I have been traveling internationally for my entire life. I was born into a military family and married a military dude (go figure). We travel at least once a month and internationally travel at least once a year. And when I say we travel internationally, I don’t mean a quick hop flight to Canada or Mexico. No, our trips take from 24-48 hours to get back home to Japan. It’s daunting with a toddler, but it is so much easier with these 10 things.
1. Sippy Cup (or some type of water bottle)
Our kid is accident prone. We acknowledge and embrace it. Therefore, sippy cups and water bottles are way easier than the open cups they hand out in airplanes. Plus, it’s eco-friendly and reusable. Win.
2. Change of Clothes
Make sure to pack a change of clothes. As I mentioned before, we have a messy toddler and by this point, we pack multiple easy outfits.
Airport food and snacks are expensive. Plus, sometimes they don’t have what you’re looking for. I usually pack several really fun snacks and a few healthy things in the event we arrive at an airport late (and there’s nothing open) or don’t like what they’re serving on the airplane. The added bonus is that it helps your child equalize the air in their ears. We’ve generally dodged the kid screaming because of a pressure headache with special snacks and really good juice on takeoff and landings.
You may not use electronics for your kid. Cool. But we do and it’s GREAT. We load a bunch of really great educational games, tv shows, and movies onto this thing. I bought it back in 2012, added a glass screen protector, and a foam protector around it. It’s done so well even after drops onto concrete and stone. Also, bring over the ear headphones (bonus points if they’re bluetooth) because my child HATES in the ear earphones.
5. Baby Carrier
Since we do a crazy amount of walking during these trips, naturally our kid gets tired. I think our last airport trip clocked somewhere between 20,000-30,000 steps. We used an Onya baby carrier for the first few years until we bought a preschool Lillebaby carrier. They’ve been a lifesaver for us.
6. Important Documents
We always carry our passports. Since the kid is fairly young, usually we carry at least a copy of his birth certificate and social security card. Some countries have different requirements. Make sure to check them before traveling.
7. New, Cheap Toys & Activities
Before every really long trip, I go to the dollar store or Walmart. I look for coloring books, little cars, and other little toys that are easy to carry. I give these to our kid (or other kids) as the trip goes on and he gets tired of it all.
8. Favorite Toy or Comfort Item
We pack one favorite toy or comfort item every trip. It could be his stuffed animal or blanket. Something that gives a little bit of security and familiarity is a good idea, even for adults.
9. Car Seat
Most airlines will check a car seat for free. Sometimes they’ll let you fly with the car seat in your child’s seat (so easy). If not, there’s a FAA certified child-restraint for flying that works wonderfully.
For just our child, we pack: Children’s Allergy Medication, Baby or Children’s Acetaminophen (ie: Tylonal), and Probiotic gummy vitamins. Why do we do this? Because almost every trip we’ve needed one of these items and have about FOUR bottles of children’s allergy medication because we forgot it and had to buy it. Plus, it’s a good idea in the event you’re in a foreign country or land late at night and can’t easily find medication.