Anyone who's a parent knows that travelling with young kids is no easy feat, even if it is a super rewarding experience! And while we've covered family travel a fair bit (including tips for air travel with young kids, recommendations for family-friendly resorts in Asia and road trip hacks while on the road with kids), we've yet to tackle one huge aspect of travelling with little ones: travel essentials you need to pack!
Having seen friends or family members who have babies or toddlers pack for a holiday, we've come to the conclusion that it's a major feat of logistics and planning! Hats off to all the parents out there who pull this off each family vacation. We were curious to know what are the absolute travel essentials that parents of babies or toddlers need for a trip, so we took to Instagram to ask our friendly community, and you were all so helpful! ? So without further ado, here are some of the top travel essentials parents with young kids swear by.
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To note, our list excludes some of the more basic items, like diapers, formula and medicine as that probably goes without saying ? We'll be focusing more on other items that parents have found absolutely vital.
1. Baby carriers
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One of the most popular responses we got by far was a baby carrier, particularly for those with babies/infants. This item allows a parent to carry their child on their front relatively comfortably while they're out and about, which is especially important if you're visiting places that aren't stroller-friendly. It also lets the parent have both hands available free, so it's easier to do things or manoeuvre around.
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We also got some recommendations for specific brands of baby carriers, including BabyBjorn, Ergobaby and Pockit. One of our readers also mentioned she prefers front-facing baby carriers, so her baby can enjoy the view too! ?
#HHWT Tip: Name-brand carriers (especially the likes of BabyBjorn) don't come cheap, but if you're looking for a less expensive alternative for these brands, you can consider preloved or gently used carriers on sites such as Carousel or Lazada.
2. Wet wipes
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We know we said that we won't be concentrating so much on basic items, which would arguably include wet wipes. But we thought a special mention was well-deserved, simply because not only was it one of the most consistent responses we got, it's also an item that is universally useful be it for your baby, toddler, or even for grown-ups! Wet wipes are probably one of the most used items in a parent's arsenal - used for everything between wiping up messes or cleaning hands before or after eating. It's a convenient way to keep your baby or child, yourself, and the immediate area you're in clean.
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There are so many brands of baby or wet wipes out there, and everyone has their own preference for which brand they prefer to use. It's worth noting, however, that many people are moving towards wipes that don't feature harsh chemicals as well as those that are biodegradable (better for the environment!). Brands that have products that fit these criteria include Pureen, Osh & Piper, and Happy Little Camper, among others.
3. Toys and comfort items
Children don't have the same attention span that we do, and bringing a supply of toys goes a long way to keep them occupied, which makes it easier for you during your travels!
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Every baby or toddler has their own preferences for what entertains them, but popular items that were mentioned are ones that are easy to pack and bring along. So things like rattles, books and toys that light up and have sounds (though don't choose one that's obnoxiously loud - it'll probably drive you batty to hear that repeatedly, or it could also potentially bother people around you), colouring books and stickers were a frequent mention. If you're travelling with a stroller, a stroller toy (that attaches conveniently to the stroller) may be handy.
Some parents also mentioned the iPad can be very useful! While some may be wary of using digital devices to keep their kids occupied for long periods of time, we can all probably agree that it can be an undeniable relief to pull out the big guns and let them watch cartoons or other suitable programs at some points (for example, while on a flight or while waiting in long queues).
Don't forget to also pack any items a child may require to keep them comfortable, e.g. a specific stuffed toy they like, or their bantal busuk ?
4. A change of clothes on hand at all times (for both you and baby!)
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The chances of babies or kids getting their clothes soiled while you're out and about (be it spilt food or any other mishaps/accidents) are fairly high, so having a change of clothes while you travel that's easily accessible at all times (i.e. not just those stowed in your luggage or in your hotel room) is pretty important. While you need a set ready for your child, having a change of clothes for yourself is a great idea too, given that if a baby or child gets their clothes dirty, there is always a fair chance that parents will too ?
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A handy tip we also got was to also make sure the clothes you choose are in separate pieces (i.e. top and bottom) so you don't have to change out a whole outfit if not necessary.
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It probably comes as no surprise that strollers made it to the list too. It was another popular response, with many emphasising that it's game-changing to have a stroller that's light, compact and easy to collapse and open. If you're planning to fly, getting a stroller that can fold quite small and can pass as a carry-on into the cabin is useful too.
Credit: @msleelynpbear on Instagram
#HHWT Tip: If you're looking for a compact stroller for a trip but aren't willing to splurge to buy one, there are many places that let you rent them for a period of time! A quick Google or Instagram search will yield a whole host of providers dedicated to this.
Credit: @travelingwkids on Instagram
If there's one thing that got more mentions than wet wipes when we asked our readers what were their parent travel essentials, it's probably snacks. Having (a lot!) of snacks on hand is crucial, for a number of reasons. It is useful for when your kids are peckish or hungry (which they inevitably will be!), it can be important if you child is a fussy eater and eats only specific things, and it's also a great form of distraction! ? Depending on where you visit, buying snacks on the go may or may not be an option, so it's always a good idea to look this up ahead of time and pack accordingly. If you're travelling somewhere short distance, things like fresh fruit, veggies or hard-boiled eggs are a great option, though for longer distances, more shelf-stable snacks like cereal, and biscuits may be the more logical choice (P.S. What are some of your favourite snacks to bring along for your kids when travelling? Let us know in the comments below!).
7. A whole lot of patience
This one probably goes without saying, but it was a common enough response that we're including it here as a gentle reminder. Packing and travelling with small ones can be an overwhelming experience at times, so it's good to remember to keep calm. Doing research and planning ahead can go a long way to help keep your trip stress-free, but there will inevitably be times when things happen and you'll just have to roll with the punches. Take a breath, keep your cool and remember that at the end of the day, it's all part of the experience that'll help shape your children and yourselves for the better.
Travelling with babies or young kids is never easy, but it is no doubt one of the most rewarding experiences parents will have. And we hope this list helped give insight into what makes it all a little easier! Did we miss out on any of your travel essentials? Let us know!