Top 10 Toddler Travel Essentials
New parenthood isn’t usually filled with lists or organization. And if it is, then hats off to you! One of the first things that we discovered as new parents were that our adventure style was going to change in dynamic. In fact, we figured this out before the babe made his grand entrance, but the reality was so much different than we envisioned. Not in a bad way, but more in a “let’s add this to the experience bucket” type of way. So for those of you still able to read this without interruption, please power on and read about the top 10 toddler travel essentials you will want for your next family adventure!
SPILL-PROOF SNACK CUPS
Normally messes are a part of the gig when it comes to toddlers. During travel, we try to minimize this with spill-proof snack cups. This one by Munchkin is our favorite! It’s perfect to attach to our babe’s stroller and offers an easy way for him to enjoy a variety of snacks when we are on the go. The lid on the snack cups prevents other random things from flying into it.
SPILL-PROOF DRINK CUPS
Along with spill-proof snack cups, it’s a good idea to also bring leak-proof drinking or sippy cups. Depending on where your child is at with their development, we chose a couple that we have grown with. Our top picks are Dr. Browns Cheers 360 Spoutless cups and Munchkin. There are so many to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the options. We have found these have worked best with weaning our son from a bottle and were perfect for travel too!
EASY TO PACK TOYS
In our opinion, the easier the better! We don’t want to rely on a tablet to keep Maximus entertained during travel, so we like to bring along toys that will engage his mind and senses. One of our favorite toys is the Melissa and Doug On the GO Water WOW books. Maximus loves coloring these over and over, again. The best part is that it uses a water pen to activate the built-in colors. Perfect for in the car and on the plane! Speaking of planes the next two toys are a hit and so easy to play with during air travel. Fabric stickers and Squigz. The fabric texture and stickiness of fabric stickers entertain our babe since he can literally stick them anywhere; on himself, on us, on the plane. These have been a hit each time we travel. And Squigz are a suction cup-type toy that comes in different colors and sizes. A handful of them easily fit in a diaper bag and provide another way for your child to play in the air.
BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES & TABLET
This essential seems like an obvious choice for kids, but we use it for multiple reasons during our adventures. While Maximus is watching shows that we’ve downloaded for him, he uses the Picun Bluetooth Headphones. The awesome part about these headphones is that they are safe for young children, with a volume limit built-in as well as being cordless. A true win for my mama’s safety heart. The other reason that we use a tablet over a designated children’s tablet is that it doubles as a white noise machine and night light for when it’s bedtime! We downloaded apps for both options so we could mirror our at-home bedtime routine as closely as possible. We use this tablet here, with the matching childproof case. The safety bumpers are a must with an active toddler!
TODDLER FACE MASKS
Two years ago, I would not have imagined needing to include an essential like this, yet here we are! As a COVID precaution, Maximus has been wearing these dinosaur washable face masks when we are out in crowded public places. He is a little over two years old and successfully wears his mask while we are shopping in stores or in airports. We’ve found the cloth masks to be more of success since they are more fitting to his face, while also having the ability to adjust the ear straps (compared to disposables). We always bring extras and wash them wherever we are staying.
Pro Tip: Practice before your trip, we used this video to get our babe engaged with the idea of wearing a mask.
I never even knew this existed until I saw it on a travel vloggers video with their baby. I was impressed! We have taken our travel highchair on many trips and it’s one of those items that just makes sense! They are typically lightweight and self-contained. All you have to do is open it up and attach the straps to a dining chair, then voila, you have a highchair for your babe!
This travel essential is for travelers with picky little eaters. These count as a liquid, so we pack it with his bag of liquids when we are flying. However, snack pouches have come in handy during any of our outings. They are a quick and easy snack for your toddler, sometimes making the difference between a cranky baby and a happy one!
Here are some of Maximus’ favorite pouches:
ONE HANDED TRAVEL STROLLER & TODDLER HIKING PACK
As Max gets older, we have realized that the travel system we started out with was a bit labor-intensive when going through airport security (had to take the wheels off). It was just a lot to do with a toddler in tow. We settled on a Kolcraft Cloud Plus Stroller with excellent reviews on Amazon. For us, what mattered in a stroller was an easy open/close feature, with all the convenience for both toddlers and parents. For Maximus, there was a large sunshade for the bright days, a removable snack/drink tray, and a lay-down feature for when he dozed off. As parents, the lightweight, one-hand feature was our number one win, but this stroller also has a built-in tray for phones and two cups near the handles. The bottom of the stroller has a decent storage space for a purse, etc.
For the non-stroller destinations we’ve been to, we have found that a hiking carrier was most comfortable for our son. Clevr makes an affordable hiking backpack carrier that can be used on longer hikes or easy day hikes. A feature that Max likes is the detachable sunshade and the comfortable, padded seat.
BAG FOR YOUR CHECKED CAR SEAT
This may not be the most popular opinion, but we choose to check our car seats instead of using it on the plane. This typically works better for us, especially on longer flights. For checking our car seat, we use the Zohzo bag. We don’t want our car seat to get beat up during transit, so this heavy-duty, closed bag does the trick! There are straps to wear it like a backpack, which makes it even easier to transport through the airport as well.
Pro Tip: If you don’t need to check your car seat or need an easier way to transport it through the airport, check out this useful caddy. This is essential for making your airport movement easier!
DIAPER BAG WITH CHANGING PAD
Our BabbleRoo diaper bag is well built and has so many pockets to keep toddler travel organized. One of the best aspects of this bag is the changing pad that is included and has a dedicated storage pocket. Some of the notable features that make our lives easier are the detachable Binkie pouch, separate tablet section, multiple insulated areas, and easy wipe access side pocket
THERMOMETER/FIRST AID KIT
Especially during our current world health climate, a thermometer almost seems like a no-brainer for any essential travel list. Outside of that, children get sick and we’ve found it useful in monitoring Max if she doesn’t seem well when we are not at home. We like the vibration feature of this digital thermometer. In our first aid bag, we include fun Band-Aids, children’s Neosporin, baby Tylenol, and children’s Motrin.
BONUS ESSENTIAL: ADEN AND ANAIS SWADDLE WRAPS
I included this as a bonus because it’s just that awesome. Don’t toss these or donate them when your baby grows out of them! These swaddles double as a lightweight blanket for the typically chilly airplane. I’ve also fashioned one of these to hold Maximus for additional support while we slept during a red-eye flight.
SHARE WITH US
These are the items that we have prized highly during our adventures. Do you have the same travel essentials that we do? Please let us know in the comments below of any other essentials that you would recommend!
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