"There are two kinds of travel: first class and with children."Let's face it―traveling with toddlers is usually an inevitable/unavoidable event, rather than a joyous and much anticipated one. Reason being, babies have to travel with an equipage that would put a top-notch diva to shame. With cribs, and strollers, and seats, and diaper bags, and toys, and comforters ... the list can rightly extend to infinity. More so, if you suffer from a li'l syndrome called parent paranoia.
But, it's time to relax, and move your eyes over this list of accessories that are all you'll need for your next vacation with your little fella.
To begin with, we'd just like to clear that the accessories you carry will necessarily depend upon your chosen mode of transport for the trip. Besides, you also need to keep in mind the kind of vacation you're planning (leisure trip/family visits), and your destination (within the country/abroad) before you pack.
Kind of a duh! item if you're taking the road, but a car seat may or may not be a must-have, if you're flying to your destination. Take it along if you plan to go on frequent drives at your destination, because a rented car seat may not always be to your liking, or your baby's comfort. Also, placing your tot in the car seat during long flights will make your journey that much more comfortable. We found the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat to be rather easy to adjust.
You can't really keep carrying your toddler everywhere, or expect the tot to be on his/her feet all the time. A lightweight stroller that folds up well is the thing to carry, if you wish your trip to be pleasurable for you as well as your child. A product like the Maclaren Volo Lightweight Stroller will prove useful on those long walks on the airport, or even when you go sightseeing.
Long journeys and children definitely aren't a good mix, and it's better to be told about this rather than experiencing it first hand. You need all the distractions you can get, in order to make the ride more smooth sailing. The travel play tray sits perfectly in your child's lap, making it easy to place toys or food on it. The trouble of dropping or spilling things is minimized, and make your journey a joyride. You may want to check out the StarKids Snack & Play Travel Tray.
Carryall for Storage
All your baby things like diapers, wipes, lotions, disinfectants, Ziploc bags, etc., have to be placed together for easy handling, especially when you're taking a long flight. Make sure that this bag isn't too big; but has place to keep all the stuff you need for a few hours. You can make use of this carryall while sightseeing as well.
Sure, your home is perfectly babyproofed, but you may want to ensure that your hotel room is safe for your child as well. The Travel Tot Childproofing Kit comes with all the equipment you need to temporarily childproof the room you're staying in.
You can let your older child carry a backpack that contains certain things like reading material, small toys, an entertainment gadget, or even their favorite blanket or cuddle toy (L.L.Bean has some good designs). This will make them happy, and leave you a little extra space in your baggage.
Ensure that your smartphone or tablet is loaded with your child's favorite cartoons, songs, or games so that your child won't feel lost when boredom sets in. Children can get cranky during long journeys, and their favorite music or cartoon shows can be a welcome distraction.
Portable Booster Seat
A booster seat may not be much of a necessity, but may want to carry it if you'll be staying at a place where you can't get one (think: family visits). Pick a seat that fits snugly into your baggage, and does not weigh too much. The BubbleBum Inflatable Booster Seat looks like a good buy.
If your child is more of a drifter, you'd do well to place him in a carrier, just so that you have your peace of mind. Children with a mind of their own can easily chart their own path at the slightest distraction. A carrier like the Beco Soleil, will therefore be very useful, especially in crowded areas.
If you're planning a trip abroad, make sure that you make a list of essentials that you won't find at your destination. This would include your baby's food and hygiene products; especially if you are particular about a brand/flavor. You may also want to carry a large scarf to shade your baby from the sunlight in tropical destinations, as you may not always get the chance to slather sunblock. Besides, ensure that you are carrying everything that you feel is vital for your child.
Parent paranoia is bound to take over as the date of your journey draws closer, but with these accessories, your trip is sure to be a lot more fun, and a lot less stressful.