By request, I’ve compiled a list of the best items for traveling with a toddler. A lot of these items we’ve been using since Baby A was an infant, so they have become favorites of mine!
1. Travel Crib. Most if not all hotels have cribs, but we like to bring our own, and I’ll tell you why. A) I know it’s clean. B) I know it’s safe. C) She’s used to it. Sleeping in a strange place is no joke. A tired and cranky child (and parent) due to lack of sleep is no laughing matter either. We even sometimes nap her in it at home if it’s a bit in between trips, just to keep her used to it. We’ve been using the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Lite, and I like it because it’s SUPER easy to set up, lightweight, has an amazingly durable travel bag, and everything is machine washable. Sheets are below.
2. Disposable Bibs & Placemats. I know disposables are not the most environmentally friendly, but they save SO. MUCH. SPACE. While nowadays it’s rare for Baby A to keep a bib on, we always still take one with us. These are great because it has the food catcher at the bottom.
Placemats, however, we still use religiously. For a while I was wiping down restaurant tables before sitting her down, and I was so grossed out by the dirt that came off. Covering the table wherever we go until she’s fully eating off a plate is a must.
3. Disposable Straw Cups. I never thought I’d run into restaurants that don’t have kid cups. And now places are doing away with plastic straws, which I GET, but paper straws get so soggy and don’t work well with toddlers. At least mine. Baby A was never thrilled with her bottle, so when she turned 1 and we took it away she was happy to give it up. We’ve actually been mostly on straw cups since around 6 months. She never took to sippy cups either. We love the Munchkin weighted straw cups the best. However, they are NOT travel friendly because they are SO bulky! The cups above are so easy to travel with. They can be washed and reused, but you also don’t feel guilty about throwing them out. We LOVE them and are a must for any trip.
4. Travel High Chair/Booster Seat. For road-type trips we keep the Summer Infant pop and sit in our car. We’ve also known to bring it into hotel rooms. It’s been a lifesaver, especially when she started solids. Hotel rooms don’t have a ton of places to feed a baby whose just learning to eat, so unless we put her in her stroller (which when doing purees was MESSY), this high chair was our go to. It folds up and has its own carrying bag.
Now that she’s a toddler, we never leave home without the First Years On-The-Go Booster seat. It wipes clean easily, and I haven’t come across a chair it doesn’t fit on. It’s lightweight and travels easily. This thing comes everywhere with us, down to Disneyland. I’m thinking of getting a second as a backup.
5. A travel stroller. I’m including this because it’s the advice I always got. Get a travel stroller. So I’m passing it on, but to be honest we bring our big stroller everywhere we possibly can because we LOVE it SO MUCH. We do also own the Summer Infant 3D Flip, but we never really took to it. It met two things I wanted. A) Portability and B) the option for Baby A to face me. I feel like she’s so much more comfortable in her regular stroller though, and the storage is way better too. We never find it too bulky to travel with. Quite the opposite actually. We LOVE traveling with it so much so that I think I would feel lost without it. On planes we gate check it, and place it in a stroller bag, which protects it against dings and germs.
6. Pacifier Sterilizer. We have a major pacifier issue in our house. Baby A was first introduced to one in the NICU, even before she met us. It’s kind of sad when you think about it. Anyway, I think she may be the first person ever who will inevitably go to high school with one, because I have no idea how I’m going to take it away from her. The world is a germy place, so when it’s dropped on unfavorable floors where you feel just a wash won’t do this portable sterilizer is a must. It requires batteries, so keep that in mind.
7. Stroller Fan. I always worry about her overheating. Especially when she was super young. So no matter if we’re at the zoo, the park, or a theme park, I want her to stay cool, especially while in the stroller. Fans always make me nervous because babies are so grabby. This one, while pricier than most, has no blades and works really well. Be sure to read it’s proper use and put it on the SIDE and not ON TOP of the stroller, because it is a little heavy.
8. Portable Playyard. I’ve never flown with it, but honestly I wouldn’t be opposed to, especially when they’re so little and you want a safe space to put them down. I know that sounds weird. When she was little we would put a blanket down, but when she started crawling/walking letting her loose in a hotel room made me nervous. I liked having this enclosed space that I knew she was safe in. While 9/10 we usually double our travel crib as a play pen, if we didn’t travel with a crib this would be our go to.
9. Portable Bathtub. This blows up easily and is very lightweight for traveling. It even has a little indicator that monitors if the water is too hot. I’ll never forget the mess we made when we tried bathing her in a hotel room for the first time with one of us holding her and the other one washing. This tub was a lifesaver! Even now, she loves baths!! So sometimes when we get a hotel room with a shower only, we still fill this up and use it!
10. Packing Cubes. I used to be a ziplock queen when it came to traveling. EVERYTHING I owned was placed inside a ziplock bag before being packed away. That’s really wasteful and expensive. We invested in a bunch of packing cubes and never looked back. I especially love it for baby blankets and clothes that you want to keep clean. Especially when hands are searching through your bags, like in security at the airport or something.