6 Must-Haves for a Road Trip With Your Toddler

I vividly remember summer road trips when I was a kid. The first one I can recall was when I was four years old. My mom and grandma drove my two sisters and me to visit our great-aunt in Miami, Florida. It was just a wee 18-hour drive from Illinois, which was thankfully spread across two days. My two sisters and I piled into the backseat of Mom’s Ford Granada and had to keep ourselves busy. One vacation treat we always got was a new Barbie doll, but of course the novelty quickly wore off. So we would color in Barbie coloring books, play travel Connect Four, play a version of I spy, catalog other cars’ license plates in hopes of seeing one from each of the 50 states and gesture at truckers to get them to honk their horns.

I like to think Nora will do some of those same things on our road trips in years to come. We already attempted I spy on our last road trip, and that lasted for about three minutes. Luckily I had plenty of other ways for her to pass the time in my arsenal of Mom goodies.

Before we take a road trip with Nora, I pack up one reusable shopping bag full of stuff that I think might entertain her for some period of time. A trip down the dollar aisle at Target is a great place to find cheap things for road trips, but a lot of those items are geared towards older kids, and Nora’s only two. On our recent 14-hour road trip to Illinois, I was very thankful to have packed these six road trip must-haves in my Mom bag:

  1. Crayola’s Color Wonder Color & Go set is recommended for ages three and up, but Nora did just fine with it. If you’re unfamiliar with Color Wonder, the magic is that the markers only color on Color Wonder paper. So no biggie if the uncapped marker falls on the car seat, or your child is like Nora and likes to color all over herself/himself. The yellow case is perfect for travel, as it fits perfectly on little laps and has two clips to hold the paper in place.
  2. The iPad is reserved for long road trips, otherwise Nora would want to watch The Wiggles every time we drove to the grocery store. We make sure it’s loaded with plenty of videos — namely, The Wiggles and Sesame Street — and fully charged, then we pop it into this iPad headrest mount holder. Although the holder is designed to be mounted on the back of the front seat headrest, we used to jimmy it on the backseat headrest when Nora was still facing backwards in her infant car seat.
  3. Find the least offensive children’s music that you’ll be able to stomach for hours on end, and load up the iPod with tunes. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of Nora’s current favorite, Music Together’s Triangle Song Collection. Surprisingly, there is some children’s music out there that doesn’t make me want to jab my eyes out with a hot poker.
  4. … and when your kiddo’s tunes are just too much for you to take any longer without steering the car right off the road, pop these Kidz Gear headphones on her/his little head and enjoy the silence, or your own tunes. I found them at Target and we just used them for the first time. KP was skeptical but Nora thought she was pretty cool. Plus, there’s a volume control switch so you don’t have to worry about your child going deaf.
  5. It seems like a no-brainer to pack snacks, but I’m always surprised at the parents I see on airplanes who haven’t packed snacks for their kids. We try to be healthy, but rules get bent greatly for road trips. Nora is partial to these Earth’s Best Sunny Days Snack Bars.
  6. Stickers are the ultimate two-year-old treat, I’m learning. And they’re harmless, mostly. We learned that the stickers from Nora’s Sesame Street coloring book could essentially double as duct tape. We learned this after she covered her legs with them.
Do not try this at home, kids.
Do not try this at home, kids.

You don’t have to do or buy anything elaborate to keep your toddler entertained while on the road. Have options so that she/he can mix it up every so often, and if all else fails, a stop to stretch the legs and breathe some fresh air always seems to help everyone in the car.

My Favorite Travel Partner

Researching the best gelateria in Nice
Researching the best gelateria in Nice

Today I’m celebrating KP, my favorite travel partner. It’s his birthday today. We’re not jetting off to any place warm or fun, although we often travel on/around his birthday since Thanksgiving always falls somewhere near it, so we’re inevitably en route to spend the holiday with family somewhere. No, this year it’s just us and Nora, and we’ll host his family here for Thanksgiving.

Travel has always been a big piece of who KP and I are together, even from the very start. After all, we met when we both started working for a travel company in Boston. We were young globetrotters back then, both having a thirst to see new places and experience new things. We both traveled a fair bit before we started dating. And a month into dating, we decided to do the one thing that I think can make or break a relationship: we took a road trip together for a weekend getaway. And it was for Valentine’s Day, so that really upped the ante. But here we are, so I think it’s safe to say how that first trip went.

