Whilst some large hotel chains, may offer a cot for you to use during your stay, these are often offered on a 'first come first serve basis', which means there is not guarantee of availability. Additionally, it is not uncommon for some hotels to offer a portable cot. With hotel staff not always being up to date on safe sleep, these are sometimes made up using loose blankets, sheets intended for adult sized beds or ill-fitting aftermarket mattresses.
To avoid any surprises, many families opt to bring a portable cot from home, or arrange for an external delivery of a wooden cot, travel cot or bassinet directly to the accommodation. The advantage here being that most reputable providers specialising in baby gear hire will be up to date on the latest safe sleep practices, product recalls and will have strict protocols in place to ensure the hire equipment is in absolutely top notch condition.
Experienced parents will know that any mealtime without a high chair or feeding seat is a recipe for a huge mess. A high chair or feeding seat at your destination can be an absolute lifesaver. Hotels and resorts can often be short on space, so a space-saving option such as a folding high chair or a floor seat might be ideal options that can be stowed away when not in use.
On the topic of safe sleep, remember to pack your child's sleeping bag or swaddle. Not only will it be helpful to have a sleep association that's the same as what you use at home, but the use of blankets within a cot or bassinet is no longer recommended due to numerous safety studies.
Plan ahead and look at the overnight temperatures at your destination, so you can pack a sleeping bag or swaddle and any layers you may need. If you have the space in your luggage, bring a few different TOG rated options as it can be difficult to regulate the temperature in some hotel rooms
If you baby is on the move, you'll quickly discover that you hotel room is full of hazards. Unsecured tv's and furniture, balconies, uncovered powerpoints, tables with lamps, ornaments and other items are just a few of these hazards.
Without the means to baby proof every hazard whilst on holiday, a playpen is your next best option. Creating a 'yes' space for your little one allows them the freedom to move and explore as needed, but in a safe environment that is developmentally appropriate for their age and size.
A box of toys is an essential for babies, toddlers and preschool aged children. Holidays are often filled with big days out and stimulating environments.
A pram or stroller is an essential for transporting your children and all their gear whilst out and about. Look for single or double stroller that is capable of transporting all the drinks, snacks and changes of clothes your children need for a full day out.
The big day trips often included as part of a family holiday may prove especially tiring for your preschool aged child. Even if your child typically walks, you may want to consider a stroller that will cater toward their needs if you are planning to do a lot of walking or big days out and about.
Hotels and resorts often aren't setup for the needs of babies and toddlers. A baby bath, bath support, baby change pad or baby change table might all come in handy during your stay, allowing you to stick to your usual evening routine as much as possible and help your accommodation feel a little more like home.
It's often not practical to pack an entire box of nappies to bring on holiday. Instead arrange for delivery directly to where you're staying. This will work best if there is a front desk where deliveries can be accepted.
Similarly, if you're staying for longer than a weekend it may not be practical to pack multiple tins of formula for to see you through your entire stay. A quick online order and you should be able to have your formula needs covered for the duration of your stay. If your baby is onto solid food, it may be helpful to include a few squeezy pouches of baby food in your order for when you're on the go.
A swim nappy is an item that is easily overlooked - especially by those traveling from colder regions. All hotels and public swimming pools will that a require a swim nappy is used for any child that is not toilet trained. A regular nappy cannot be substituted here, so you will need a dedicated swim nappy for your little one to go into the water. A regular disposable nappy is designed to absorb liquid and draw moisture away from the skin. Understandably it would be quite uncomfortable and dangerous for your child to enter the water wearing a regular nappy due to the risk of it weighing them down as it absorbs more liquid.
A swim nappy allows liquids to flow through, but catches the 'solids'. Whilst you could use disposable swim nappy, the best option by far is a reusable option, such as a Green Sprouts reusable swim nappy (Green Sprouts also offer a range of swimwear with inbuilt swim nappies!).
A sun hat that offers protection for the neck and ears is an absolute must when visiting Queensland in particular. Most importantly your child needs to wear it. Many children will object to wearing a hat (and pull it off a million times), so it can be helpful to look for options that have fun prints that will make them excited to put it on (even if you're not a fan).
Additionally, sun hats that offer features such as an adjustable toggle around the head circumference as well as below the chin, allow for you to find what will work best when adjusting it to suit your child.
If you're looking at sun hats with an under chin toggle adjustment, check to see if it has a safety 'breakaway clasp'.