Survival Kit: Traveling with a Toddler

My husband and I, as most people probably do, LOVE TO TRAVEL. We have a bucket list of places that really span everywhere in the world. We tried to get as many of these checked off before having Everly (now almost 4 years old), but we didn’t get to all of them. Thinking about traveling with a baby or a toddler seemed daunting after our very first long road trip to June Lake, when we realized…

“Holy sh*t, you have to pack an entire room for your child!”

We had extra blankets, a pack-n-play, a sound machine, bottles, diapers, toys, and snacks enough to feed her for a year, because you, know, just in case?

Luckily, that didn’t deter us. We continued to travel, and travel. Since then, Everly has traveled to over 14 states in the US and 3 countries. So the first thing I will say, is we’re SO happy we ‘forced ourselves’ to travel with her, because she is so much more adaptable and has gained so much from traveling. That’s another topic though!

This is what we now have in our toddler survival kit with our latest trip to Australia and New Zealand!

Darling Harbor, Sydney, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 2020

SURVIVAL TOOLS

We have learned a lot of lessons and I have searched and thrown away a TON of products, and these are not only the BEST I have found, but all for super affordable price points!

It is VERY easy to go crazy with entertainment and toys, where you end up with a lot of JUST IN CASE things, and you have a truck haul of things that just add stress to your trip. LET THEM GO! I have done this so many times, and I regret ALL the extra plane toys I brought with me (not to mention all the clean up that I had to do). Here’s a list of where we ended up:

THE TRAVEL TRAY – $17

This is a germaphobe gem for a mom like me. Planes can be filled with germs, and they make me feel uncomfortable, so I LOVE THIS TRAY. It folds up flat, and fits right into a packpack. We pre-pack this guy with no more than 3 markers and a could Dollar Tree workbooks, and call it a day. It sits right on the airplane tray, and perfect for snacks. The side pockets are great for a fully ready activity tray so you aren’t fumbling through your back pack for every little toy. And BONUS! For $17, this comes with the markers and some activites.

I also love this because it forces you to pack only what you need!

THE ENTERTAINMENT – $99

You probably already have something, or may have debated on getting one, but I HIGHLY recommend the Amazon Fire Tablet for kids. Please note at home, we are a completely SCREEN FREE home. She does get the occasional weekend movie, but she has seen more plays than movies. We don’t have cable. We do have Disney+, but the TV is off 90% of the time. The fire is perfect for letting us give her a little treat. Amazon Prime also allows you access to a ton of kid-friendly videos, and if you download them prior, make your entertainment very cost efficient if your Airline doesn’t have individual video monitors. I like to have this anyways, because it provides us with some excitement to sit through and pick what she may want to watch.

Another great feature of this tablet is the ability to download books and kid friendly games! We do books on the plan and also find coloring apps you can have with just her profile. There’s so much you can do on this, and many child led games, that makes entertainment seamless!

THE RELAXATION – $13

This is one of our BEST buys for traveling. It’s small and compact, and it gave our little girl the chance to lay FLAT in the airplane. This was absolutely CLUTCH for a long trip and finding ways to make her feel like she was in her bed. I can’t say this was the solve it all for our successful trip, but for two legs, she slept for 9+ hours! We did, of course, bring her blankey and her Teddy Bear, but other than that, this was perfect.

It also takes very little room in the backpack. It comes in it’s own little pouch that is easily stuffed in the front pocket of the bag for easy access. MOST carriers allow for this to be blown up after take off, so keep it handy, but don’t blow it up until after take-off. DELTA for sure, allows these.

The set up is also easy. It did not take me more than 2-3 minutes to blow it up. It deflates easily as well, for the rush off the plane!

HEADPHONES AND SOUNDS – $12

We made this mistake just once. We didn’t bring anything for the little girl which required a lot of treats and a lot of books and stickers. Our favorite set thus far which has lasted her from baby till toddler are these soft-wear headphones.

We really love these, and there’s an animal for every preference. We love these because they are easy to pack (they fold up) and they are great for nap time! These are great because they can be worn plugged into the white noise app on your fire while they nap. They are so affordable and stay on very well.

THE BEST TRAVEL BACK PACK – $62

Saving the best for last, this is what we use for our travels. There is nothing better than a great backpack. I also have an obsession with backpacks, and when I first found out about this expandable travel backpack, I just about fell in love. It is really an awesome bag for carrying everything you need for the plane WITH compartments for the extra outfit or blanket.

It has a large capacity and allows me to have one section for her nap time items, and another section for her play items. The pockets are perfect for my own tech items and snacks.

What I love the most is the ability to EXPAND the backpack! I could usually NEVER fit everything I need and she needs in one backpack, and I carried TWO. I now free up my load by carrying just one backpack, which I love when you have a carseat in tow as well as a stroller and a child. I totally recommend this one! And it’s WAY cheaper than most baby bags!


We’re hoping to share another blog too about traveling on a cruise or how we pack! I would love to hear if there are any other things that have made your travels easier with a kid or if you’re curious about anything else!

Bon Voyage, and we wish you a successful trip, wherever you go!

Our 13 hour flight to Sydney, AUS.

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