plug-free-img.png

Traveling with Toddlers, Babies, and Tigers… oh my!old

We love to travel with our kid! Traveling as in, “being there. You get to see the world through their eyes. It’s like getting to relive all the wonder you felt the first time you traveled all over again.

Despite how much we love to travel, the act of getting there can be can be challenging. Packing, getting to and from the airport, and traveling on the plane can be stressful. The below travel tips will help balance  the fate of the universe.  For example, I am a seasoned travel pro that packs in 5 minutes and has spent years living abroad, but even I need help when I am traveling with my  family. What helps me? I need a travel checklist… a very detailed checklist. And, I prepare airplane games and fun things to do. With a little preparation, the act of being on a plane can be an enjoyable part of any family vacation.

Table of contents for this article:

  1. Travel Checklist (printable PDF available)
  2. Getting them to and from the plane 
  3. On the plane
  4. At your travel destination 
  5. Food allergies and food sensitivities while traveling 

In my experience, there are two different types travelers: the minimalist and the pack everything packers. While this travel checklist can be used by anyone, I am a minimalist, meaning I want to bring just enough to avoid stress while in route and unnecessary costs that will later raise my blood pressure, but otherwise I prefer to buy small items, if needed, once we arrive.

Travel Checklist:

Everything depends on your child, so I will be more exhaustive here than some may need. I’ve included products that we’ve found useful in each category. Note, these are affiliate links to Amazon. If you want a printable checklist or a PDF version of this travel checklist, then click here and we’ll send it to you via Facebook Messenger.

1. What to take on the plane

2. Transporting the tikes to and from the plane

3. What you need at your destination

  • Baby / Toddler Clothing
  • Adult Clothing
  • Toiletries/Bath
  • Eating/Feeding
  • Night Time
    • Child’s lovey
    • Stuffed animal
    • Sound machine
    • Baby monitor
  • Medicine/First Aid
  • Beach Vacation Considerations

4. Traveling with food allergies and sensitivities

  • Food for while you are there
  • Supplements you will need while you are away

5. The fun stuff

  • Travel insurance
  • Health insurance when abroad

Click button for get the printable travel checklist. We will send you a link  in Messenger to a PDF formatted for printing.  

 

Transporting them to and fro 

 

Car Seats and Car Seat Travel Bags:

We have two car seats. One that stays in our car. It was ridiculously expensive, but would easily pass a NASA safety inspection (you can see it here.) We do not travel with this one, though.

Car seat options:

Instead, we travel with a super safe, but much cheaper and lighter wight one. There are two car seats: (1) rear-facing for young babies and (2) front-facing for older babies. We use a travel case to help us carry the seats through the airport on our back, then check it at the gate. Now that out daughter is older, we do not take the forward-facing chair on the plane, but we did bring the rear-facing on the plane. Then and now, we use this car seat at our destination. Renting a car seat from a car rental company wigs us out. You never knew what we were going to get ahead of time, how clean it might be, or its history (was it damaged?) So, we always opted to bring our own.

Car seat Bags:

While I was hesitant to buy the travel bag for our car seat at first (I am cheap), I have to admit that it is great to have your hands free in the airport. This approach also means that both my wife and I can carry the chair, which is convenient when we need to divide and conquer (like me parking the car.) You just have to be careful when you wearing a car seat on your back that you don’t accidentally take out the person standing next to you when you turn around. Pro tip: We have also discovered that two adults means there are two backs. and since nature abhors a vacuum, we’ve realized that we have one more back that can carry a backpack.  Again, keeping your hands free is magical.  We’ve found the this backpack (also pictured below) is a great one. Its small and versatile, so we recommend it for anyone’s travel checklist.

To stroller or not to stroller:

Our daughter never wanted to be in a stroller, so we never used one much. But, other kids seem quite happy in them. Nonetheless, above is the one we bought (see link here). We liked that this one was light weight, strong, and collapsible. The great thing about strollers is that it’s much easier on your back, but of course it is also one more thing to manage. If you opt to stroll, then I suggest gate checking it. There is a lower risk of your stroller and car seat being damaged if you gate-check them.

What to take on the plane

Flying takes the most planning, especially long flights. You are in the air. You can’t just run out and get that thing you forgot. I always bring on the plane those things I can’t afford to replace (my laptop, phone, charging cords).

