Tick tock…tick tock…do you hear that clock counting down the days till summer? It’s almost here and so are family vacations and that summer travel time with your kiddos. If you’re like me you hate having to pack up a what feels like a semi truck worth of equipment for an afternoon out. And it just gets worse for weekend getaways or extended trips.
But, I have some good news. I spent 6 months traveling with my husband and toddler and have some tips for things you need to bring with you and advice for what to leave behind. Here are the tried and tested items I’d recommend to keep your baggage manageable, but not give up convenience.
I am a huge fan of wearing your baby. Eleanor was a fan too. However, we quickly outgrew the Baby Bjorn as it really hurt my back to carry her in front facing forward. Lots of research later, I boiled the carrier options down to the ERGObaby and the Boba Baby Carrier. I have heard a lot of recommendations for both, but chose the Boba since it was a local company when we were living in Boulder, CO. The ERGO does let you wear your baby facing forward, but since we had already outgrown that stage, I chose the Boba. Not sure you could go wrong with either option.
Listen to me…set down that Pack N Play. I know that’s the only travel crib anyone talks about, but it’s like talking about Kleenex when all you care about is a tissue. We have 2 Pack N Plays (one at each of the Grandparent’s houses), but I will forever and always recommend the Phil and Ted’s Traveler going forward. First, it only weighs 7 lbs so it’s really light. Second, it fits in our suitcase that we check when flying. I don’t know about you, but I will do almost anything to condense baggage when traveling. Really, just do yourself a favor and get this travel crib. You will be so glad you will. And your friends hauling that heavy-a$$ Graco will be looking at you with a mix of envy, loathing, and curiosity as they lug their monstrosity out of the trunk of their minivan.
We did not use one of these when traveling with Eleanor, but we’ve used the Ciao Baby Portable Highchair at a friends’ house and they are great for picnics, beach outings and weekend trips to Grandma’s when you can’t be bothered with bringing the real thing. I’d also recommend the Chicco Hook-On Highchair if you have a table that will support it. This was the only highchair we used for Eleanor from 4 months on and it was great for saving space and having her at the table from day 1.
If you’ve been reading this blog for long, then you know I am a big advocate of sun protection. I even wrote a post recently of the best sunblocks for your family this summer. Check it out and make sure you always have some on hand when you leave the house.
Another local company to Boulder, Co that I fell in love with is Wallaroo Hats. They have some super adorable summer hats for kiddos that are rated at an SPF 50+ to block the sun from harming your little ones. We had a Wallaroo Hat with us on our travels, but sadly lost it in a museum one day. However, it’s one of those things that I replaced willingly because a hat is a must have for the summer.
Games can make or break your trip. You want to keep your child entertained, but you probably do not have that much room left to pack every snuggly, stuffed animal, and plastic noise maker that they adore. Instead, I recommend getting new toys every time you plan to take a flight or long car ride. The novelty alone will keep them interested for a longer period of time. Toys that have worked well for us with a toddler are Melissa and Doug’s reusable stickers and their Water WOW paint books. Eleanor also loves bubbles, crayons, small books and puzzles on our tablets. The big take away here is reusable which translates to space-saving.
What do you think? Anything to add? If you like these ideas please pin this post so your friends can get some good ideas too.