Are you wondering what to bring when you travel with your toddler? You’re not alone! It’s a big task! That’s why we created this toddler packing list to help you tick off all the essentials that you need to bring when you travel with your toddler.
Related: Best international places to travel with toddlers.
As soon as you know where to go, make sure to bring as much as necessary and as little as possible – it’s all extra weight that you will have to carry. I am sure you know how much your little ones love to be held, no matter how full your hands are or how much weight you are already carrying on your shoulders, overpacking will cause more trouble than it’s worth!
So, with this complete toddler vacation packing list that includes 27 worry-free tips for beach and winter holidays, the chances are high that both you and your children will enjoy creating new memories, and traveling the world together.
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Prepare in advance, but pack light
While you do not want to bring too many items, especially if you’re paying for checked bag fees, some things are essential when it comes to traveling with young ones.
It is imperative to prepare in advance and think about the individual needs of your child. Since every child has different needs and every trip is different, planning for your little ones in advance is better than being underprepared.
Yet, with this in mind, many items are available for purchase at your selected destination. But who wants to start their holiday with a run to the supermarket?
I don’t know about you, but I know I prefer to have a few items prepared and planned so I can enjoy the benefits of traveling and exploring a new destination rather than worrying if a store has my preferred cloth diapers in stock. That is why I follow a toddler travel checklist to ensure I always pack what my littles need.
While there are shops for children all around the world and many at lower costs than our home countries, some items are essential to bring and create a less worry-free holiday for us busy mothers who deserve the extra time to enjoy our family holiday 🙂
Related: Choose the right backpack/ luggage for you!
Toddler packing list for plane rides
With long haul flights, the stress of entertaining your little ones, and even luggage restrictions and federal regulations, packing for your children can be confusing, and often overwhelming. Here is a reliable flying with a toddler checklist that includes various must-haves to pack in your carry-on bag for a stress-free flight.
1. Diaper essentials
Pack your standard diaper bag complete with the essential items you typically bring for an outing. Your toddler tote should include diapers, changing pad, wipes, bags for soiled clothes, and diaper cream.
Pro Tip: Bring a pack of disposable diapers even if you’re using cloth diapers like us. While you are on the way to your destination, it’s a lot easier to use disposable diapers – depending, of course, on the travel time, but for a long-haul flight, you don’t want to collect dirty cloth diapers in your carry-on luggage.
2. Inflight entertainment
If traveling with an active toddler, you will need plenty of options packed in your carry on to keep your little one entertained. Packing small and inexpensive distractions like toys, books, crayons, or playdough can provide cognitive and emotional stimulation for hours of inflight entertainment.
3. Snacks and drinks
Bring more snacks and drinks than usual to prepare for long-hauls, possible delays, and those above-average hungry days. To prevent pickiness from offerings in the plane or airport, pack a few of your children’s go-to snacks, and a sippy cup, preferred drinks, and juice boxes to hydrate.
4. Wet wipes
Having wet wipes, in general, is a smart tip when traveling with little ones, but even more so in the time of COVID. Wiping down the tray tables before your children eat off of it will give you peace of mind.
5. A stuffed animal and/or blanket
Packing the items your children tend to gravitate towards for sleeping is essential for nap time, long flights, or on a redeye. Planes can also be quite cold, and a blanket will keep your toddler nice and toasty. I also tend to pack a hat in case of cold planes to keep my little one’s ears warm.
6. Extra clothes
I always travel with extra clothes in case of diaper leaks, potty training accidents for the older ones, or general emergencies. There’s a possibility you might experience an accident and will be exceedingly grateful for the extra set.
7. First-aid kit
Pack a first-aid kit in your carry on with bandages, fever and pain reducers, any prescribed medications, and motion sickness relief.
8. Sky pillows
Sky pillows or inflatable travel pillows offer neck comfort for your little ones during nap time, for yourself, and make long haul trips more tolerable for the entire family.
9. Toy bungee
The toy bungee is an essential carry-on item that attaches to your kid’s toys to prevent them from launching across the cabin, from touching the floor and keeping their toys germ-free. Without this strap, you might have toys hitting other passengers’ heads or even flying down the aisle!
Toddler packing list for beach destinations
Going to the beach with a baby or toddler can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be! With a great travel checklist for kids to follow, a little planning and preparation in advance, you can sit back and watch them splash, giggle, and play, knowing you have everything you need. You might even have time to sneak in a few pages of that book you’ve been eager to read.
Pack your favorite baby-safe sunscreen and reapply as needed.
Pro tip: Choose a sunscreen with zinc, which creates a barrier to protect the skin and is even great for sensitive skin. Also, avoid oxybenzone when packing a sunscreen due to its potential hormonal effects, and destructive properties to coral reefs.
2. Sun hats
We need to keep our littles sun-safe while at the beach, and sun hats are great for keeping faces and ears shaded.
If you’re planning on an extended trip to the beach, packing two swimsuits per child will always allow you to have a dry one available. For additional sun protection, packing rash guards and cute cover-ups are great options to protect your baby’s skin.
