Packing For Travel With Toddlers
Ohh traveling. Before having kids, traveling still required the right items for a successful trip. But adding kids (especially toddlers) into the mix creates an even greater need to have the right "stuff" so that no one loses their sanity on the way to the destination!Obviously, you need to pack clothes and shoes, toiletries, and all of the normal day-to-day stuff. But, when I became a parent getting ready for my first long trip with my 15-month old, that stuff wasn't what I had questions about. I wanted to know what I needed to survive the actual "traveling" that we would be doing first by plane and then by car. So, I reached out to the veteran moms that I knew to get a list and have continued to adjust the list for my growing toddler's needs. Here are my best suggestions!
Toddler backpack: You can make this a fun and exciting thing for them. They get to have snacks and toys (or whatever else) in their very own bag! Toddlers eat that stuff up. This also keeps you from having to cram your carry on even more full of stuff. Need a toddler backpack? Check these out: Fjallraven Mini Kanken, Zoo Pack, or the Petunia Critter Pack.
Snacks: This is a no-brainer. But, to add a little excitement for entertainment we like to add some new and fun treats or snacks into the mix! Maybe take your toddler to the store with you and let them pick one or two snacks they want to pack in their backpack. Just another thing to look forward to!
No-spill sippy cup or water bottle: For hydration purposes, but also because sucking and swallowing during elevation changes can help avoid pain from the pressure. Suckers or candy that can be sucked on also works great here! If flying, be sure to slightly twist the lids of the cups open after takeoff or landing to release the pressure so your little one (or the people behind you) don't get sprayed in the face by pressurized liquid. FLIGHT DISCLAIMER: keep these things empty until you get through security. As long as there is not any liquid in them, they should not be taken from you.
More than one pacifier: If your kiddo still takes a pacifier you do not want to be caught in a lost-paci situation mid drive or flight!
Favorite lovey or stuffed animal: I learned this the hard way. When a toddler has an absolute favorite item, never and I repeat NEVER leave on a trip without it. Even if you plan to buy them a fun new stuffed animal at Disneyland or wherever you are going (my girl didn't care one bit that I wanted her to have cute Minnie Mouse.) Familiarity is key! Jaq Jaq Bird Chalk Book
Attention keeping activities: I like to bring a few favorite books or toys, and always stickers. Then I buy one or two new things to amp up the entertaining while en route! I absolutely love these productsl Jaq Jaq bird chalk book and butter chalk, Magnatab, or these awesome Squigz.
Change of clothes and underwear/diapers out of usual luggage: You do not want to be caught without a change of clothes if the sudden pukes, poops, or spills get the best of you. Obviously, if you are on the plane and have checked your luggage you are out of luck unless you have changes of clothes and underwear (or extra diapers) in your carry on with you. Road trips in the car often mean super packed trunk space. Tearing the luggage out of the back of the car on the side of the road is just the worst. Keep changes somewhere accessible!
Medications: For some reason, this is the thing that I most often forget. We don't have any daily prescribed medications in our house, so that might be why I don't remember. But, having the stuff to administer if you encounter pain or illness while traveling is so necessary! Check your ounces of liquid medications if you are flying! No one wants to toss a perfectly good bottle of Tylenol!
Travel Potty: Going to be driving? Getting right off an exit for a potty break by the car takes a lot less time than pulling into a gas station to go inside to use the bathroom every hour or so. Think about how you will dispose of used wipes and poo-poo before leaving the house so you aren't caught without trash bags or options!
Dress kids in comfortable clothes and shoes: Nothing makes me more irritated while traveling than feeling uncomfortable, I imagine kids feel the same. Planes can go from hot to seriously cold so I always put leggings on my daughter, a short-sleeved shirt, and have a jacket and a semi-light blanket in my carry on or her backpack. Car travel seems to vary less when it comes to temperature, but I still use the same method when traveling by car. I would rather add layers along the way than have my babe strapped in a car seat sweating because they are too hot!
Wipes, wipes, wipes: Replace the partially used wipe package in your diaper bag with a brand new one. Pack more than you would usually use for your time period traveling too! Don't change diapers anymore? Still, go to the store and get yourself a few packages of wipes! These just come in handy SO often. I was surprised how often I needed to dispose of a dirty wipe while traveling.
Diapers: If you do have a kid in diapers, take more than you usually use at home. If I have learned anything since becoming a mother it is that things just don't always go as planned. You do not want to be caught in an airport for a long unexpected layover, or somewhere remote unexpectedly overnight without enough. If you are flying, keep a fair amount in your carryon! Diapers in luggage under a plane sure are pretty useless when you're sitting stuck in an airport.
Strategic snack placement: I always keep a few snacks in my toddler's backpack because she thinks it is so cool. But, I also don't want her to blow through them all in the first five minutes of traveling. I keep most snacks in my bag or up front in the car so I can "ration" them!
Downloaded movies or shows: In general I am very conscious about how much media my kid consumes. But there are times when the convenience of our generation outweighs the possible tantrum and stressed parent outburst that is brewing. A few favorite movies or shows downloaded on your phone or tablet will be a literal lifesaver when everyone has come to the end of their patience ropes!
Consider a travel stroller: Regardless of if you are going to be traveling in the car or by airplane this can be a huge asset! Quick convenient folds, smaller footprint when folded and unfolded, and a handful of other things. Not sure what you would truly look for in a travel stroller? We love the Uppababy G-Luxe This little video gives you a rundown of the awesome features.