Long obsessed with traveling, travel blogs and media are not new to me. Travel blogger moms, however are a category unto themselves.

Before Adeline, I scrolled past their posts thinking “how?!” And “wow!” Then breathed a sigh of relief that they had to hoist around all that shit (not including the baby) and not me.

Traveling with a toddler seemed like a lot of work.

It seemed like a lot of logistics.

Then of course, I had a baby. And I still wanted to travel.

Close up of mom, dad traveling with a toddler on an airplane

Adeline’s fancy inflatable airplane bed? Marco’s lap.

I still have a list of the things I’d need to bring if we wanted to go to Thailand with a baby. That trip never materialized and I think that is in no small part because of the massive list I made of things we didn’t have and things we didn’t want to deal with.

We’d need a lightweight stroller and a mosquito net, child baby mosquito repellent and sunscreen, baby snacks galore, sippy cup, baby lifejacket, swim diapers (reusable). A hat, a UV-filter wet suit and travel insurance … the list felt endless.

We had gone up to the cabin a few times and had stopped short of strapping supplies to the roof. All that for just one weekend, to a house, to our house. Travel with a baby is already a bit less easygoing, but now it seemed logistically impossible.

But then we had our first international trip to visit family in America and amazingly, traveled light. After that we visited friends in Cambridge, England and took only carry-ons. After we took a weekend trip to Florence and drove around Emilia Romagna with a base in Ravenna. As Adeline got older and we got the hang of this parenting thing I added fewer and fewer items in the carry-on. Each trip came with the realization that we needed less and less. After the success of our most recent trip to Palermo I realized that we have a slightly different method than most of the travel blogger mammas.

Our method of traveling with a toddler is this:

We don’t bring anything.

Let’s be clear: a baby or a toddler is still a human and still needs clothes and whatnot. But the truth is, they need far less than it might seem. 

For our first international trip Adeline was five months old and I was still breastfeeding. We packed some clothes, a million pacifiers and boarded the plane. Besides her stroller (with attached carrier), a diaper bag that turns into a bed and my breasts, Adeline didn’t need anything else at all. 

Most any accommodation has a pack-n-play travel bed that you can use. A stroller or car seat is a perfect high chair in a clinch and a bath can be had anywhere you have water.

And toddlers? Toddlers need even less.

We traveled with two small backpacks and a roller bag to Palermo for three days and three people. Adeline had some clothes, a good-night book and a sippy cup. We brought five diapers just to make the flight and bought a pack when we got there. When we somehow lost her jacket during a day trip we quickly stopped in a chain store to buy a new one before the evening chill and when she was hungry for snacks we stopped to buy bananas or crackers or juice. And with each we saved energy and valuable space. We entertained our daughter with museums and playgrounds around town and tickle matches back at the Airbnb and before bed we still had a bottle and the one trusty book we had brought with us.

Traveling with a baby doesn't have to be stressful!

As Adeline gets older I’ll definitely look into one or two distractions to bring on long flights. But you won’t see me linking to any “life saving item you just have to have” because our dirty little secret is out: we barely bring anything beyond clothes. No inflatable beds and bathtubs, travel-sized white noise machines, pop-up tents and baby-sized diaper bags here. 

Our secret? We go without them!

What travel have you done with a baby or toddler and how did you pack? 

Read more about our family travel: 
Flying with a 16-month-old, in numbers
When Backyard Travel is your best option
2017 Year in Travel Review: Travel with an Infant

Written by ginamussio

2 Comments

Amanda Overcasher

I love it. I’m very anxious about traveling with Caleb so this is great to read. I’m interested in — “a diaper bag that turns into a bed” — I need more information on this??

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