6 Travel Must-Haves when Hitting the Road with Kids

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My daughter’s last day of school is tomorrow. We are already knee-deep in planning our summer excursions for the next couple of months, and our very first summer getaway is in a little over a week.

With three kids (and a husband with childlike wonderment), getting ready for vacation is so exhausting that when I’m done I need a vacation. Fortunately, that is generally the end result of getting ready for vacation. A lot of the planning is trying to figure out what is going to make traveling the easiest with the kids. Here are the 5 travel must-haves when hitting the road with your brood this summer.

1. The Perfect Beach Tote – Our #1 in Travel Must-Haves

Travel Must-haves

We absolutely love traveling anywhere there is sun and sand to be had. East coast, west coast, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes, 10,000 Lakes, or heck, even a big backyard pond! We also love being able to bring ALL of our sun care products in a handy tote equipped with all we need for a day at the beach (or the local pool in the summer). My personal favorite of ALL the travel must-haves in this guide is the Products On the Go Perfect Tote. It’s versatile enough that the hubs doesn’t mind grabbing it when he’s taking the little ones out and about. But it’s also super roomy and comes with all those sun care essentials like a blanket, sunscreen, water bottle, lip balm, and after sun moisturizer. Portable, compact, and perfect for all of our extras, I don’t consider a trip without it!

2. Quick Change Diaper Kit

Travel Must-Haves

Inside that amazing and large, versatile diaper bag you should have a bugout bag of necessities for a diaper change on-the-go. Little Toes Lotta Poop prepares a go-to kit that has everything you need in one place for diaper changes when you’re on the road (or on a plane or in the airport or even at the grocery store). When your child gets to a certain age, getting them to sit still for a diaper change is challenging at best. I’ve been known to change diapers on the floor so I could use both of my legs to pin my child to the ground while I used my hands to change the offending butt-wrap. The Little Toes Lotta Poop is a kit that is equipped with natural bamboo diapers, diaper rash cream, diaper wipes, and hand sanitizing wipes for after the job is done. It’s the perfect compact kit for travel and slips right into a purse or diaper bag.

3. Water/Swim Essentials

Travel Must-Haves

Products on the Go makes some really great stuff for the family at the beach. The Perfect Tote has a lot of the basics, but they have a whole amazing line of Sunshine on the Go products. They have just about any and every situation involving sunshine and skincare covered. What’s more, when we are planning to hit the pool or the beach while we’re out, I wouldn’t dream of heading out to the waterside without the Poop Happens Swimmy Style Diaper Change kit. It has everything parents need for a whole diaper change including a disposable changing mat, swim-style diaper, wipes, diaper rash cream, and hand sanitizer for when the job’s complete.

4. Beauty and Sun Care for the Tweens and Teens

My daughter refuses to even consider going to the mailbox without having her hair and makeup done. There might be a prospective boyfriend passing by taking his dog for a walk. Of course travel without her favorite beauty products is out of the question. She heard how her dad and I met when I was on vacation visiting a friend across the country. Now every trip holds the potential of her meeting her future husband. Don’t even ask how old she is. She’s got plenty of time before that is even a remote possibility. But I digress. Girl Power on the Go offers an amazing line of on-the-go travel products for girls. Shimmery lotions, bronzers, and makeup are specifically designed with girls in mind.

5. Snacks, Snacks, and more Snacks

It seems like my kids have snack time more than anything else. There is a mid-day snack, an after school snack, and what they call a “midnight snack”, which is usually an orange or an apple they eat right before brushing teeth and heading to bed. Traveling means kids will be looking for something to do with their hands and mouth. In many cases, they will mistake boredom for hunger and although it might be a great teaching moment to help them understand they’re not hungry but bored, while you’re on a flight with 200 other passengers, you might save that teachable moment for another time. In that case, it’s best to have a whole plethora of snacks to offer, and is why snacks are in the top travel must-haves. This keeps their mouths busy, which means less likelihood for complaining, which is always a winning situation. If you’re flying, always keep in mind the TSA rules for food and drink. Dry cereal, individually packaged snacks, and other easy to grab finger foods are best for airline travel. For car travel, it’s really all dependent upon what you feel like bringing, if you plan on packing a cooler, and how much effort you want to put into snack prep prior to leaving. We like to keep GoGo Squeez pouches handy no matter how we’re traveling. They are small enough to meet TSA liquid requirements, yet healthy enough to not incite a sugar rush and subsequent crash mid-trip.

6. Toys, Blankets, Stuffed Animals – Whatever will make Travel Easiest with Your Little Ones

My daughter has a couple of “crutches” that she cannot go anywhere without. Her Lambie, and her two blankees. The two blankees are identical. Lambie has been operated on more times than we can count to put more stuffing into her neck, replace a lost ribbon, repair a torn ear, and replace more stuffing in her neck. My point is, if there is a favorite item for your child, be sure to include it during travel or it will make the entire trip a disaster. When my son was a toddler, he left his blankee at the doctor’s office on a Friday afternoon. We left that evening to go camping in the mountains, and the entire weekend was fraught with crying and whining for blankee and zero sleep (he couldn’t sleep without blankee). The entire trip was spent consoling our son and assuring him we could retrieve it on Monday morning, first thing and that the weekend would fly by if he would just go to sleep. If your kiddo has a favorite blankee or stuffed animal or lovey, be sure to bring it with. Allowing your child to hold onto something familiar and loved will help her feel secure and offer a little bit of home while you’re away, and is among the most essential of travel must-haves!

We are rounding the corner into our peak travel season for my family. It means a lot of preparation and thought will be going into our travel-must haves before we take off to spend the next several months jet-setting. I try to keep our packing light while still trying to bring all the essentials. Most of the must-have essentials for traveling with children are centered around the actual travel portion of the trip, and are travel must-haves that will absolutely make your journey go smoothly.

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Rachael Pineiro
Rachael Pineiro

You probably scrolled down here to read my "bio" because you're just dying to know what I'm all about, right? Yeah Yeah... I know. But I just haven't had time to do it between writing, and cleaning, and cooking, and being a taxi, and taking care of the dogs... and did I say writing? Anyway... check back later.

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I often visit your site and find a lot of interesting information.