10 Must Haves When You Dare To #travelwithtoddler
We travel with Baby G, a lot.
We have learned that when traveling with a kid, a whole lotta rules have got to get thrown out of the window. I heard some advice that the more you travel with your kid, the easier it gets. There is a lot of truth to that. However, once I stopped breastfeeding (G was 1), take off and landing on flights became a bit more difficult. Then, once Baby G entered toddlerhood (12 - 36 months), our travel game had to adapt.
Baby G’s first flight was when he was 3 months old. Since that time he has been on at least 20 other flights and a whole lotta car and train rides. Here’s the thing, Andres and I pack light. So, learning how to #travelwithinfant and then #travelwithtoddler has become a bit of an art.
Most trips have been easy. Those trips had flights that were 6 hours or less or car rides that were 4 hours or less. The most difficult trips were to India with a layover in Doha, 12 hour train travel within India, and any drive that was 8 hours or more.
I’m hoping that some of these items will allow you to ease your load while traveling so you can focus on the memories instead:
1) Lightweight Travel Crib:
The Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib is a must for us. The greatest part is that this folds easily, turns into a backpack and has a side zipper so it can convert to a playpen. Tip: You really do need to buy the sheets as well due to the tabs in this particular travel crib. You may have read this sleep nutrition article. When Baby G was still an infant we brought this on every trip and I squirted breast milk onto his lovey. It totally worked. This crib is a constant when traveling as it provides Baby G with familiarity and comfort. He falls asleep in it like a baby (pun intended). We allowed Baby G to sleep in our bed with us once during a trip. It was a nightmare… he just wanted to play, play, play. That was the end of that. Be sure to put this on your registry if expecting!
2) Lightweight Travel Stroller
We hopped onto the Summer Infant Brooklyn bandwagon due to the price (it used to be $65) and we saw it everywhere, so thought it must be reasonable. But any lightweight, easily foldable stroller will do. We would have fainted walking (for hours) in Cuba without this stroller.
Depending on where you travel, strollers may not be easy to use on the roads or in crowded spaces. For this reason, we have really depended on our carriers. We had a bunch of gently used carriers from friends. But we found that we depend on two of them when traveling. 1) I highly recommend a ring sling. We have worn my favorite (and pricey) ring sling on every trip. When Baby G was young, I could breastfeed while walking with my ring sling and as he gets older, it’s ideal for toddler naps while you are adulting. I actually purchased our ring sling because they are highly recommended on every petite mom blog (I’m 5’0 tall and Andres is 5’11). It’s so easy to put on and off and there is no need to deal with height adjustments. The brand doesn’t matter, just get one. 2) I also recommend a sturdy back carrier. When we went to Cuba last year, Andres was in charge of coordinating a youth arts exchange trip with youth from Brooklyn and his family and friends who live in Cuba. We knew that we had to be involved in every activity. So we got this Infantino backpack carrier because it was cheap and it allowed us (Read: Andres) to hike down to a waterfall via steep cliffs, securely. We recently upgraded to this LILLEbaby toddler back carrier since it holds up to 60 pounds. Note: Andres does most of the baby carrying when traveling. The way I see it is, I carried Baby G for ~ 7,200 hours (10 months, 24 hours a day) IN MY BODY, so Andres has A LOT of catching up to do . . .
4) Packing Cubes
These have changed our life travel game full stop. These are your personal Mari Kondos for travel. You will always stay organized. We never used them before we had a kid, which confuses me since we traveled so much. This specific brand does not peel in the laundry (thank you comments section)! I have washed AND dried them a ton already. I recently purchased this second set to add on.
5) Magnetic Drawing Board
I purchased one of these boards for $5 at a discount store before our trip to India. It was CLUTCH. Baby G drew on it in the airport, airplane, with his cousins . . . then, on the way home, we stepped on it and it broke. So we recently bought another… Everyone loves this. My dad was even drawing on it. Admittedly, Baby G isn’t an iPad kid. TRUST ME, we tried. But since he doesn’t watch a ton of tv/youtube at home, it doesn’t hold his attention when we travel.
After 22 hours in the air (with projectile vomiting onto Andres’ lap and plane seat), an 8 hour car ride (with more bouts of vomiting) and then a 12 hour train ride within India, I was like… “Let’s crush that sh** up and put it in his yogurt”. Travel became *much* better for all of us after that. Admittedly, we only had adult dramamine with us (but it provides dosage sizes for young kids). But you can get kids dramamine!
7) Large Ziplock Bags
If your kid DOES throw up you have these on hand! Put them under their mouth, let them puke, zip them up and throw them out. Genius hack a la Andres. Worked like a charm 3x during an 8 hour drive from Mumbai to Navsari. And remember to bring paper towels! Wet wipes don’t sop up vomit (we learned the hard way).
8) Spill Proof Sippy Cup
Everyone has these exact cups for a reason. They work. And when traveling, I guarantee your kid’s sippy cup will fall a bajillion times. Just remember to separate the two parts of the lid when cleaning.
9) Favorite Snack
My kid LOVES this packet. It has to be that exact flavor. He eats well at home. But once we start to travel, it’s difficult. He basically lived off of those pink packets, milk, water, ghee shakkar roti and Parle G crackers in India. Bring a lot. A lot a lot.
10) Favorite stuffed animal(s)/doll(s)
Bring them all. We brought Marco, Panda, Chase and Marshall to India. They come with us everywhere. Don’t worry about them taking up space. It’s better to bring 2 outfits and clean them in the sink than forget their precious comrades which provide comfort and companionship… I would hear Baby G say, “Good Morning, Marco, Good Morning, Pando… oh, Marco’s sad”, etc . . .
What did I miss that works for you? Please share!