I wrote a blog post when the girls took their very first flight about traveling with babies/twins, but my girls have definitely grown out of it at this point. So I decided it’s time to update! This last week I flew with for the first time by myself, and it was also their first time having their own tickets/seats. Although paying for two more tickets is NOT fun, them having their own seats/space was SO nice.
Packing for toddlers is so much easier than packing for babies! I no longer need stuff for pumping, breastfeeding, or sanitizing bottles and pump kits, and I don’t need things like burp cloths, swaddles, baby carriers, etc. Here are some packing tips for what I do still need, including a packing list along with a list of the gear/luggage I use!
First, some tips! I listed some of these in this post, but I’ll add them again here!
- Do laundry ahead of time. Packing is SO stressful if you’re trying to laundry at the same time! Catch up on all of your laundry (as much as you can) in the few days before you need to pack.
- Pack for yourself and your kids on separate days. This one sounds silly, but it helps me so much! My brain feels like it’s going to explode if I try to pack for everyone at once, but if I do it on different days I feel so much better.
- Make lists of what you need in your phone a few days before you start packing, and keep adding to it every time you think of something you’ll need as you go about your days. By the time you’re actually packing, you’ll have a clear idea of what you need!
- Ship items to destination. The girls are still in diapers (because I have been putting off potty training them even though they’re asking…that’s a post for another day!) so I shipped diapers and wipes to our destination on Amazon Prime. I also shipped their formula (yes we still drink formula, too!) via Thrive Market.
Obviously you’ll want to bring the right amount of clothes, socks, and shoes for the length/location of your trip! Here’s a quick list of the more obvious items:
- Outfits (shirts, pants, rompers, dresses, etc.)
- Underwear (if potty training/trained)
- Swimsuits if needed (don’t forget swim diapers, too!)
- Hats (sun hats or warm hats, depending on destination!)
- Shampoo, soap, and lotion for bath time
Essential Sleep Items
Definitely bring the things that are necessary for your toddler(s) to fall asleep! these are probably THE most important to remember!) For us right now, that includes:
- Travel Crib (if there’s not one where we are going – at my sister’s, mom’s, and grandma’s there are cribs!)
- Sleep Sack
- Lovey or comfort item (pacifier, blanket, etc.)
- Sound Machine (I bring two!)
- Nightlight (We have a big version of the salt lamp I just linked, so I feel like bringing the mini ones make it feel like home. My girls are also OBSESSED with this Tranquil Turtle. They can fall sleep without it, but if we are driving I sometimes bring it!)
- Travel Blackout Shades
** Pro tip ** Try and fit all of your sleep stuff IN the portable crib along with the crib sheet! There’s some space in there, use it! Gives your more room/weight to spare in your suitcase and keeps you organized!
- Table Chair (I still use high chairs when I can, because I have two babies and they are not easy to contain! If there aren’t high chairs where I’m going, sometimes I’ll cheat and stick these in the car seat bags with the car seats because they make suitcases too heavy!)
- Sippy Cups – My girls can drink out of big cups, but it’s nice to have these around…preferably ones that don’t spill or leak in your bag!
- Bottles/Formula – depending on where you’re at, don’t forget these if you need them!
- Diaper bag / Carry-on Bag – I am obsessed with this diaper bag and this tote and bring one or both on the plane, depending on how long the flight is and how much stuff I need. Both have travel sleeves so you can easily put it on your suitcase when you’re walking through the airport.
- Suitcases – You definitely want something with 4 wheels so that it rolls/pushes easy with one hand. I prefer hard suitcases, and these days I try to pack for myself and the girls in one large suitcase to check and one carry-on to either carry on or gate- check (see tips and tricks below!)
- Travel Crib
- Car Seat Bags – we have these from J.L. Childress, I prefer the backpack over wheeled one because I already have two things to wheel and a stroller/wagon to push (and don’t forget your car seats, duh!)
- Travel Stroller or Wagon – I love this stroller so much, it fits down the aisle of the airplane and then folds up in the overhead bin! I also like to use this wagon if I want to gate-check it because it’s super sturdy, easy to pull with one hand through the airport, and fun for the girls.
