Traveling with babies and toddlers can seem incredibly daunting, but luckily there are a lot of great products on the market today to make the journey go smoother. From safety to entertainment to sleep, there's a gadget for just about every aspect of your trip.
1. Staying at a hotel, relative, or friend's house and worried about childproofing for your little one? Enter the Travel Tot kit - everything you need to childproof a space, and it all comes off cleanly.
2. If your little one is old enough, let them help carry some of their things in a small backpack or suitcase like this one from Skip Hop. It'll make them feel important, provides convenient access, and allows you a little more space in your luggage.
3. Portable cribs like this one from Baby Bjorn provide a cozy, familiar place for your child to sleep and play while on the go.
4. Disinfecting wipes for planes, hotels, and public restrooms help to put your mind at ease, and wet wipes for sticky hands and faces can be a lifesaver while on the go.
5. Never underestimate the power of a book. Read to your toddler or young child before the trip to familiarize them with the process, plus it's great entertainment while in flight. This one by Byron Barton is still a favorite with my three-year-old.
6. Technology is great, but it's not much use on a plane without headphones that fit. This pair is sized for little heads and has a cable that limits the volume to an appropriate level.
7. The FlyeBaby is a great multi-purpose device for babies and toddlers alike. It becomes a five-point harness to instantly turn any chair into a high chair and for small babies can act as a hammock while in flight.
8. If you're going on a long trip you'll want something to keep your devices fully charged and ready to go. This portable power travel pack provides up to 480 hours of device playback time and allows you to charge up to 5 USB powered devices at the same time.
9. If you have a toddler and don't want to lug along a car seat, the C.A.R.E.S. Safety Restraint System is the way to go. It's lightweight, small, and easy to install (I know from experience) It's also approved by the FAA and provides a five point harness for your little one to keep them secure on the plane sans car seat.
10. Ziploc bags are a great item to have on hand when you're on the go. They can hold anything from a dirty diaper to a wet onesie, even food scraps when there isn't a waste bin handy. They've saved my life in many a situation and I don't leave home without them.
11. Technology. A tablet or smartphone is one of the easiest ways to entertain your toddler on a plane or soothe a fussy baby with some white noise in the car or at a hotel. I also love this handy iPad travel case from Brica. It provides a stand for your device and helps to protect it from clumsy little hands.
12. If you must take a carseat for your babe and don't have a travel system that snaps into your stroller, bring along one of these handy transporters so that you're not lugging it through the airport on one hip and hauling a baby on the other.
A couple of other great tips - send baby and toddler items like diapers and formula ahead of you with a service like Jet Set Babies, rent a car seat from your car rental company, or check to see if your hotel provides cribs before lugging along those bulky items. It may cost a bit more, but your sanity is worth it. Happy trails!
(Images: 1. Product images as linked; composite by Lauren Hufnagl)