Since then, we’ve logged lots of miles and collected new stamps on our passports. We were really jet setters in the first few years of our relationship, but travel came to a screeching halt when Nora arrived. That was inevitable. But shortly after her arrival, we got her on her first airplane ride and are slowly getting back into traveling a little bit. She doesn’t have a passport yet but that will come soon enough.

Traveling with someone can teach you a lot about that person — and about yourself. It can teach you that you never want to take a trip with that person ever again, or it can teach you that you only want to travel with that person ever again! Luckily, the latter was the case after traveling with KP. And here’s why:

  1. He has patience when I don’t. (Yes, this is usually always.) This enviable trait of his comes out most often during the actual act of travel itself. We took a two-week trip to Europe one summer, and after finishing up our time in Nice we were heading to Monaco. We were trying to figure out the best way to get there, which in my mind meant taking a car service. In KP’s frugal mind, it meant taking a bus. Maybe he briefly forgot about the one time he made me take a bus in Boston and how that ended (hint: not well), and maybe I forgot, too, because I begrudgingly agreed. It wasn’t pretty. The bus itself was fine; the situation wasn’t pretty. Neither of us can say much more than “bonjour” or “merci,” so trying to communicate when we needed to get off the bus was a bit of a challenge. And once we were off the bus, hauling our over-packed luggage down an endless flight of stairs along the roadside to walk to our hotel was even more of a challenge. I had passed meltdown point but luckily KP held it together.
  2. He opens my eyes to new places and experiences. I have a bucket list of must-see destinations in my head. Ireland was never on that list. I’m sorry, Ireland. My lesson has been learned. KP was traveling to London for work and we were trying to decide on a place to meet after his trip was finished. London is lovely, but we’d both been there/done that plenty of times. He kept talking about Ireland and how he’d always wanted to go there, and I kept trying to think of other places I’d rather go. But I gave in. (Aren’t relationships all about compromise, people?) It wasn’t that I had anything against Ireland, it just wasn’t on my radar. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so wrong about something. Our trip to Ireland is quite possibly my favorite trip… ever? The country is so incredibly beautiful and the people are like none I’ve met anywhere else. We encountered so many friendly, accommodating folks. Case in point: after spending a few days in Dublin, we took a taxi to the airport to get our rental car to go see other parts of Ireland. Once we were in the rental car office waiting for our car, we realized we left our camera in the taxi. To make a long story short, we got in contact with someone at our hotel who miraculously got in contact with the exact same taxi driver who drove us to the airport, who drove back to the airport and returned our camera. I feel confident saying this would never happen in America.
  3. His sweet tooth inevitably introduces me to some bakery, ice-cream shop, cookie shop, gelateria or other place that doles out copious amounts of sugar. KP loves his sweets. And that’s great, because if that wasn’t the case, I probably would’ve never popped into Ben’s Cookies, and that would be a shame.
  4. He’s my own personal pack mule. I lost my “I can do it myself” attitude pretty quickly after I started traveling with KP. Who doesn’t appreciate someone who stows their bag in the overheard compartment for them? And now that our travels include Nora and her endless amount of stuff, we really do look like the Clampetts any time we go somewhere. Thank goodness for car seat and stroller bags, which KP straps on his back as we make our way through airports. (Note: it looks nothing like this when we do it.)
  5. He serves as comic relief. KP is a funny man, mostly when he isn’t trying to be funny. But he’s a good sport. There are countless anecdotes I could share from our many road trips that involve spotting cops or more typically, some pop culture reference that he gets wrong. But it’s his birthday and this is supposed to be a tribute to him, so I’ll save those for myself (and my sisters who I immediately text when something funny is said or done).
  6. He’ll sit on the beach with me. I am a sun-worshipper. KP is not. Our honeymoon was spent sitting on a beach in St. Thomas for a week, and our baby moon was spent sitting on a beach in Riviera Maya. I’m certain he would’ve rather been exploring a medieval museum somewhere.
  7. He’s the human version of XE.com. Admittedly, I’m terrible at math. KP is like a human calculator, including doing conversions in his head. This came in quite handy when we were at Dilli Haat and I was trying to figure out how many U.S. dollars a scarf or handbag cost.
  8. His sense of direction is usually spot-on. Despite living in London for the better part of a year, my sense of direction was completely lost when we visited a few years later. KP led us around as if he lived there.
  9. His travel interests mesh well with mine. I find that when you travel with someone, it’s best if you don’t have the exact same interests. Having some things in common is good, but not everything. After all, isn’t traveling about getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing something new? KP and I fit so well together in this sense. We have enough in common to be compatible, but we force one another out of our comfort zones a bit. And that’s usually met with, “see, I told you so!”
  10. He still loves me when we get home. I can think of a few trips I took with people other than KP that confirmed that I never, ever wanted to travel with that person again. But we’re married, so he doesn’t have much of a choice if I piss him off too much on a trip. We still have to share the bathroom when we get home. Luckily most of our trips have gone well so we get home and then start thinking about where we want to go next.

