We’ve travelled the world with our kids since they were 8 weeks old. Sara’s first trip out was to the US East Coast, Mexico and Cuba and Kabir was out to Oman for his first ever New Years. Since then, they’ve been to nearly 30 countries and been guinea pigs for our travel planning and packing. Over the years I’ve found somethings are indispensable when leaving home with the kids. Here is a list of my 10 essentials for travel with babies and toddlers.
Baby Carrier – great for the younger ones under 1, carry them around and visit museums and markets alike. They fall asleep easily and are well entertained by the world outside when awake. It also helps to have both hands free at the airport or at the market! We’ve used the Baby Bjorn carrier for the longest time and been very happy with it.
Stroller – we took it to our US trip when the kids were 3 and 6 nearly, great for long walks, airports when the kids are jet lagged and want to not walk, afternoon or early night naps and of course for carrying all assorted bags. Stollers on board the flight need to be under 12 pounds and easily foldable. Maclaren is a good choice, though expensive. Ours has survived several years of rough use.
The Stole – as multipurpose as an item can get – sheet in aeroplanes, picnic spread in a garden, sarong on a beach … a must have. For more ideas, read this.
Sun Block – so much time is spent outdoors in the full day sun. This is relevant even during winters as the afternoon sun can be quite harsh and young children are more vulnerable.
Swim-suits – whether you plan to stay in a place with a pool or not, do carry one. especially to Europe and Singapore. There are so may places for open water play where the kids can just get into a swimsuit and have a blast, even the London zoo has one!
Sterilising tablets, wipes and sanitiser – a combo that can tackle most of the moms worries. From snotty noses to public toilets, wipes and sanitiser can make a lot of places safer. Have one hanging from the handle of your day bag for ready use.
Travel Scrap Book – one way to make good memories out of a trip and help the child imbue the spirit of the place is to have a scrap book. At the end of the day making a picture of the what they enjoyed the most, sticking in some leaves/tickets etc into the book not only helps reflection, it makes for a calm dinner time and wind down after an exciting day. I usually put together my own, but this December, I’m dying to try the Litjoys Little Collector’s Passport!
The Travel Goody Bag – This is another must have for peaceful travels. Jet lag, less sleep, too much excitement is a heady cocktail that ends in more frequent meltdowns and tantrums. One way to ward off a tantrum is to hand the child something new and different as a distraction. I carry a goody bag which has small new things ranging from Kinder Joy to new colors to a small car or fun erasers or small DIY things. It has served me well during long flights and sit down dinners.
Empty Tupperware boxes of 3 sizes. nothing like raiding the hotel breakfast spread to carry you through the day. My son is a fussy eater and the daughter and I need lots of fruits through the day. So I make it a point to pack in some grub from the breakfast buffet.
The spirit of adventure. I cannot say this enough. Travel with kids will never be the same as before. But it will always be better than sitting at home. No matter how painful the jet lag and how disappointing an early night might be, it is a great adventure to travel together.
And here is your printable copy of a carry on bag checklist – The Backpacking Mama Packing Checklist