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Flying with a Baby and Toddler: The Baby Travel Gear You Need For a Smooth Landing

You want to minimize turbulence. Here's how.

Flying with babies and toddlers isn’t anyone’s definition of happy hour and requires that parents load up on travel toys for toddlers. It’s why parents perennially wonder: What do kids need to fly? Right or wrong, baby travel conjures up horrifying images of red-faced, screaming kids and their harried, frustrated parents. In order to really nail the whole travel with kids thing, you need to move with ninja-like precision and get the right equipment. Plus, planning is key. Arrive at the airport early, because going through security is always a joy. Pack enough snacks to avoid any pre-boarding meltdowns. And bring a select amount of toys to keep them occupied during the flight.

Best Baby Travel Gear

Toddlers will stay busy getting this doll dressed five different ways.

This doll comes with a carry clip you can attach to anything. Toddlers pull the doll’s zipper up and down, and fasten the pockets, plus they can close the buttons. And open them. And close them again. This doll is machine-washable, thankfully.

This is the perfect portable design studio for preschoolers.

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It comes with a nice, wide storage tray to keep all the supplies contained. Kids match and snap the chunky buttons to complete the pictures of a frog, bird, house, tree, truck, and other stuff they’ll love and recognize.

Kids can stick these suction toys on any smooth surface, like an airplane tray.

These suction toys make a satisfying popping sound when kids remove them, and they also make for hours of entertainment when trapped in a confined jet. They’re made from silicone and literally do not fall apart ever.

Instead of lugging along paper and markers, get your toddler this erasable drawing board.

The magnetic drawing pad comes with a sliding eraser, so kids can draw and erase their creations over and over and over again.

Speaking of portable art, here's a stellar portable chalkboard, composed of 12 pages.

The chalk that comes with the book is dust-free, and it’s a brilliant way to keep kids focused and channel their creativity during long, endless flights.

Kids four and up can set up a vet clinic on the go, and when they're done, everything packs up nicely in its own carry case.

You can choose a pirate playset, or a knight playset. Each one comes with figures and accessories, so kids can play on the plane and pack everything up before landing.

What we love about this magnetic maze toy: It's quiet, it's engaging, and there are no little tiny pieces that will fall off and go missing, thereby rendering the toy last year's news.

Haba’s magnetic maze is deal for kids two and up. It keeps them quietly entertained in airplanes and works hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, too. It’s a win-win.

Babies love throwing toys on the ground and having you pick them up. Beat them at their own game with this ingenious creation, which suctions on to the tot's tray and keeps their toys in place.

Ideal for babies six months and older, this teether holder suctions on to their tray so they can’t throw it down on to the nasty airplane floor. The holder suctions to most smooth surfaces, like an airline tray, and lets you secure your baby’s favorite baby toys onto the suction toy holder using the three tethers. It weighs just 5.6 ounces and is super portable.

Yes, these are bath toys, but they actually suction onto any smooth surface. Like an airline tray.

Not only do these suction toys help with the development of fine motor skills, but they come in a handy travel bag and they stick onto anything. Kids can build, stick, connect, and pop these things apart.

Naturally, one of our go-to brands does it again. This time, with a portable sorter set that's going to keep your kiddo happy and entertained.

Created for kids nine months and older, Melissa & Doug’s sorter set comes in a padded case with two activity sides, and nine textured blocks in various colors and shapes.

Kids love keys? Why? They're jangly and fun. And we love these colorful keys for babies.

Not only does this set of keys attach to your car seat or travel stroller, but it makes four fun car sounds and even lights up.

Hours of fun! You fill the water pen, and kids color until they can color no more. Suddenly, animals come to life. Oh and it's reusable.

Kids paint with a giant water brush and each stroke reveals part of the hidden image. When the page dries, the picture disappears and they can start again. They’re cheap. They’re cheerful. And there are a slew to choose from.

This lightweight bag has numerous carrying handles as well as two padded backpack straps for sherpa-ing it through the airport.

