Did you catch my Youtube Video on this? If not, I’ve popped it at the bottom of this post as I go into more detail and you can see what I’m talking about! But for those of you that like a good ol’fashioned blog post, I thought I’d go through my top toddler travel essentials here too…
Top Toddler Travel Essentials
So, although not a hugely long travelling journey to Italy, it did involve some driving, waiting around in the airport (at both ends) and a 2hr 15 min flight. That with a 20-month old could strike the fear of God into many parents and it did make me a little apprehensive, so I decided to prepare for all eventualities.
My tactic was to go hard on the distraction technique and back everything up with snacks!
I packed a large, shoulder bag with easy access to grab anything I’d need for the toddler, at any point. This stood us in good stead throughout the journey (and holiday in fact).
Here’s what I put in it…
This is what I’m dubbing as my top toddler travel essentials –
1. Nappies, wipes and obvious bits
Goes without saying, you need all of the obvious baby/toddler bits to hand and this will depend on you. Ours was a few spare nappies, a full pack of wipes (you don’t want to run out mid-airport-security-check) and a bottle of water (which we obviously couldn’t take through security, so emptied before hand and refilled on the other side).
2. Snacks, snacks and more snacks
In my opinion, travelling isn’t the time to worry about a nuritious, well-balanced diet for your little one. If you can manage that, total bonus and high-fives from me! But, you need to think of including dry packaged good…nothing that will go-off, smell or won’t get through the security check. You don’t know how long you’ll be travelling for, if there’ll be any delays or such like, so go for dry, easily sealed snacks.
Our favourites included – Pomme Bears (always a winner!), mini cheddars and boxes of raisins.
3. Small but entertaining toys
Our nearly-2-year-old is just starting to role-play with her toys and likes to carry them around everywhere with her (feeding, cuddling, putting to bed etc). But you obviously don’t want to be fighting through piles of toys when travelling. So we took these awesome set of Hallmark Itty Bitty’s, which is the cast of The Wizard of Oz and she absolutely loves them. I kept them hidden so she didn’t want them too early and got them out when we needed a bit of distraction. Lots of fun.
Another winner for us (and a nostalgic moment for me), was packing her set of Sylvanian Families – I used to adore and collect these as a child and Flo already loves them. We have the cat family and she totally gets that theres a mummy, daddy, little girl and little boy and loves role-playing with them and showing them off.
4. ipad, portable DVD or laptop
Don’t judge me, but our little one loves the telly! She loves CBeebies, she loves Paw Patrol, she loves Peppa Pig and at the moment SHE LOVES – Beauty and The Beast (the original Disney…obvs!). In fact she loves it so much, that it’s a sure-fire winner to distract from potential tantrums and when she’s on the edge because she’s over-tired and won’t nap. It zones her out, it makes her smile, she sings along. Brilliant.
So before we travelled, we downloaded it onto our ipad, make sure it was fully charged and brought a pair of headphones for her. We used this particular distraction during the flight, when we knew she was ready for a nap and was getting a bit fidgety (and when I just wanted to sit back and read a magazine!). It really really worked for us.
5. Bottle / Boob / Milk / Water
Our flight was over lunch-time, which is generally the little lady’s nap time. We thought we’d be pushing it to get a full on 1-hour nap out of her, but prepared just in case. We couldn’t bring liquids through security, but I packed a clean empty bottle, which as soon as we got on the plane, I asked the flight attendant to fill with water. This meant we were armed with a bottle for when she was getting agitated and tired. With Beauty and The Beast on the ipad, she happily suckled away at her bottle and zoned-out…even napping for a while!
For you, you might want to bring a small bottle of sealed milk (maybe best to buy this in the departure lounge if you’re not sure that it’ll get through security and don’t want the hassle of it being tested etc), boob or dummy! Either way, plan for a time where they can just relax with their comforter and suckle on something suitable.
Once we were on Holiday
So those things really helped get us through the travel part of our trip, but what about my top toddler travel essentials once you’re there?
Well here’s what worked for us…
1.Shorts, shorts and more shorts
Obviously this is only recommended for hot destinations, but don’t skimp on the shorts. We bought a pack of 4 from Tesco and Sainsburys for under a tenner and always had 2 pairs on us wherever we went. It meant that whether she got messy, sandy, wet, hot – we always had a spare pair. They were the most practical thing for a toddler too!
2. Good swimwear that protects from the sun
I talk about this in depth in my video below, but our personal favourites were her sets from Sunuva – which were UPF50+ and gave us the reassurance that her skin would be protected in the hot Italian sun. Of course we still used factor 50+ suncream, which we reapplied regularly, but it helped having some protective swimwear too. They’re even in the sale now, so shop now for next year!
3. Sunglasses and hats
Flo loves wearing hats and glasses now (was a nightmare when she was younger), which makes life easier protecting her from the harsh sunlight and reflective swimming pool. Check out my video below to see which ones we love the most.
4. Maintaining the routine (sort of)
It’s never easy to stick to routine whilst you’re away and you really don’t have to! Relax! BUT, we did find that it was helpful keeping some elements of her routine at home with us whilst we were away. So if you can bring anything that’s easily portable that will remind your little one of home…bring it. We opted for her nightlight which plays music (small, plastic and square) which we used at bedtime and was familiar for her.
We also took her favourite bedtime book, which is the Lost My Name books. She loves these personalised books, they’re a great length for bedtime and guess what?! They come in different languages! So we thought it’d be fun to get the Italian version too, so her Nonna could read to her in Italy. I really do recommend these books and try them out in different languages – fun for everyone!
So that’s it! Some of my top toddler travel essentials!