4. Beach shoes
Even for adults, walking on the hot sand is torture, and water shoes are a great option to protect your baby’s feet from not only the sun but any chance of sharp rocks in the water.
5. Beach towels
Beach towels toddler travel essentials for any trip for fun in the sun, and having one per child will ensure no fussiness for sharing a soaked towel for two unhappy kids.
6. Floaties and toys
Inflatables and swim vests are great tools for interactive water play. They give confidence and independence to little ones, especially if they’re learning how to swim. For optimal sandcastle building without taking too much space in your beach bag, bring only a few buckets and shovels. Your children will be grateful for the ability to mold sandy creations and utilize their imagination.
7. Swim diapers, wipes, and bag for changes
Pack extra diapers for accidents, wipes for a sand-free clean-up, and a bag to carry any soiled items.
8. An option for shade
To make beach trips less of a hassle, consider packing a portable umbrella or beach tent to give your little ones a break from the sunshine. Depending on where you are traveling, the sun can be powerful, and sometimes, sunscreen and sun hats don’t offer enough protection for our children.
9. Beach blanket
A large beach blanket is easy to pack and perfect for the entire family to sit on. It also comes in handy for diaper changes.
10. Drinks and snacks
Pack a small cooler with easy beach snacks such as fruit, sandwiches, crackers, and chips. For drinks, bring water and juice boxes to offer plenty of options to keep your little ones hydrated.
11. Change of clothes
To prevent rashes from a long day at the beach in wet swimwear, bring extra clothes for a dry nap or in case of accidents.
12. Pacifier or teething toys
Depending on the age, I would advise bringing a pacifier or teething toys to prevent your children from eating sand, rocks on the beach, or any other foreign objects you certainly don’t want your littles to touch.
13. Don’t forget about yourself. Bring a separate bag for your beach essentials
Mothers need self-love and attention too. Pack a separate small bag with your own go-to beach essentials. I typically bring:
- Hair accessories
- A compact first aid kit
- Aloe vera
- Hand sanitizer
Kids travel packing list for winter holidays
Packing and preparing for any holiday is no laughing matter, but packing for a winter destination can be stressful when ensuring your children stay warm and toasty amid unpredictable weather. The key to packing light for cold destinations is layering, and always starting with a base layer followed by more. If your little one starts overheating, remove one layer, and place it in your travel bag. To prepare in advance for any emergencies or accidents, keep two sets of clothes for both tops and bottoms on hand. Keep reading for tips on my toddler travel packing list for winter holidays.
1. Winter tops
For the first layer, choose a singlet or long sleeve top. The goal is to choose clothing that will keep your children warm for exploring colder destinations for prolonged periods. For the second layer, add a sweater or knitted jumper to provide extra warmth, and finally, add an insulated outerwear jacket with a hood for wind and rain protection.
2. Winter bottoms
For a base layer, start with cotton leggings or tights, followed by fleece, corduroy, or snow pants, depending on the activity if playing in the snow.
3. Keep the toes and fingers warm
A happy camper in the cold weather will need insulated socks and gloves and waterproof boots. Boots will keep their tiny feet warm, and will offer a better grip while walking or playing in the snow.
4. Other essential items
Of course, like any destination, you will want to bring your go-to bag for outings. Your toddler tote should include diapers, wipes, changing pad, Ziploc bag for soiled items, pacifiers, a first-aid kit, toiletries, medicine, nap-time essentials such as a blanket or stuffed animal, and favorite toys.
5. Calling ahead for night time
Before booking an accommodation, I like to prepare in advance and call the hotel to reserve a crib or pack n play. With the fear of COVID, I ask them to sanitize them thoroughly before use, and I even prefer to use wipes to eliminate any likelihood of germs. If the hotel or Airbnb doesn’t have what I need, I try to recreate their home bed as much as possible. For example, I bring their favorite stuffed animal, blanket, toddler pillow, and baby monitor.
Remember to enjoy your holiday
There you have it, a complete toddler packing list with 27 worry-free tips for each destination, no matter the season. Traveling with your little ones can be stressful and a hassle. But following a traveling with kids packing list like the tried and tested one I’ve created in this article will make your holiday more enjoyable and give you the well-deserved time to appreciate memories and present moments with your family.
How do you prepare for the holidays with your children? What would you add to our packing lists? Let’s chat in the comments! If you enjoyed reading this article, why not share it with a friend who is preparing for a red-eye flight or holiday to the beach with their family.
4 replies on “Your Complete Toddler Packing List: 27 Worry-Free Tips”
Really useful list! Packing light with entertainment options is indeed key. Thanks for sharing!
Sometimes less is more! 😀 Thanks for your comment <3
Thanks for this list! My wife & I are expecting our first child in a few months, and even though we have plenty of time, it is great to learn as many tips from other parents as possible! I have never heard of a toy bungee, but that sounds super useful! From what I’ve seen, having one of those for shoes so you don’t get to your destination with just a left foot would be helpful, too! 🙂
Thank you, Courtney, I am glad you find the list useful. And congratulations to your baby news – I wish you all the best and I hope you three will be able to explore the world together very soon.