This stellar car seat travel bag is made of puncture resistant, water-proof nylon and is designed to keep your car seat germ-free. A pair of drawstring closures and a velcro flap help secure car seats within it and it works with nearly every brand. Once the seat is out it folds into a small carrying pouch.

Load up this travel tray with all your kid's favorite toys and crafts; it's great for plane rides and folds up easily. It has an attachable storage compartment that can be removed or collapsed to reveal an extra large surface area, if needed.

While this is billed as being for car seats, we don’t recommend it for that use, because it likely hasn’t been crash-tested. However, it’s great for flights, because it fits onto the tray, and it keeps your kid’s stuff contained and within easy reach. No more whining about crayons falling behind seats, or toy cars going missing.

Kids get bored in airports. So, so bored. Can't blame them. They'll love this suitcase, which they can sit on, ride on, or roll.

Trunki is a hard-sided suitcase with wheels (and steering horns!) that kids can ride or, more likely, you can pull down the jetway. It holds up to 75 pounds, and converts to a bedroom storage trunk when your little road warrior isn’t on the go.

Any parent knows that you never leave home without a supply of snacks. We like this stackable snack container, which can also hold formula, so your kid is never whining about an empty tummy.

Leaving home without snacks is a major rookie error. This stackable container can be separately or together, and includes one 10-ounce container, two 6-ounce containers, and one easy-pour lid.

One of the most inventive piece of travel gear we've found: A portable bottle heater.

All you need to do is pour hot water into the warmer and seal the top. You immerse baby bottles or food in the warmer and presto, your baby is ready to eat.

Napping on planes will save parents' sanity. Getting kids to nap? Good luck. Hopefully, it will be easier once you transform an armrest into a very cute pillow.

So you think this is just a blanket? Wrong! It’s a penguin toy, a blanket, and a travel pillow. When you remove the travel blanket from inside the penguin, it slides onto the armrest, turning it into a pillow.

We've all experienced the singular joy of changing a soiled diaper on a plane. Which is why this kit is essential.

Your kid takes a huge dump. You take off the diaper, wrap it in the bag, tie it up, and no one is the wiser. The bags are lavender-scented, as a bonus.

If you're flying with your three-month-old baby on your lap, you need this LapBaby. Your tot can eat, play and engage with you during the flight while staying securely attached. When you land, it folds up and stows away in a small cloth travel bag.

Sick of having a squirming infant on your lap? Then you need this LapBaby, which keeps the baby and all his or her accessories contained.The Primo LapBaby attaches to your waist, leaving your hands free to play with your kid, or dare to dream…read a book. It folds up beautifully when you’re done. It’s for babies three months old and up.

Not only does the LÍLLÉbaby carrier look sharp, but it has adjustable side panels to widen and narrow the seat for ideal hip positioning, to make flying more comfortable.

The LÍLLÉbaby carrier gives you six options for carrying your baby, from birth onward. It has adjustable seat and leg openings that facilitate proper hip support, frog-leg seating, and curved C-spine position. The straps are adjustable, so parents of various body shapes and sizes can figure out what position suits them best and is most comfortable. And it has a headrest.

Travel Diaper Bags

Yes this diaper bag converts into a portable baby changing station.

No more using those gross bathroom changing trays. This diaper bag becomes a changing station, and a bassinet.

This is a solid travel diaper bag because it weighs just over one pound when empty, and yet fits everything you need thanks to its eight pockets.

This Maman diaper bag wipes clean, which is a must for flights. It has eight pockets, including two insulated side pockets for drinks, and a changing pad. And it has space for your devices as well.

This isn't just a diaper bag. It turns into a portable bassinet, a changing table and a handy storage space.

This three-in-one diaper bag, bed, and changing station is suitable for babies up to a year old, although we have doubts it will last you that long. It folds into the size of a regular diaper bag. And everything wipes clean. 

Travel Strollers

If you're gonna spring for an upgraded travel stroller, get the Bugaboo. It weighs 15 pounds and is the size of a carry-on when folded.

