Summer is in full swing and August is one of the most popular times for families to take some much-needed vacation. If you’re traveling with a toddler this summer, however, there are some essentials you will want to make sure to carry along to ensure the trip is as meltdown and injury free as possible. From my favorite styling sunglasses to snacks that make 2-year-olds smile, these are the categories and items I’m loading into the car or my suitcase for travel with my own toddler this summer.
1. UV Eye Protection
Protecting your toddler’s eyes from UV rays is important if you’re spending time in the sun and something people didn’t necessarily think about when I was growing up. This season I’m loving two different brands for eye protection that is stylish but still gets the job done. Sölar Baby & Toddler Sunglasses come in three colors and have a resistant and flexible frame that was designed with playful kids in mind. They are also reversible so there is no wrong way to wear them — meaning if your kid wants to flip them around they’ll still fit. The polarized lens is another plus.
Another option to for keeping UV rays from damaging your little one’s eyes isby DaphDaph, which wrap around the face thus adding even more protection. What I like about the goggles is they can be worn flawlessly between land and water so you don’t have to worry about your little one losing his sunglasses when he swims or getting chlorine, salt water or sand in his eyes. The goggles come in a massive amount of shapes, sizes, and colors to fit every child’s individual style. They can even be personalized with names or logos.
Entertainment can take a number of forms. First, pack a Play Tent like the Nidö 2 in 1 Travel & Play Tent. I love the versatility this tent provides when traveling. It can be used as an open-air play area anywhere and is simple and easy to set up thanks to a pop-up folding and unfolding system. When folded up it slides easily into its carry bag and is lightweight to haul — also the entire bag will fit right into a suitcase. Once set up the tent can be used for napping or playing and comes with a removable mat and three toys. I love it for outdoor summer adventures with my son because the tent’s fabric has an anti-UV coating and also includes a canopy and retractable mesh to keep bugs out.
When it comes to entertainment, another favorite pick is by SmartGames. The company makes age-appropriate multi-level logic games that are great for exercising your toddler’s brain while still being really fun. Check out, and , they are some of my son’s favorites this summer.
3. Travel Gear
Your little one wants to carry her own travel gear so hook her up with the Super Me Backpack from DaphDaph, which I must say is a super cool concept. This line of packs is made with capes that let your little one play up his inner superhero. They are also great distractions on long travel days or help re-direct during a meltdown. The backpacks can be personalized with your kid’s own superhero name. They are also really durable and can be thrown right into the washing machine.
Shoes that are comfortable, supportive and actually enjoyable to wear can be difficult to find if your child is picky about his footwear like my son. This summer we are liking theby KEEN, which as a company I also like currently because they are matching donations to California Wildlife Relief (I like buying from companies that are doing their share to help people in need). The supportive sandals are really durable as well and can be worn in and out of the water thanks to quick-drying webbing. I also like the adjustable hook-and-loop strap that lets kids put them on solo, something my son enjoys.
Keen also makes a flexible and lightweight sneaker:that offers a little more protection than the sandal and can be worn into fall quite easily. The sneaker also gets good traction and it also as a quick-dry mesh that keeps the sneaker breathing even in hot climates.
5. Snacks & Storage
Getting your kids to eat well on the road can be a serious challenge and I find that packing a lot of snacks (and then stuff to store the snacks in) is really helpful. This way you don’t have to worry about what is available on the road. For a modern take on jello without all the unhealthy ingredients check out the organic, plant-based fruit jello by . It comes in a fun squeeze pouch and is non-GMO, naturally gluten-free, vegan and less than 100 calories per pouch.
Another sweet favorite my son loves is SMASHCRISPY by , which is basically a better-for-you rice crispy treat. It comes in three flavors (cinnamon churro, mint chocolate chip and strawberries and cream) and is nut and gluten-free.
When it comes to storing snacks on the go, check out the Dose Multipurpose Stackable Containers. Easy to pack and carry they come with three compartments that can each hold up to 4 oz and are interchangeable, combinable and of course stackable. They also have a flexible silicone grip and funnel cap for easy pouring.
And finally, there’s no need to worry about breakable restaurant plates or to big silverware. Simply pack the Miäm Silicone Plate & Spoon Set. The two-piece set comes with a large plate and a flexible spoon that are both made from food-grade silicone and easy to wash and store.