Happy birthday, KP! And here’s to many more years of travel and adventures with you.

Tips & Tricks to Pack Efficiently

One of the busiest travel weeks of the year is upon us, and I can’t express enough how content I am to be staying at home! This year, Thanksgiving guests are coming to us. And while I don’t have an iota of travel stress to worry about, I’m sure I will still sufficiently stress myself out with the feast that we’re preparing (my planning spreadsheet is complete).

If you’re going to be flying the friendly skies this Thanksgiving week, check out these tips and tricks for efficient packing.

Courtesy of: Bluegala

The Week That Was: November 14, 2014

Pumpkins & mumsThe patio isn’t looking quite as cheerful these days. Now the mums are mostly brown and the pumpkins are starting to get prune-like skin. It’s cold! Despite the snow flurries we had on Halloween, I would say we had our first real snowfall yesterday, as there was actually a light dusting on the ground and cars. Brr.

While Nora is back to normal, I still can’t seem to kick this pesky cold. It’s the reason I’ve been awake since 4:30 a.m. So congested and such an itchy throat. I’m sure the bags under my eyes will look lovely for our family Christmas card photos we’re having taken this morning. Nothing a little Photoshop can’t fix, right? After all, if they can make Kim Kardashian’s butt look that good, I’m sure our photog can do something about my eyes…

We’re heading out of town for the weekend to visit my parents. I wish it was a tad warmer there like it typically is, but it doesn’t look like that’s the case… cozy sweaters and the puffer coat are ready to go. Isn’t it too early for this?

Stay warm and have a good weekend.

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I love a good road trip. And I love a good Christmas flick.

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I’m fascinated with dreams. And here’s proof to KP that even though he swears he never dreams, he does.

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There are probably more than 24 reasons why elementary school teachers deserve more appreciation, but this is a good start. I have no idea how my sisters do it. (Also, #21!)

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Our trip to Ireland was one of my favorites. I’d go back in a second.

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If you haven’t booked your Thanksgiving travel yet, you might want to check out these tips.

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So many pretties for your Thanksgiving table.

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Have a lovely weekend.

10 Favorite Travel Websites

I love planning and booking trips. Doesn’t matter if it’s just a weekend getaway or a longer trip across the pond. There are usually spreadsheets involved… And these guys — ten of my favorite websites for booking travel:

  1. Airportparkingreservations.com is one of the cheapest ways to park at an airport. We pay around $8/day to park at O’Hare. The catch is that we park in the garage at the Intercontinental Hotel and they shuttle us to/from the terminal. It’s so easy, though, and good luck finding $8/day parking on site.
  2. Dogwonderful.com will save you from filtering through multiple websites if you’re trying to find a dog-friendly hotel. This was super useful when we took Daisy (RIP) on road trips and needed a place to stop overnight.
  3. Eurostar is the way to go when traveling throughout Europe. I wish train travel in the U.S. was as common and convenient.
  4. Kayak is the site I use most frequently when I don’t know what airline I’m going to fly. Still, after finding the flights I want, I most often book directly on the airline’s website. Sometimes you can find good deals by flying different airlines on each leg of your trip, in which case Kayak is more useful for booking.
  5. OpenTable is where I book all dining reservations mainly because I hate picking up the phone. But you also get points based on the restaurant you reserve, and once you hit 10,000 points you get a $100 reward check (trust me, you’ll hit 10,000 points faster than you think).
  6. TripAdvisor can be hit or miss for me, depending on the destination. I mainly use it to check out what people are saying about a hotel I’m on the fence about, and most times the reviews are pretty spot on.
  7. WhichBudget is, in my opinion, the best site for finding the cheapest flights across Europe. You’ll probably discover a lot of little airlines you’ve never heard of, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
  8. Yapta will alert you when prices of flights you’re either tracking or have already booked have dropped.
  9. Hotel Chatter recently published do’s and don’t’s for booking a hotel room like a boss.
  10. Flyertalk is, sadly, a site I don’t visit much anymore as I have no status on any airline… not that it would get me much these days, anyway. But, if you’re one of those lucky jetsetters, then Flyertalk is a useful resource to find out how to best earn and redeem miles, and basically learn anything and everything you want to know about airline loyalty programs.

