My family and I recently went on a trip across the country from St. Louis to California. This was our first big trip with our little girl, who is now 2 and a half years old. We were headed to Disneyland for a couple of days, then down to San Diego for some family time at the beach. To say I was nervous about the trip would be an understatement. I had lists for my lists a month ahead of time because I was so worried I would forget something. I’ve compiled one last list for you of my must-have items when traveling with a toddler.
At the top of my list is a trustworthy car seat that you know how to install. As a CPST, my number one priority is vehicle safety. Whether in the car or in the air, infants, toddlers, and children should be in a proper child safety restraint. You’ll need to be sure that your car seat meets FAA requirements (there should be a sticker on the seat saying so) to use it on the airplane. On this trip, we used our Clek Fllo. I chose to use this seat because it is what we use in our cars, and I am very comfortable with the installation. The Clek Fllo is a very narrow convertible car seat, which means it fit very well in the airplane without extending over into the next seat. We used a car seat dolly to easily navigate the seat through the airport, and even wheel it down the aisle of the airplane. Installing the seat on the airplane was a piece of cake as well.
A good travel stroller is a must.
Originally I was torn between the City Tour and the Mountain Buggy Nano. We ended up purchasing the Baby Jogger City Tour stroller. This stroller did not disappoint! It has a simple and quick one-hand fold and comes with a backpack carrying case. Oh, and best of all, it fits in the overhead storage on the airplane! My little one found this stroller very comfortable, and she was able to take some great naps in it at Disneyland. The one downside to this stroller is that the seat is a bit shallow, so it wouldn’t work as well with a larger child. If you do have a larger or older child that you wish to have a stroller for, the Mountain Buggy Nano offers many of the same features of the City Tour with a deeper seat that would better fit larger children. The Nano comes with a shoulder strap carry case and can also fold small enough to fit in the overhead bin of an airplane. These are both top of the line travel strollers, and you really can’t go wrong with either of them.
Don’t forget the diapers.
Luckily my little one is toilet trained, but we still use diapers for nap and bedtime. I opted to use a Flip cover with disposable inserts for this trip, and it worked out really well. We used a single for naps and doubled them up for night time. Also, pro tip: use one on the airplane. My sweet, sweet kiddo told me she had to go potty about halfway through our four-hour flight. We trekked back to the tiny closet that they call the restroom, and she wouldn’t even go in. Screaming ensued. I reassured her that it was okay if she had a little accident because she had a diaper on, and we went back to our seats.
Toys & Activities
You will definitely need plenty of busy toys and activities for along the way. My absolute favorite is the Melissa and Doug Water Wow! painting pads. My little girl loves these! She painted, and repainted, and repainted for a good hour of our flight on the way to California. We also brought plenty of stickers, crayons, and markers because she is my little artist, and I knew she would keep busy with these things.
You can never pack enough snacks. We literally had an entire bag of just snacks. The Skip Hop snack cup came in handy when I didn’t want her to spill cheerios all over the car seat on the airplane. We also brought along our Skip Hop stainless steel straw bottle to fill with water for the plane ride. When traveling with children, TSA does allow you to bring milk or juice in excess of 3oz along with you, just be sure you let them know ahead of time if you’ve got it. We did bring a small milk carton and an applesauce pouch along for the flight as well.
Last, but not least, you’ll need a bag to carry it all in. We love our Skip Hop backpack and insulated lunchie. They’re perfectly toddler-sized so that your little one can actually carry their own things (you know, if they’re in the mood).
I hope my little list helps you and your family in your upcoming holiday travels. What other must-have items are on your packing list?