A small crayon roll, like the dozens found at Mrs. Crafty RVing, is great for carrying in your purse everywhere you go. Just throw in a little notepad too.
For the retro kid, try a large chalkboard mat from Baby Chickie. Small sizes are available at Childish Thoughts.
Want all of the above? You can with the traveling activity wallet from Eco Hip Custom Designs, which holds crayons, markers/colored pencils, a medium pad of paper, stickers, a chalkboard mat, and chalk.
Or you can get a large crayon roll, small chalkboard mat, and coloring book in a small tote bag from Childish Thoughts. (You also have the option of the set without the chalkboard mat.) Small toys fit in too!
Car rolls are the greatest lifesavers! I carry one in my purse to keep Caden entertained in the car, at restaurants, at church, while shopping, etc. These ones from Mrs. Crafty RVing I helped design. They come highly recommended! And the sellers have great customer service!
I also found these ones at Childish Thoughts. It looks like the extra material makes it roll up better. I also prefer velcro to ribbon ties.
When traveling, having a mat for your child to drive the cars on is great. I bought this one from A Bug's Life for Us for our summer trip and love it! It comes with two cars and folds up nicely. Also works well at home for those with not enough room for a fancy car rug or tracks. (Currently sold out; message seller if interested.)
If you can sew, try making this one from Pattern Play.
This tote bag with matching stuffed characters from Frog Blossoms is too cute! It's also quiet, perfect for that airplane ride. (Currently sold out; message seller if interested.)
A great twist on the I Spy Bag is one that can be carried like a purse, like this one from KNH Designs.
I love this traveling felt play mat from Careen's Custom Crafts. Felt/cloth toys are my favorite because they can be cleaned easily and don't hurt anyone when thrown by an upset toddler!
Quiet books are also great, but they're usually expensive. I did find some affordable ones from All about Kraft.
The best thing I ever found on clearance was a pack of mini bubbles on key chains. Caden loves bubbles! Mini bubble wedding or party favors (check out Party City) also work well. And they can go through security at the airport!
Other great things to bring are board books, a favorite stuffed animal, and music for the car. What toys have you found helpful for traveling with toddlers?