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Yesterday we took our first flight as a family of four in a few months, and while packing I realized I have three things I must bring when traveling with a baby or toddler that go well beyond the obvious choices like diapers, an extra kid outfit, snacks, toys, and iPads. I’m going to assume for the moment you have that obvious packing list covered, but there are three things you need to bring when traveling with a baby or younger kid that you may not realize you should have packed in your carry-on until its too late.
1. Pack an all purpose small blanket.
There are few things more all-purpose when traveling with small kids than having a light-weight small blanket at the ready. Those nicer swaddling cloths are great, but really anything easy to pack and wash is a solid choice. This blanket can be used in a variety of ways ranging from keeping someone warm on a cold plane, rolled into a pillow, playing peek-a-book, as a nursing cover, as a make-shift changing station, or to clean up a big and unexpected mess. In fact, having not one but two all purpose small blankets available isn’t the worst idea when traveling with a younger crew in case you you blow through the first one because of an expected ‘disaster’.
2. Throw an extra shirt in the carry-on…for you.
You probably already know to have an extra change of clothes for your baby or toddler at the ready, but make sure you have one for you, too. It is not at all unheard of for an otherwise healthy toddler to all the sudden empty their tummies during travel, and whoever is holding them, well, best of luck to you.
I’ve done the toddler puke walk of shame through the airport, on the subway, into the hotel, etc. and it isn’t fun. Have an extra shirt for yourself handy. That probably won’t fix a full scale disaster mess, but it helps.
3. Plastic trash sacks are your best friend.
Accidents of all kinds happen, especially when traveling with young kids, and you need somehow to contain these messes. There are few better friends you can have on your travels than small plastic trash sacks. They help with messed clothes, stinky diapers, wet swimsuits, and of course trash collection. I try to always have a handful of small plastic trash sacks stashed in my carry-on bag…just in case.
I’d love to know what must have items you have discovered when traveling a baby or toddler!
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