Traveling With Kids Checklist
Don't leave home without this
Get Ready to Rumble
Planes, trains and automobiles…I’ve taken them all with my babies. Before my children were born, I swore that having kids wouldn’t slow me down or cramp my wanderlust. Three years and two midgets later, and I can honestly say… I was totally naive. Out of my mind. Enthusiastic, optimistic and really, really stupid. Traveling with kids is work. A lot of work. But with some planning and preparation, it can still be fun. And heaven knows we all need to get out of the house once in a while.
While it’s true that the smaller the child, the more gear you’ll have to pack for it (I have seen friends pack entire minivans full of baby gear for a week-long trip to the beach with a four-month-old that only took up 25 inches of space himself), there are really only four things every parent must bring on a family trip.
- A sense of humor
- Enough wet wipes to wallpaper the White House
I can’t overemphasize the need for extra wet wipes. They come in handy for diaper changes, spills, hand wipes, nose blowing, sippy cup wipe downs, cleaning off strange restaurant high chairs and table tops, wiping bottoms in paperless restrooms…actually, wiping down every single square inch of gas station restrooms for that matter. Wet wipes are God’s gift to parents, so pack double the amount you originally planned to take.
What to Pack
The following is a basic travel checklist appropriate for the two and under crowd. Older toddlers will require less in the diaper and crib department, but generally more in the toy and coloring book area.
- Sunscreen: It actually does go bad after a year, so get a fresh bottle if you need it.
- Insect repellent: Avoid using products that contain DEET on very small children.
- Bath toys: I once allowed my daughter to play with a miniature coffee carafe and a hookless wooden hanger in a hotel bathtub because I forgot to pack a few little rubber animals and cups that she normally plays with in the tub.
- Medicines like Tylenol and children’s cold medicine
- Sippy cups and bottles
- Stuffed animals
- Crib sheet and mattress pad
- Pack-n-Play or playpen
- Wet Wipes: Did I mention you’ll want tons and tons of wipes?
- Snacks: Try packing familiar stand-bys like goldfish crackers, and something new and exciting, maybe even something forbidden like mini-Oreos to pique kids’ interest.
- Extra clothes
- Swim diapers
- Small vial of dish soap for washing out cups and bottles if you’re staying in a hotel
- Plastic bags for dirty diapers in hotels and cars. You can’t very well bring the Diaper Genie, and a stinky diaper can really reek up a hotel room until room service comes the next day!
- A sun hat or two: I’ve had them blow off into the waves.
- Diaper cream or Vaseline
- Bibs: Those disposable travel bibs aren’t always adequate, so bring your own bibs—a large plastic one that can be wiped off and reused frequently is a good idea
- Baby videos and a laptop with DVD drive. You can also rent VCRs and DVD players from many video stores.
- Bath soaps and shampoos
- Your pediatrician’s phone number: if it’s not already there, preprogram it into your cell phone.
- Spare outlet plugs for hotel rooms and relatives’ homes.
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