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What to Pack for Travel with Toddler

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What to Pack When Traveling with Toddler

Traveling with a toddler can be a happy experience when you know what to pack.

Photo by Jayneandd - Flickr

Traveling with a toddler can be challenging; what to pack when traveling with a toddler doesn't have to be. Use the checklist below to make sure you arrive at your final destination with everything you need.

Diaper Bag or Carry-On - What to Pack

  • Diapers or Pull-Ups - enough for 24 hours (more will be packed in your luggage).
  • Wipes - a small, portable container (more will be packed in your luggage).
  • Clothes - two extra outfits. Put complete outfits in gallon-size storage bags to make it easy to find everything you need to change your toddler while on the go.
  • Bibs - carry two with you (more will be packed in your luggage).
  • Sippy Cup - carry at least two with you. Select the style that doesn't drip when turned up side down.
  • Snacks - pack snacks with a low mess factor such as goldfish, cheesesticks, and apple slices.
  • Pacifiers - pack at least 3 if your toddler is still using one. If traveling by air, they will come in handy during take-off and landing when air pressure changes can hurt your toddler's ears.
  • Portable DVD Player and your child's favorite movies - if traveling by air, make sure the DVD player is fully charged. The familiarity of a favorite movie will make the travel time go by quickly for both you and your toddler.
  • Familiar Toys - bring along a few of your toddler's favorites. Toddlers feel more secure in a different environment when surrounded by familiar things.
  • A Surprise - pack a small bag of travel surprises for your toddler. A new book, a new stuffed animal or a new car or truck are great choices. Bring out the surprise when your toddler is getting bored or starting to fidget.
  • Medicines - pain reliever, fever reducer, ear drops, gas drops, and thermometer. Small children have an uncanny knack for getting sick while traveling.
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Gallon-size storage bags - pack at least three. Use them for wet or dirty clothes or for used pull-ups when you don't have another way to dispose of them.

Luggage - What to Pack

  • Clothes - pack one outfit for each trip day plus three extra. (If you'll have access to laundry facilities, you can skip the extra outfits.) Pack complete outfits in resealable gallon-size bags.
  • Pajamas - pack three sets of pajamas if you have the ability to do laundry at your destination. Pack one set for each night of your trip plus two extras if laundy is not an option.
  • Shoes - pack two pairs of tennis shoes and a pair of sandals.
  • Diapers or Pull-Ups - pack enough diapers for the first 24-36 hours of your trip. You can purchase an additional supply at your destination.
  • Wipes - pack one small portable container plus one larger refill package. You can purchase additional wipes as necessary at your destination.
  • Blankets - pack two additional blankets. These will come in handy if you find it necessary to create a makeshift bed for your toddler's afternoon nap.
  • Bibs - pack two to three additional bibs. Bibs are items that can be washed in the sink and hung to dry once you reach your destination.
  • Toiletries - Shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, ointment, lotion, cotton swabs, and nail clippers. Pack in gallon-size resealable bags.

Equipment - What to Pack

  • Car Seat
  • Stroller - a sturdy, collapsable stroller. Even though umbrella strollers are lightweight and portable, they may not withstand the wear and tear of a busy vacation, and they may not be as comfortable for your child as the regular stroller. Weigh the pros and cons when deciding which one to pack.
  • Baby Monitor - even if you've stopped using one at home, you might feel more comfortable being more connected to your toddler when you're in someone else's home, or in an adjacent hotel room.


Wait Until You Arrive - What Not to Pack

  • Crib, high chair and booster seat - many hotels and resorts offer these at no additional cost as part of your room rental. If you are staying at someone's home, you may be able to either rent or borrow.
  • Diapers or Pull-Ups - enough for the balance of your trip.
  • Wipes - enough for the balance of your trip.


It's the Little Things...

  • A current picture of your toddler - if you and your toddler should become separated for any reason, you'll be glad you have a recent picture with you. It's the first thing the police, airport authorities or security personnel will ask for when you solicit their help in finding your lost child.
  • A special treat - some M&Ms, chocolate chip cookies or your child's favorite candy. Whatever you choose, it should be something your child loves but doesn't get on a regular basis. At some point during the trip, your child will have had enough and be headed for a meltdown. Stop the meltdown before it occurs by offering your child the treat. Tell her that traveling with mommy is special and that you're celebrating with a special treat.

Relax and enjoy your vacation now that you know what to pack.

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