Must-Haves for Traveling with a 1-Year-Old: Solo Edition

I took the dreaded cross-county flight with a one-year-old… solo.  Overall it went very “okay” which is pretty darn good.  Here’s what I did well and here’s what I would change.

Do this:

Does your baby like to move? Crawl? Walk?   If no, don’t buy them an airplane seat. If yes, keep reading.

Does your baby verbally communicate their needs in your mother tongue? If yes, buy them a seat.  If no, DEFINITELY buy them a seat.

Buy this:

  1. Car-seat strap for your carry-on $11.95

I’ve had this for months and just used it for the first time.  Traveling with a convertible car seat is not fun but worth it for strapping the kid down.


2. Cheapo Convertible Carseat – $54

Not only is this cheap, it’s lightweight!  It only weighs TEN POUNDS!  That’s bananas!  I was showing it off to anyone who would listen.  My Diono that I use daily is great but it’s SUPER heavy and I don’t want to lug that thing through the airport.  This is FAA approved on planes, takes me 15 seconds to safely install in the car or plane, easy and fast to adjust the straps, doesn’t require a lap belt extender on the plane (if installing rear-facing), and it fits rear-facing on the plane.

3. Instant Window Tint (for rental cars) – 2 for $10

This is not fancy or pretty but it works.  I learned my lesson after driving a rental car around LA with Aspen and “Mister Sun” was in her eyes the whole time.  Easy to slip over the window and go.

4. Jacket with Pockets – $39

This is lightweight and stylish.  Tie it around your waist when your working up a sweat installing that carseat, wear it when the plane gets cold, and use it as a screen to hide distractions from your baby when he’s trying to sleep.  Get a windbreaker-type jacket so you can fold it up really small and stash it away.

5. Jujube Compartment Bags – $50 for 3

I love these because you can throw them in the wash and there’s so many cute designs.  I use them all the time for everything from wet swimsuits to dirty clothes to separating toys to storing snacks.

6. Jujube Insulated Lunch Bag – $30

Again you can throw this in the washing machine.  There’s a strap you can attach to the outside of your diaper bag or stroller for easy access.  And keep in mind you CAN bring liquids through security for your baby (I brought milk, water, baby food, and yogurt) they just have to screen each one (which takes about 20 seconds each).

7. Reusable Ice Packs – $7 for 4

I stick two of these in the lunch bag

8. Fanny Pack – $30

It’s your lucky day because fanny packs are back in style.  For me wearing a fanny pack was key to having easy access to necessities like my ID, credit card, and phone as opposed to having to take my backpack off each time I needed one of those items.

9. Baby Carrier – $127

I love this Tula baby carrier.  I needed this when Hart wouldn’t sleep and was screaming nonstop.  It would’ve done the trick if he was younger but now that he’s more aware it just helped me carry his weight more easily.  Worth the hassle to drag it on the plane in case your little one has a meltdown like mine did.  And I almost didn’t bring this.

10. Comfy Shoes – $61

I have these Filas in 3 colors.  They are SO COMFY and stylish.  I hate wearing open toed shoes on planes so stick with a practical but cute pair of tennies.

11. Easy Stroller with Huge Storage Space – $900

The Cadillac of strollers and worth every penny.  I was able to fold this up and lift it on the TSA screening belt by myself WHILE holding Hart (even I was impressed). And then I did it again when I gate-checked it on the jetway

12. MOM HACK: Dog Poop Bags – 270 for $11

A tiny little roll packs a ton of uses: dirty diapers, soiled wipes, dirty toys – these things are instantly contained from contaminating everything else in your diaper bag.


Then mail these things to your final destination:

Diapers, wipes, bath toys, baby soap and lotion, cheapo pack n play (I got mine on for $35), cheapo high chair (I bought the $20 IKEA one and shipped it, but it would’ve been better to find a used one once I got to my final destination)


I’d do this differently:

Rental car: I rented mine from Turo which I’ve had huge success with in the past but I think some of these renters are getting too big.  It felt corporate.  Next time I’ll check to make sure I’m renting from the individual only.


I’d do this again:

Take advantage of people offering to help and hold the baby.

Ask for help.



  1. Meghan, I just travelled with my 15 month old from St Louis to San Francisco and indeed all your suggestions on here is on point! I did the same things, almost. I wish I thought about shipping the items you mentioned. As well as getting the car seat strap! In fact I saw your post and noticed it when we were waiting to board at the airport. My 17yo thankfully was there to help me lug it around. Yay! But thanks this is very helpful! You’re doing such an EXCELLENT job momma! Go Hart! Prayers and positivity your way. <3

  2. We recently moved from St. Louis to The Oregon coast, and now make frequent trips home to see family, your post just changed my life! I had no idea they made straps to hold your car seat to the suitcase.. game changer! Needed this is in June when I traveled from PDX to STL with my two boys, Brayden 3 and Harrison 2, by myself through airport security etc etc. it would’ve made traveling with the seats and luggage much more manageable. Coming home in October and that little strap has already been added to my amazon cart along with a few other items you listed!

    This is my first time visiting your blog, followed and watched you on housewives for years, and I’ve really grown to admire you! Your a phenomenal Mama and a true genuine person just trying to do her part in the world. Thank you!

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