My husband and I absolutely love to travel with our two year old. We take an out of state family vacation each year; and this February, we ventured to Madrid, Spain. Yes, I know. I brought a two year old on a ten hour flight. Crazy right? Even worse, it was his very first flight. However, I tend to research heavily and over prepare, and it absolutely paid off on this trip. The Lord blessed us with a safe and enjoyable vacation, and our son Ryman (who is obsessed with planes by the way), had a great time and did very well on each flight. While you can’t prepare for every temper trantrum or outburst, it does help to be prepared for what you can control and to set low expectations. Below, I’d like to share some tried and true recommendations for your next domestic or international adventure. I’ll update this post if I come upon additional finds, but these are our most recent purchases that worked well for our adventure. In addition to these purchases, I bought travel sized toiletries from Target to save space and weight. I also purchased TSA approved travel bottles from Amazon. The travel sized toiletries were a great idea! I purchased travel toothbrushes, toothpaste, a razor, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash for my husband and me. However, two of the Amazon travel bottles leaked; so I cannot recommend that specific purchase to you today.
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I purchased this passport holder for my mom prior to our trip. She absolutely loved it. It’s very compact and holds only your passport, so you may want to look at the next item listed if you’re searching for a multi-purpose wallet. If you are focused on simplicity, however, this is a cute, affordable find. It is available in multiple colors.
The wallet below is the one that I used on our trip to Spain. It was absolutely perfect. I kept my little family’s boarding passes, two passports, my ID, and my credit card in this wallet. At times, I used it to hold my phone, as well. It’s a very stylish wallet and holds a lot without feeling bulky. It’s also available in thirty-five other colors.
While we initially purchased this DVD player for our flights to and from Spain, we ended up leaving it at home. We now use it primarily for our vehicles. It’s a pretty good find for the price. I find that it skips every once in awhile, perhaps when we hit a bump on the road. The picture is clear, and it’s easy to use. It hangs easily on the headrest of a seat, and the battery lasts anywhere from 4-6 hours. It’s perfect for a car road trip but seemed a little bulky for a long flight, where we were trying to eliminate as much weight as possible. We ended up downloading movies through the Movies Anywhere app on our iPads, in addition to tv shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Lastly, I uploaded a few games on my iPad, including Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, Monkey Preschool Fix It, AlphaTots, Zoo Train, and Pango Playground. These apps are educational and are perfect for passing the time with your restless toddler. If you have the storage to upload movies and games on an iPad, I highly recommend bringing it in place of a DVD player for a flight. iPads take up minimal space and hold their charge for many hours.
These packing cubes were a game changer and are one of my favorite recommendations. I was able to store my clothes neatly and compactly, which allowed me to pack more clothing for a long trip with unpredictable weather. My clothing stayed organized throughout the trip and was easy to repack for our return home. The mesh liner allows you to see your items and identify which cube you need, so I simply placed the cubes in dresser drawers during the course of our trip.
Different countries vary in the voltage that they use. When visiting Europe, you not only need an adapter but also dual voltage. For phone and iPad chargers, an adapter is enough. I have linked one further below. However, items such as curling wands and straighteners require either a converter in addition to the adapter or simply a dual voltage. For simplicity and cost efficiency, I recommend this straightener below. It’s dual voltage and a mere $19.99. It has multiple heat settings, and straightens hair quickly. I actually prefer it to my $100 Chi straightener that I purchased years ago and now use it instead. I can’t recommend this affordable straightener enough, both for international travel and home use.
This footrest was a LIFE SAVER on our flight from Texas to Spain. It was fairly quick and easy to blow up and stayed blown for the entirety of our journey. After a couple of hours on the plane, I quickly blew this foot rest up and placed it beneath my son’s feet. It allowed him to play easily and settle down for a night of sleep, since we were catching a red eye. It’s one of my favorite purchases that I made.
The CARES safety harness is a must purchase for a flight, either domestic or international. It weighs a mere 1 pound and fit easily in my backpack among the many snacks, toys, and airplane necessities. I honestly don’t know how we would have carried a car seat in addition to our other items. We each had our hands full. The CARES harness is the only FAA approved alternative to a carseat for flight. It has a chest clip similar to a carseat and connects to the airplane’s seatbelt. It was quick and easy to assemble, although I do recommend practicing once with a chair at home prior to your flight. This harness allowed my child to feel the safety and security of a carseat, while allowing for additional comfort and less hassle all around. If you only make one purchase for your next flight, I recommend the CARES harness.
I purchased this travel jewelry organizer specifically for our trip and absolutely loved it. It appears to be high quality and came in the prettiest shade of pink. It has so much storage and is very affordable. It’s very slim and comes in two additional colors, black and blue. I will continue to use this purchase for many trips to come.
In addition to my mom’s passport holder, I ordered this for her for Christmas. It’s compact and affordable. It’s perfect for a quick overnight trip or an international adventure.
If you’re traveling internationally, you are going to need to purchase an adapter. This adapter is easy to use, affordable, and has four different charging ports available. I purchased the 2-pack and was very pleased.
I purchased this book as a Christmas gift for my husband prior to our trip, and we definitely got our money’s worth. Included in this book, are recommendations on culture, eating establishments, and even guided tours. In lieu of paying for a guided tour of the Royal Palace, my husband utilized the easy to follow guided tour included and saved us a lot of money. We used this book throughout our stay and were so glad we had it.
If you’re going on an international flight or experiencing any significant time change with children, I recommend Zarbee’s Melatonin, but only if your pediatrician approves. Our pediatrician recommended 1/2 of a gummy for our long flight. Within thirty minutes, our son was fading and quickly fell asleep. This was perfect for a ten hour flight, because little ones can get irritable and restless when they’re overtired and in unfamiliar territory.
If you’re traveling with a little one in diapers on a long flight, this is well worth the $4.99. We were very glad we had packed this.
These headphones fold up compactly, have great sound, and are perfect for a long flight.
Lastly, if you have small children, I recommend heading to the Dollar Store prior to your flight and stocking up on cheap snacks and toys that you wouldn’t mind misplacing on your trip. It really helps little ones to have something brand new to play with when they start to feel restless. I purchased little cars, a small dinosaur, window clings for the airplane window, small books, and a coloring book. I bought veggie straws, pretzels, fruit snacks, and Zbars. Thankfully, they allow you to bring snacks in your carryon, as long as they’re in a clear bag and shown to TSA. I also brought a couple of small trains and a few tracks from home, our iPad, his pillow and blanket, and a couple of his stuffed animals to help him have some familiarity while he slept on the plane. All in all, it was a relatively easy and enjoyable trip to and from Spain, and I can’t wait for our next adventure.