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Our top 10 travel must haves #markwarnermum

February 28, 2017

As a child I was lucky to not only have some wonderful holidays in the UK, but as we got older we started to visit places further afield. The memories made on these family holidays are ones I still have now, and I hope to give my girls the same varied adventures that I had. I read an article in the Telegraph recently that suggested that children make their best memories on holiday and that makes sense; adults have switched off from their day to day life and spend quality time with their children, there’s no washing up or chores to worry about on holiday.

As a nation we spend the second highest amount on toys annually in the World, and the article explored that if we spent less on these material goods we would have more disposable income to spend on these moments that children treasure both in the moment and for a lifetime. I am really guilty of this, if you could see my family room right now you’d see a rainbow explosion of plastic, if I added it up over the year I think I would probably be horrified, and I definitely agree that holidays are more important and create better memories for my children… There’s a challenge in there for me!

Mark Warner are experts in organising holidays that create these memories for families and have been doing it for over 35 years. Really excitingly they have given bloggers the challenge to design a mood board to show their top ten travel must-haves in a competition to become this year’s #MarkWarnerMum and #MarkWarnerDad with the winning bloggers representing the company on trips to their selected sun and ski resorts. As soon as I saw this competition I had to enter! We have just started to venture into the world of family holidays and have been on two outside of the UK so far. We are learning what we like to do as a family and how to travel with two under three so I am keen to find new places for us as a family to fall in love with.

So, here is my entry…

Hi Mark Warner team!

A quick introduction, I’m Sarah (the writer and curator of everything Surrey Mama) and this is my family, husband Nick, daughter Amelie – our 2.5 year old going on 15 year old toddler and Evie our 5 month old new baby.


Our top 10 travel must haves

We loved having a think about what our top 10 travel must haves would be. It’s fair to say that the list has changed post children. Pre children our list would have had lots of things like adventures in far away destinations, cool bars and restaurants, city escapes, boutique hotels and culture. Although we didn’t want our holidays to change drastically, the reality of having two children under three means that we don’t really want to fly over 6 or 7 hours and having some home comforts are really important, especially with a baby. However, neither of us like going on the same holiday every year as we love to experience new places so we still have and want that sense of adventure.

We thought it would be interesting to ask our toddler Amelie what her top 10 travel must haves were in comparison to ours – you can find out what she thought in our vlog here:

Mine and Nicks list was slightly different, we came up with the following – check out my Instagram for our image mood board.

In summary our top 10 travel must haves are:

Good food and drink 

This is so important to us as a family. Nick and I both really enjoy eating out and trying new things so being able to experience new cuisines on holiday is one thing we both really look forward to, obviously a good cocktail or two wouldn’t go a miss either! Food for the girls is also a big consideration. We have quite a fussy toddler so we always look for somewhere that will cater for her and with Evie coming up to 6 months shortly not only will she start having solids, she’ll still be having bottles so we’ll need somewhere we can sterilise all of her equipment.

iPad / Camera

An iPad used to be a must for our holidays to read on whilst relaxing however it’s now used more for our toddler! It’s a life saver for us on long journeys where she’s a little restless and needs something to occupy her for a few minutes.

A camera is a real must for me. I’ve just treated myself to a Canon EOS M3 which I love, so I’ll be capturing moments not only for our memories but to also share our adventures with others on my blog and YT channel.

Time to relax

This is so important for everyone to recharge their batteries and the fresh sea air usually helps everyone have better sleep and really switch off on holiday. We both love reading and we don’t do enough of it when we’re at home. Nick likes to read inspiring books about the business he works in and I love a crime thriller. In the evenings when the girls are in bed we both like to have a drink and relax with a book, there’s something nice about switching the TV off when you’re away and really escaping from normal life.

Kids club/babysitter 

Amelie goes to pre-school four mornings a week and loves the activities and being busy, so when she’s on holiday we like to try and keep that morning routine. It means she’s not in the sun all day, she has fun, and Mum and Dad get to have some important relaxation time. We found last year we had such fun afternoons as a family as everyone had done something for themselves in the morning.

Family time 

As much as we both want time to relax as individuals and a couple, we cherish the family time we have on holiday. Amelie loves swimming and the beach so doing these activities everyday is so special for her and us. Often our weekends are really busy with play dates, classes and chores so on holiday we really get to spend time as a family of four and I am so excited to do that this year.


Neither Nick or I can sit still for too long in the day, we’ll read for a while but then jump in the pool or go and find an activity so a resort that can offer relaxation as well as water or land activities is a win for us. Pre children we both loved playing tennis and trying watersports on holiday so as the girls get older we’ll be looking for a holiday that offers these.

Bugaboo and its travel case

Evie loves to sleep outside in her pram so a big travel must for us is her Bugaboo pram and also the travel case we bought to keep it safe in the hold of the plane. This means we can keep her environment as similar to home as possible and she gets the same good sleep she does at home.

To have an adventure and explore

We both love to explore new countries and places, so we do love to escape a resort and go and see what’s on offer in the local area. It might take a little more planning this year but with a confident toddler and a baby carrier, expect to see us vlogging about our adventures outside of a resort.

Swimming costumes

A must have. We all love to swim – Nick did his first triathlon last year and will be doing more this year so will be wanting to do some long swims. I’m really excited to start to teach Amelie how to swim and Evie hasn’t been in the pool yet so there will be great memories to be made on our holiday this year.


Amelie hasn’t been a big fan of sand until recently when she discovered sand castles so I imagine our holidays from now on will need to have a nice beach so she can spend hours building and destroying her creations. I am also a big fan of a long walk along the beach – there is something about sea air that I love.

And there it is, our top 10 travel must haves.

Lots of fun was had…

We certainly had fun making this blog and vlog – I for one really enjoyed thinking about what our must haves were and it’s made me think about what we’ll need this year in order to fulfil them.

Poor Amelie is a little confused though. Every morning since we filmed the packing vlog she has asked when we are going on ‘ooliday’ and when the taxi will be coming (I’m not sure where the taxi part came from, too much Peppa Pig maybe?!). Anyway we have left her suitcase in our family room so she’s having loads of fun playing ‘oolidays’ and we’re dreaming of when we can take her on our next adventure…



p.s. no toddlers were injured in the making of this film

I’d love to be your #markwarnermum and more importantly we can’t wait to make our family memories with Mark Warner #markwarnerfamilymemories

Sarah & family


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  • Reply five little doves July 15, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Time to relax is the one that jumps out at me the most and yet with four children, this NEVER happens!! We are away next week but I cant see it being relaxing. These are fab must haves, I think my must have is wine….

    • Reply Sarah July 18, 2017 at 4:07 am

      Haha yes wine, definitely wine! Have a wonderful holiday x

  • Reply Eva Katona July 18, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Great list with the essentials!

    • Reply Sarah July 20, 2017 at 6:05 am

      Thank you x

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