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Swa-Rai Mommy: Must Have Packing List When Traveling with Toddlers

 The boychild had been asking me to take him on a vacation for a while. The funny part is, I kept wondering what exactly did he need a vacation from since apparently the life of a pre-schooler is so hard.  After ignoring several requests, I finally gave in and decided to take the boychild on his first vacation. Part of the reason I had been avoiding the issue was because I wasn’t quite sure if he would behave long enough for me to take him anywhere far from the house. I love my boy but sometimes I want to punch him in the face (disclaimer: I would never really punch him in the face).  Not only did he want to go on vacation but he wanted to take the train. This 4-year-old sure has a lot of requests…sigh!


After a lot of maneuvering, I arranged for the boychild and I to head to St. Louis on the Amtrak to visit fellow blogger Danyelle(The Cubicle Chick). Since this was our first trip, I had to think long and hard about what would I need to keep him busy and well behaved on the 5 hour train ride.
IMG_3362After much thought, I came up with the following must have list when traveling with children.

  • Snacks: While this may seem simple enough, you won’t believe how many times the boychild claimed he was “starving”. I suggest loading a small cooler with some health food options i.e. vegetables, crackers, fruit snacks and juice. It’s better than paying the high retail price on the train or plane.
  • iPad or Table: Whether you use an iPad or Tablet, this and Netflix were truly a lifesaver! I kept him busy most of the time by allowing him to watch some of his favorite shows online.
  • Headphones: Don’t forget these, they are perfect for listening to music or watching movies.
  • Get them their own luggage: You won’t believe how proud he was to be rolling around with his own luggage. He made sure to let any and every person who walked past him know that he had his own luggage. I love seeing him be so independent.
  • Pack a blanket and pillow: As much as kids hate to take naps, you would be surprised at how quick a 5 hour train or plane ride can make the little ones tired. I packed his pillow and blanket and when he was tired he went into his luggage pulled them out and went to sleep.
  • Small First Aid Kit just in case.
  • Favorite toys: Lastly, grab a few of their favorite toys as well as some paper and crayons. Even after a few hours on the iPad/tablet it gets old so bring a back up plan just in case.

Surprisingly, even though I had fought taking him anywhere the trip wasn’t that bad. I made sure I had all of his essentials and we did surprisingly well. He acted like most 4 year olds act, so I’m proud to say the boychild and I will be doing a lot more traveling together.

What are some of your must haves when traveling with toddlers?

Stay tuned to see what we get into next…

About the author

Raijean Stroud

Fashion, beauty & lifestyle blogger based in Chicago and founder of Swa-Rai.com, Swa-Rai Media Group and Bleeding Heart Project. Launched in 2010, Swa-Rai discusses a range of topics including: fashion, beauty and lifestyle experiences which includes travel, tech, family, dining and so much more! When not in Chicago, Raijean can be found traveling around the country covering some of the hottest events! She can be spotted in places such as New York for covering events such as Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week, Las Vegas for CES (Consumer Electronics Show), LA for Lucky FABB and more! When she's not traveling she's in Chicago, interviewing celebrities and covering exclusive events.

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  • […] Yesterday(read about it here), I wrote about traveling with my toddler. Today, I’m going to talk about our trip to the Saint Louis Zoo. My son loves the zoo but he’s been to the one in Chicago a million times, so I thought it would be fun to take him to another one in another state. Since I’ve never been to the zoo in STL, I thought it was something the boychild would love to do and boy was I right. With over 18,000 animals the Saint Louis Zoo has a lot for visitors to see. […]

  • All your tips are right on. I took my son on his first vacation when he was five years old. We went by car so we could take all his fav things including pillow, blanket, snacks, juice paks and laptop. And yes, he had his own luggage. We had a great time, but parents really have to be prepared when traveling with little ones.

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