What to Bring on the Plane
Have some tricks up your sleeve. This is an obvious one, but save something for the plane or car ride, like a small new toy, book, activity, or snack you know they’ll love. Here’s what I bring on the plane:
- Tablets – we use these from Amazon, they’re affordable and do everything we need them to. The girls alternate between playing learning games and watching Disney + (we’ve got a bunch downloaded from Disney+, it’s amazing! I always try to make sure and download a few new games and movies before a trip.)
- Headphones – we use these to either plug into the tablets or the plane TV, because now that the girls are bigger they get frustrated if I turn the sound down and I don’t want to bug other passengers!
- Snacks – probably THE most important thing to bring! Both favorite AND healthy snacks! Bring the favorites you know will help you in a pinch, but also try to bring healthy options because your toddler will feel and act better if they’ve eaten something GOOD for them! This last flight I packed crackers, Pirate’s Booty, a little jar of fruit (kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, and rasberries), cheese sticks, turkey, salami, their favorite cookies, fruit snacks, and fruit/veggie pouches (my girls love the brand Once Upon a Farm).
- Small toys, books or activities…preferably a couple new ones – before this flight, I bought the girls a new little Moana set that came in a cute case. I saw another mom on the play that had play dough for her little girl, so smart! I also brought a couple of their favorite (small) books. Would love to hear more ideas on what people bring in this category – I love how creative people get!
- Necessities you’d normally have in your diaper bag like diapers, wipes, milk/formula, extra outfit, etc….except now that I’m typing this I realize I didn’t even bring the girls an extra outfit this last trip! Good thing Romy only puked on ME and not her self ;).
Tips and Tricks
- If your luggage is overweight, shove some items in with your portable crib (yep, there’s some room in there!) or car seats! This SAVES us. Do this before you get to the counter to check your baggage, I don’t think this is actually allowed but they’ll never know if you do it beforehand ;).
- Ship items that you can ship! I use services like Amazon and Thrive Market to ship diapers, wipes, formula, medicine, etc.
- Minimize what you carry on the plane. I like to keep my carry-on suitcase with me and then ask to gate-check it. Often times if the flight is full they are asking for volunteers to gate-check their carry-on bags for free. This way, I don’t have to wrestle with it on the plane and essentially check it for free.
- Board early when they do “family boarding”. I know some people like to keep their babies off the plane as long as possible, but I would way rather get situated with my carry ons and get the girls seated comfortable before the plane is too crowded!
- Pack organized. I like to either use packing cubes or pack with the Marie Kondo method, meaning I use her folding technique in my suitcase so that I can see all of the girls’ clothes and my clothes easily.
- Unpack if possible. If there’s a drawer and/or closet available and we are staying for more than a couple of days, I unpack right when we get to our destination. It just takes a few minutes and is SO worth it to stay organized while on your trip! Makes packing to leave so much easier, too!
- Try to time it so that you have your toddler eating, drinking, chewing, or sucking on something when you take off and land! It always helps their ears! My sister gave me some organic suckers for our flight home, and it worked wonders for their ears during takeoff but also for when they started to have a coughing fit (they were both getting over colds when we flew home!)
- In your little snack pack for the plane, freeze the pouches for a bit to keep everything else cold!
Cold/Flu Season and Coronavirus
I’m not going to lie, I was freaked out about traveling with the girls during all of the talk of Coronavirus. Especially because they were already sick and their immune systems are down! If you need to travel, I’d say bring anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down your seats, belts, trays, etc. Also, wash your hands and your kids’ hands as frequently as possible, especially before letting them eat. If your flight is short enough, avoid the plane bathroom by going at the airport right before and after. But on that note, also stay hydrated! And take whatever immunity boosters you like – I love these Wellness Formula tablets whenever I travel, as well as this Amazing Grass Immunity Superfood powder. For my girls, I love to spray this in their mouths everyday!
Ok, I hope that’s helpful! I’m sure I’m forgetting something, so I’ll keep adding to this post as I think of more. I’ll also start a section at the bottom to include travel tips I get from readers, because I know there are tons I haven’t thought of!
Good luck, don’t stress, you can DO this!