Harriet was 15 months old when we departed on the adventure. She was almost walking, still being ferried around in an ergo baby carrier and relied on me for everything as a young toddler does.
She mastered walking in Japan, 3 weeks after we left Sydney. And has eaten in so many different restaurants and high chairs that I have lost count. Her passport is looking pretty amazing I might add.
Travelling with a toddler around the world has been surprisingly easy. As much as some people stress about it, if you plan ahead, you can prepare for little hiccups along the way. Airplane travel can be hectic for anyone, the constant security checks, arriving well ahead of departure time, waiting around at gates with flight delays, shortages of decent food in the terminals, the list is endless. But kids are resilient and usually don’t even notice these factors, try and keep them pre-occupied before the flight and ensure you always, ALWAYS have enough snacks!
From left to right, here are some essential items I have used on the journey so far. Keep in mind, this list is for my 20 month old daughter.
1. Maclaren Quest stroller. We bought this in London while we stored our Bugaboo Donkey pram with a friend. This lightweight stroller has been thrown about on planes, cobble stones in Italy and Greece and it’s still going strong albeit a few bits of foam missing here and there. It does lie back but not completely flat. It has even ferried my 4 and 6 yr old around when they are tired. An absolute necessity when travelling!
2. Phil and Teds Lobster Chair. This light and portable high chair is fantastic. I often get comments in restaurants when they watch me clip it onto the table. I will admit, you do need a thick and sturdy table for this to hold the weight of your child and I’ve only come across a handful of places that weren’t suitable to attach. The best part is, you can hose it off and it will dry within no time at all.
3. Phil and Teds Traveller Portacot. This tiny travel cot won my pick because it only weighs 3.2kgs! I have not had any trouble checking this cot on flights or in hotels. Some people suggested I was crazy to travel with a cot, but I find that hotels have such a large variety, some great, some old and filthy, and I was concerned about Harriet moving beds every few weeks. Travelling with her own cot means she knows her own bed at every destination. You can also use it as a play-pen as the sides zip completely down. It even fits in most suitcases too.
4. Combi Coccoro car seat. I purchased this in Singapore, our first stop on the trip. Although Harriet is still aged under 2 and does not require a seat on a flight, James and I weighed up the pros and cons of how we would do long haul flights with her on our laps. So we shelled out the extra cash and purchased her a seat for all our medium to long haul flights. This way, my hands are free to eat, sleep and have some downtime while she sleeps safely in her carseat. This seat is one of the lightest on the market and I am able to carry Harriet on my hip and the car seat in my other hand while walking to the gate. She is safe on the go, in cars, in ubers, trains, buses, shuttles, taxis, I do not regret buying this seat at all!
5. Cheap baby books. I pick these up everywhere. From hotel gift shops, toy stores, newsagents and markets sometimes for as little as 50c a book. It is important that Harriet have access to books but impossible that we travel with lots of them. So usually I buy a few, read them, let her play with them/chew them to pieces. And then purchase new ones at another destination.
6. Anna and Elsa “Frozen” dolls. Anna was originally bought for Abi in London at the Disney Store but somehow as the months passed, Harriet took over as the rightful owner. Abi then received an Elsa doll when they were available in stock and now Abi and Harriet play together with their sister dolls. They aren’t very big and the girls carry them on the flight too. They have been washed several times and still look perfect.
7. Tommy Tippee bottles. Harriet has 1 bottle at night and I use Tommy Tippee as they are sold worldwide and I know I can pick them up in any chemist or major supermarket. We have lost lids along the way, and found an old bottle, half full of milk from a flight a few days before, so usually that gets chucked out! I don’t think she will be having a bottle for much longer and I will be happy to say farewell to these soon.
8. Mega Bloks. I picked up a bag of these in a supermarket in Tuscany of all places. They look bulky, but we have a large duffel bag and don’t mind carrying these around for Harriet. The older kids play with them too and you can always buy more bloks as they are universal everywhere. They are much less painful to step on in the middle of the night, as opposed to tiny lego pieces!
9. Play-doh. A vital tool to help build strong little hands. I just bought a new supply at Toys R Us Times Square last week. It never gets old. Everyone loves playdoh and it’s so cheap here in the States.
10. Klean Kanteen toddler bottle. One of the ongoing jokes on this trip has been the miraculous pink drink bottle Harriet had at the start of the trip. This bottle has been lost and found more times than I can count. Just as we were about to purchase a new one, it would turn up again and peace would be restored. At Wholefoods Market 2 weeks ago, I saw these Klean Kanteen bottles on sale for 30% off and knew it was a sign to upgrade Harriet’s water bottle. She loves it and looks like one of the big kids now.
11. Bath toys. Again, they are cheap and available in most toy stores and supermarkets. Harriet loves her bath and these are always a welcome addition. Ted loves them too. Somehow they seem to disappear, like bobby pins, and sure enough, you need to purchase more.
12. Baby Blanket. I think it’s nice that she has her blanket from home. She has slept with it nearly every night since her birth, so it’s a pretty special to both her and me.
Of course there are many other items I travel with. Her carry-on bag is a LeSportsac backpack. Her cot sheets are Skip Hop. I have a few other small toys in the duffel bag which we call the “knick knack” bag. We have melamine ‘BPA free’ plates from Crate and Barrel because we stay in Air BnB accommodation and most people don’t have kid friendly plates and cutlery. And I will do a whole other post about snacks and eating on the road too!