We recently went away for the first time in 8 months, and as every parent knows that is a long time in baby and toddler land. Some of the travel gear we used on staycation with our toddler last year has stood the test of time, but some of it needed to be upgraded. So, for anyone planning a staycation with a toddler, I thought I would share my short, tried-and-tested list of best travel items for toddlers.
Many of these items are suitable for travel overseas but you’d obviously have to check your luggage allowance. The beauty of a staycation is that we threw all these things in the car and knew we didn’t need to source, borrow or loan anything when he arrived at our accommodation.
Travelling with a baby? Check out my travel essentials for under 1’s here.
(Everything on this list I’ve bought and paid for myself and am under no obligation to recommend. Some of the links are Amazon affiliate links which means I make a small commission if you make a purchase – click here for details.)
My 6 must-haves for travelling with a toddler
When Miles was a baby I was all about the BabyBjorn Mini Carrier and once he got too big for that I wondered if that was the end of our buggy/hands-free travel days. Luckily, Justin came across the Minimeis and its honestly the handiest thing we take on staycations.
This Scandi-designed shoulder carrier can be used from 6 months to 5 years. We’ve had ours a year & have got a lot of use out of it on days out and while doing non-buggy-friendly holiday activities. (Just look at my Instagram feed to see it in use in Dorset, Cornwall & Wales.)
It feels very safe too. There is a strap around their waist and their legs so it’s pretty escape-proof once they are up there. Plus, Justin has carried Miles this way for fairly long stretches and never been uncomfortable.
Priced at £149.99 it’s a bit of an investment but it feels worth it for such a quality, clever invention. (Time Magazine literally named it the best invention of 2019.) Miles is a runner so I’d pay that price twice over for the stress-free days out it’s given us!
Microlite Travel cot or Toddler Travel Air Bed
Our toddler still sleeps in a cot at home so we’ve been using a travel cot for him to sleep in on staycation. The Micralite Sleep&Go Lite (which we were kindly gifted last year) is a travel cot and playpen that is suitable from birth to 3 years.
It’s very quick and easy to assemble (you simply shake it open) and it folds neatly into a travel bag that you can wear on your shoulder. With a padded frame and thick foam mattress, I’ve found the Sleep&Go Lite well suited to a toddler that moves about a lot.
But if Miles has transitioned out of the cot by our next staycation then I’ll definitely be trying one of these Intex toddler travel air beds recommended by Anna from Penelope, Parker & Toddler.
This inflatable bed is suitable for ages 3 to 6 and has a handy frame to make sure they don’t roll out of it. It seems like a great space saver as you can slide it under the bed or prop it against a wall during the day – no more squeezing around the travel cot to get to the bathroom!
The Gro Company Travel Blackout Blind
No matter what your toddler sleeps in make sure you pack a travel blackout blind if you want any chance of them not waking up with the cockerels! The Gro blackout blind has little suction cups that you simply stick to the wall to create complete darkness. It packs up into a small bag so is easy to throw in your suitcase even if you just use it for daytime naps.
You might want to pack a nightlight if your little one uses one at home though. It’s quite effective so might be disorientating if they are used to some light in the bedroom.
Chicco Pocket Snack Booster Chair
This bargainous little booster seat is a lifesaver for letting your little one sit safely at the dinner table when you travel. It’s a portable and adjustable high chair that attaches to most kinds of dining chairs – we’ve used it in all our holiday cottages and cabins.
You can use it with or without a tray and it folds flat so we often keep it in the car on days out in case restaurants or pubs don’t have high chairs either. It weighs about 2kg and is suitable from 6 months to 3 years. Best £20 you’ll spend really!
Skip Hop Pronto Changing Set
Pre toilet training, this travel changing mat & nappy bag is great for when you’re on the go.
It’s small enough to fit under most travel buggies (click here to read my review of the two we have – Silver Cross Jet versus Babyzen Yoyo) and comes with a wipe case, nappy storage and wipe clean changing mat.
Back Seat Car Organiser
We’ve started letting our 2-year-old watch something on an iPad on long car journeys – honestly I don’t know how else we would have made it to Cornwall in one piece!
A back seat car organiser is great for holding a tablet but also all their snacks, toys and drink can be stored in the pockets within their reach. There are loads on Amazon but this is the one I’ve ordered.
And that’s it. We don’t buy anything else in particular for staycations.
Do you have any great toddler travel gear you think should be on the list?
You may also like:
Highlights from our Cornwall family holiday
Toddler friendly holidays in the UK – 8 staycation ideas