What are some of your favorite travel websites?

15 Things To Do When it Rains on Vacation

St. Louis Arch | June 2014
St. Louis Arch
June 2014

It’s been a rainy summer in the Midwest, at least in our neck of the woods. So when I saw rain in the forecast for the week that we were going to the lake house, I cringed. Mother Nature and I had words. I needed sunny days by the pool, and more importantly, a tan! Luckily, this is about all the rain we saw, only en route to our final destination. Gray skies appeared here and there, but the rain stayed away. Phew…

Rain is really only bothersome to me on a vacation that involves serious sunbathing and pool and/or beach time. So what’s a gal to do when it rains on her parade vacation? Don’t let the weather ruin your fun. Here are 15 things you can do when rain hampers your vacation plans.

  1. Drink
    I believe I’ve already established the fact that I enjoy a tasty beverage. When the rains come, duck into a bar… or two or three… Rainy days in Londontown called for many pub crawls when friends visited me when I lived there. Sure, you have to get out in the rain to get from one bar to the next, but after a drink or two you won’t even care that it’s raining.
  2. Play games
    My family loves playing games. Every vacation we take involves some type of card game — Shanghai Rummy being the latest favorite. Sometimes we go old school and pull out the Uno cards. Fun all around!
  3. Cook
    Rainy weather makes me hungry, even if I’m not really hungry. Mac and cheese, anyone? If you’ve rented an apartment or house, or even a suite with a kitchenette, grab some things at the local supermarket and cook. Or, if you’re vacationing with a group, have a cooking competition.
  4. Read
    Reading is a quintessential rainy day activity. ‘Nuff said.
  5. See a movie
    Go to the local cinema and check out a flick, or check out something on pay-per-view at your hotel (get your head out of the gutter…). If you’re traveling internationally, you might find a local show that piques your interest. KP and I spent an entire afternoon in our hotel in London watching a Come Dine With Me marathon. I got him hooked!
  6. Visit a museum
    Get some culcha in your life. Visit a local museum.
  7. Go on a food crawl
    If cooking’s not your thing, skip suggestion #3 and go on a food crawl. Take the idea of a bar crawl but eat instead of drink (or, drink, too!). Share a small dish at each restaurant along the way so you don’t fill up too quickly. You could even do a themed food crawl, for example, cupcakes or desserts only.
  8. Go for a walk
    In the rain? Yes. If you’ve got an umbrella — or even if you don’t have one and don’t mind getting wet — don’t let the rain stop you from venturing out. In some countries, you almost have to suck it up otherwise you’ll never go out. I’m talking ’bout you, Ireland…
  9. Go for a drive
    Hop in the car and explore your destination that way. When my mom, sisters and I took a weekend trip to Bar Harbor, Maine, we had to drive to Cadillac Mountain rather than hike it (which was probably more appropriate for our group, anyway!). Don’t miss out on seeing something spectacular just because it’s raining.
  10. Consult the experts
    You’re in a completely new-to-you destination on vacation and it rains. You have no idea what to do. Maybe you’re not staying at a hotel so you don’t have a concierge to offer ideas. Go online and see what the experts say. There are so many travel sites out there that will point you in the right direction. I’m partial to TripAdvisor because they break down destinations by hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc., and each category has rankings.
  11. Have a spa day
    What better excuse to indulge and get pampered at the hotel or local spa?
  12. Bowl
    Bowling always sounds a little hokey, but every time I do it I have so much fun. I didn’t say I’m good, I just said I have fun. And you can take out some of your rain aggression by giving the ball a good toss down the lane.
  13. Shop
    Like reading, shopping is a quintessential rainy day pastime. Consider boosting the local economy your good deed.
  14. Nap
    Napping is yet another rainy day no-brainer — even better if it’s thunder-storming.
  15. Upload photos
    Don’t wait until your vacation is over to upload all your photos. It’ll never happen. Take advantage of a rainy day and get your photos uploaded, or catch up on email if you must.