Travel documents:

It’s a cliche to tell you to remember your passports for everyone traveling, drivers license, and insurance cards, but I am going to do it anyway; put them on your travel checklist! Pro Tip: save your travel itinerary as a PDF or a picture on your phone, so you don’t have to worry about losing them.

Carry-on Bag or Diaper Bag:

If you are flying, this may be the single most important bag that you bring on vacation. They no longer sell the one we had, but this one (to the right) looks even better than the one we had. If it’s a long flight, you will obviously have different needs than on a shorter flight. We preferred bags that looked more like a carry-on than a diaper bag.

Diapers, pull-ups and/or underwear:

One diaper for every two-three hours of traveling.  Be sure to calculate your travel time from the time that you leave your house until the time you’ll arrive at your FINAL destination plus one.  For longer flights, bring some backups. For potty trained ones, I suggest bringing pull-ups. If your child is in underwear, 2-3 extra pairs in case of accidents. This is no place to be a hero. When toddlers have to go, they have to go.

Wipes and keeping it clean:

Its wise to bring wipes. Water Wipes are great, but any wipes will do. Wipes are also good for wiping hands, etc.  Also, I suggest bringing baking soda/anti-bacterial wipes for wiping down nasty surfaces.  And, of course Kleenex and hand sanitizer are useful. Lastly, a plastic grocery bag and/or ziploc bag.

Clothes on the plane for Baby/Toddler:

For the babies, a change of clothes for every 4-6 hours. of travel, plus a sweater and/or a muslin blanket. The sweater is self-explanatory. The blanket can be used as a nursing blanket, a cover for a bassinette, or a toy for peek-a-boo.  For overnight flights, just dress them in a long sleeved shirt and some sweat pants.

Items for Parent or Caregiver:

When you have a baby, bring an extra shirt. Spit-ups, etc happen. For a long-haul flight, you might want a to bring a full change of clothes if you think your child might vomit. Books, magazines, etc. if you think you might have a spare moment.

Food:

You definitely want to bring food/snacks for the duration of your travel. Ask your airline if they have a baby meal and if they say “no”, ask someone else just to be sure. We like Little Ducks Organic Fruit, Peeled dried snap peas, gimMe Organic Sea Weed (yes, you read that correctly), Organic Raisins, and for the adults organic lightly salted roasted pumpkin seeds. These all travel well and work with our food sensitivities. For longer flights, we will also bring apples, and black bean pasta (cooked) in thermos.

Plane Activities:

We bring a tablet and a few toys on the plane. For toy ideas, you should checkout our prior blog post (see post to the right about games and toys for plane rides) on this topic. Toys and games I can play with my daughter will always be my favorite fun things to do on any trip.  

Tablets:

We also always bring our trusty old iPad with us, too. You do not need the latest wiz-bang device. That said, the Amazon Fire Tablet is so cheap that you might decide to go ahead and get one. These are a great source of entertainment, both videos you watch and video games. 

Plane Activities:

We bring a tablet and a few toys on the plane. For toy ideas, you should checkout our prior blog post (see post to the right about games and toys for plane rides) on this topic. Toys and games I can play with my daughter will always be my favorite fun things to do on any trip.  

Tablets:

We also always bring our trusty old iPad with us, too. You do not need the latest wiz-bang device. That said, the Amazon Fire Tablet is so cheap that you might decide to go ahead and get one. These are a great source of entertainment, both videos you watch and video games. 

Plane Activities:

We bring a tablet and a few toys on the plane. For toy ideas, you should checkout our prior blog post (see post to the right about games and toys for plane rides) on this topic. Toys and games I can play with my daughter will always be my favorite fun things to do on any trip.  

Tablets:

We also always bring our trusty old iPad with us, too. You do not need the latest wiz-bang device. That said, the Amazon Fire Tablet is so cheap that you might decide to go ahead and get one. These are a great source of entertainment, both videos you watch and video games. 

Now, you might decide you don’t need YouTube since you can get a ton of good content as a Prime Member on Amazon. You can try Prime Video free for 30 days by clicking on this deal here.

