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March 28, 2019
Whether you are going by plane, train or automobile, traveling with little kids is stressful for even the most organized of parents. With one spring break trip already under our belt and two more coming up I thought there was no better time to put together our must haves for traveling with kids. Because let’s get real, we aren't going on a vacation - we are going on a trip!
In this picture, my son was taking my water even though he had his own.
Some items that I would never leave home without, let alone travel without.
Layers - As someone who is nearly always cold, I always make sure to have extra layers for my kids. Especially if we are going somewhere warm and coming from somewhere cold, I dress my kids in a tank top or t-shirt, sweatshirt and lightweight jackets. Inevitably someone will be hot or cold, so the more layers to remove or put on the better. Our loungewear is a great layering piece! It’s lightweight, super soft and virtually weightless making it a great option in a carryon.
Lysol wipes - I wipe down anywhere my kids could eat off of or touch (tray tables, arm rests, I just remembered I forgot to wipe down the seat belt buckle on the plane this past weekend and it’s making cringe just thinking about it).
Snacks - While I’d like to say I wash and cut fruit and vegetables and bring them in reusable bags, let’s get real - I don’t. What I do pack are lots of single servings of different kinds of junky snacks that I know they like, aren’t greasy or messy and hopefully take a while to eat. Someone suggested putting snacks in plastic Easter eggs or candy tins. It makes it a game and takes a while to eat.
Hand Sanitizer - I am partial to this one, but any really do. For some reason, sometimes my kids go ballistic if I ask them to wash their hands. It’s like I told them to throw out their ice cream cone midway, so while I prefer soap and water sometimes I choose to let them think they won.
Wipes - Even if your kids are fully potty trained, I still find us using wipes to clean off hands and mouths. If you are a mama who has a kid in diapers or newly potty trained, then of course diapers and wipes are always with you.
While it seems super gross, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that some airlines equip their planes with changing tables in the bathroom. I have unfortunately needed to use them and was super grateful. In those cases, I thoroughly wipe them down or lay a disposable changing cover over the table.
Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom
Collapsible Potty Seat - Both of my kids were petrified of the regular sized toilet when they were newly potty trained. This collapsible potty seat was great for transitioning from the little potty to a bigger one. I kept this one folded up in a ziplock in my purse and would unfold it to make the toilet seat area much larger.
Hats: The airplane can get so sunny, that I find my kids need their hats for take off and landing. One that came highly recommended was Bitty Brah. They are a line of surf inspired hats that are water resistant, have a flexible visor and on top of it - they donate 10 diapers to families in need for every hat that’s purchased.
Motrin/Tylenol - Because let’s be honest, someone is bound to get sick!
Sunblock: I recently read an article about how susceptible we are to UV Rays on the airplane and should always wear sunblock. To be honest, I am not great at applying, but I am trying to get better for me and my kids!
While we are nearly past the age of needing strollers, we do bring car seats and boosters if we aren’t going to visit family who already have them and are doing a bit of driving. Our favorites for travel are:
Booster: The Bubblebum is a cost-effective, portable, lightweight inflatable car booster seat for children aged between 4-11. It easily deflates and folds flat so that anyone can carry it in a backpack or handbag.
Carseat: My personal favorite for price and weight is the Evenflo Tribute. At just 9 lbs, around $50 and thousands of positive reviews, it was a no brainer for us. I even got it for my mom for her car.
Travel Stroller: I must admit, I hate umbrella strollers. They are rickety and have no storage or steering. I sold both of my umbrella strollers and bought the City Mini double and couldn't be happier. It's lightweight (not as light as an umbrella) and is super easy to collapse.
If you are a big traveler with kids and need something lightweight, I would recommend looking into it further. I rarely travel with a stroller these days, but I have noticed a lot of Babyzen YoYo strollers. I did some research out of curiosity and it seems pretty awesome. It collapses to the size of a carryon bag and has the capability to open and close with one hand, all at around 13lbs.
Most recently, I had my kids each pick one of their backpacks and fill it with things for the trip with the one catch being they had to carry their own backpacks. They were really excited about it and even wanted to wear their backpacks through the airport. I was even able to sneak their snacks in their bags.
I mean did people really travel before ipads?
Ipad - I honestly don’t know how people traveled before this. I am pretty sure I could take my daughter anywhere as long as there are enough movies and shows downloaded. My son can only watch so much TV before he loses attention, hence the other activities and food.
Kids Headphones: This is an absolute must! Any type of kids headphones will do, but adult ones are never that comfortable and are always too big. We use Kidz Gear and iclever for our kids. They are lightweight, come in fun colors and are really cushiony. Kidz Gear also comes with a volume slider on the cord so the kids can each make it as loud or soft as they want. Don’t forget to get a splitter! We only use one iPad when we travel so the splitter allows both kids to watch together on their own headphones.
For when your kid doesn’t want to watch the ipad.I usually bring a pack of magnetic travel games, which is genius since crawling down the plane or train aisles feels aggressive. I also love to bring the game Spot it, it’s one my daughter and I both like to play and comes in a compact little tin. I also bring coloring books and new crayons. I know a lot of people suggest stickers, but I feel guilty leaving stickers everywhere my kids put them and I don’t feel like picking them off. For whatever reason, my kids feel the need to use every sticker on the sheet so they inevitably go random places.
Sleeping out of their comfort zone is never fun for anyone, so while your kids may miss their bed - hopefully these items will make them feel a little more comfortable.
Lovies - if your kid uses one, obviously bring it. If you have a back up - bring that too!
Sound Machine - This sound machine is super compact that you will never even notice it in your carry on.
Black Out Shades - I was so happy to learn about these! We recently went to visit a friend and she didn’t have any shades in the room my kids were sleeping. These have suction cups so they cling to any window size. They also are pretty wide so 1 can go across 2 windows side by side.
Bed - We are at the age where my kids can sleep in beds when we go places. My son just did it, but he’s still in a crib at home. I am all for bumpers on the beds, but if your little one is still too small for a bed, everyone always raves about the Bjorn travel crib.
Hopefully this gets you through the first night! Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!!!
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