Surviving Tot Travel Over The Holidays
Photo credit: Silver Cross UK Ltd / Wikimedia
At 18 months old, my toddler is already a road warrior. She's been on 14 flights, seen eight states and traveled like a champ through several 11-hour road trips.
When traveling with a little one, it helps to have three things: 1) oodles of flexibility; 2) a sense of humor; and 3) the right baby gear.
Check out our picks for travel-friendly baby gear:
Backpack filled with toys
Bring along a bag filled with special toys your child hasn't seen before. Pack a combination of stimulating distractors with fancy lights, sounds and buttons and quiet activities like books and small toys. I love using this toddler backpack with my daughter. It has side pockets for easy sippy cup access and is small enough for her to carry, but it still holds a lot of toys. Plus, it comes with a detachable harness which can come in handy in touristy areas or while traveling through an airport.
Try: Preschool Happens Little Kid Backpack with Harness, Itzy Ritzy, $20
Usually our schedules get a little wonky when we travel and our regular mealtimes get moved around. I always pack along a bunch of snacks when we travel to help avoid meltdowns due to a changing schedule. Plus, toddlers are easily distracted with food. This bento lunch box comes with multiple little containers and an insulated tote to store extra snacks. I also like bringing along a snack catcher with a lid for munchies on the go.
Try: bento box, Laptop Lunches, $38 (on sale)
Most hotels have a play pack available for use during your stay, but if you are staying with family or making the rounds to multiple stops, it helps to have a portable crib to take with you. I like this portable crib because it is lightweight and easy to set up in a flash.You can keep an eye on your tot with the wide mesh panels and it comes with an inner fleece sheet so you don't have to worry about packing something extra. It folds up flat, making it easy to pack for road trips.
Try: Parentlab JourneyBee Portable Crib, Amazon, $170
Taking a sound machine on the road is the simplest way to replicate Baby's sleeping environment at home. We like this sound machine because it also has a projection screen which my daughter loves to look at while relaxing. If you're dealing with limited packing space, you could always download a white noise app to your phone — we like the White Noise Ambience app from iTunes — but having a separate sound machine is more convenient because you'll want to use your phone to catch up on messages and travel arrangements while Baby is sleeping.
Try: SoundSpa Lullaby Sounds & Projection, Homedics, $30
A cozy blanket
Traveling over the holidays usually means traveling in cold weather. I like bringing along a soft and cozy blanket my daughter can snuggle up to during long road trips. It also makes sleeping in a play pack just a little more comfortable. If your kid has a lovey blankie he's attached to, consider taking that, but only if you have a backup in case it gets lost on the road. My daughter has a Little Giraffe lovey blanket that's incredibly soft, and this baby blanket is on my lust-list for winter travel.
Try: Luxe Snow Leopard Baby Blanket, Little Giraffe, $93
Travel high chair
If you're staying at Grandma's house for a week, it might make sense to just go ahead and buy a space-saving high chair to use for the visit; but if you're bouncing around to different spots, staying in hotels or expecting to eat out a lot, a travel booster seat might come in handy. This isn't on my must-have list for traveling, but I like to keep it in the car as a spare, especially if we are traveling with other small children in our clan. While most restaurants have highchairs, many only have one or two available, which is a problem if there are several little ones in your group. This one is so lightweight I've even packed it in luggage for a plane trip.
Try: Go Anywhere Travel Feeding Booster, Wayfair, $37
The writer received the Laptop Lunches bento box, JourneyBee Portable Crib, and Go Anywhere Travel Feeding Booster Seat from the respective brands so she could try out the products. All opinions expressed in the article are based on the reviewer's own assessments of the products.