These toddler travel essentials will help you maintain a little bit of the sanity that starts to go when you travel with young kids! Hope they help and safe travels!
After spending the last few years not traveling, I’m now in a lots-of-traveling stage. My son has food allergies and we are new patients at a clinic in southern California which means we’ll be making lots of trips there over the next few years. (If you’re curious about the program you can follow along with our journey here.)
As I hadn’t travelled in a couple of years (like the rest of the world), I had to not only adjust to airplane travel again, I also now had to do it with a small child. Yikes.
Having now made the trip a couple of times, there are a few items that have really helped make traveling with a small child a little easier. Some practical, some fun, here are the toddler travel essentials that are helping us on our trips!
5 Toddler Travel Essentials (that Work for All Ages!)
1. A tablet (with extra storage)
If you’re not a “screen family”, well, skip this one. If you’re on the fence about whether you want your kids to have a tablet for travel, well, this is your sign to do it. :)
Someone had gifted my son an Amazon Fire tablet when he was a baby and we just kind of tucked it away for a few years. Once he was a little older we started pulling it out for special occasions and travel and once I knew we were going to be traveling a lot with him I snagged another with more storage over Cyber Monday sales.
Excellent purchase! It’s got many movies and shows downloaded, holds tons of games and books and he’ll settle into the plane and put on his headphones and relax until we land.
With my son’s allergies he doesn’t visit many places where food is out in the open or where people have been eating. Even though a lot of airlines no longer offer nuts on flights these days, people are still free to bring whatever snacks they like onto the plane which means I want to make sure he’s not coming into contact with any of his allergens, nuts or otherwise (he has a lot of allergies).
I do a quick wipe down of the armrests and area around his seat with Wet Wipes and then put a Seat Sitters cover over his seat. Quick and easy!
Honestly I think even without the allergies I’d still put this down to protect him a little more from germs. Because kids are, well, kind of gross with touching their hands and mouths and all that stuff. Food allergies or not, these are inexpensive, easy to travel with, and super simple to use.
3. Adhesive placemats
A package of these was already something I carried in my diaper bag once I had kids, but they’re extra helpful with traveling too.
I will use one to cover my son’s tray table on the plane (again, helpful for food allergies or just general germ protection). I’ve also used one in the airport to cover a table or even the back of my carry-on bag to make a makeshift table wherever we are.
4. Travel Car Seat
I debated on whether or not to just rent car seats with my car rental when we travel but was afraid of arriving at my destination and finding that there were no car seats available (most rental places will offer car seat rentals but say they can’t guarantee them). As my son will still be needing a car seat for quite a while, it made sense for us to just buy one for travel.
I didn’t want to have to check one (what if it got lost?) and found there were some good carry-on options available. The WAYB Pico Travel seat is a customer favorite, but the price tag is pretty hefty. I found another highly rated option that was about a quarter of the cost of the WAYB and we’ve been very happy with it.
The Mifold Hifold seat folds up to the size of a booster seat and is easy to put in your carry-on bag or just carry on by itself. There’s a carrying strap and you can also purchase a carrying bag for it too. It’s super easy to unfold and use and is simple to fold up, once you’ve practiced a couple of times.
5. TSA PreCheck
OK, not a physical item you can buy but if you plan to travel with kids often, I’d look into PreCheck. It’s $85 but good for five years and it covers kids under 13. (So you’re buying it for yourself and the kids are covered under you.)
It was a fairly simple application process and once I went to my appointment for my finger printing it took about 10 days to get my official #. (It can take longer than that so plan accordingly.)
The last flight we took, we skipped the entire security line, dropped our carry on bags at the conveyer belt and walked right through. No removing shoes, jackets, or emptying pockets. No taking out liquids. And did I mention I didn’t have to take off (and put back on) shoes for my four year old? Amazing.
It was the easiest experience and I know it will be worth every penny.
This is how I’m currently tackling travel with my little guy. If you’ve got products or ideas that help making traveling with kids easier, please share!