traveling with toddler

Essentials for Traveling with Toddler


If you live anywhere in the Midwest or Canada like me then you may be getting a little tired of this cold weather by now. 

Traveling with a toddler or young kids can be daunting. But the memories you make while on vacation make it OH SO WORTH IT! February is the perfect time to get away with your family, whether you’re just going a few hours away to recharge or you’re traveling south with the kids to escape the cold. Fares are cheaper, flights aren’t as packed, and traveling somewhere hot while you’re in the midst of a polar vortex just sounds so lovely doesn’t it? 

We recently took our FIRST vacation as a family of four and let me tell you…. While it was amazing and magical, the months and weeks leading up to it were stress.ful! Travelling with kids can feel overwhelming. With a one year old and a six year old there is just soo much to pack! So what are the essentials for traveling with toddler?

Here is a complete list of items you will want to have on hand while travelling with baby or toddler.

  • Diapers…. the thought of packing diapers for a week long trip stressed me out just a little… how many should I bring ? How am I going to fit them in my suitcase?? Luckily we were travelling somewhere hot where I knew we’d be spending a lot of time in swimsuits. I calculated 3 diapers per day plus squeezed as many as I could into the diaper bag. I ended up returning home with 2 diapers to spare … literally!
  • Swim diapers! I had about half a pack on hand from T’s baby swim class but also searched four different Walmart’s in December until I finally found a reusable/washable one. I highly recommend this if you need to save space in your suitcase.
  • Wipes! The baby products never end. We took tons of these but brought them in big ziploc bags instead of the hard container
  • Travel change pad for your diaper bag
  • Wash cloths (lots of extras)
  • Plastic bags for wet or soiled clothing
  • Health card information for your little one
  • Clothes… we brought so many different outfits for little T, at the time my husband thought I was crazy and bringing way too much. But with the amount of things that ended up dirty from spills or wet from the pool/ocean, we ended up using the majority of his clothes. Putting each outfit into a large Ziploc bag helped to stay organized.
  • *Pro tip* if you’re traveling to a resort like we were, be sure to bring some nicer clothes for the evening a la cartes 🙂
  • A couple extra pairs of socks.. even if you’re going somewhere hot… those airplanes and hotel rooms can get chilly! 
  • Shoes, boots and/or sandals
  • Bathing suit
  • Beach toys
  • Sunglasses
  • Outwear…raincoats, winter coats, scarf, mitts etc.
  • Hats! Sun hats, baseball hats, warm winter hats. No matter what weather you’re travelling in/to hats are important for little ones
  • Blankets, stuffies or lovies that your little one may want to sleep with.
  • Music box/sound machine… my daughter J has used a music box every night since birth. T now has one as well and I don’t know what we’d do without them.
  • Toys and/or books! So very important for everyone’s sanity. I made the mistake of saying meh! We’ll be at the beach! We’ll be so busy we don’t need many toys. We did bring a few toys and books for the plane ride but next time we will likely bring more of a variety to occupy our toddler AND our bigger kid for times when we’re in the hotel room getting ready or waiting for the rain to pass. (We left our noisy ones at home in consideration of others)
  • Snacks!!! Oh man did we pack a lot of snacks. Not only did these come in handy at the airport and on the flight but in the hotel room, on the beach and even on the bus to our excursions. You can never have enough snacks.
  • *Pro tip* there’s no limit on snacks or formula in your carry on if you have kids. We packed some in our checked bags as well. 

~ some of our favourites …..

Fruit Crisps

Goldfish Crackers

Disney Freeze Dried Fruit

Gerber Puffs

Nutri Grain Bars

Baby Gourmet Mushies

We always make sure we have this with us as well so T can hold his own bowl without his snacks being all over the ground

  • We also brought sandwich bags so we could grab things like fruit and pastries from the buffet to bring back to our room (is that even allowed? I’m not sure. But we did it anyway) 
  • Sippy cups and plastic utensils. Enough said. 
    ***Another pro tip*** buy cheap sponges from the dollar store, cut them into 4s. Squirt a small amount of dish soap onto each and pack them into ziploc bags (4 in a bag… so one full sponge per bag) just grab one square, wet and use to wash your sippy cups and toddler utensils once you’re back in your room. Boom.
  • Baby formula and food if little ones are not eating solids yet.
  • Bibs
  • Teething rings
  • Travel toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Travel size toiletries such as shampoo and body wash
  • Toddler brush/comb
  • Lysol wipes and hand sanitizers. This is so important when traveling with toddlers. They touch EVERYTHING 
  • Medicine! I brought a small pharmacy with me because you can never be too safe with little ones! Don’t forget things like Tylenol, Benadryl, Gravol (if flying) and things for upset tummies like gripe water. We also brought bandaids, antiseptic wash, polysporin and after bite. Plus sunscreen, after sun lotion and bug spray! All kids versions of course 🙂 and a thermometer could come in handy too!
  • Headphones for baby ~ these kind…  that cancel out noise. Airplanes are noisy, hotel lobbies are noisy, we also saw quite a few shows at our resort…magic shows, dance party on the beach and other evening entertainment. This can all be very loud for little ears. We were so glad we had these.
  • Stroller. When we travelled to Jamaica T was already walking so we didn’t bring a stroller. If we had to do it again I would probably buy a small fold up stroller for those late nights walking back from dinner or the evening shows and the long days browsing and/or shopping. T did amazing walking around with very minimal meltdowns. But a stroller would have saved our backs when those meltdowns did happen and he had to be scooped up and carried 🙂 
  • This one can be controversial…and before we had T we would have likely said no way! HOWEVER…T is so very inquisitive and QUICK. There were just too many potential dangers we wanted to avoid..we brought a child safety backpack similar to this one and I would 100% use it again.

Please leave a comment and let me know what your essentials are or if there’s anything I have left out 🙂

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