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25 Must-Have Travel Essentials for Parents with Small Children

Summer is near and you absolutely can’t wait to start those fun adventures you and your husband have talked about all year! The only thing is that this time, you’re willing to brave it out by traveling with your small children!

When it comes to small children, you absolutely NEVER know what kind of day you’ll have. Their mood swings, their constant need for entertainment, and the mishaps they can get into can change the entire course of a trip. But you still want to do it, because their adventures and the wonders they see are all a part of the priceless moments you want to store in your memories forever.

Preparation is key to having a more enjoyable trip with small children. The following is a checklist of travel items you absolutely MUST-HAVE if you’re planning on traveling with small children this Summer:

  1. Camera
  2. You can’t miss capturing those special moments! This should be at the very top of the list so you can be sure you have something to reminisce over later. Most phones have cameras, but if you don’t have a good quality camera, then you might just miss some of the best stuff or have them come out disappointingly blurry!

  3. Wipes
  4. Wipes provide an amazing ability to clean just about anything. From the most gentle skin to very hard surfaces. Moms use it for just about EVERYTHING.

  5. Snacks
  6. You never know when a mood swing will happen as a result of low sugar levels or a very hungry tummy. Craving those appetites with a quick snack can save you a whole lot of headache, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory!

    Bring as many sugar free options as possible, since sugar can put a child on an instant high with a possible chance of turning them into crashing monsters.

    [amazon box=”B073Q18P16,B00HET910A” grid=”2″]

  7. Dough Dots!™ Backpacks
  8. A see-through bag always makes everything so much easier, which is part of the reason TSA loves it! Plus, it makes things a whole lot easier to find, especially if it’s something your child must always have “right now!”

    Dough Dots!™ are absolutely great for traveling! You don’t just have the option to get in a nice, see-through backpack, but the inside surprises include great fun and toys for your little one! There’s a ball, dough for hours of crafting, creating, and building fun, and lots of other tidbits! This makes toy-packing so much easier!

  9. Crayons
  10. Why wouldn’t you want to entertain with crayons? It’s so easy to get a child entertained for hours by having them expand their imagination with drawings.

    [amazon box=”B00CI6J3HA,B0724Z28HV,B00AHAJDQU” grid=”3″]

  11. Coloring Books
  12. And of course, it’s always a bonus when you can find something to entertain littles with during long flights or road travels. Coloring is a great way to help kids expand their visual learning. Using their tiny little fingers to color inside lines can help them improve their motor skills.

  13. Soap/Shampoo
  14. Sometimes it’s just best to avoid skin issues that could occur on a trip. Children tend to have very sensitive skin and learning the things they could be allergic to shouldn’t have to happen when you’re trying to enjoy your holiday.

    Hotels and lodges usually have skin care products but most of them are meant for adults with tougher skin. Kids with dry, irritated skin during a family holiday can make it very uncomfortable.

    [amazon box=”B0077UYTUS”]

  15. Hand Sanitizers
  16. It’s very likely that littles will want to touch just about everything. While you can’t follow them around every minute to keep them from doing it, you want to make sure you’ve at least got things covered at times you can’t find a proper place to wash up. Having some hand sanitizers at your disposable will give some peace of mind that you’ve at least made an effort to keep their bacteria-filled hands clean.

  17. Sunscreen
  18. Whether you’re going somewhere hot or cold, you want to make sure you’re well-prepared for any sun damage. Children should not be exposed to too much sun at a very young age since their skin is still really developing. So get it covered and protected with some good SPF!

  19. Bug Repellents
  20. Ooh! Bugs! They love children’s skin! They’re much easier to penetrate and their blood is so much sweeter!

    Keep those bugs away if you can and avoid having your child covered in bites as much as possible! An uncomfortable child can make it a very uncomfortable trip for everyone!

  21. Thaumaturgic Bio Mist
  22. I can’t say enough about this product. It’s a must-have, especially if you’re a mom with small children. Littles fall and hurt themselves all the time. And when they’re out and about, they might get the occasional bug bite or two. Having this bio mist available makes everything so easy.

    My son loves the bio mist. Anytime he gets a scratch or anything wrong with his skin, he says, “mommy, bio mist me!”

    It’s great for just about anything, including sunburns, dry skin, eczema, rashes, bug bites, cuts and scrapes, and so much more!

    Thaumaturgic Bio Mist is gentle and works to relieve skin problems fast! Just make sure you air dry for at least a couple of minutes so the solution can do its job properly!

    [amazon box=”B073XWKDBK”]

  23. Lip balm
  24. Ugh! Having sore lips can be a real pain! For kids, they tend to lick and lick and lick them, making them worse! Sore lips can’t just happen in the cold either. Sometimes they happen when it’s quite hot. So be prepared! They’re small enough to carry!

  25. Medications
  26. Don’t forget any medications you might need. If your child doesn’t take any, take some allergy meds just in case. I thought my son wasn’t allergic to anything, but one day, we went out to eat for dinner and after about 20 minutes, he broke out in rashes all over his body. It scared me to death but luckily, there was a grocery store close by and they had some Benadryl that helped reduce the rashes fairly quickly.

