I’ve been fortunate enough to do some travel with my little one over the years. But after our latest cross-country flight to California, I realized how different traveling with a toddler versus traveling with an infant is. Toddlers are much more mobile, and need to be constantly entertained. But honestly, I found traveling with a toddler to be much less stressful. And these toddler travel essentials made my life, and our travel, easier!
I mentioned snacks first because I have a very food-motivated little one. But every mom knows that a hungry toddler is a cranky toddler. All the toys in the world won’t help if they’re not well-fed! For our trip I packed applesauce pouches, goldfish crackers, a banana, individually packaged trail mix packets, and whole wheat fig bars. We also brought her an empty water bottle to fill with water once inside security. (If you need more toddler snack ideas, be sure to check out my healthy toddler snack ideas post!)
We all know, perhaps a little too well, that toddlers are super-independent. Before our trip, I purchased a small toddler backpack for our travel. This allowed Layla to carry her own toys. Of course, she loved being a “big kid” with her own bag. But make sure not to overfill it! Layla’s bag was not full at all and she still said it was “soooo heavy” at first.
Toys / Games
The #1 suggestion I have for toys and games is that they are all new to your little one. Don’t feel the need to spend a ton! Browse the dollar spot at Target and your dollar store for some items and put them aside for your trip. We brought crayons, a coloring book, stickers, playdoh, a few thin, light books like this one, and this mess-free coloring pad. (These are a great mess-free options too under $5!) Other great suggestions are an aquadoodle or magnadoodle. Busy bags are another great DIY option. (This post has a roundup of over 100 DIY busy bag ideas!)
When all else fails, break out the iPad (or phone!)! Prior to our trip, I downloaded several episodes of Paw Patrol and several apps. If you prefer free apps, PUZZINGO Puzzle and Paint And Draw are great options. These educational options from Tiny Hands are paid for the full versions, but so worth it in my opinion: Sorting, Raccoons, and What’s My Pair.
Stroller / Baby Carriers
If you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, a stroller or baby carrier might be a good idea. Strollers can be gate-checked, allowing you to cruise easily throughout airports without an additional checked bag fee. They also double as luggage carriers in between gates! We skipped them for this trip since we didn’t have tight layovers, and it was a nice opportunity for Layla to stretch her legs and burn a little energy.
For sleep, there are so many options out there, but after doing some research I knew I wanted a 4moms breeze. We had previously used another travel crib, but it was such a pain to set up. Layla also quickly grew out of it, and only ended up using it for about a year. We should have just purchased the breeze from the start. Putting it together is literally two steps! You expand it, and press the button to lock it in place. That’s it! It has plenty roomy for sleep or play. This is one of those items that will last years, so it’s so worth it!
When available, allow your little one to spread his wings and move about. Of course we didn’t let Layla go wild, but she ran around a bit by our gate and played peekaboo in between the chairs! Have your little one drink water during takeoff and descent to help with her ears! Pack an extra set of clothes in a carry-on just in case! Most likely water, snacks, or really anything spill-able will be spilled.
What are your toddler travel essentials?
Great tips Lauren! Sounds like you really have it together when traveling with a little one!
xo, Whitney and Blaire
Peaches In A Pod
what a great concept for a post!! This is so cute! love the backpack.
we travel so much with our 3 going on 4 year old and these tips are right on!! snacks, apps, and a good place for naps is so key! She is so cute!
There are some great tips in here! I grew up traveling with my parents from the age of six weeks and I don’t know how Mom did it. She would have surprises for me on every flight, whether it was a little craft or game (we didn’t have apps then!!! 🙂 Great suggestions.
Her little backpack is so cute! This post is so helpful and I love how you broke it down including what to bring for sleep/transportation.
These are all perfect travel essentials for kids!
Definitely sharing this with my friends who are moms! These are such great tips!
Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com
I like the Baby Bjorn carrier.
Extra change of clothes and wipes are my travel essentials.
These all seem like great ideas! Love her little backpack…too cute!
Clothes & Quotes
I think a tula would be my favorite for travel. they look so nice.
Thanks for the great tips on traveling with our little ones! I always had my baby carrier to make sure I had free hands! I always had snacks and toys to entertain!
great travel tips. It is planning ahead like this that makes the travel for you and your toddler so much more pleaseant
I like the Ergobaby carrier. Other essentials are (of course) diapers, wipes and a spit up cloth.
I use the Tula and have to have wipes with me everywhere.
It’s a must to have your act together when traveling with a toddler and you’ve got it down pat. Great tips!
Brooke || http://www.kbstyled.com
I always travel with extra clothes and then more extra clothes because for some reason my daughter will go through them all.
I remember being a little girl we travelled a fair bit, my whole family is from toronto and we are in vancouver so I have been flying across canada since I was about 6 months old. I had my little bag with my toys and activities to play with. It was a bit help. I was not an easy flyer!
These are such great tips, and I’m downloading these apps for future trips!
We LOVE our Lillebaby Carrier for traveling and just general walks around town, and also our Phil + Ted’s Traveller cot as a lightweight, small travel crib for international trips.
I always brought their own little travel pillow, blanket,and lots of wipes.
I love my Tula! I always bring it with me. I also bring toys with us everywhere we go
I like my baby bjorn carrier the best. My must have is wipes and diapers.
I always travel with extra clothes and wipes for messes.
Traveling essentials, Kindle and water!
My travel essential is a cooler for drinks and snacks.
I put the wrong link in for today’s tweet (1/14). Can you replace it with the right one?
I love the boba! Thank you for the great tips!
I do not have a favorite baby carrier however, some essentials that I must have when traveling are wipes, water, extra clothes and my sunglasses. Thanks for the chance to win such an amazing giveaway. Happy and prosperous new year.
I do not have a favorite baby carrier for traveling. I love a good pack n play to take a long.