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Packing for a long haul trip to the Indian Ocean with a toddler

Since Ariella was born we haven’t taken her on a plane, we decided to go for an American trend the “Babymoon” instead while I was pregnant to Antigua as our last holiday for a while. It’s much easier to transport them when they don’t know what’s going on! and can’t protest. We wanted to take advantage of the discounts children receive when flying and staying in resorts before she is two so decided 2017 was the year to jump right in and take Ariella out of the UK. Typically we don’t do things by half measures and booked in for a seven hour flight with a two hour stop over followed by a four hour flight touching down in the capital of the Maldives. After which we will grab a boat transfer to our island, I can’t remember how long this is!

This therefor requires a little thought and forward thinking on our part, keeping a toddler entertained for seven hours in a confined space only to repeat the process again two hours later is quite a feat. Challenge accepted! To make this as easy as possible I wanted to be sure to pack everything we would need.


We are lucky that Ariella get’s her own hand luggage allowance, this varies depending whom you fly with so check ahead of time. I couldn’t decide at first what would be the most simple solution for Ariella’s hand luggage. I wanted it to be accessible as I would most likely be taking it down from the overhead storage often, but also if possible something fun and interesting for her.

I spent a lot of time looking online and really loved the Trunki, but as Ariella doesn’t like riding on her Microscooter yet I have my suspicions that she won’t want to ride on a Trunki (which has even less support). I would definitely get this is she did, but instead I thought a small backpack would be okay for her hand luggage and we will use the same hold-all we use for her normally as her hold luggage.

The backpack I’ve ordered is this Babymel Zip & Zoe Mini backpack with reins from Jojomamanbebe. I’m guessing if Ariella is walking by March then she can wear it which will be fun for her, the reins are removable. I’m undecided if I would use them or not, it really depends on how Ariella listens to instruction when walking. If she isn’t walking by then, one of us can easily carry it and although it won’t fit her iPad in, we will put this in one of our hand luggage bags instead.

Picture credit – Jojomamanbebe website

What I’m packing in our hand luggage

Ariella’s hand luggage

I always find it useful when packing for Ariella to consider her needs and split them down. For example I look at it like this.

Food & Water

Ariella won’t get food on the flight as she will be sharing our seats, so I’ll be taking two meals for the plane and we will have lunch at the airport together. I may stock up on my snacks for Ariella in the lounge too. We have weaned Ariella completely off milk and bottles but if you haven’t then you can always order your milk to Boots in the airport (airside) a few days before and collect it there.

The things in her hand luggage will be:

  • A bottle of water (purchased airside)
  • A cup
  • Healthy snacks for the plane and boat transfer
  • Dinner and Breakfast for the plane


We will try and keep her routine the same on the flights, so she will need all the things that she would normally to sleep.

  • Elephant comfort snuggler
  • A dummy
  • PJ’s for the flight
  • A blanket


This required a little forward thinking, I know from my own experience that Ariella will be very warm in any UK clothes over there so we intend to change her into more appropriate clothing on route. She will need suncream too as I’m not sure the boat transfer is covered and we will arrive in morning.

  • 4 x Nappies for the flight
  • 1 x Fresh wet wipes – We use the water wipes but any will do
  • 1 x Nappy bag pack
  • 1 x Changing mat
  • 1 x Summer dress
  • 1 x Sun hat
  • 1 x Sandals
  • 1 x Sun glasses
  • 1 x Travel pot of suncream – I’ll decant this myself into little travel size pots
  • 1 x Toothbrush
  • 1 x Travel pot of tooth paste – I’ll decant this myself too
  • 1 x Travel size nappy cream


I think this was probably the hardest to decide on, normally people recommend that you bring some toys that your child has never seen before for the flights. Stickers, small fidget toys, mess free art are some of the many examples but Ariella takes time to warm up to things in her environment so we are in her case going to take some favourites. I’m expecting the experience of the flight to be quite overwhelming for her so some reminders of normal will be good.

We will take:

  • Ariella’s iPad – I’ll load this with plenty of games, Cbeebies is available on a special children’s player app and you can download those too.
  • iPad charger
  • Headphones for the iPad
  • Books, we haven’t decided on these yet but will see where she is when we fly
  • Toys – A few small favourite toys nearer the time

We won’t need much for us, we will use the packs they give you on the flight mostly and perhaps a change of summer clothes for when we get there. This time we will take all our coats for the return trip in the UK, last time we went it was 0 degrees when we flew back and I was wearing flip flops and summer wear, I hadn’t packed a coat! Of course essentials like travel documents will go in ours too!

What’s going in the hold?

Change/Hygiene and Medicine

The Maldives requires no vaccinations and is free from Malaria, last time we visited we didn’t see any mosquitoes so we won’t bother taking spray this time.

In Ariella’s hold luggage we will pack:

  • Bulk of the nappies – We will take a months supply with us, knowing how a change in diet can upset little tummies we want to be prepared!
  • 4 x Waterwipes – We’ve allocated two packs a week
  • 2 x Factor 50 suncream, we will take a lesser spf one for us but we love the Banana boat range for Ariella.
  • Thermometer
  • Sachets of nurofen/calpol – These are great for travelling and they come portioned.
  • Summer clothes – T Shirts, shorts, dresses, beach play suits
  • Swim nappies – Plenty of swim nappies! I’ll probably take the disposable ones although I’m a big fan of the happy nappy reusable option normally.
  • Toddler toiletries – Shampoo, Wash and her thermostat for the bath.
  • Swimwear – lots of sets, over there it’s very warm and you spend most of your time in your swim wear.
  • Swimsuit UV Protected – The sun is very strong in the Maldives so I’ll be taking a UV suit for Ariella to wear when we feel that she will be out playing without shade.


  • 14 x Toddler snacks, enough for one a day in case Ariella doesn’t enjoy the food but given she eats so much variety I can’t imagine this will be an issue.


In addition to the hand luggage we are taking.

  • The rest of the PJ’s
  • Baby monitor – This will be useful for us in the evenings


Most family resorts have a kids club, ours will allow Ariella in if we pay for a babysitter as well (because she’s under the age range for the club). We expect to spend most of our time with Ariella and have coordinated our spa treatments which are already booked so that we can alternative them, this leaves one of us free to play with Ariella. We are staying in a beach villa this time with a pool and access to the lagoon so we will be taking lots of water toys and sand toys. I’m particularly fond of this Belgian company QUUT who make innovative beach toys so we may take some of these as they are all multifunctional.

Image credit to QUUT official website

  • Books – Ariella loves reading at the moment, I’ll be sure to bring quite a few of these as they are slim and easy to transport.
  • Swimming pool toys that float – As I mentioned above, we will have lots of water opportunities in the Maldives so I want to make sure that we use our environment for play.
  • A bucket and spade set from Melissa and Doug
  • A selection of familiar toys from home
  • Sticker book


We are taking her Tula toddler carrier, we won’t bother with the Stoke Xplory. We won’t be doing much walking due to the nature of being on a small island. I did look at travel strollers but we just don’t need it, it would probably be more difficult to navigate the sand with wheels anyway.

In our bags

Most of our clothing will be very light linen, beach cover ups, summer hats and I’ve dug out all the items I stored away from my last trip. The temperature averages between 29 – 32 degrees celsius but feels even hotter on the skin when you aren’t in shade. I wouldn’t bother with taking a jumper or cardigan as I don’t remember using mine once last time, even when it rains it’s warm. Think light, beach wear, sandals, flip flops, bare foot bliss.