Toddler Travel Favorites

Just wrapping up our Florida trip and as much as I tried to pack light, it was hard because you just don't know how the weather is going to be for 2-and-a-half weeks. Though the outlook was good, last year we packed mostly clothes for warm weather and it ended up being cool, so we were doing a lot of laundry wearing the same few long sleeve shirts and jackets.

This year I packed several jackets each for the boys, enough pants and long-sleeved shirts to get us through, but also t-shirts and shorts. Luckily the weather was amazing and we didn't need our pants at all!

Beyond that, I was definitely nervous about the flight so got them these cute backpacks that come with an attachable lunch bag (recommended by Ashley). Those bags were filled to the brim and heavier than they were by the time I was done with them. I had hit up the dollar store, the Target bins and Amazon after scouring for recommendations from other moms. I felt good about what I packed and was hoping all would turn out well on the flight. All kinds of fun stuff like sticker books, coloring books, actual books, invisible ink books, post-it notes, painters tape, crayons (the triangle kind so they don't roll off the table), mini animals, mini diggers and from the looks of it, much more :)



Our flight left about 1pm, which we debated back and forth, whether we should take a morning flight, naptime flight, or evening. It worked out well for George (amazingly) as he put on a show and fell asleep shortly after take off. Only for 45 minutes, but that was all he needed to be able to behave reasonably and play with toys the rest of the flight.

We thought William would be the 'easy' since he loves watching shows, but he was so worked up that he didn't nap at all and he definitely needs his sleep. He wouldn't sit still and finally about 3 hours into the flight, had a meltdown. Of course it was when the seatbelt sign was on which made it even worse. Dave was dealing with him so maybe I have a different view, but I don't think it was that bad. Maybe 15-20 minutes of crying/screaming. I've heard of much worse. In the end, Dave got him to fall asleep for a bit and we survived the rest of the flight.

Travel favorites:


1.Guava Lotus crib - these were on the list last year and they remain a top pick this year (along with the duffel bags and car seat bag). SO easy to set up and put away and very compact and light. Perfect for travel. My only complaint is that putting on the crib sheet and then getting all the velcro straps through it to keep the mattress flat in the crib is such a pain.
2. So Young backpack and lunch bag set - Dave and I couldn't decide how we wanted to carry their toys and snacks for the plane but this was the perfect fit. The backpack holds tons of little toys and books and while it was definitely too heavy for them to carry themselves, it was fine for me to carry onboard along with the diaper bag. The snack bag was perfect too and filled with all kinds of treats trying to keep them happy. Note: Dave did not agree with me on this and though they were hard to rummage through and he could've done without most of the stuff in there. He had William though. G went through most of the toys and just about all of the snacks...
3. Lil Gadgets bluetooth headphones for kids - The boys actually didn't end up wearing these all that much (just watching shows seemed to be enough), but they're great little headphones that I think we'll get tons of use out of over the years. Plus, you can set them up for bluetooth so they don't get wrapped in the cord while squirming around.
4. The 'red cars' - I wouldn't necessarily consider these travel friendly, but I couldn't talk about our trip favorites without a shout out to these cars. The boys are obsessed with these and anytime we're at the park and someone arrives in one of these cars with a long handle for someone to push them, the boys can't be distracted away from it. So when I walked in the consignment store to see if they had some of the basics we'd need for our trip, I knew they'd go crazy when there were TWO red cars (almost exactly the same, but of course one had buttons and sounds and I'll give you one guess whose car that was for the rest of the trip...).
5. CARES harness - We debating back and forth about whether to bring the car seat onboard or to go with the harness. I heard that the car seat works better for sleep but then if it's not working out, you're stuff with the car seat in the seat the rest of the time. We made the right call, though I agree that it works better for bigger kids (G did better than W). It was a way to keep them securely in their seat without feeling as strapped in as in a bulky car seat. Luckily G was able to fall asleep with it, W wasn't so lucky.
6. Honest sunscreen - Everyone raved about this sunscreen so when it was available at Costco (basically at 2-for-1 pricing), I had my mom pick several up. The problem is, it's really greasy so when I'd put it on the boys at the park, and then they'd go in the sand, sand would stick wherever I put the sunscreen. I don't know if we finally figured it out or what, but it worked great for us here. 80+ degrees every day and sunny and not a single sunburn.
7. Serial podcast - This one's for me. Yes, I finally jumped on the bandwagon and it was so good! I add this to the travel post though because I found it was the perfect thing to have on for the plane ride. A book or movie/TV show would have to be put down/paused with the ups and downs of dealing with G on the plane, but listening to a podcast was great. Generally I could keep it running, even when interacting with him. I downloaded several audio books for the plane ride home so we'll see how that goes.
8. iphone - duh. Between shows and photos (the boys aren't really into apps yet), this is a travel must-have. Though I don't love them watching many shows on a normal basis, they can have as many as they want when we're flying.
9. Hats - Not so much a travel favorite, more of an all-around favorite but the boys couldn't leave without choosing their hat. The few times they did go out, they'd quickly touch their heads and say 'hat, hat' and we'd go pick one out.


45 min nap, I'll take it!
Loved the Melissa and Doug travel shape sorter


Little snacks in a days-of-the-week vitamin holder. This was a hit!



And a few not-so-honorable mentions go to...



Cosco Scenera car seat - Everyone seems to have this car seat for travel so there was really no question about what we would get. It has one of the highest safety ratings of any car seat, but is super lightweight, easy to install and only $40, thus why it's perfect as a back-up or travel seat. Well, who knows if it was the car seat or the boys are just getting older and don't want to sit in their car seats but they complained constantly when in the car. A 10-minute ride, whining. The drive from Orlando to Naples, not so good either. The seats clearly aren't very comfortable, there's not much padding, but William especially seemed to really hate these seats. We'll see how they do when they're back in their normal ones. I'm just praying this is how they'll be in all carseats... With that said, they're so easy to travel with that we'll definitely be using it again.
Ford Fusion - We upgraded to the 'full-size' car for the rental and last year we lucked out with an Impala (which we didn't realize was so great until we packed all our stuff in). It was amazing how much that car to fit, especially in the trunk. The Fusion must have a smaller trunk because the double stroller can only fit diagonally, pretty much the hardest way to pack bags around it.
Gap rashguard - I was thrilled when I scored a cute striped rashguard for George at the end of summer for maybe $4. Ugh, after the first day at the pool, this thing was ruined. I guess it's not typical rashguard material and got all roughed up and pilly. Glad I didn't pay full price. Definitely won't be buying rashguards from Gap again.
iPlay water shoes - These seemed to get pretty decent reviews with the main complaint being that the color wears off. I gave them a try as they're about a third of the price of Native water shoes. William ended up getting a horrible blister on the bottom of his foot and though he did better this time around, George always tripped in these shoes despite them fitting. Nordstrom just had Natives on sale so I ended up buying them each a pair for next year.


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