Our son is only three years old, but he's already traveled with us quite a bit, even traveling continuously on an extended trip from the time he was 5 months old until he was 10 months old. I've discovered a number of products that have made my life easier as a parent juggling a squirmy child from airport security to restaurants, but it took some trial and error to find my favorites.I love that we can presently travel much lighter (pretty much just 2 suitcases + carseat for the three of us), but in a few months we will have another little one joining our family and I will definitely be bringing along several of my previously purchased favorites on our first trip as a family of four.
The great thing about most of these products is that they're handy to have at home as well as for travel, like a travel cot or a table-mount high chair that is well-designed, lightweight, and easy to assemble/take-down.
1. Traveling Toddler Car Seat Travel Accessory ($14)
A bungee cord just did not hack it — this webbing with rings made car-seat attachment quick, and it's easy to stash when not needed.
2. Maya Wrap Ring Sling ($75)
I have used my Maya wrap sling from newborn to toddler — it is easily the most utilized baby item I own. It is handy for cuddling, needing to be hands-free, and even nursing discreetly in public. With a lap-baby on the airplane I could sleep at the same time the baby was, knowing he was securely snuggled in.
3. Beco Gemini 4-in-1 Baby Carrier ($129)
This carrier is great because not only does it distribute the weight of baby on your body in an anatomically accurate way, but you can use it with your baby/toddler in 4 different positions, including forward-facing and on your back. I still use this carrier (while very pregnant) with my 3-year-old son on my back.
4. My Little Seat Infant Travel Chair ($30)
I have used this mostly when we visit friends and relatives, and it has been so handy for feeding baby stress-free and not in my lap (which I've never mastered very well).
5. Inglesina Fast Table Chair ($49)
This model of table-mount chair was used at our home table and for traveling since it folds flat and fits in a suitcase. This was one product that I experienced some trial and error with, before settling on this brand as my favorite. It was the only model I found that fit almost every table I used it on (including ones with aprons on the edge). and it's machine washable.
6. OXO 4-piece Feeding Set ($20)
I am a big fan of the OXO children's feeding line and use several of their products. I keep this set in my car for restaurants locally and throw it in the carry-on for travel out of town.
7. Phil & Teds Traveller Bed ($179)
I personally like this bed so much more than the pack-n-play styles we borrowed, for the mere fact that it is easy to set-up and has a zippered access on the side to place a sleeping baby into the cot, rather than lowering them into it from the top (with pack-n-plays, this lowering maneuver woke my son up without fail). I've also used it at the beach for shade and for a place to play or nap while camping.
8. The Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed ($79)
The side panels keep your older infant or toddler from rolling off. We've used this for visiting friends at our house and have brought it to hotel rooms and grandparents' houses for sleepovers.
9. Supershell: iPad/iPod/Kindle Fire Protective Case ($35)
We utilize our foam iPad cover every time our toddler uses it and even I have dropped it by accident, delighted and relieved to see it literally bounce to a rest uninjured.
10. Skip Hop Zoo Luggage ($30)
This luggage piece is small enough for toddlers to roll themselves and fits under an airplane seat, but is large enough to fit toys, coloring books, snacks, and a change of clothes. The independence of rolling his own suitcase thrills my son and helps me out now that he wants to walk through the airport anyway — he can at least carry his own stuff!
MORE TRAVELING WITH KIDS ON APARTMENT THERAPY:
• Parenting Blog Roundup: Traveling with Kids
• Best Apps for Traveling with Kids
• Tips on Packing Light When Traveling Overseas with Kids
(Images: as credited above. Airport image and Maya wrap image by Jena Murray)