As eBay’s gadget and toy director, I travel to New York about once a month for meetings, interviews, and events, where I speak to the media about consumer electronics and toys on behalf of eBay. Each time I leave Los Angeles, I imagine what Jack, my 2-year-old son, is doing, blowing him a kiss as I soar east.
I'm usually only in New York for four nights at a time — not long enough to schlep the little one with me. However, early last fall, I was here for a week. It was the perfect chance for Jack to finally come with his mama to the Big Apple!
This trip was very different from the others. Traveling with a child in tow, I knew I needed to assemble a "make it in Manhattan” kit. For all you traveling moms, here are my picks of must-have traveling gadgets and necessities:
• Stokke Stroller: This stroller is innovative, lightweight, and great for the city. One of my favorite features is the two-way seating, which allows kids to face front or back. I like to talk to Jack when he faces me; when he’s facing front, I like that he gets to see the same surroundings I am seeing. The stroller folds up compactly, making it easy to jump into cabs with and carry around.
• MacBook: I always have my Apple MacBook laptop with me for a few reasons. First, access to iTunes. Before I leave for trips, I download endless episodes of Jack’s favorite TV shows for him to watch on the plane and at the hotel. It also has a DVD player to play your child’s favorite movies. Second, the built-in camera is perfect for Jack to make video calls via Skype to his dad while he’s on the road. Lastly, it’s all I need at the hotel to get connected and stay up to date.
• Cyber Power: You never know when you’ll need that extra boost of power for your gadgets on the plane. This is the easiest power source I've seen yet. It has an adapter for three- and two–pronged plugs. It plugs into the plane’s main power source to give you the juice you need before you land.
• "The Pronto" Skip Hop Diaper Bag: This is the best diaper bag out there. When closed, it is about the size of a CD case and as thick as five or six diapers. The exterior is a made with durable materials that can weather any situation. Once opened, it folds out into three main compartments. The exterior has a zipper I use for diaper trash bags. The inside, which is mesh with an elastic top, allows for easy access to diapers; I can stuff four to five diapers inside. The wipes holder is another great feature. It zips closed and holds a travel-sized wipes pack. The bag also comes with a great changing pad that folds out to create a wide space. It's a smart design because you can Velcro the pads with one hand, making the whole thing easy to maneuver with a baby in tow.
• iPhone Application – ZooBox: Once I’m in the city, I need a fun way to keep Jack occupied. The ZooBox application is simple yet addictive. It displays 21 funny pictures of animals that will surely keep your kids entertained as much as it entertains Jack. Just hold the phone facedown, wait for its vibrations, and then turn it over to trigger the animal’s sound. www.apptism.com/apps/moo-box.
• My First Remote Control Car: When I travel with Jack, I bring a bag full of trucks and blocks, but his favorite is his remote control car. On our last trip, he played with it for six days straight! The car is easy-to-use, too. It starts up with great stimulating sounds and lights with the touch of a button, and shuts off the same way. It works well in tight places; a hotel room provides just the right amount of space to race back and forth. Best of all, the car only goes straight, keeping both the toy and your toddler from getting away!
• Sensible Sitters: This website offered me the most qualified sitters in the city on short notice. They were reliable and trustworthy, and gave me peace of mind when I needed to work away from Jack during the day. www.sensiblesitters.com.
• BabiesTraveLite: Instead of running out and getting diapers once I got to the city, I used this great service that sends diapers ahead of time. Log on and choose from a wide range of items within six categories: Diapers, Meal Time, Bath Time, Sun Time, Gear, and Baby Bundles. Once you have selected your items, you can have them all delivered to your hotel room. Think about it – you no longer have to stuff diapers into every empty pocket in that already over-packed suitcase! www.babiestravellite.com.
To find items listed above, visit www.eBay.com.