Last year we went to Europe for 3 months with our 3 children (then aged 4, 2.5 years, and 7 months old). I talked in this post about how we made this work and in today’s post, I’m going to talk about the eight items that ended up being the most useful equipment we took that made our lives way easier as we traveled with such young children. A few of these were last-minute decisions that we were super happy we made, and others were extremely well-researched, deeply-considered purchases that ended up being worth every single penny.
Compact Double Stroller
We knew we would be taking a stroller with us and our criteria was that it could hold 2 children, be very durable, easy to use, and compact. We had a Double Bob Stroller already but we knew it would be too wide to use in Europe (where narrow doors are the norm). After a lot of research, I went with a Phil and Teds Stroller (you can find it on Amazon here), and it has now become my favorite stroller ever. In fact, my initial plan was to buy the Phil and Teds, use it in Europe and then sell it on Craigslist when I got back. It was so easy to use; and so amazing that I ended up selling my Double Bob Stroller when I got back instead. Some of my favorite features about the Phil and Teds Stroller is (a.) How compact it is (less than 18” across); it folds up VERY easily; the second seat is easily removed if you just want a single stroller; it’s not very heavy; it’s ridiculously durable (we took this thing all over Europe and you can barely tell).
With 3 small children, a baby carrier was a necessity. I had tried numerous ones before and had never loved any of them until I tried the Beco Gemini (for options and prices, check Amazon here). It has the ability to cross the straps in the back which makes it way more comfortable (think: back support) than some of the other kinds I had tried.
I-pads and Individual Headphones
This was one of those spilt-second decisions we made that was immensely valuable. We happened to have two iPads from previous purchases over the years, and we downloaded Netflix and Amazon Prime videos from our subscriptions. We also got these child safe headphones from Amazon. Not only was this great on the plane, but it was really useful when sight-seeing. In the early weeks especially, our kids had pretty short attention spans when it came to museums, so to enable us to be out longer without meltdowns, we would load up the iPads and when they started to lose it, we’d stick them in the stroller with their headphones and they were good for another couple hours.
My all-time favorite purchase was by far the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib, which you can also get from Amazon (<— see link). I ALMOST didn’t buy it because it was on the spendy end, but I did and was thankful every single day that I had. For some reason, I got it into my head that my 6-month baby could just sleep with us… but thankfully I listened to the common sense part of my brain and once we were on the road I realized how impractical it would have been if I had NOT had a crib. The Baby Bjorn weighs under 8 pounds; folds up in about 5 seconds and was an AWESOME safe place I could leave my baby. In addition to making naps and night-time incredibly easy, it is still an item I use daily and something I will never NOT have if I have another baby.
Any parent of small kids knows that comfort items can be paramount in helping your child to adjust to strange places and circumstances. For us, that meant that I made the room and effort to take each child’s own blanket. This did a lot to helping them transition from house to house as we moved around the country as they always had something that was familiar to them and that reminded them of home
We got each child their own special backpack for our trip WITH a leash (Amazon has a ton of options, see here). There is some controversy about putting a leash on your kids but in my opinion, it mostly comes from people who have never had to deal with little children in a strange place. Trust me, the terror that a parent has over their child getting lost or running off because you turn away for 2 seconds is real and well-worth whatever judging we get for having a leash on our kids. The other benefit of the backpacks is it let them carry their own special items; snacks; and toys when we were out and about.
We never lost a kid so never had to utilize these but it did wonders for my piece of mind. I found these on Amazon and they were great! There were slightly more expensive than some other options but they allowed me the option to engrave each child’s name and address on each one. They were also extremely comfortable and after having them on 1 hour, my kids never took them off or even noticed they were there.
Two of my children are in diapers and one is potty-trained. I knew we’d be spending some long hours in the car and I did not want to rely on public bathrooms or asking my child to go in the woods. I also needed something compact and easy to use. So I found this on Amazon and it was a life-saver. It uses regular plastic bags to collect the waste which then can be easily disposed of. It was really light… a couple pounds at most; and way more sanitary and easy to use when my 4 year old suddenly found out she had to go to the bathroom.
So there you have it! Eight items that I would 100% recommend are worth the money if you’re traveling with multiple small children. I never once regretted having any of these and they saved my sanity more times than I could count. There were things that I wish I had taken less of (clothes…) but these eight things were life-savers more than once and made the whole trip much easier!
Have you ever traveled with small children? What made your life easier?