As the holidays approach, the stark reality of traveling with babies, toddlers, and kids can hit you like a left jab. Trains, planes, and automobiles can be a nightmare if you go into the boxing ring unprepared. So, get those gloves and fancy bling-covered robes ready. Let’s get ready to rumble! Here are a few things you’ll need to get on that plane, buckle into that car seat, or ride the rails with your kids.
Your backpack, diaper bag or carry-on is the upper cut in your arsenal. If you’re going to survive the trip, you need to have the bag packed with the essentials. Healthy and delicious snacks, and I don’t mean gummy worms and diet coke. I’m talking real fruit or fruit snacks, we like Annie’s. Shelf stable milk boxes will not only be a savior, they can make it through airport security like a boss. We also love sesame sticks, banana chips, dried mango, and the leathery soles of our hippie Birkenstocks. You’ll also need some fun activities because if you think napping or sleeping is going to happen, I have some beach front property to sell you. Any activity like coloring, stickers, or finger puppets will work, but the key is to have something fresh and new or a long-lost favorite to pull out as the perfect one-two punch. Here are just a few of our picks from The Animal Kingdom:
- On The Farm Play Scene - a travel friendly sticker board with 30 reusable stickers, other "scenes" to choose from too!
- Over 50 Animal Finger Puppets to choose from - maybe a Mini Monkey to entertain your little monkey?
- Classic Sesame Street characters as finger puppets! Who doesn't need another Elmo in their lives?
Some other considerations: diapers, wipes, antibacterial hand gel, chocolates, single serve liquor bottles, and noise-canceling headphones as a last resort.
The Blanket & Snuggly
If you’ll be away for a night or two, your kiddos will need a reminder of home. Bring a favorite blanket and a favorite stuffed animal. Home will be a snuggle away and your babies will settle into those strange relatives’ beds and pull-out sofas with fewer troubles. If you’re lacking in the snuggly department, The Animal Kingdom has a great supply. That’s where Creepy-Eyed Panda came from.
Is there something your tot can’t live without? For mine, it’s the right pair of shoes, shirts without tags, too tight socks, a favorite book, and a stack of electronics that would embarrass Bill Gates. To avoid major meltdowns and the vicious jab of a 3 year old, be sure to include the necessities of your ones' little lives. Travel will open their eyes to new wonders and new fun, but as parents, we still have to give our kids the security they crave. With a little preparation and a few slices of home, disaster can be averted and the season can be filled with joy.
Sara Spock Carlson is a mom of two amazing boys, wife, Penn State graduate, researcher, Realtor, and freelance writer. When she’s not packing the perfect travel bag, she can be found at the back of the plane with the screaming toddler or buying the perfect gift at The Animal Kingdom.