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Top 10 Travel essentials to pack for kids

There is a fine line between packing and overpacking, and when you have kids its always the latter!

Overlooking Guanabara Bay, Brazil with toddler
Overlooking Guanabara Bay with my 18-month toddler

Packing for travel with kids can be an incredibly challenging experience. You can pack everything under the sun and yet cannot foresee all those unpredictable situations that may arise with kids.

Once all the bookings are done and the itinerary is planned, the real challenge begins – packing for kids!! They have so much stuff- toys, books, favorite lovey, stuffies, activity books. Argh! It is so exhausting to figure out what to keep and what not to do.

During my first time traveling with my baby (then barely 3 months), I read numerous articles, blogs, and Pinterest items to be aquatinted with this whole travel with baby business. Well, yes, it is a business, to say the least. It was after I had my first trip to New York that I realized I could have done away with so many ridiculous marketing items that weren't really needed. Now after all the trips I've made with both of my kids, I have my favorites that cannot be replaced with anything! Now I'm a pro when it comes to packing. Some may call me Monica (from Friends) for the same reason.

Let's dive right into my Top 10 Travel essentials to pack for kids:

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If you don't have this in your list, you need to add this right NOW!!

Flights are hard in general with little to no leg room for passengers. And now add a red-eye flight that is 18 hrs long and you have two kids- that itself gives me chills.

I purchased this during our family trip to Singapore and Thailand. It provided a comfortable sleeping solution for my kids during the long hauls. And I found the perfect footrest for myself during those tiring flights. All you need to do is blow the into the airholes once you are settled in and you are ready for a somewhat peaceful experience.

Parents using inflatable travel bed with kids on flights
What it looks like traveling with two kids! Atleast the inflatable bed helped all 3 of us!
"A resting footrest for parents and a perefect bed for the little kids"

This has been hands-down my favorite, favorite carrier. I have been using this for the past 5 years with both my kids. I have hiked mountains, and volcanos, climbed 100s of stairs in Thailand temples- all while wearing the kids (front or back).

I’ve used it when my kids have been a baby in front-facing mode, with my toddler in side-facing mode, and also my 5 yr old (I know right?) as a back carrier. They come with lumbar support that makes it more comfortable to wear kids for longer periods.

Mom carrying her toddler in baby carrier in Colombia
Carrying my 2-yr old in Colombia's Metro car

I love this stroller for its compact design and ease of use feature. It worked perfectly on the unpaved roads of Brazil. It comes with little storage space to add our jackets and backpacks when needed. It reclined enough for the little one to take a rest and sleep. The umbrella canopy is removable.

toddler sitting in summer infant stroller in Brazil
my 18 month toddler enjoying her rest in Brazil

For parents who are tired of broken colors, dried-out sketch pens, and crushed papers- this is such a handy tool. The kids can color, draw, and write as much as they want. It keeps both my kids engaged for hours. What’s more, if you don’t have a pen, you can scribble with your fingers!

Sound Machine

Everyone wants uninterrupted sleep, but it is definitely harder when you are traveling with messed up nap schedules.

This one tiny device has turned so many restless tiring nights into a peaceful sleep for the entire family. After a long day of travel, it helps calm down the mind and silence any external distractions or noise. I cannot emphasize enough on this. The portable sound machine has provided an invaluable sleep environment for my kids during our travels. It's lightweight to carry with various soothing sounds (though we only use only one sound).

For backup, you can even download a white noise app. My only gripe- my phone gets occupied.

There is nothing like a bored child who has nothing to do for the entirety of the trip. i have can download so many shows & movies from Netflix, and Amazon Prime. I usually download puzzles, and educational games to keep them engaged and busy for at least a few hours.

Kid watching movie on amazon fire tablet in a flight
My 4-year old watching movie on her Amazon tablet

I was on the fence of using these cubes until I eventually bought them and realized what I was missing. When you have little ones, everything is little- their socks, shoes, undergarments- you name it. And to dump it all in the luggage isn’t the smartest idea when traveling, especially for a long duration.

These small organizers come in all sorts of sizes. I have purchased 3 different style packs that I use for everyone in the family during travel. It is so much easier to plan what they will wear on each day without losing where each item went. If you are on the fence, grab it now!

Diaper Bag

This is not just a diaper bag, this is a hiking bag, a storage bag, a food bag and much more. First of all this bag is stylish and doesn't come off as a standard diaper bag. The material is waterproof so hiking in rain doesn't ruin all the items inside. Oh, and the pockets it comes with. I have had clothes, jackets, snack items, coloring books, toys, water bottles, travel medical kit and still leaving room to add more items.

Parent carrying diaper bag on hiking in Colombia
Love the our versatile diaper bag

Travel medical Kit

No one wants sick kids, especially when you are traveling. I have traveled with my kids during high fever, clogged nose, and viral. Every parent needs one in their diaper bag. There are some must-haves that items in my travel medical kit. See my full post on it.

If you’re new to traveling with your little one or ones, there is no shame in overpacking and being overprepared. You will never regret overpacking, you’ll regret the moment you don’t have that one specific item. Hopefully, this list of Top 10 Travel essentials to pack for kids will help you plan better.

Happy travels, and may your adventures be filled with laughter, discovery, and the joy of shared experiences!

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