8 Must-Have Items for Solo Travel with A Toddler
Updated: May 29
If there’s one question I get most often when I talk about the trips I’ve taken with my son, it’s “How did you manage to get there without any help?” Well, let me tell ya’ that I didn’t exactly travel without any help...instead, I had the help of several trusty items which gave me a couple of extra "hands" when I needed it the most!
Below are the items that have helped make travel possible as a single parent, and that I would recommend to almost anyone traveling with a little one whether alone or with another adult):
1. Go-Go Babyz Travelmate:
This is a lifesaver for anyone who needs to travel with a child and their car seat. Traveling with a car seat is enough of a pain, but add to the mix your luggage, carry-ons, and a stroller and you’ll quickly find yourself in over your head! However, the Go-Go Babyz Travelmate attaches the car seat to a dolley and then allows you to also use the car seat as a stroller for your little one while freeing up your other hand for your luggage and/or carry-ons.
2. Leapfrog Epic Tablet:
If you don’t mind a little screen time for your little one, then a tablet is an excellent way to help them get through a flight. The Leapfrog Epic is an Android-based tablet designed especially for children and is already programmed with several age appropriate games and activities. When connected to the web, you can easily download more apps, games, and shows using the app store.
3. Leapfrog Headphones: Unless you want everyone else around you to listen to children’s music or games, I’d highly suggest getting headphones to go along with the tablet. The great thing about the Leapfrog headphones is that the volume never goes too high as to damage your little one’s ears, and still allow the child to hear what is going on around them. The ear pads themselves are also very soft and comfortable for children.
4. Umbrella Stroller:
If you read my blog post on survival tips for travel with a toddler, you’ll know just how important it is to have a stroller with you when getting through the airport as well as on the ground in your destination. When it comes to travel, you’ll want to make sure you pack the most lightweight, yet functional, stroller possible. An umbrella stroller is the perfect way to go, as it is not only lightweight, but is also much more compact and folds easily (as well as allows you to use the handles to hold your purse or other lightweight bag). There are several brands that offer sturdy umbrella strollers with sun covers as well undercarriage storage and detachable cup holders, which will help with holding extra items while keeping your little one comfortable. My personal favorite is the Zobo Bolt Lightweight Stroller from Babies R’ Us.
5. Angel Babyz Stroller Gate Check Bag:
When it’s time to get on the plane, you’ll want to keep your stroller clean and protected with a gate check bag. The Angel Babyz Stroller Gate Check Bag is not only sturdy, but also has a shoulder strap to help make carrying it around the airport easier. What I've done is store and set the stroller bag on top of my luggage and then wrap the strap around the handle for easy transport and to free up one of my arms. Bonus tip: Use the bag to stuff jackets or other small lightweight items that you don’t need on the plane!
6. CARES Harness:
If a car seat isn’t necessary and your child is at least 22 lbs and can sit upright on their own, the CARES Harness is an excellent way to keep them secure in a plane seat. Instead of just a belt around their lap, the harness strap connects similar to their car seat, keeping the top part of their bodies stable during a bumpy ride.
While any backpack will work, I personally recommend the Jansport Mesh Backpack because it is extremely spacious, lightweight, and allows you as well as security to easily see the contents of the bag. Additionally, if you are taking a trip to the beach or the pool, the mesh will allow wet items to breathe and dry while they are being stored. Just make sure to keep all of your valuables out of plain sight!
8. Rolling Luggage:
This is honestly something that I wish I had during my first few trips with my little one, as it would have made life so much easier! With luggage that rolls on all four wheels in multiple directions, you’re able to push your luggage in the direction you’re going (as opposed to having to pull it along on just two wheels). Not only is this a big relief on your arms, but now you’re also able to put some of your items on top of the luggage and roll it along with you. My personal favorite is the Rockland 3-Piece Luggage Set, as it is not only affordable and sturdy, but also also features unique, bright designs that will stand out from everyone else’s luggage.
Headed on a plane with a toddler for the first time? Be sure to check out this list of 11 Survival Tips for Flying with Toddlers!
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