“Travel with a toddler, are you crazy? I would never! Good Luck!” These are just a few things I heard when telling others our toddler would be traveling with my husband and me to Arizona. As we began to reach closer to our departure date, I started to wonder myself if it was a good idea. I worried about how I was going to keep my 2-year-old daughter occupied for a three-and-a-half-hour flight. Would she be scared during take-off and landing? Would she get homesick? How was I going to pack diapers, clothes, and toys all in one suitcase? If all of these thoughts are running through your head as well, then keep reading! I’ve teamed up with Stephen Joseph to share my top 5 must-haves when traveling with a toddler!
5 Must Haves When Traveling With A Toddler
While you’ll want to customize your list for your specific trip and child’s needs, I’ve rounded up the top 5 things you definitely will want to consider. Traveling with a toddler is the perfect way to make lifelong family memories. Set yourself up for success by planning ahead!
I have listed snacks first for a reason. Whose child doesn’t like to snack? I may have a toddler who is the world’s pickiest eater, but she will sit for a packet of M&Ms or a fruit snack. One thing we know when flying as adults is that you are supposed to chew gum to pop your ears. Most toddlers don’t chew gum, or at least mine hasn’t yet, so how are they supposed to pop their ears? Snacks! Have them munch on something yummy. It is a great distraction for the uncomfortable feeling of take-off and landing AND helps them pop their ears too!
Another great reason to have snacks handy is that their normal eating times may vary when traveling. You may have a wait time at a restaurant or a busy day filled with fun activities that will change dinner plans. My toddler gets hangry when she doesn’t eat, so it was nice to have a snack or two to keep her in good spirits until we had time for a full meal.
2. Busy Toys
I thought one thing to keep my child from getting homesick was to pack toys from home. While that may be true, I think it is just as important to have new toys to keep them busy. A toy that is new and exciting will keep your toddler occupied while waiting on a shuttle, time on a plane, or taking a break at the hotel. The next challenge I faced was, how was I going to pack these different toys and still be able to fit diapers and clothes in the suitcase as well? Stephen Joseph had the perfect solution for me.
Their classic bunny print backpack was the perfect size for my daughter to carry on the go. Inside the backpack, we had one of Stephen Joseph’s Travel Tin Magnetic Dress Up Kit and a 4-in-1 Magnetic Puzzles Kit. Both were the perfect size for travel and kept my toddler busy. In addition, we added a book, snacks, diapers, wipes, one extra set of clothes, and an empty sippy cup for milk or water. For most of the trip, my husband or I had the backpack, but kept the weight of the bag light, just in case our daughter wanted to carry it.
Are you planning a day at the beach? Stephen Joseph also has a fun selection of beach totes and beach towels that every toddler will love. As a bonus, the beach tote comes with sand toys!
Every child or adult enjoys a break now and then with a movie or game. My husband and I thought it would be best to pack along our tablet for our daughter to watch her favorite movie or cartoon. This was another perfect distraction while we were on the plane and had down time on our trip.
One thing to note is that the airline we flew through did not have wifi to access our choice of streaming services, but they did have their own wifi connection to their own private library of movies, shows, and games. If your toddler is like ours and has their favorite cartoon, many streaming services offer the ability to download single episodes, so when it comes time that you don’t have wifi, they can still view their show.
4. Car Seat
If you are headed somewhere where you plan to rent, borrow, or ride in a vehicle, don’t forget a car seat! With most airlines, you can check the car seat for free. I purchased a car seat cover to keep our car seat clean while being handled at the airport and in transport.
Other items that might be nice to have along are a stroller or toddler carrier. We chose to bring along a toddler carrier to have our daughter in for places where it was not safe for her to walk on her own. We also found that many child-friendly tourist spots have the option to rent a stroller.
5. Comfort Item(s)
Does your toddler sleep with a blanket? A nuk? A sound machine? A fan? Think about the items you use to calm your child down. These items will come in handy to make them feel comfortable and at home. My husband and I were working on limiting the time our daughter had her nuk, but decided it would be best to wait until after our vacation to make a more drastic reduction. We were able to enjoy ourselves, since she had her comfort items with us, and she could nap wherever our day took us.
Our toddler also sleeps with a box fan on at night. Have you ever had a white noise that you were used to falling asleep to, and one night didn’t have that noise? It’s hard to fall asleep! In order to make sure your toddler gets a good nights sleep, it’s best to pack along that sound machine or travel size fan.
Other comfort items that you may want to consider are a sun hat and sunglasses! Keeping kids comfortable in the elements, especially on a trip is definitely important. Stephen Joseph provides many different patterns and colors to go with any summer outfit, so your toddler will be feeling stylish while being comfortable out in the sun.
Now that you have read through my 5 must-haves, hopefully, I sparked a few new ideas that will make you feel confident when traveling with your toddler. Be sure to head on over to Stephen Joseph’s website and check out all the great products they have to offer before your next vacation!
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