One of the biggest challenges of traveling with an infant or toddler is the sheer amount of stuff you need to bring! Gone are the carefree days of breezing through security with a light carry-on bag with a couple of changes of clothes and tiny toiletries- these days you look more like a Sherpa laden down with an astounding amount of paraphernalia, all for a person who has yet to reach three feet in height.
These challenges are maximized if you find yourself in a situation where you are traveling with JUST your tot, and cannot rely on your partner, friends or other companions to help lighten the load. I found myself in such a situation a few months ago, en route to my mother-in-law’s house in Waco, Texas with my not-quite-three year old. My husband had booked his flight a couple months before I decided to join him on his trip, and the most affordable fares by that time were on a different airline, a couple of hours prior to his takeoff time. As a result, hubby and I had to say our goodbyes early in the process and I was left to fend for myself with the slew of child gear. However, thanks to the genius Traveling Toddler Car Seat Travel Accessory, the experience of lugging my son’s car seat through the massive airport was a breeze!
I had purchased the Traveling Toddler with some skepticism on Amazon a couple of weeks prior to our trip. I was still experiencing horror flashbacks of dragging that heavy car seat through Denver International Airport the last time we went on a trip, and that was with a lot of help from my parents! The prospect of repeating the task unassisted got me thinking that I should at least see which existing products might help me out this time.
I was not surprised to see many products similar to luggage carts on the market, with the express purpose of moving a car seat from one end of the airport to the other. The biggest problem I could see with these contraptions (besides their hefty, $70-80 price tags) was the problem of where to store them once we reached our gate. Sure, they claimed to be collapsible, but they still looked like they would take up a pretty valuable chunk of suitcase space. Then I happened upon the Traveling Toddler. At only $13.99, the price was certainly right, and the design of it was delightfully simple: a thick, T-shaped canvas strap with durable metal rings, which would clip to the latches on the car seat and virtually turn any rolling suitcase into a little travel stroller. Once you get where you’re going, simply toss the strap into your purse or carry-on, and you’re good to go!
Then came the doubt: I’m not so sure a cheap strap that connects my 32-pound son and his giant car seat to my rolling suitcase is really going to work, I thought to myself. I had visions of the sheer weight of the thing breaking the wheel off my not-that-expensive case, or- much worse- the strap somehow loosening or breaking, causing poor Ethan to dump over onto the airport floor if I hit a bump or something. Still, I reasoned, there were still a couple of weeks before the trip, and with my Amazon Prime membership guaranteeing me free shipping and returns, I figured I had nothing to lose if I bought it and tested it out at home.
I got the Traveling Toddler two days after placing my order (thanks, Amazon Prime!) and immediately went to work filling up my suitcase with clothes for a test drive (the instructions explicitly state that full suitcases work better than empty or half-full ones). I took the spare car seat out of hubby’s truck and began the shockingly easy task of strapping it to the suitcase. When all was tightened to my satisfaction, I called my precious little guinea pig over and strapped him into his seat as usual, complete with sippy cup full of ice water and a cup holder full of pretzels (might as well go for 100% accuracy). I then proceeded to wheel him all over the various terrain of the house, including carpet, hardwood flooring, tile and the two small cement steps in front of our house. Not only did my son think it was great fun and beg to do it again, but I was extremely pleased and amazed by how easy it was to push him around the house. Besides that, neither the car seat nor the suitcase incurred any damage, and nothing shifted or came loose. Suddenly, I was a lot more excited for the trip!
Thanks to Traveling Toddler, we got through our trip with very little stress. I plan to use it for all upcoming trips, at least until he is big enough for a booster seat, and I thoroughly recommend it for all parents with children in a front-facing car seat (as of now, no similar products have been developed for the rear-facing infant seats, unfortunately). I got a lot of excited comments (and more than a few wistful gazes) from parents at the airport facing similar car seat-related woes. Please visit before your next family vacation- you’ll be glad you did!
When it’s your first time traveling as a family, it’s easy to get anxiety thinking about all the things that could go wrong. With a little knowledge, preparation, and the right tools we know you can get through it with your sanity intact.
Download Flying With Kids from the app store today to get started with your planning and preparation for a great flight and amazing trip.