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  • Writer's pictureLeslie

9 Essential Products That Make Traveling with a Baby or Toddler So Much Easier

Updated: Jul 3

BabyZen Yoyo2 travel stroller
Travel days are a lot breezier with our BabyZen Yoyo2 stroller

There are some items we've brought along on our international travels with kids that were absolutely worth it (hello baby carrier!). However, some things have been a complete flop or total waste of luggage space — like hardcover books or bulky toys.

Also, some items just aren't necessary to take with you. For example, we only pack a few days-worth of diapers on our trips because you can always buy them at your destination, thus saving you lots of room in your suitcase. Other products may not be easy to find (like a specially formulated sunscreen if your child is prone to rashes), so packing them is key. So, if this all has your head spinning, worry not!

Here, discover a list of my go-to products to bring along when traveling with a baby or toddler. Hopefully they're useful for you, too! (All product picks are my own, but as an FYI: As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.)

You never know when you're going to need to traverse cobblestone streets or climb to the top of a hill for a great view, and having a sturdy carrier makes it so much easier to make it happen. Our Ergobaby carrier has helped us enjoy walking tours (not to mention Port tastings!) without a sore back. Plus, our kids have both loved being carried along... emphasis on LOVED. The shoulder straps are legitimately comfortable, and there's such good waist, hip and back support (not to mention your baby or toddler is as snug as a bug in there). I personally like the pearl grey color because it matches everything.

I know there are a number of travel strollers on the market, but this foldable gem gives us "celebrity status" whenever we walk on a plane. And I'm not joking! Most flight attendants ask us, "Is that a Yoyo?" before letting us come on board with it. That's because it's known to be so compact and easy to fold up — so the flight attendants typically have no problem letting us stow it in the overhead compartment. And that's great because you never know what's going to happen to your stroller if you're forced to check it.

These backpacks (from the Swedish company Fjallraven) are literally everywhere in Europe — and for good reason! They have a lightweight and sturdy design, and can hold a surprising amount. In my case, I love bringing one as my carryon/diaper bag, and filling it up to the brim with kid stuff, an extra layer for me, etc. Because the backpack is not so big, it fits under the seat, so I don't have to keep maneuvering to the overhead bin every five minutes. They come in almost every color (so you can match it to what you're bringing), and if you at some point want to switch to a purse you can always roll it up and easily stash it in your suitcase.

Fjallraven Kanken backpack travel with kids Dubrovnik
My go-to Fjallraven backpack in action in Dubrovnik

With our first two littles we used the Arlo monitor, which has since been discontinued, alas! We love having a monitor on our trips, though, because it allows us to put the kids to bed, then sit out on our balcony enjoying the sunset (enter: vacation goals), while the live feed keeps us up-to-date on how our littles are snoozing. Now that I'm pregnant again, we'll be going with the Nanit (our Arlo has since broken thanks to our kids thinking it was a toy... oops). I love that you can also get a chic little travel carrying case for the Nanit, to protect it on your journey.

They're technically for ages 3 and up, but our littles have loved them ever since turning one. We're sure to bring one of these "coloring books" for each of our kids on the flight, plus they pack so easily in our backpacks considering they're small and flat. You can fill up the water pens right before the flight, and if they do happen to spill a bit on the journey, it's just water (so it could be worse, right?).

Ideal for keeping babies and toddlers occupied (at least for a little while), we've had good luck with window spinners (just stick them on the window near you as soon as the flight attendant gives you the ok). These ones are extra nifty because they have both the "popping" and the "spinning" element (translation: More ways to keep 'em entertained!).

These drawing pads are not only a great way to pass time on the flight, but they're also really handy once you arrive at your destination. They're lightweight, too (read: won't weigh down your carry-on), and are good for a wide range of ages. For example, toddlers will love scribbling on them, while the 3+ crew can attempt more ambitious artwork.

So, packing one of these has been a travel game-changer for us. While it may seem random, a soft, plush ball has so many purposes! Our babies have both loved crawling after them in our hotel rooms (or apartment rentals), and our toddlers have loved kicking or playing catch with them. And because they're squishy, you don't have to worry about breaking something in your room (no accidents have happened on our trips... yet).

We live in the land of Tonies (the company was founded in Germany!), so we initially got these headphones for our kids because they matched their Toniebox audio players. But, these headphones make for such great travel headphones, too (especially for long-haul flights). It's nice that on many international flights they give out free headphones (even to little kids) but they never stay on their tiny ears. These, however stay put and also allow you to plug them into the main in-flight entertainment system, so your littles can enjoy whatever games or new release movies or shows they may have. Some people, of course, bring their own tablets for each kid, but we haven't gone this route... yet.

What are your go-to products when traveling with kids? I'd love to know!


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