There’s a reason why people’s faces change the moment parents walk in a plane with kids. People fear to be in enclosed spaces with kids because, you know, they are kids. They have meltdowns, throw tantrums, need diaper changes, and are generally messy and noisy.
So imagine being that mom. The one with screaming babies. The daggers that people throw at you with their eyes can be quite intimidating, to say the least.
There’s no guarantee that your children will behave when you are traveling, but there are things you can do to make your traveling experience a little less stressful for both you and your children.
Whether you are traveling by air, rail or road, or whether it’s long or short distance travel, you’ll need a few things to make your journey a little enjoyable.
We came up with a comprehensive list of products that make traveling with kids easier. Take a look.
If you haven’t discovered packing cubes, then you are seriously missing out! Packing cubes are one of the best, if not the best organization tool when it comes to traveling. They are small bags that come in a variety of colors and sizes. They help people neatly organize their luggage when traveling. Each family member should have their own color to minimize confusion. You even don’t have to label them. The beauty of these is that you can finish packing everything without even knowing where the suitcases are! All you’ll need to do is throw them in the suitcase and you’ll be good to go.
Packing cubes are great because they help compress clothes, therefore saving space. This makes it possible to pack for more than one person in a single suitcase. You can take one suitcase and separate the kids’ clothes into cubes.
TIP: You don’t have to unpack the packing cubes once you reach your hotel. You can simply transfer them from the suitcases to the drawers as they are. This helps keep the room organized. Plus it’ll be easier not to forget anything once you check out.
Also, remember to pack extra clothes and keep in one cube that you’ll carry on your carry on luggage. You never know when someone will soil their clothes and need a change of clothes.
Waterproof Wet Bag
How many times have you had your clothes soiled from puke or pee? You are in a foreign country, your toddler wants to pee, so you carry her and rush to find a bathroom but she pees on you because well, kids can’t hold it when they have to go.
Will you walk around with pee? Please don’t be that mom. Carry extra clothes for everyone and a waterproof wet bag to store wet clothes. You’ll simply have to change both yours and the child’s clothes, change into clean clothes and properly store the soiled ones in a waterproof wet bag. That’ll be one less thing to worry about.
Plus, when you store clothes that have pee or puke on them, the wet bag keeps the smell in check. You won’t even know that there are smelly clothes in that bag.
Travel car seat
Comfort is the key when traveling with kids. An uncomfortable child can turn a fun journey into a nightmare. So always prioritize the kids’ comfort when traveling. A car seat is both great for safety and comfort. Since kids can’t fit seatbelts properly, always ensure they are on car seats.
So car seats are great, but some are very bulky and you don’t need anything bulky when traveling with kids. That’s why you should always go for lightweight car seats. Fortunately, there are so many lightweight car seats in the market right now.
Travel car seats are different from your typical car seats that remain stationary in the car. When choosing a travel car seat, go for one that’s easy to install and transport. The Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat is really great for both air travel and road trips. It is lightweight and can fit in small spaces. It is also very easy to install in the car or in the plane. It is also FAA approved.
Inflatable Booster Seat
When you are traveling with older kids, it’s best to carry an inflated booster seat. Booster seats are for older kids who have outgrown their forward facing seats but the vehicle seat belt still can’t fit them properly.
The BubbleBum Inflatable Travel Booster for children aged between 4 to 11 years is a great choice. We got it because it is packable, inflatable, and foldable. It can easily fit into our kid’s bag and can be inflated by mouth in just 10 seconds. It can also be easily deflated really easily.
A great stroller makes traveling with a baby really easy. Imagine going to Disney World and having to carry your baby for the entire trip. It’ll be very exhausting for you. Plus it also won’t be comfortable for the baby. So carry your stroller if you know you’ll be walking around. Plus strollers can hold water bottles and are great at containing kids so that they don’t run around. And the extra space to hold backpacks won’t hurt one bit.
The Ergobaby Compact Metro Stroller is a great choice. It is small enough for subways, has a smooth ride, an adjustable leg rest and a one-handed opening mechanism.
An inflatable nursing pillow
If you are traveling with a baby, you’ll obviously need to feed them on the go. You’ll need to have a nursing pillow so that the baby is comfortable while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding.