What are your favorite things to do when it rains on vacation?

Travel Tip of the Day

Our New York trip almost became a repeat of our Napa trip in May, for me, anyway. No, I don’t have a stomach bug, thank god, but the trip was thisclose to not happening. Now, I’m dubbing this a “travel tip,” but I’m being a little sarcastic. Still, what happened to me is yet another reminder of how backasswards airlines are these days.

We booked this trip to New York about a month ago. My ticket was booked with my credit from our failed Napa trip (and I’m just now finding it… funny… that we’re going to New York with my Napa credit, since New York germs are what caused that trip to be canceled!). Because I was using a credit, we booked it over the phone since there’s no way to do that on the American Airlines website (to my knowledge). Pretty straightforward transaction, right? After it was finished, I logged into my AAdvantage account so that I could select seats next to KP and Nora. Done.

Fast forward to today — two days before our trip. I couldn’t remember what time our flight leaves, so I logged into my AAdvantage account to pull up my reservation. Only, when I logged in, I got a message that said I didn’t have any reservations at this time. Hm… yes I do… I tried as many things as I could think of to find my reservation, to no avail. Begrudgingly, I picked up the phone to call American Airlines.

Here’s where it gets unbelievably ridiculous. The incredibly helpful agent I spoke with (that’s not sarcasm — she actually was wonderful) informed me that when we called to book the trip, it apparently was never actually booked. The agent who “booked” it just put it on hold and never charged our credit card. I would love to know how that makes any sense at all. Needless to say, I was furious as I was envisioning yet another trip crumble to pieces. I must’ve said the magic words; I asked if there was some record in their system that showed who made this blatant error. With that, I was put on hold. And then on hold some more. And then some more. But I didn’t care because it seemed that she was actually trying to fix this problem.

Miraculously, they were able to find the price difference on the day that I originally “booked” the flight, rebooked it at that same price and voila. Here I come, New York City. But of course nothing is ever simple. Even after my flight got rebooked (and actually done completely this time), one leg no longer had seats available… so I had to pay for a premium seat. Don’t worry, American Airlines has already heard from me about that.

So my travel tip for the day — never trust airlines. No, seriously. Double and triple-check after you book a flight. You know, just to make sure it’s actually booked and not just “on hold.”

Five Tips to Entertain Baby on an Airplane

Nora has now officially logged two domestic airplane trips, her first at 13 weeks and her second at nearly nine months. And we’re already thinking about where to go next.

Our recent trip to Texas was by no means difficult. Nora is a good little traveler for the most part and doesn’t get any crankier than I do (my husband might say less so). That said, this trip was slightly easier because we splurged and got her her own seat. Technically, she can be a lap child until age two, but her squirming around doesn’t jive with a two-hour flight in my or my husband’s lap. So we were able to bring her car seat on board so that she could sit in it the entire time, which she mostly did.

Even still, we needed to have some tricks up our sleeves to keep her entertained. None of these things are terribly revolutionary, but sometimes when feeling crazed, you can’t even think of the most obvious things.

iPad entertainment

  • A game of peek-a-boo is totally underrated. Yes, peek-a-boo! Either that, or my daughter is way too easily entertained. She loves this, and all it takes is a Taggie or little blanket. Plus, she lets out one of her big belly laughs that I can guarantee fellow passengers prefer much over crying.
  • Before I had a child, I thought WubbaNubs were the most obnoxious things. I still kind of do, but Nora loves her caterpillar and the poor girl needs something to suck on during takeoff and landing. I prefer the WubbaNub to a regular pacifier for this age (nine months) because she can easily grip it herself and it’s less likely to get tossed on the disgusting floor.
  • I hate the idea of Nora becoming glued to devices at a young age, so we try not to let her have our iPhones or iPad. The one exception? In flight! I will pretty much do whatever it takes to keep her happy when we’re on a flight, and if that means letting her play Peekaboo Barn (there’s that peek-a-boo game again), so be it. We also downloaded a few Laurie Berkner and Sesame Street videos, neither of which were even needed (thank god).
  • If you’re more of a stickler about devices than I am, you can always opt for good old-fashioned books. Nora loves books and the small board books that fit in her little hands are perfect for an airplane.
  • It’s just worked out that our flights have always coincided with Nora’s feeding. Not entertainment, but feeding takes up a fair amount of time and keeps the bambino occupied.