This travel stroller, which is just as at home on city streets and has all the amenities parents want, fits into most overhead bins. The seat is reversible and reclinable. And there’s a roomy storage basket as well. It has integrated all-wheel suspension for a super-smooth ride.

This brilliant travel stroller has a two-step folding process and when you're done, it fits right into the overhead bin. No more gate checks! It weighs just 9.5 pounds.

The days of hauling around a stroller bigger than your car are way, way over. The Pockit folds up in two easy moves, weighs less than 10 pounds, fits into the overhead bin, and can accommodate a child from 6 months up to 55 pounds as well as 11 pounds of gear in its storage basket. Sold.

On the less pricey side is the Delta Children stroller. It's suitable for children up to 50 pounds, fits the Disney stroller requirements, and weighs less than 12 pounds. It folds right up and goes into its travel bag.

You fold this travel stroller up, put it into its travel bag, and have it as your carry-on luggage. Just check with the airline ahead of time to make sure it’s not too fit the ever-smaller overhead bins.

Travel Beds

A suitcase that folds into a toddler bed. Brilliant.

Kids can ride on this suitcase, sure. But it fits most economy seats on planes and folds out into a bed. The lid of the suitcase and the extension plate elongate the seat to create a larger surface area while the mattress and side panels create a comfortable space for kiddo to rest.

This seat extender lets kids lay down flat and get some shut-eye.

This footrest and seat extender weighs less than a pound and folds right up into a bag when you’re not using it. It’s a clever way for kids to lay down and rest their legs, so they’re sleeping on a flat surface. One caveat: Make sure your airline allows it, because a handful do not.

The Guava portable travel crib is convenience, in a bag. Literally. It set up in under 30 seconds and only weighs 13 pounds when it's packed up. You just tote it as a backpack.

This crib legit packs into a backpack. It’s easy to set up. We’re talking less than a minute. And it’s made without any flame retardants. The mesh exterior allows for full airflow and a clear view of your child.

If you have a newborn, this is the travel crib for you. This go-anywhere bassinet weighs less than two-and-a-half pounds and has a built-in carrying handle. To break it down, all you have to do is push the four release buttons and fold it in half.

The fact that there are four buttons means that your baby won’t accidentally fold it up, which would be disastrous. Mesh sides ensure the baby enjoys a comfortable snooze and the removable, water-resistant mattress pad and fitted sheet set are included. It’s also quite affordable.

This folding enclosed napping spot doubles as a play space with included hanging toys

This dome-shaped crib from Fisher-Price has a canopy that’ll keep your baby safe from sun and bugs if you decide to have a picnic.It’s great for travel because it folds flat easily, and it’s great for sleeping because it’s totally flat, as doctors recommend. It’s suitable for babies up to five months.

Noise-Cancelling Wireless Headphones For Kids

These headphones are are built to last, and due to their shareport, there's no need for a splitter. Meaning, kids can share audio and watch a movie together. The max volume on these kids' headphones is set at 93db with internal 40mm drivers and a range of 20Hz to 20kHz.

You get everything you need with these kids’ headphones, meant for grade schoolers. There’s solid volume control, plus the ability for kids to hang out and listen to DJ Marshmellow together. Note that these are not wireless and not Bluetooth.

These volume-limiting noise-cancelling headphones for kids give you up to 22 hours of playtime and 200 hours of standby on a single charge.

We love these noise-cancelling headphones for kids because they protect eardrums with an 85 decibel limit. They’re foldable, lightweight, and make daily noise and background sounds up to 22 decibels quieter.

These kids' headphones have a volume limit of 85 dB to help prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

These headphones look cool, yes, which will help your kids want to wear them. Always a bonus. Their volume is limited to 85 dB to help prevent noise-induced hearing loss from repeated viewings of Toy Story and Moana. The cups are lightweight and cushioned, so they’re comfortable enough to be worn on long flights. They isolate 82 percent of ambient noise. And kids get 18 hours of playtime on a single charge. 

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