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4 Things You Need for Traveling with Your Baby or Toddler

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

If you know anyone from the upper mid-west (MN, WI, MI) you know how much we love our lakes!

Summer simply cannot be beaten here in Lake Country, and it definitely makes up for the long winters.

Many people, locals included, have a place “up north” and this varies based on who you’re talking to. You might ask, “Where is up north for you?” Everyone will have a different answer. It’s more a way of life here than anything.

Our family isn’t excluded from the up north experience. We have a family cabin in central Wisconsin and also like to go up to the Northwoods in the northern most part of the state at least once or twice a year too.

Needless to say, we travel quite a bit and it’s always been a way of life…even when kids came along!

Traveling with kids is a whole new ball game though. Trust me, the last thing you want besides the stress of traveling itself, is to not sleep well while you’re traveling. Luckily, I’ve had lots of practice with it over the past few years, and I have a whole bunch of recommendations to help you out if this is the lifestyle you want to live too!

Bring a play yard.

When I was making our baby registry over 4 years ago, I wanted something that would fit more than one need. I didn’t want to buy a crazy-expensive bassinet that we’d only use for a few months. I also knew we would be traveling. Enter the 4Moms Play Yard. I got one with a bassinet attachment, and that’s what our babies slept in when they were newborns.

We still use that thing on a weekly basis, and my 4-year-old will still sleep in it at his grandparent’s house!

I ultimately decided on this bassinet for a few different reasons:

  1. It is easy to use. You literally push and pull to get it set up and taken down.

  2. I knew we’d use it for more than one kid, God willing.

  3. We travel a lot, so I knew we’d utilize it for that as well.

  4. It had the bassinet attachment and we planned to set it up in our room while our babies were in there with us as newborns.

The only thing I don’t love about it is that it’s heavy. I can handle it, but it is heavier than other play yards I’ve used. This is not a deal breaker for me. It’s totally worth it, in my opinion.

Get a SlumberPod.

The SlumberPod is a must-have item for a child 4 months - 3 or 4 years (this will vary from child to child, IFYKY), especially if you travel a lot and may need to room share with your child.

Before the basement at our cabin was finished, we had to room share with at least one, if not both, of our boys. The SlumberPod has always provided total darkness so no one was waking up with the sun, and a bit of privacy. No one would wake up and get distracted by seeing others in the room with them. It provides a physical barrier between your baby and their favorite people. I mean, if I wake up on vacation at 5:00 a.m. and I see my mom next to me…it’s game over! ;)

It’s also completely safe and has pockets for a baby monitor and a fan. It fits over full-size play yards and certain toddler mattresses.

If you’re local and want to test out a SlumberPod or rent one for your own trip, email me! I have an extra one, and if it’s available, I’d love to let you rent it out.

And if you decide you want to purchase your own, use our affiliate code lakecountrysleep$20 for $20 off.

Don’t forget the white noise machine!

Having a portable white noise machine - or two or three! - is never a bad idea!

I like to keep some fully charged and ready at a moment’s notice, just in case. You never know when the power will go out or your little one will try to squeeze in a nap on the go.

You can be sure these little things are also packed in our suitcases whenever we travel. I love the LectroFan Micro 2 - we have two of them and use them all the time. This device is small and compact, ideal for travel. But don’t let its size fool you! It can really pack a punch with its sound levels. There are also plenty of fan and white noise sounds that you can be sure you’ll find one that works for your baby.

I think my favorite thing about the LectroFan Micro 2 is how long the battery lasts when fully charged. I only have to charge it once every 2-3 days.

Another great option is the Marpac Hushh or Rohm portable sound machines. These don’t last nearly as long as the LectroFan Micro 2, but they get the job done.

Bring your baby’s sleep sack or swaddle.

Trust me, you don’t want to forget about keeping your little one warm and cozy. Bring your baby’s swaddle (if they’re still wearing one, obviously) or sleep sack.

A sleep sack is also a great sleep association that will help your child sleep better when they’re not at home; it’s something familiar and a part of their routine. There’s a lot of power in that.


If your baby takes a pacifier - DO NOT FORGET IT! Plus a few extra! Put some in the diaper bag. Put some in the suitcase. Put one in their mouth.

And the same goes for a lovey! If your child (12 months+) sleeps with a stuffed animal or blankie item, you’ll be kicking yourself if you forget it…or worse…if it gets lost! Which happened with my son’s lovey when we were on the lake one day.

I still kick myself for not bringing an extra one on that trip!

We have a few at home in case one gets lost or dirty, but I only packed one on the trip, and that one ended up in the lake during a meltdown on the pontoon boat. If that’s not real-life karma, I don’t know what is!

When we arrived back at the cabin that afternoon, I drove around the county to every gift shop or boutique I could find, looking for something that could possibly replace my son’s blankie.

I spent $65 on the softest stuffed elephant you’ll ever find. I still cringe when I think about spending that much money on a stuffed animal. But, in my defense, he slept like an angel with his lovey and I didn’t want to ruin that, especially when we still had a few nights left of our vacation.

What did I miss?! Those are for sure your must-have items for any trip you take.

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