Traveling with toddlers can, at times, be painful. But it can also be hugely rewarding!
Whether we like it or not, those small feet will slow us down. Make us wait. And, often, smell the roses. (Every. Single. One.) Watch a snail crawl. (Yes, really.) Or pick up yet another fistful of tiny rocks. (Because why not?!) And, Ooo look! A rainbow!
If we allow them to, they can help is see the world in wide-eyed wonderment again.
So, despite the possibility of getting a little less sleep on your next trip, you decide it’s time to take your toddler along. Surely you don’t need near as much gear as when she was less mobile and somewhat more dependent, right? Well, yes and no.
Here are a few things you may want to have along for your next adventure away from home…with your toddler!
*A sound machine. It’s familiar and nice to create some background sound. That way, your toddler is less likely to be distracted by other noises when you reach your destination and you are trying to get them down to sleep. I really like the one made by Homedics.
*A leash. Preferably one with an animal and/or backpack attached. Or, if your toddler is a little older, the wrist leaches might be a good option for you.
Yeah, I know. You’re thinking, “What?! A leash?! For my CHILD?! I swore I would never be one of THOSE parents!” But let me tell you, when my daughter was 18 months old and wanted to run (everywhere!) and thought it was a great game to see mommy chase after her, I was super glad I had one.
*Travel crib (the Lotus Crib by Guava Family is a personal favorite) or bed bumpers (they are great to use in twin beds, sofa beds, and even as a divider/buffer in bigger beds with parents).
*Travel stroller. (Family-owned Zoe strollers are great for travel!)
*Seal-able snack and drink containers, filled with toddler’s favorites. Sometimes it’s helpful to wait to fill drink container until after you get through airport security, though, so you don’t have to do the pre-security beverage chug and/or dump.
*A baby/toddler carrier. (Love my Lillebaby carrier with awesome lumbar support!)
*Toys and books. Some that are familiar, but also some new. While familiarity in new places is comforting, it doesn’t always hold toddler’s attention quite like something a toy or book they’ve yet to experience.
On one airport layover, I came across a boy playing with some Blaze and the Monster Machines cars. Not only was he having a ball with them, he allowed a couple of other kids to join him in rolling them back and forth (including my active toddler, for which I was truly thankful!). After I got home, I made sure to buy a couple to add to my travel bag.
Also, triangle crayons! So your toddler can still get his color on without them rolling around (and away!) like typical crayons.
*Cozyphones/Firik headphones. These are so great since they wrap around your child’s head, rather than going in the ears. As much as I want to limit my kids’ screen time, there are times when it’s just easiest to plug them in on the plane. And it usually makes the time go much quicker (for them, at least). These things have been a lifesaver for me, especially now that I travel with a toddler AND an infant.
*CARES harness and/or lightweight car seat for plane. The inexpensive 9 lb Cosco Scenera Next ones are great for lugging through airports. Or anywhere away from home.
*Go-go Babyz Travelmate or similar device for transporting car seat. If using an umbrella stroller or suitcase to carry your car seat, get a car seat luggage strap to make lugging it easier for you and more fun for them.
*Tutu/cape or other similar dress-up item. Because you never know when you might need a princess or a superhero!
*A sense of adventure, sunny disposition, and a whole lot of patience!
Toddlers are a force to be reckoned with for sure. There’s no sugar-coating or denying the facts. Yet we can learn a lot from their carefree wanderings and simple delights.
So, go collect your toddler and let them help you see the world, on your next trip, through their rose-colored glasses. Wearing a tutu. And a tiara. Or, perhaps, a cape.