Essential Gear for Traveling with Babies and Toddlers

Travelling with babies and toddlers can be a challenge. Believe me, I’ve done it. While I have yet to venture on an airplane with my son, I have been on a few road trips and a cruise. I’ve gotten a little better at deciding what to pack and what to leave at home, and learn what will go but not come back home.

The first challenge is packing. There is so much gear to slog along when your child is young it can be discouraging to even try to leave home. Most people use a Pack & Play, but if your child will sleep in something more portable like a KidCo PeaPod you’ll save on space and won’t break your back carrying it through airports (or cruise ports). If you have an older toddler an inflatable bed would be a nice option, but you’ll have to take turns blowing it up otherwise you’ll pass out! A lightweight, portable stroller with good storage is also key. Having a 300 pound jogging stroller is probably not the best option if you have an interior room for four people on a cruise.

Sometimes kids can get restless when strapped into a car seat for hours on end, either in the air or land. Most toddlers are too young to play games like Slug Bug or do a sing-along for three hours but keeping them occupied is a must. A portable dvd player can help pass the time along with some age-appropriate DVD’s from Baby EinsteinVeggie Tales, or Disney. My son loves to watch all the Baby Einstein puppets, and I love that he is happy for about 40 minutes and not crying to get out of his seat.

Feeding and diapering while away from home has its own considerations. The best advice I received is to pack a box that will hold all of your diapering and feeding gear and make sure most of it is disposable, so you don’t have to bring the box back with you from the trip. Estimate how many dipes and wipes you’ll need for the trip and add a few extra for good measure. If you can bring smaller tubes of cream instead of jars, go for it. Disposable changing pads are great for public bathrooms and disposable bibs mean you don’t have to worry about washing out spaghetti-stains after dinner.

Use Playtex Drop-ins for bottle-fed kids because washing bottles every few hours in the bathroom sink isn’t all that pleasant – and I’ve had to do it. If you’re cruising, you’ll be eating all your meals out which means highchairs will be used quite often. Bringing your own highchair is unrealistic, so a portable highchair cover will keep your baby protected from the icky sauce spills of previous child diners and packs away well in a suitcase. When I went on my trip, the box I used to pack his diapering and feeding gear did not come back with me and I only had a few leftover items to put in my luggage. I think it was the first time I actually went on a cruise and came back with less than I left with. Score!

In the future when I travel I know it should get easier, at least when it comes to all the equipment that is required. But, with a few of these handy items and good planning, travelling with a toddler can be a little less stressful, which means everyone can enjoy themselves all the more when you arrive at your destination. If you’ve traveled with little ones, share your tips with us. Leave a comment!


2 Responses to Essential Gear for Traveling with Babies and Toddlers
  1. Jody @ Mommy Moment
    January 29, 2012 | 12:33 pm

    Ooh, I like the idea of a portable high chair cover! Great list!

  2. Julia
    January 29, 2012 | 12:35 pm

    This is a great list! I also never traveled without a baby carrier. Loved my Kindercarry and Didymos.

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