It seems like everything I had to carry around when my son was a baby has since doubled (and sometimes even tripled) now that he’s a toddler (toys, snacks, books, etc). And that’s just the stuff to keep him entertained. So I polled a few close friends for their advice on packing for toddlers. This is what we came up with:
- Start preparing to pack at least two to three days before you actually leave. Keep a notepad/checklist with you at all times for those things that pop into your head (nightlight, lovey, portable DVD player etc). Start pulling the listed things out and putting them together.
- Pack the suitcase the same way you would pack a diaper bag as if you were going to be gone all day – and then multiply it by the number of days you’ll be gone. You know your toddler better than I do. But it’s always better to be a little over-prepared than under.
- If you want to keep the packing light, find out ahead of time if your destination has a laundry facility and bring some laundry soap with you as well as a popup hamper or large bag.
- Keep your toddler’s clothes in their own little suitcase. At least two outfits a day are a safe guideline unless you’re packing light.
- Pack some of your child’s favorite toys and books as well as some new ones for surprises during the uneasy moments in the carry-on bag if you’re flying.
- Pack a collapsible stroller. If flying, it can easily be checked at the gate and stored in the overhead compartment. It’s a lot easier to roll your tot rather than carry a 30-lb. toddler from one end of the airport to the other. Especially if the layover is short and you’re in a hurry. Consider one of these strollers to save space.
- Keep plenty of snacks and fluids on hand. Period. Check with TSA to find out what is acceptable.
- Have a medical kit in case of an unexpected illness or injury. (See “Traveling With A Sick Toddler)
- You can never bring too much sunscreen or bug spray. You can pay double at your vacation destination if you end up having to buy some.
- Don’t. Forget. Your. Camera. (and charger)
- Bring plastic or Ziploc bags. They can be used for many different reasons and you’ll be surprised when you’ll need them. (TIP: Barf bags work just as well if you forget the baggies)
- Bring an emergency lollipop (or two). You’ll thank me at 37,000 feet in the air when you have to change a wiggly toddler’s diaper in that teensy weensy bathroom. But only use if absolutely necessary. We don’t want them thinking they get a “reward” every time they’re rambunctious. (PS: I’m not responsible for the possible effects your child may get from the sugar, ha ha). And have some wipes or a rag with you should you have to break open the seal on the lollipop.
- Do NOT over-pack. Keep this rule when flying: If it doesn’t fit, don’t bring it. Pack one carry-on per kid.
Obviously you know your toddler better than I do. You know the average number of outfits your child goes through in one day and you know what helps your child settle down if they’re starting to get a little wiggly. A vacation with a toddler doesn’t have to be burdensome. It just takes a little bit of forethought.
Photo Credit: Mother Goose Baby Shop.
Amanda is a freelance writer and blog owner of “The Procrastinating Mommy” – a PR friendly family blog. You can also follow her on Twitter at: @Amanda_aka_Mom or on Facebook at: The Procrastinating Mommy.
Franny Dee says
Must pack snacks, favorite toy, and change of clothes.
Taylor D says
not forgetting your camera and charger 🙂
reshmi chatterjee says
Blanket and toys are must
Vanessa E says
Smart to keep bags seperate, organized in ziplock bags, and emergency medical kit just in case.
anna pry says
i find it more stressful for me to be overpacked. i’d rather have to go without something than worry about tons of heavy luggage. but i’d say having one new toy can come in handy on a trip to keep them entertained
Diane Elizabeth says
My granddaughter MUST have her Tinkerbell blanket.
Kristin Welch says
Must pack item for my youngest is her blanket! And of course, pack plenty of clothes in case of accidents or messes!
Tiffany Dover says
ALWAYS pack their lovies/blankies….our toddlers love to have their pillows from home, a few favorite toys and plenty of clothes!
Amanda Satterly says
I always have to pack my sons thomas the train pillow! wont leave home with out it!
Brooke t says
snakcs and an ipad!
must-pack item: favorite toys
Ashleigh Gunter says
Must pack item is their favorite toy.
Paula C. says
very good tips! thanks
Stephanie Bodine says
My 2yr olds must pack item is her stuffed elephant she sleeps with every night.