If you’re traveling with a baby or toddler you probably won’t forget the larger items like the car seat or stroller. But what about the things that will make your trip smoother? The things you definitely do not want to leave home without for the sake of your sanity and some extra shuteye?
I traveled solo when my daughter was both in the baby stage and the toddler stage. While I wasn’t outnumbered, since I only have one child, I still only had two hands!
Here are the items that I personally consider essentials for traveling with a baby or toddler since they were lifesavers while traveling. If you have any to add from your experience, please add them in the comments below!
1| Travel Bib
Baby Bjorn and Summer Infant make bibs that are great for home and for travel. They catch any extra food to minimize (not eliminate) messes, can easily be wiped off when you’re on the go, and will pack nicely in your suitcase. Plus, the price point is easy on your wallet. Double win.
For ultra messy little ones, the Baby Bjorn Eat and Play Smock, pictured below, will provide maximum coverage for minimum wardrobe changes.
2| Baby Carrier
A carrier like the Baby Bjorn, Ergo Baby, Boba, or another of your personal choosing will help you keep your hands free while traveling with a baby or toddler. Navigating security while lugging a carry-on, diaper bag, stroller, and possibly even a car seat (if you check it at the gate) can be tricky, to say the least. If you’re traveling solo with a baby, this will make everything easier and baby will be happy being close to mom!
3| White noise machine
A portable white noise machine is useful when traveling to drown out background noise that could otherwise wake your baby or toddler. It can diminish the sounds from the hustle and bustle of an airport or of family members talking or watching television near where baby is sleeping. Traveling in unfamiliar environments can be exciting for your baby or toddler, and at the same time unsettling because of the unfamiliar surroundings. A portable white noise machine can create a familiar environment at bedtime for your baby or toddler. The myBaby Sound Spa from Homedics is great for travel since it hooks onto a stroller, car seat, or pack ‘n play. This lamb-shaped noise machine by Pottery Barn kids is a cute option too.
4| Extra clothes
Because, well, you can simply never have enough clothes if you’re traveling with a baby or toddler. You’ll be thankful for an extra set of clothes when your baby has an unexpected diaper blow out, your toddler decides to be unusually messy, or you’re unsure of the nighttime temperature where you’re staying.
We stayed at a relative’s home in an area of the country where air conditioning isn’t commonly used or even installed in most homes. They had had an unusually hot summer, so it was much warmer at night than we expected (around 80 degrees). We were glad we brought extra sleeveless onesies for our daughter.
Play it safe and just bring some extra clothes. I’m sure your toddler would gladly help pull things out of drawers, just like the picture above from Why Moms Get Nothing Done.
5| Nursing cover
This nursing cover by CoveredGoods is hands down the best nursing cover on the market. It will keep you covered while nursing anywhere. I was especially thankful that I had this when I nursed my wriggly 9-month daughter on the plane next to a total stranger! The best part of all is that it’s multi-functional. It can serve as an infant car seat cover, a grocery cart cover, or a fashionable scarf so that it’s always on-hand. You’re welcome.
6| Baby Bum Brush Diaper Cream Applicator
Say goodbye to using your finger when applying diaper rash cream because you forgot Q-tips and had to improvise (eww). And say goodbye to packing a thousand Q-tips when you travel! The Baby Bum Brush Diaper Cream Applicator is wonderful for traveling with a baby or toddler because it’s made for applying diaper rash cream and you can just wipe it clean when you’re done. It’s made of 100% silicone, is BPA free, and has a suction cup base allowing it to stay put while you keep one hand on your child.
7| Wet/Dry Bag
Great for diapers, bathing suits, or dirty clothes, a wet/dry bag is convenient to have when traveling with a baby or toddler. This one by Skip Hop is free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates. I personally love how you can strap it to your suitcase, diaper bag, or stroller. If it gets dirty, simply toss it in the washing machine and hang it up to dry.
8| Mommy Hook Stroller Hanger
The Mommy Hook Stroller hanger can hold shopping bags, grocery bags, diaper bags, beach bags, or anything else you don’t want to carry when you’re on vacation (except your child). Your hands and shoulders will be free from holding heavy bags and you can continue enjoying your vacation!
9| New Toys
Hit up the dollar section at Target for simple toys that are new to your baby or toddler. The novelty of the toys will keep them occupied and entertained, but the low price is nice for peace of mind in case they get lost or left behind in your travels. The toys pictured above are just a few of the ones that I picked up from Target. They were perfect on the airplane because they stayed put if my daughter dropped them on the floor.
10| Travel Highchair
The Fisher Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat is another item that’s useful for home and travel. The removable and dishwasher-safe food tray comes with a snap-on lid for travel. It folds compactly for easy carrying. With 3 height adjustments and a 50 pound weight limit, it can accommodate both babies and toddlers.
Puffs, teething crackers, and food pouches are easy to pack, mess-free snacks for traveling with a baby or toddler. In my experience, HappyTot’s Love My Veggies pouches are a nice way to help toddlers to eat veggies on the go. They’re organic and they have several flavor options.
12| Sunscreen + Sun Hat
One of the best things about babies is their skin! It needs extra loving care. And rightfully so, because a child’s skin is actually still in a critical period of development between birth and 3 years of age. One way to take care of your baby or toddler’s skin is to bring along a lightweight waterproof sun hat with UV protection. It will help with sun protection for babies under 6 months of age and babies that are 6 months and older can wear sunscreen along with it.
When choosing a sunscreen, Babyganics sunscreen with 50+ SPF is a good choice because it’s mineral-based. It’s also free of PABA, phthalates, parabens, fragrances and nano-particles, so it’s better for baby’s skin than most sunscreens. But any sunscreen is better than none at all!
13| Diaper Changing Clutch
This item is, without question, a travel essential for keeping baby clean on a public changing surface. Bring a foldable, reusable diaper changing clutch like the one pictured above by JJ Cole or a package of disposable diaper pads.
14| LED Nightlight
It can be scary for a young child to sleep in a new place. Bringing along a nightlight will help children that can’t sleep in pitch darkness. Depending on how the sleeping arrangements work out, it also allows you to see where you’re going once they’re down for the night.
15| First Aid Kit
A basic travel first aid kit is a nice staple for your purse or diaper bag when you’re traveling with a baby or toddler. A First Aid Kit by Oh Joy! is available at Target and includes stylish Oh Joy! Band-aids that makes having a boo-boo not so bad after all.
Don’t leave home without baby’s favorite lovey!