My partner and I recently conquered (what we thought was) the impossible: traveling with 3 kids, ages 5 and under.

I know what you’re thinking: traveling with children can feel daunting when you consider the long packing lists, unpredictable schedules, and cranky kiddos away from their routines. But there are tips and tricks to making travel fun and exciting for family members of all ages!

From one mama to another, here are the must-have travel essentials that I absolutely recommend. Trust me, I’ve been there done that. Let me show you the ways!

Travel Distractions

We saw our fair share of airports on our recent trip. From Tucson, to a layover in Dallas, to our final destination in New Orleans… we spent hours upon hours on planes and in terminals. And believe me when I tell you that our kids got bored and cranky!

Travel distractions are a must! Bring things that will keep your kids busy while you try to navigate the gates, find snacks, and coordinate bathroom trips.

We opted to leave their Fire Kids tablets at home (extra cords = extra hassle!) and instead brought along books, mazes, and puzzle games. Our favorites included this Treasure Hunt for Boys book and activity book sets (including Hidden Pictures and Mazes) — they kept our boys busy for hours!

Child Carrier

At the very beginning of our trip, we ran into a small obstacle: our airline had recently changed its stroller policy, and our 24-lb. Chicco Bravo LE stroller was 4 lbs. heavier than they would allow us to take past security.

We had been banking on using the stroller to push the baby and hold our carry-on bags as we strolled through the terminal… but luckily, we had also packed our Mission Critical Baby Carrier with us, just in case.

Having the carrier with us meant that we didn’t constantly have to be holding the baby. And Sawyer appreciated having his carrier, too! He fell asleep as we walked around New Orleans, ate lunch, walked on the beach, and more. It was truly a lifesaver having it with us.

If tactical baby gear isn’t your thing, I highly recommend the Ergobaby 360 carrier! I’ve got my own in the color Dewy Gray and absolutely love it. I don’t need any help putting it on or getting Sawyer into the carrier, which makes it super convenient… especially for quick, speedy airport travel!

Baby Wipes (and lots of 'em)

Our vacation was filled with eating: from chocolate bark in the French Market, to decadent creole dishes in the French Quarter, to fresh boiled seafood down near the coast. And if your kids are anything like ours, then you know what that means: a huge mess!

It seemed like almost every hour, we had to whip out the baby wipes… if not for the baby himself, then for one of his older brothers. We experienced spilled smoothies in the rental car, melted chocolate on white t-shirts, and faces covered in ketchup.

Luckily, we also had wipes nearby. Our go-to family favorites are the Seventh Generation Free & Clear wipes (we buy ’em in bulk on Amazon), but we’ve also tried a few other brands too: Pampers Sensitive Water wipes, Honest Company Fragrance-Free wipes, and WaterWipes baby wipes. We’ve had no issues with any of them.

Pro-tip: if you’re traveling to visit family, I highly recommend sending wipes in bulk to a family member’s house! We sent wipes and diapers via Amazon Prime to my father’s house in advance, which meant we could pack light and didn’t have to worry about going to the store immediately upon our arrival.

Drool Bibs

I almost didn’t pack any drool bibs for this trip, thinking they were just bulky and would take up unnecessary space in our luggage. But boy, am I glad I did…

Sawyer is a drooler, and having drool bibs meant that we easily cut our laundry in HALF during this trip. Instead of having multiple outfit changes throughout the day (because let’s face it, he would have constantly soaked his clothes!), we limited it to one daytime outfit with LOTS of bib changes.

Don’t skimp on the bibs. Pack extras… and then pack a few more.

Baby Shusher

Sleep and naps were my #1 concern on this trip. We had just gotten Sawyer into a good sleep routine (i.e., sleeping in his crib during the day and throughout the entire night), and I was worried our travels would completely mess that up.

Enter: the Baby Shusher.

They call the Baby Shusher the “miracle soother” for a reason: it really works! Even though Sawyer didn’t have his usual crib or blankets or familiarity of home, this little device lulled him to sleep each and every time.

Simply crank up the volume, set the timer, and let the Baby Shusher work its magic. (Bring extra batteries, just in case!)