For the Love of Travel: Our Family Must Haves


We knew even before we had our daughter we were going to have a lot of adventures with her. If simply didn’t occur to us that our love of exploring would ever exclude her. I have loved being able to show her from a very young age all the exciting things this world has to offer. At three months old she officially became our little traveler, and we haven’t stopped since.

To be honest, I have travel anxiety as it is. Then add a baby to the mix and you know there were some restless nights tossing and turning with thoughts like “Am I really going to take a baby on an airplane?!” With lots of reassurance from family, friends and our amazing pediatrician, I conquered my fears and have been able to let my daughter explore! It’s amazing to watch even a young baby’s eyes light up at new experiences. We took her recently to the California Academy of Science and you would have thought it was Christmas for us all. The squeals of delight over the floor to ceiling aquarium were beyond priceless.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some added stress with traveling. Packing has become a little easier as she is getting older, but there is always that fear of forgetting something. (I act like we are going to the moon without a local Target!)I think we packed everything including the kitchen sink for our first trip away from home.

Here are my top items we bring traveling with our babe! Notice they are pretty basic items, most of which are things you already use, just repurposed for on the go!

Make sure to check out the bottom for my Go-To tips and tricks which can be applied to just about any age group, including adults!

travel, travel basics, travel with baby, travel with children

|ONE| In the beginning the second we walked into the hotel room I wiped EVERYTHING down. I didn’t to set a toy on a nightstand without making sure it was properly cleaned. Now that she is older, I have relaxed a bit (growing immune system and all) and use this to keep her toys and hands clean between washing. The also come individually wrapped (here) which is a must have in our diaper bag. (We love these at home too!) And I can’t lie, totally used these after a round of spicy buffalo wings!

|TWO| When you need to put a baby down in a hotel room, you want a lot of options. It has been worth lugging this thing around for play and of course sleep. Also a great place to stash everything before the cleaning crew comes. I remember not being sure if I really wanted a pack n play, but now I am so beyond glad we actually have two!

|THREE| If you are taking long car rides the more little toys you can cram in your bag the better. When one is tossed to the floor out of boredom I am quick to have another. I try to pack an array from things that light up, make noise, have a part that spins, etc. for a little variety and our own sanity. Board books are another great option. When all else fails or you run out, don’t underestimate that little scrap of paper found in the bottom of your purse! Although we haven’t hit the toddler stage yet, I am already prepared with this list of kid friendly Apps.

|FOUR| Hotel carpet. Enough said. My parents scooped this bad boy up at Costco, but similar can be found on Amazon. We use it at home on the lawn, and on the floor while traveling. Now that she is mobile it has gotten more tricky keeping her on the blanket, but at least there is somewhere to lay out her toys and give her some time to stretch and move around a bit. I love using a moving blanket because of the durability and thickness. And I am sure somewhere out there in cyberspace are some fab color choices.

|FIVE| We try to get a new toy for traveling. Being in different, new surroundings with a child that is mobile usually means they will be potential breaking something due to lack of baby proofing. A new toy can give some distraction from Aunt Betty’s ceramic cat collection. The more bells and whistles the better! This toy has been amazing because now she can cruise around the room without having to crawl around on the floor.

|SIX| We like to make a lot of our own food while home, but on the go these are great. Target and Whole Foods usually both have great sales and I still feel that I am giving her wholesome food on the go. A pouch, an (optional) spoon and a bib and you’re good! And don’t think these stop once your child reaches their toddler years. These would make awesome mess free and filling snacks in line at a theme park or traveling by plane.

*TIP* Packing clothes was super overwhelming for me. How can I predict weather passed what I read on the weather app. To make it a little easier, and save me time when we get there, I fold a onesie or shirt over a pair of leggings, a pair of shorts and matching socks. I grab one out of the suitcase and am done. Then we layer with sweaters, hoodies and hats as needed. I tend to bring an pre-matched outfit a day, two pairs of pjs, and about 3 extra outfits for those just in case moments.

*TRICK* This works really well for any age group. Make a list of all the things you use or touch as you go about your typical day at home. For example, Mornings:

  • Washed bottles (Used: baby friendly dish soap, brush, dish basket, drying rack).
  • Made bottle (Used: bottles, baby water, formula, bottle warmer).
  • Ate breakfast (Used: dish, spoon, oatmeal, water, banana, silicon bib).
  • Play time (Used: board books, activity mat, teething rings).
  • Nap time (Used: pacifier, book, stuffed animal, blanket).

Continue on with the rest of your day. Now highlight all of the the “used” items you have listed . What can you cross off that you could easily live without while traveling? This will build your packing list and help you remember those things that you may have easily forgotten. I almost forgot all of my bottle washing supplies before I did this!

*TIP* Try to plan around the your normal routine as much as possible. I know this is SO much easier said then done. Be prepared to leave early morning and stop for your normal scheduled feeding. Take off shortly before nap time for a little play time before catching some Zzzz’s. This also goes beyond the actual travel time. I am convinced our little is such a good travel because we try our damndest to stick to our normal routine as much as humanly possible. Bedtime is bedtime regardless of where we are. Exceptions of course will happen, but traveling is overwhelming enough without an overly tired kid throwing a tantrum.

*TRICK* Research ideal places to stop. We discovered Raley’s grocery store has a little sitting area in their deli which makes a healthy pit stop for us, and little stretching room for the kiddo. (Not to mention a great place to grab anything you may have forgotten!) Know where you can find a bathroom and a Target (and a Starbucks for the parents) at all times!

Traveling does not have to be taboo once you have kids. If anything having our daughter has renewed our love for some of our favorite places. We have “been there done that” as a couple, now we are experiencing life all over again with our babe!

Enjoy, be safe, and remember to keep your arms and legs safety inside the vehicle at all times!


One thought on “For the Love of Travel: Our Family Must Haves

  1. You really thought you didn’t want a pack n play? Peyton like liiiiived in that thing, especially when she was outside ‘helping’ Papa. I applaud your travel bug and not letting little O slow you guys down. Yay for new adventures

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