Traveling with young kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Due to my husband’s job as a aviation defense contractor I am often traveling with the kids alone. While it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, I have found with a few good traveling tips and some awesome products, traveling with with littles can actually be pretty easy!
Ten MUST HAVE items to help make traveling with babies and young children a lot easier for the whole family!
1. GoGo Kidz Travelmate
Why carry your child’s car seat when you can wheel it with ease? The GoGo Kidz Travelmate easily and quickly attaches to the back of a convertible car seat allowing you to push or pull it one handed through the airport! You can then use the Travelmateas a stroller for your child, or (my favorite) put all your carry-ons in the seat with the straps around the handle and wear baby/toddler. This gives you one hand free to do things like eat or attend to older children!
2. Baby Carrier
If you are the parent to a young baby or toddler a quality baby carrier is essential to traveling. Not only does it leave you hands free to carry bags, load up cars, hail taxis, or wrangle older children, it also keeps you from having to worry at all about your baby. Baby is safe and snug, has a place to nap on the go, and won’t be crawling around on the germy floor! For newborns I recommend a stretchy wrap or Nuroo, and for older babies and toddlers a soft structured baby carrier is key.
Note: It is possible that some TSA will ask you to remove baby from the carrier although this has NEVER happened to me. Instead they just ask to swab my hands, but you should be prepared for it if it happens. However, when flying most airlines may ask you to remove baby for take off and landing as it is a rule of theirs. I have found that I can get around this by asking if it is okay if I just unbuckle the carrier… with a newborn it isn’t a big deal to remove them from the carrier especially a wrap where they will snug right in!
3. CARES Harness
If you are flying with a young child and not using a car seat you must have the CARES Harness. This is one of the most brilliant and easy to travel with products I own. After my first son turned 2 and I had to buy him his own ticket, I was frustrated to learn my car seat was too big to fit on the small plane we were traveling on to see family. Trying to keep my son in his seat for 4.5 hours was exhausting. Since we were staying at my mom’s house for a period of time I immediately ordered one of these for our plane flight home. Since then we always travel with our Cares Harness. Created for children 22-44 lbs it weighs less than a pound and fits in my diaper bag or purse.
4. Reusable Bags
From snacks to keep your young ones occupied and satisfied, to a place to put those “accidents happen” clothing – if you have young children you will find a quality reusable bag invaluable! I love the Itzy Ritzy line of Snack Happens and Travel Happens bags. They are fun and colorful, while being waterproof and spill proof! My older son likes them because he knows exactly where to find his snacks in the diaper bag! I use the wet bags for cloth diapering, but also for a place to store all the yucky stuff that happens while traveling. We may have even had to use one as a car sickness bag…
5. Disinfecting Wipes
Kids touch everything, worse yet babies put everything in their mouths! While I don’t always sanitize everything (kids have to be exposed to some germs to build immunity), when it comes to traveling I am a fan of wiping down EVERYTHING with Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes. Especially when we get on to the plane. The arm rests, window shades, and tray tables all get wiped down with my Wet Ones travel sized wipes. Any toy that accidentally or purposely hits the ground also gets a good wipe down. While I am sure they are still getting exposed to some germs, I feel much better knowing I am cutting the risk of getting sick way down!
6. Toddler Busy Bags
If you are traveling anywhere that takes more than a few hours to get there I strongly recommend creating or purchasing a busy bag for your young child. I love the Packed 4 Fun bags in all sorts of themes (dinosaurs, things that go, and toddler fun pack) when it comes to traveling! For $24 you get a backpack filled with new and engaging toys and activities for your young child. Plus because it is all new it tend to hold your child’s attention longer!
Let’s face it – all kids love technology! A few free apps and a fun case (like the iGuy ) for kids and you can claim a few hours of quiet time. Our favorite free iPad apps include Preschool Monkey Lunchbox, Angry Birds, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and PBS Kids. I especially love putting a new movie or TV show on my iPad for my son who tends to fight naps while traveling. Usually 10-15 minutes in he’s fast asleep. A great set of kid’s headphones is also very helpful here!
8. Baby Playyard.
If you have an infant or toddler having a playyard while traveling is a must! Not only does it provide a place for your child to sleep, but it also gives them a safe space to play. I especially like the 4 Moms Breeze because it is so easy to use! (Seriously, even my 4.5 year old can assemble this playyard!
9. Backpack Diaper Bag
Forget anything that is going to take more hands away from you! If you are traveling with young kids a backpack diaper bag is the way to go! I’m a big fan of timi & leslie2-1 Joey Backpack and it has gone traveling with us on several vacations now. I especially like that it has a wipeable changing pad for on the go diaper changes!
10. aden+anais swaddle blankets
Truth be told I NEVER go anywhere without at least one or two of the aden+anais swaddle blankets in my diaper bag. They are super thin and don’t take up a lot of space, but they can be used in so many different ways! From a blanket, to a nursing cover, or even a pillow there are 101 ways these blankets will be helpful while traveling. They aren’t just for baby – I love to use them as a scarf when I get cold on the plane! My son likes them rolled up to support his head when sleeping, and the baby just wants to snuggle with them. Plus since they are muslin cotton they will help keep you warm but not too warm!
With the proper planning and a little help from the best gear on the market you will find that traveling is nothing to be afraid of!
What is your must have when traveling with young children?
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