If all else fails, you can always go into a flight prepared to preemptively ask for your fellow passengers’ sympathy like these parents did.

Google flight tracker

I recently stumbled upon something on Google which I’m now obsessed with whenever my husband travels.

Instead of going to the airline’s website, finding the “flight status” section and entering the flight details, I can just go to Google and enter the airline and flight number in the search box. And voila — there are the details of the flight! For example, if it’s American flight #91 from London Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare, you can just enter “AA91” into Google and the flight details will appear. No need even bothering with the airline’s website anymore.

Better yet, if you have a flight in your Google calendar, it will automatically appear in your search results simply by searching for that airline. Bravo, Google!

Google flight tracker

 

 

Baby Travel Essentials

Must-Haves for Traveling with a Baby

My husband and I traveled quite a bit in our pre-baby days. We’d try to log two trips to Europe plus a handful of domestic trips every year. And while we’re not quite that zealous now that we have a baby (yet!), it’s important to us to get our daughter equally intrigued by travel. After all, we’d feel kind of guilty leaving her at home with a baby-sitter when we go to Italy or another destination du jour for two weeks.

Thus far, she’s been on a small handful of short-ish road trips (five hours max, give or take) and one airplane trip. She’s only three months old; give her some time! Those few trips have taught me a lot, though, in terms of absolute must-haves for traveling with a baby. You might feel like the Clampetts — or a pack mule, as my husband refers to himself — because babies are pretty high-maintenance in terms of their travel essentials. But all of this stuff will no doubt make your life much easier en route or when you arrive at your destination.

  • Dapple Surface Wipes and Pacifier Wipes are in my diaper bag at all times, whether or not we’re traveling. I love that their products are natural and non-toxic, and unlike some “green” products, they don’t cost an arm and a leg. I can’t tell you how many times we used the pacifier wipes on a recent flight. Lifesavers!
  • Travel bags for strollers and car seats are well worth the money. We bought one of each but don’t be fooled, they aren’t nearly as streamlined as the pictures on the boxes might portray. Our Britax bags are big and cumbersome. You will not look like any of these people casually strolling through the airport with your happy family. Again, think about the Clampetts because that’s what you’ll look like. You will, however, arrive at your destination with your stroller and car seat in perfect condition.
  • Travel size diaper wipes, formula, medicine — you name it. Anything you can buy in a travel size will make your life easier. Your diaper bag will be so jam-packed that it will be impossible to fit full-size wipes along with everything else you need. I especially like the packets of powdered baby formula; you can fit tons of those in your diaper bag.
  • aden + anais swaddles are my favorite day in and day out (and they were long before Prince George started causing them to sell out), but they’re especially great for travel. The light muslin fabric makes a perfect “tent” over your stroller, and I like to drape mine over my daughter when she sleeps on the plane (I wish I had a photo to share because she kept pushing it off her forehead and she looked like Mother Theresa). The muslin fabric will keep your baby cool in the summer and warm in the winter. (aden + anais has other great products besides swaddles, too, like muslin crib sheets, bibs and more – love it all!)
  • Dog poop bags serve double duty as dirty diaper bags when you’re in a bind. And since the roll is so compact, you can easily fit a few in your diaper bag.
  • Some sort of entertainment is a must if you’re traveling by plane, and exactly what that entertainment is will vary depending on your child’s age. But dear god, please do not let your child be the one who is supposed to be entertained by a packet of peanuts (besides, most airlines don’t even hand them out anymore). Our three-month old loves her Taggies blanket right now.
  • The Trunki is genius. It’s luggage! It’s a ride-on toy! It will keep your tot entertained at the airport! Our daughter will have one of these when she is old enough.
  • A Baby Bjorn or other type of carrier will not only be useful on your trip, but also en route. If you gate check your stroller, it’s very convenient to pop your baby into the carrier until the stroller arrives. I personally love the Baby Bjorn Active Carrier because it offers a little extra back support.