I’m certainly not a travel mom blogger, we tend to be homebodies in our household. But, we do have some must-have products for when we do travel that makes travel with kids a HECK of a lot easier. I’ve tested out a good handful of things, and these are my must-haves to travel with my kids (aged 1 and 3).
Before jumping into the products, I think one of the BEST things you can have when traveling with kids is a plan. While you also need to be able to throw the plan to the side and be flexible when traveling, I think having a good plan of attack with travel with kids can make a big difference. I literally plan out where and how I’ll set up my kids’ sleep areas for each location I go, and make sure I’ll have what I want and need for that. When we went to the airport to fly with our kids, my husband and I had a 5-minute pow-wow the night before discussing how we’d navigate (Michael would babywear Finley and take the two big suitcases, I took the toddler and put the backpacks in the stroller, etc.) I think the idea of “a failure to plan is a plan to fail” definitely applies to travel with kids. Of course, as I said, have a plan but also be willing to readjust and be flexible, travel with kids is unpredictable. But a plan will help you with the things you can control.
Ok, onto the products!
The Slumberod is literally the best invention for sleep with traveling with toddlers/babies. It’s a blackout pop-up tent that fits over a travel crib. If you have to room share with your kids, or have to setup your kids in a space with lots of light, it allows you to create a dark quiet space for your child to sleep. I’ve used it in hotels, at my in-laws, and whenever guests come to visit and we have to put our kids in our room to sleep. I’ve tried other blackout options, like the SnooShade, and the Slumberpod is 10000x worth the extra cost. It gives you full blackout, with a window for the baby monitor, a quiet zipper opening, and venting. It also has an add-on piece that allows it to fit over a full-size crib, too!
Hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Bed
The Hiccapop Inflatable Bed is a little two-piece inflatable bed. The first piece is like a little blow-up boat and then the blow-up toddler mattress fits inside. It gives your little one some bumpers while they sleep so they don’t roll off. It comes right with the air pump and is really easy to travel with. What I love most about it is I can put my Slumberpod over the top of it! It creates a nice little dark, quiet area for my toddler to sleep who is too big for a pack and play but might not sleep as great on a hotel bed or other full-size bed when on vacation.
There are a lot of options, so I’m not going to say my travel stroller is the best and only one, but in general, a lightweight stroller that folds small, fits in an overhead bin, and bonus points if it comes with a little carry bag. We use the Zoe stroller (the Tour+) and really love it for travel. It folds with one hand and comes with a backpack bag so super easy on/off at the airport.
We bought the Cosco Seneca car seats with these backpack bags and it’s definitely the easy way to travel with car seats. I didn’t want to worry about relying on a car rental place to remember a carseat or give me a reliable one, nor did I want to be trying to learn how to use a brand new carseat the minute we landed somewhere new. These car seats weigh only about 7 lbs and are pretty basic to install. Car seats check for free, so I just pop them in these backpack bags (easier to navigate the airport) and we’re off.
I honestly keep it super simple for toys, I don’t want to be bogged down with a lot. We bring our Amazon Fire Tablet for Miles, this little dry erase book was used a ton on our trip for waiting around at restaurants, a few packs of stickers kept both kids entertained on the flight, this drawing tablet is great for travel, and then, of course, snacks- we brought LOADS of snacks and some lollipops for Miles