Traveling for the Holidays? You Need This Gear.
The holidays are here! For many families, that means it's time to hit the road (or take to the air) to visit family far and wide. It will be tons of fun when you arrive, but getting there with kids can be a challenge. We have some advice to make travel easier with kids and the best gear to help you keep your sanity while away from home.
Jack Maypole, MD, Educational Advisory Board member at The Goddard School and pediatrician for medically complex children at Boston Medical Center has some tips to staying healthy.
- Avoid Crowds. Whenever possible when in long lines or a waiting area, keep your family in a contained area, away from the potentially sniffling crowds. If there are two adults traveling with children consider having one stay in line as long as possible while the other stays with the children in a nearby, less crowded area until it’s time to get back in line
- Wash Those Hands. Washing hands goes a long way to keeping kids and adults healthy. Infection often occurs when we unconsciously touch our face, mouth, or nose. For times when you can’t get to soap and water bring some travel-sized cleanser gel for washing periodically as you move through the terminal or when you stop at rest stops.
- Don’t Touch Stuff. Enough said. At the airport shoes, clothing, personal items, and luggage have been everywhere, and sometimes in contact with a sick traveler. Coach toddlers and older kids to keep their hands on their bodies and opt to hand stuff to them when necessary. The same goes for road stops!
Our Favorite Picks for Holiday Travel are:
BubbleBum: Keeping kids buckled up and safe throughout each car ride is important for all parents, but dragging around a cumbersome, bulky booster seat is unnecessary. The solution for kids in boosters is BubbleBum, a portable and lightweight inflatable car booster seat for kids ages 4-11. It is a must-have for road trips and to use in rental cars, taxis, or grandma’s car. It only takes about 20-seconds to blow up and it deflates quickly and can be easily stored in a purse or backpack.
Travel Blanket: Layovers at airports can be a real bummer if baby wants to get down and play. Or maybe your in-laws don't keep their floors as clean as you would like. Bring along a Finn + Emma eco-friendly and fun playmat that can help provide a hygienic space for babies to move around and stretch even in places crawling with germs. This blanket, that folds up to fit in a diaper bag, also provides a safe place to conduct diaper changes when changing tables are unavailable.
Kid Suitcase: Kid-sized suitcases are so helpful when traveling wit kids. They provide a cost-effective way to keep the kid supplies separate from your own. Plus, nearly any child that can walk will delight in pushing their own suitcase on wheels. Try an adorable, light-weight option like the Zoo Kids Rolling Luggage from Skip Hop that comes in fun designs like Unicorn and Monkey. You can even coordinate with other accessories like a travel pillow and snack container.
A Place to Sleep and Play: Finding somewhere safe for your little one to sleep and play can be a challenge while on the road. Don't leave things to chance. The new Joovy Room for 2017 is already out and has it all! Let baby sleep, play, and get changed in a safe, clean, and reliable place when away from home and use it for a playpen when you return. If a play yard seems like it's overkill for your trip, try a DockATot with a stylish travel bag. DockATots allow a safe place for sleeping, playing, and tummy-time in a small (and comfortable) package! And there are two sizes available covering the newborn stage through age three.
Easy to use, no-fuss toys: On the road, no one wants to deal with toys with tiny parts or anything remotely messy. Try a toy almost guaranteed to keep kids occupied that is completely fuss-free. The Scribble n' Play by Boogieboard lets kids draw to their heart's content with no risk of a broken crayon. There is also a cool Clearview version that can be used for tracing or even practicing writing letters and numbers. Another great thing to have on hand is this travel activity tray to allow your kids to keep occupied a little more easily than if they have to hand-hold everything!
Portable Entertainment: Even families with the strictest screen-time rules tend to relax them over the holidays – especially when travel is involved. Try an Amazon Fire HD 8 for under $100 option that has a screen big enough for two kids to watch at the same time — and it's great for playing games in the car. Or, download videos to your laptop. Use a Dart by FINsix to make sure your laptop always has power — and use it as a spare charger at home. Another great way to stay occupied in the car is by listening to some audiobooks!
Snacks: Kids love snacks. Need I say more? While on the road, at least attempt to keep things neat by using a Zoo Snack Cup from Skip Hop that prevents spills. Another option is a Stasher, plastic-free snack bag that self-seals, is air-tight, and can be reused.
Amazing Baby Carrier: Nearly everyone with a little one will tell you that a baby carrier that is comfy for you and your baby is essential, especially when traveling. The Baby Bjorn One is ultra-versatile from birth through three years and can be used four ways on your front or back. Plus, it's available in gorgeous colors through the Woods Collection.
Cold Weather Gear: It just takes a few days with your baby in cold weather or an attempt to go out in the snow to make you realize how vital it is to be prepared. One amazing find? This Stroll & Go On-Call Handmuff from Skip Hop that keeps your hands warm by attaching to your stroller's handlebar. Plus, it has a clear pocket so that you can see your texts and calls without your hands getting cold! Baby will appreciate a comfy blanket like the Aden + Anais Dream Blanket that keeps baby warm. One big advantage of using a blanket like this while traveling is that it can play double (or triple) duty if you use it as a playmat, changing area, or for naptime. Going somewhere with lots of snow? This is an unbelievable find. The Cybex Priam has stroller skis you can add as an accessory. While all of your friends are stuck at home, you can easily be out and about walking your baby in the snow. These stroller skis can handle snow like nothing else! Plus, the Priam stroller is a super-stylish, ultra-versatile stroller that you can use all year round from birth. Another must? The right footwear for the snow. Kamik makes adorable, comfy, and sturdy winter boots that kids will love to wear.
Something for the Sun: Maybe a stroller with skis won't help you in your sunny destination. If that's the case, may sure you are covered with cute sunglasses like these from RealKids, great swimsuits from SnapperRock. Washable shoes that can go from play to dress-up like those from Plae are a fantastic option for kids that need comfy shoes for play that will also look great for the holiday festivities.
A Great, No-Fuss Stroller: Parents appreciate a do-it-all, easy-to-use stroller the most when their hands are full and they are trying to manage it all. The legendary City Mini stroller gets an upgrade in the City Mini GT. This stroller is ultra-easy to fold with one hand, which can be a lifesaver. The seat also reclines nearly flat for naps, has an adjustable handlebar, all-terrain tires, and a generous basket. Not sure that's the right stroller for you? Check out this in-depth stroller buying guide from The Baby Cubby.
Sweet Sounds: Travel can easily overwhelm baby's senses. Keep baby calm and happy with a portable sound machine. This basic version from Big Red Rooster for under $20.00 plays five soothing sounds and comes with a clip to attach it to a stroller or crib. For a high tech option, try the travel-sized SoundBub from WavHello that can be paired wit any Bluetooth enabled device and has a built-in timer.
Wherever you go this holiday season, be prepared and have an amazing time!