Family Travel: What to pack for a toddler

I’m starting to work on our Bali travelogue, and thought I might start with some posts about packing.

 

We brought way more than we needed for Hudson on our month-long trip. No surprise there: it feels like it’s impossible not to overpack with a baby (and now, a toddler) in tow. We would basically just pack the entire contents of our apartment everytime we went somewhere, as if we were being air-dropped onto a deserted island.
But there are a few things we really used.
First, the essentials:
GoGo Babyz Kidz Travelmate
(with our Combi Cocorro Car Seat
):  If you’re bringing a carseat on a trip with you, the GoGo Babyz can convert almost any carseat into a stroller. We opted to leave our stroller at home and it was so nice to still be able to wheel Hudson (or the empty carseat with our bags stacked atop) through the airport. And on a side note, our smaller- and lighter-than-average carseat is awfully nice for traveling. I’ve seen some travelers struggle to install their carseats on the plane, and it was never a problem fitting this into the row.

 

We were so glad we brought a Totseat
 with us. High Chairs were available about 50% of the time, but we never worried because he could use this with any chair.

 

An Ergo Baby Carrier
(or any sling or carrier) is my number one travel essential. Hudson had lots of practice with being worn on the sidewalks of New York, so he would even nap in the Ergo while we crossed rice fields or walked around town. I appreciate that it has a hood for shade and that it doesn’t take up too much space.

 

BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light
(with jury-rigged mosquito net): Many of the places we stayed were willing to furnish us a crib, but I’m so glad we had our own. We knew it was safe, and Hudson knew it as a constant and familiar bedtime spot even as the rest of his surroundings were changing. My only caveat is that I wish it were smaller. Also notable: sometimes airlines will count this as a piece of checked baggage; other times they’ll let it go since it’s for a baby. It’s worth asking ahead of time and bringing the email reply with you when you check-in if you get a “yes.”

 

And a few other favorite items:
“Baby Catch-all” bibs (aka Tommee Tippee bibs
): These roll up and wipe down easily (no laundering required) and catch those few precious bites that you were counting on for a few more minutes of distraction on the plane.

 

Dye-free Infant Acetomeniphen: You’ll likely be packing a medicine cabinet’s worth of first aid supplies (bacitracin, teething relief, ibuprofen, tylenol, etc.). Somehow they always end up staining things, which is especially annoying when you have fewer changes of clothes. Look for the oddly elusive dye-free options. (NB. Be sure you’ve tried them before using them on a trip and have checked dosage guidelines with your child’s doctor).

 

Headphones
 specifically for kids (with a splitter
): Hudson hasn’t had much practice watching television, so he was not too interested in watching cartoons when we really wanted him to on the plane or while up for hours and getting over jet lag in the middle of the night. But it helped that he had his own over-the-ear headphones, and that I could listen along and react. (I’ve also heard good things about these
.)

 

BabyConnect App: Aron and I love this app and recommend it to all new parents for tracking sleep and feedings or anything else. We’re a little crazy for still using it, but I personally found it really nice to be able to look back over Hudson’s usual sleep patterns when deciding how to adjust him to the twelve-hour time difference. And then to track his sleep when it was completely erratic and we needed to judge whether he was sleeping too long during the day.

 

Baby monitor
: If you and your partner are lucky enough to get your own room, you’ll be happy you brought along a monitor.

Leakproof thermos by Foogo: if your toddler can use a straw, this is a nice (insulated) option. And it won’t leak in your bag. (This leakproof feature doesn’t apply during ascension in the plane, however, when the pressure builds.)

And don’t forget finger snacks, a new toy or two (think 99-cent store), a change of clothes, and more diapers than you think you need for the plane.

Happy traveling!

 

See more photos from our Bali instagram feed: Weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4

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