An inflatable nursing pillow is great because it isn’t heavy and doesn’t take up much space. It can easily fit in your carry on bag and you’ll be good to go. When inflating it, don’t apply too much pressure. Leave room to accommodate pressure changes during flights.
This is necessary whether you are traveling by road, rail or air. When kids sleep in cramped positions or keep their heads in a single position for very long, they can become very exhausted and sometimes even hurt their necks. To avoid this, get them travel pillows.
A kids tablet
I always advise parents to limit screen time for their kids. However, when traveling with kids, we sometimes have to bring out the big guns. We need to be mindful of other passengers and sometimes just to enjoy some quiet time to ourselves. That’s where tablets come in. The best way to keep kids busy is to keep them entertained and screen always does the job.
Let the kids enjoy watching videos and playing games whenever they get tired cranky. They can watch Netflix downloads, YouTube Kids and Amazon Prime videos.
We recommend getting them their own tablets instead of letting them use your phone.
We strongly recommend getting them the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition because it has Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited that restricts kid content by age. You won’t need to keep checking what the kids are watching. FreeTime also has audiobooks so that’s a plus. The kids can listen to books while looking out the window and enjoy beautiful views.
You don’t want to be on a plane or a train and have noise from your kids’ videos or games disturb other passengers. No one is interested in listening to baby shark on a plane. Sometimes people want silence to read their books or sleep or go through their phones. That’s why you should always carry headphones for your kids’ tablets. Even if you are on a road trip, sometimes you will want to drive in silence. So invest in good headphones for kids.
We recommend the JLab Audio JBuddies Folding Headphones because they are very simple and the kids can easily switch between their tablets and the plane’s screen. These headphones are also great because they have ear cushions to protect those little ears and a built-in volume limiter that allows you to set the volume limit.
A few small toys/books
Children get easily distracted, and can easily get bored with screen time. So it’s better to carry a few toys/books to keep them busy.
It really helps if it is a new toy because it means they’ll spend more time playing with it as opposed to an old toy that they are already bored with. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Just something really simple and cheap. Coloring books are great!
A snack box with snacks
Most children are picky eaters. You’ll spend hours and hours preparing a gourmet meal only for them to ask for something as simple as a sandwich. Most children prefer to have very many small bitings as opposed to big meals. That’s why you should always pack snacks whenever you travel with kids.
Always pack different types of snacks so that they have several snack options. Get a leakproof snack box like the Yumbox Bento Box. It is divided up into 5 compartments so you can pack different snacks.
TIP: If you have multiple kids with different food preferences, then each child should have their own snack box with different snacks in it. It helps if each child has a different color snack box so there’s no confusion. You don’t want them to start arguing over snacks. If you can label them the better.
A water bottle
Don’t pack snacks and forget to bring them something to drink. Also when getting them a water bottle, get one that does not leak. A good water bottle can be tossed in a bag without leaking everywhere. It should also be strong enough to withstand being thrown and dropped.
I got my kids the Nalgene Tritan Grip-N-Gulp Water Bottle and I haven’t had to replace them ever.
Pacifiers and lollipops for the air pressure
If air pressure affects your child during takeoff and landing, then you have to help them soothe their ears. Children have underdeveloped Eustachian tubes, that’s why they are at risk of experiencing ear pain during air travel.
To help soothe or prevent this, carry pacifiers for babies and lollipops for toddlers and encourage them to suck on them.
The sucking motion helps the eustachian tube equalize the pressure. Plus, they’ll probably be too excited that they are having a treat to notice the discomfort. If you have older kids, then chewing gum works fine. And remember to carry wipes. Lollipops are messy and sticky.
TIP: I recommend giving kids organic lollipops because they don’t have chemicals, and also because they are gluten-free. I used the YumEarth organic lollipops when potty training my kid. I used to give him as a reward whenever he agreed to use his potty. I still use them whenever we travel with the kids.
Children are generally very messy. They touch everything, soil themselves with things and leave crumbs everywhere. So always carry wet wipes whenever you travel with them. Wipes are mostly for diaper changes but they’re also really great for cleaning surfaces, wiping up crumbs and cleaning messy hands.