So on to the post! In my previous post I talked about plane travel with a young toddler. As jam packed as that was with info, there are more things to consider, like what do you actually bring (other than your toddler of course).
1. Carseat, base and stroller. For us, she is still way under 30 pounds and is in her Chicco Keyfit 30 still. This works out well because her stroller is the frame stroller and is very lightweight. I used a Mommy Hook to attach the base to her stroller while we were walking around the airport. It worked out really well.
You could rent a carseat from the car rental company, but you never know what you will get and in what kind of condition it will be in. This way you have a safe, clean, familiar place to put them while running around the airport (or a really great luggage cart to lug your stuff around in).
These items gate check free! We used this bag which was worth the price and held up really well. You can also put other things in it like coats. I would think that if she were in the next size up carseat we would have brought it and gotten one of these nifty frames for it. Researching online and talking to a few friends who have traveled with their little ones, it seems like the travel frame is a good option. All children under 2 fly for free if they sit on your lap, which unless your child is a wiggle worm or if you have a particularly long flight, I would just hold them on your lap.
2. Toys! I brought some new, novel toys and some familiar ones. This worked out pretty well. Also, when picking out the toys, bring things that, if they were thrown and lost, you wouldn't fret about later. I packed them all up in one of those zippered shoe bags that are used for travel and put it in her suitcase so it wouldn't be hard to find them. I just used a small gym duffle bag for her carry on so we could get into it during the flight. We also brought 4-5 books since she loves books so much. I only brought one stuffed animal and her glow worm. I didn't want to over-do the stuffed animals because they take up a lot of room. (Though if you bring a glow worm, flip the switch to off or take out a battery during travel - it will go off and waste the batteries and you will be sad when you get to your hotel at 11pm and the thing won't turn on).
You only need enough to hold their interest on the plane at at the hotel room, if you are spending any time in it, so don't over do it on toys.
Just in case you are wondering, she had a few shapes from a Tupperware shape-o-toy. She loves holding one in each hand. She also had some of her "favorite" toys which were some wooden flower shapes, a couple rings from a ring stack toy, and some plastic block squares (about 3"x3" big) that have different parts in the middle (an hourglass, parts that move, etc). Her grandma and grandpa gave her a new Duplo book, a new fabric book that has an interactive piece to it and some other small things she could hold.
3. Skip the PacknPlay or crib. Call ahead to your hotels and ask if they have something available. Both of our hotels did and it was free. I brought a pair of crib sheets with me just in case, but didn't have to use it at one of the hotels. The first hotel had a metal crib. I wiped it down with a travel clorox wipe and the wipe was clean when I was done! Still made me feel better though. And the sheets were clean so she just slept in that crib.
|Looks like a mini baby jail!|
At the second hotel we are pretty sure they had gone out to buy the pack n play because it smelled brand new, had no stains or weird markings, and had all of the parts when he brought it to us (changing pad, newborn booster, mobile). I put a sheet down on this since there wasn't a sheet that came with it.
Depending on where you travel, you might want to think about getting one of those travel cribs, but going to an affluent part of California, I didn't think we had to worry and it turned out great.
4. A harness of some kind. Since she is getting older and doesn't really want to chill out in a stroller and wants to be eye-level with everything, I just pop her in the harness when we do any walking. She is about 20 pounds so it does get heavy over time, but it is better than bringing another stroller. (You could purchase a cheap, $20 umbrella stroller at your destination if you feel like a stroller is a must with your kid. (Of course I'm wearing the same shirt in these pictures - our hotel had a washer machine.)
It worked out great for us. When I got tired of carrying her, she went to her dad and loved it. Or we would put her down and let her walk...which brings me to my next point - shoes!
5. Baby shoes. Whichever kind you get, get something that will stay on their feet...and something in dark colors. Her cute pink shoes took quite the beating while becoming a world traveler. I'm glad her shoes were so dirty instead of her tiny feet.
|Her cute pink shoes got really dirty, I wish I had gotten some black ones instead.|
6. General baby gear. I brought 4 sippy cups, 3 spoons, a snack cup, and 3 silicone bibs. Everything I brought had few parts and could be washed off in a sink. The bibs are great because you don't have to worry about washing them. You could even just wipe them down and then put them in the bag. I kept the spoons and bibs in a quart sized plastic baggie along with the lids to her sippy cups. The amount worked out well for us for the week and a half we were there. When we got to California, I just picked up a small bottle of dish soap for like 87cents. If I had thought ahead (and had room in the TSA liquid bag) I would have put some from home in a container.
If in doubt, there are probably going to be babies were you are traveling, so you can probably get most of what you would want/need at your destination. If you don't have room for diapers you can always order some online and have them delivered to the hotel's front desk and have them waiting for you when you arrive (you can also do this for baby food, wipes, pretty much anything baby-related).
One last tip is - call ahead. Call them a few times if you want. After talking with the hotel probably the third time, I realized that the bathroom didn't necessarily have a tub. I had to special request that we had a tub so I could give her a bath. I also found out that our second hotel that we spent a week at had free laundry services which included soap and softener. (I did bring some of these just in case I didn't like the kind they had.) They also had min-fridges in the room so I could buy some milk and I could request a microwave for free. Unfortunately the hotel was in the middle of renovations on their restaurant so there wasn't a complimentary hot breakfast option available, but they had some fruit, juice and pastries available each morning.
Is there anything else I missed that you have found to be invaluable? Or do you have any other tips or questions about something I may have left out? Leave a comment below!