Some of our favorite shows include (these are all available on YouTube):

Daniel Tiger

Peppa Pig

Mystery Doug

Naturally, this will vary based upon personal preference. These three shows work with our Positive Parenting focus. Plus, they are short, which works well for those with short-attention spans (like, uhmm… Daddy’s!) Regardless of which form of video entertainment you choose, I suggest adding downloading videos to your travel checklist since once you are there (either at the airport or on the plane), it will be difficult to do so. I try to have several hours worth of content downloaded to the tablets in case there are unexpected travel delays. We typically only watch a small portion of the shows I download while on the plane. 

What you need at your travel destination

 

Clothes and toiletries 

Survey says, #1 answer is clothes and toiletries for travel checklist. Enough said on that topic. You know what you need to bring for your destination. One consideration to think through, though, is how the accommodations may impact what you bring. We always stay in Airbnb or the like, so we will have a kitchen, washer, and dryer. This reduces the amount of stuff we need to bring. But, this will vary depending on your preferences and the available options.  And, if you need a travel potty seat, then you might be interested in Gimars Non Slip Silicone Travel Reusable Toilet Potty Training Seat Covers Liners.

Eating 

Similar to above, what you will need for food will naturally be driven by your preferences and the options available. Since we always stay in an Airbnb or the like, we tend to buy what we need for food when we arrive. Or, we time a shipment from Amazon to arrive shortly after we plan to arrive. If you plan to bring food and you are flying internationally, be sure to check if you can bring food into that country. The one thing we bring with us is utensils and cups for the little one to avoid having to constantly re-purchase these. And, of course, you need to think about high chairs and/or booster seats, if this is your norm.

Sleeping

This is probably the most important one to think through.  We spend a lot of time looking at pictures of the rooms when we are booking and sending messages to the owners. We want to know if the room where our daughter is going to sleep is dark, quite, and (when she was younger) can we move the mattress to the floor or can the room accommodate a pack and play. After all, if baby does not sleep, then no one sleeps, and the trip is ruined. Obviously, if you need a crib, then this will drive many of your accommodation decisions.  Then depending on your nighttime routines, you may want to bring your child’s lovey, stuffed animal, sound machine, baby monitor, and whatever else is needed to make sure your child feels safe sleeping in a strange new, exciting place.

Medicine

In my opinion, only bring what you can’t easily buy there or is expensive at touristy locations (example: sun screen lotion.)

Beach trips or trips where you spend lots of time outdoors in the sun

When we travel to the beach, we tend to spend hours playing in the sand.  And, we are from cloudy part of the world, which translates to no tan, which translates to painful red burns if we are not careful. A good solution for this is adding a portable beach umbrella and some good sun protection beach clothes to your travel checklist. 

Food allergies and sensitivities when traveling 

This may be the second most researched topic when we travel after accommodations. In the US, we look for Wholefoods. You can get much of their groceries delivered by Amazon. As a Prime member, you don’t pay for deliveries. If you don’t want to pay for an annual Prime subscription, but don’t want to go do the grocery store during your vacation, then you can pay monthly via AmazonFresh. Finally, you can just pay the delivery fee or just swing by and pick up your order.  

When WholeFoods is not an option, which it almost never is when you travel internationally, then we research to see what else exists. We’ve always found some solution. Interestingly, many people report their food sensitivities are not as bad in Europe. So, depending if you have an allergy versus a sensitivity, then this might impact what you put on your travel checklist.

Now arriving at your travel nirvana 

Traveling with kids, whether they be babies, toddlers, or young ones can be enjoyable and fun. All it takes is a little preparation, like a good travel checklist, and the willingness to make the event of getting their fun.

The Husband

The Husband

When I am not writing about cooking, health, products I like, and travel (all made complicated by a 20 year battle with food allergies and histamine intolerance), I spend most of my free time joyfully chasing (and being chased) by our five year-old daughter.

Leave a Replay

About Me

When I am not writing about cooking, health, products I like, and travel (all made complicated by a 20 year battle with food allergies and histamine intolerance), I spend most of my free time joyfully chasing (and being chased) by our five year-old daughter.

Recent Posts

Things We Love

Weekly Tutorial

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit

Mom-and-Child Mobile

Subscribe to Blog

Positive parenting inspiration and tips to help you raise your child peacefully and respectfully

How you would like to receive notices?