Travelling with small people plus all their accoutrements can be a daunting proposition.
In fact, it could be one a parent – especially one with an unpredictable child – actively avoids. If you’ve ever been on a flight with a small angry person in your vicinity, you’ll know the kind of steely resolve it takes to undertake a journey with littlies. The good thing is, families are travelling with little ones more and more – and there’s a load of excellent products to make the adventure a whole lot more fun for everyone. Here’s what you need to make travel with little ones as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
A portable fabric restraint
Even if your little one is capable of sitting on a regular chair, getting them to stay there, that’s the issue. The Totseat is an excellent solution: a comfy fabric harness that fits easily over almost any chair. It’ll foil the hippest of restaurants – you know those ones that don’t have highchairs because they ruin the carefully cultivated aesthetic (it’s likely mashed banana does, too – deal with it)?
A child-proofing kit
Have you ever noticed how dining tables with sharp corners are the exact height of a boisterous toddler’s noggin? The Travel-Tot Childproofing Kit provides a solution to the ever-curious toddler with finger-pinch guards, power-socket covers, foam corner guards, doorknob covers, sliding door locks and more. All the items can be applied and removed easily without damage to property.
A portable crib and play-station
A safe spot for a baby to sleep and play that’s also portable? It exists. The Fisher-Price On-The-Go Baby Dome doubles as a place for babies to sleep and play. It has a comfy pad for napping and colourful toys dangling overhead to keep babies entertained when they’re awake, plus a canopy to protect from insects and the sun means it can be used indoors or out. When you’re ready to hit the road again, just fold it up flat and carry it by its handles.
A super-fun suitcase
Rather than hauling child, child’s baggage and your own suitcase through the airport, take a load off with the Trunki ride-on suitcase. It will compel your child to inadvertently help you – and encourage them to take responsibility for packing their own belongings. The four-wheeler comes in fun designs, including the new Paddington Bear case. It has a comfy saddle, grips for stability, a carry handle, lockable catches and supports a ride-on weight of 50 kilograms.
A small fold-up pram
A lightweight travel stroller makes things easy at the airport and it can be taken on the plane rather than checking it in. The GB Pockit is small – so small, in fact, that it was named most compact stroller in the 2014 Guinness World Records. It weighs just 4.3 kilograms and best of all, it folds up to the size of a large book (30 centimetres by 18 centimetres by 35 centimetres) – to fit right into your bag in a matter of seconds. That’s the difference between jumping on that crowded subway and being left still struggling to collapse your pram on the platform.
A first-aid kit
Someone – and it might not even be the child – will hurt themselves while away from home. It’s basically guaranteed. Be prepared for all eventualities with a topnotch first-aid kit stocked with all the necessities such as this Tiny Tots Safety Kit from St John Ambulance Australia, or put together your own kit. Make sure it’s got the basics: bandaids, children’s paracetamol and antiseptic cream, sunscreen, insect repellent, Sea-Bands for motion sickness, hand sanitiser, bandages and a thermometer.
A set of headphones for little heads
Kids like to listen to audio books or their favourite music, as well as watch movies while on the plane or in transit. Moki Kid Safe Volume Limited Headphones are perfect for little ears: they have a limit of 89 decibels to prevent damage to young ears, and the soft, padded ear cushions and adjustable headband make them comfy to wear.
A go-anywhere highchair
Give the kid a seat at the table with the Mountain Buggy Pod Highchair. The super-light, super-compact clip-on highchair is excellent for travel. It clamps to almost any tabletop, from picnic benches to restaurant tables. It folds to fit easily in handbags or pram baskets, and the fabric wipes clean and can also be removed for a proper wash.
A wipe-down change mat
Keeping a multi-tasking change mat in your bag means you can change a baby just about anywhere. The Skip Hop Pronto folds out and has pockets for up to four nappies plus wipes so you’re not rummaging through your bag looking for a fresh nappy while your baby waits patiently (ahem). The head is cushioned and there’s a zippered front pocket for other items such as keys or cash. Oh, and the best bit? It looks more like a fashionable clutch than something that regularly sees a baby’s bum.
A portable swing chair
The friendly faces of fox and owl watch on as your little one is lulled into a dream-like trance by the swinging motion of the Fisher-Price Deluxe Take-Along Swing & Seat. With the touch of a button, the seat converts from portable baby swing to stationary seat with calming vibrations. There are six different swing speeds and it senses your baby’s weight to make sure it doesn’t slow down as he or she grows.
A set of snack containers
A well-fed toddler is a happy toddler, so a bagful of snacks is a must at all times. Take a selection of edibles in the Nude Food Movers Triple Snack Tube – think blueberries, crackers, carrot sticks or whatever your kid loves – to have on hand for any moments when only a mouthful will prevent a tantrum.
A favourite blankie
A lot of what freaks little kids out about travel is the change in routine, the not knowing what’s happening next and the lack of their comforting, familiar things. This is where a favourite blankie can help. The Skip Hop Zoo travel blanket is a soft, comfy blanket which folds into a backpack that doubles as a pillow.
A white noise app
The effect of white noise on the sleepless infant is nothing short of magical. A mundane hum helps drown out other, more distracting sounds as well as lulling them off to sleep. Download an app such as White Noise Baby or Lightning Bug, and it will play comfortable, repetitive noises such as electric fan, falling rain and even a simulated womb.