  27. Tooth Brushes
  28. You never want to go too long without brushing your child’s gums or little teeth. A tooth infection can get really bad if it’s not managed properly. So even though you’re traveling to have fun, you want to make sure you’re well covered!

  29. 2 Extra Spare Clothing
  30. Unlike us, we may be able to figure out our exact wardrobe for any day. My husband likes to “recycle” his clothes and wear it more than once. But with kids, you just never know what the day will be like at all! They’re little antics can get them into such a mess! And if you don’t have enough clothes to change them when they’re made a mess, YOU will turn into a mess!

    Having one spare is great but having 2 can be even better. That way, you’re at least one more set of clothes away from having to find a laundromat!

  31. Pull-Ups
  32. Depending on how little they actually are, you might not want to keep going to the bathroom every 10 minutes, especially if you’ve got a really long flight. Although your child may be potty trained, having him or her wear pull-ups or some sort of padded underpants could be really helpful, both for you and your child.

  33. Shoes
  34. My 7 year old can last a very long time with 1 pair of shoes. But when you travel, preparation is key to making it a successful one with small kids and you just can’t take the risk of something happening with that one pair they have. So take an extra pair if you can fit it in your luggage.

  35. Sweater or Jacket
  36. You never know when you’ll need one! Even extremely hot, scorching days might call for brief moments when you’d want a sweater to keep you cozy. Be sure you have one, even if it’s thin.

  37. Travel Booster
  38. Although it’s not required to have a car seat in a plane, you might want to have one, especially since most cars anywhere don’t really have car seats. What if you had to get a taxi or use an Uber?

    Check out this super amazing travel booster. It’s a booster, storage, and something your child can pull so you don’t have to carry it! If you’ve got this, you’ve pretty much scored!

    best travel booster seat

  39. Light-weight stroller
  40. Ah! Can you just imagine having to carry your child from one city to the next? Your back would be in so much pain by day 2! There are plenty of options for light-weight strollers that make it very convenient for you to travel with. Here’s one of our favorites:

    [amazon box=”B01DQ2B8UY,B01DWHV97K,B01DWHV98E” grid=”3″]

  41. iPad or tablet
  42. Sometimes you just need the peace and quiet when it’s NOT naptime. Their favorite game or learning app can give them (and you) the much needed break you all need before you get going through your adventures!

  43. Their stuffed toy, sleeping buddy, or small blanket
  44. Sleep can be a struggle during the first couple of nights of a trip away. Having a familiar sleeping buddy, blanket, or anything that reminds your little one of their comfortable bed at home can be so helpful for their nighttime break.

  45. Water Purifier
  46. You could never be sure what’s in the water wherever you travel. Water is the best thing for us but it can also carry tons of bacteria. To decrease the chance of having your child pick up unwanted viruses, it’s always best to be as prepared with your own water filter.

    [amazon box=”B001949TKS,B001949TKS,B00IHVIBT6″ grid=”3″]

  47. Coffee grinder
  48. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve traveled and wished I had enough coffee to last me an entire day! Traveling and seeing new places is a lot of fun, but very tiring.

    The sweet smell and taste of fresh coffee can be a great way to relax, even for just a few moments at a time. I recommend a coffee grinder, because fresh coffee is always the best way to go! Plus, did you know that there’s actually a 10 minute freshness period after you grind coffee?

  49. Coffee maker
  50. Of course you’ll need a coffee maker if you’re going to bother bringing a coffee grinder. Some hotels might not have the best machines and who knows how long it’s been cleaned inside? Coffee makers can accumulate a whole lot of mildew if it’s not cleaned regularly.

    Here are some great choices to consider:

    [amazon box=”B0087SPTLC,B00UTO8YKU” grid=”2″]

Karlyn Bishop

Karlyn Bishop

Karlyn Bishop is the proud mommy to little Oliver and wife to hubby. She is a resident of Laguna Beach and a big player in the web's large social media circle.


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  • It’s amazing how much more things little ones need than their parents. But it’s always good to be prepared. My mom instilled this in me so now even I carry extra goodies with me as a adult.

  • Oh wow, I love them all. I’ve been traveling with kids for almost a year now this could be a big help for me.

  • Awesome and detailed list. You got one over on me as I didn’t even think of a water purifier. I have read about so many countries not having good water and with our littles even changing water from one state to the next can cause tummy troubles.

  • This is such a great travel essentials list for people with smaller kids. I know that if there are not activities or snacks my kids will not last long.

  • Hungry kids don’t make for great travelers. It’s great to have snacks on hand and keep them entertained with novel activities.

  • Awesome list. The wipes and hand sanitizer is a must indeed. And that coffee maker, a truly must have for parents! 🙂

  • Wow, you have thought of everything! I will be passing your list to a few friends with little ones who will be traveling in the next couple of months.

  • Those lists of travel essentials are really important when you are traveling with kids. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • These are all great travel essentials for parts of small children. I love all of them, going to share with my friends who still have little kiddos.

About Author

Karlyn Bishop

Karlyn Bishop

Karlyn Bishop is the proud mommy to little Oliver and wife to hubby. She is a resident of Laguna Beach and a big player in the web's large social media circle.