especially useful to have, say, a quick piece of fruit on hand if  you know you're going to be up early travelling and will need to provide a quick 'breakfast to go'!

6) Toys:

When we travel I like to keep toys to a minimum simply because we don't often have the space for additional trolleys full...credit to the boys for trying to persuade me every time though! But a couple of favourite toys for each boy tends to be plenty to keep them occupied and also to help them feel safe and secure in new environments.

7) Music:

One thing we all agree on is our love for music and so the playlists are always set in time for the journey...Disney normally wins out but if ever one of us simply wants to listen to something a bit, well, less 'Disney' shall we say, then headphones are a must! They're also great for when the boys want to watch the same film on the iPad for the bajillionth time that week! :p 

8) iPad:

Speaking of the iPad, this trusty one has accompanied all of our trips...I bought this thing back in my uni days and it's still going strong! Before long Journeys we always ensure it has a couple of current favourite films and cartoons loaded and ready to be watched. Whilst we don't allow the boys to sit and gaze at the screens for extended lengths of time, the iPad has served us well to distract them from boredom and forget about the confinements of a car for a while.

9) Spare change:

This one might seem a bit obvious but having spare change in the car just makes life so much easier at times. Whether it's because you ran into unexpected tolls, or you need to dash into a service station to grab some essentials, having some money to hand can make those unexpected situations far easier to work with.

10) Journal/notebooks:

I've really got into journaling and have been keeping a diary for 18 months solidly now. Whenever we go somewhere new, I like to have somewhere to keep a record of our adventures and write them all down. Having a little notebook to hand is a great idea, not only for recording the events of the day but also for writing lists, remembering essential information and also for the children to doodle in! 

So those are my top ten travel essentials, the things we really couldn't be without when we travel as a family! Do any of them resonate with you? 



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