Traveling With Toddlers Checklist

traveling with toddler checklistI’ve been on quite a few trips with my munchkin in his short and adventurous life of 16 months and have learned a lot along the way. The good news is that you don’t have to rent an RV to get out of town with all the stuff you’ll need to care for a toddler. That’s not saying that you’ll be able to scoot out the door with one shared family carry-on, either. No matter how savvy of a packer you are, baby is going to need a diaper bag and a slew of other things that will take up space. So, here’s my advice on what to pack before you hit the road, rails or sky if you have a toddler.

First, remember that baby things are small and they’re easy to hand wash and hang dry overnight. And, babies are actually very adaptable to new surroundings so just pack the minimum. We usually get away with two carry-ons, a diaper bag, a tote bag.

Now on to the list!

For Sleeping and Playing:

  • Pack n’ play
  • 2 pack n’ play sheets
  • 1 bath toy that can also be a non-bath toy/teething toy
  • 1 snuggle buddy toy or blanket that your little one always sleeps with
  • 2 favorite toys (preferably that engage different parts of the brain)
  • 1 board book (if reading is part of your daily activities)
  • Baby wash and lotion
  • Cheapest, lightest umbrella stroller available (I’m talking $14.99)

For Wearing:

  • Clothes: 2-3 bottoms, 3-5 onesies, 2 pajamas plus wearable blankets, 2 pairs of socks, 2 hoodies or jackets, 1 bathing suit, 1 pair of shoes, several pairs of socks, sunglasses
  • 3 bibs
  • Enough diapers and their fixings (wipes, cream, inserts) to get you to your destination plus one day, then hit up a store nearby when you arrive
  • If winter add: stroller blanket, 2 sweaters, 2 woolen long johns, 1 scarf, 1 hat, 1 pair of mittens, snow boots, snow suit or heavy coat and snow pants

For Eating:

  • Bottles for 24 hours, pre-filled with powder formula (if this applies to you). You can bring milk or juice in bottles through airport security, just tell them when you go through.
  • Baby food to get you through the trip. I like to pack baby fresh fruits, Happy Tots puffs, raisins and Plum Organics pouches. Hit up the store after you arrive and get settled.
  • Spill proof sippy cup for water and juice
  • Scarf to double as a nursing cover if you’re still nursing

For Safety:

  • Baby SPF or zinc
  • Sun hat
  • Thermometer and infant fever reducer w/proper dose noted
  • Baby’s insurance and Dr. information
  • Car Seat (you can also often rent these with your rental car when you arrive, too)
  • Fold-up changing pad

Don’t pack:

  • High chair
  • Exersaucer or walker
  • Tub
  • Monitor unless your baby will be sleeping out of ear shot
  • Spoons, plates, etc. because grown up versions will work fine for a few days
  • Baby towels or washcloths because grown up versions are okay, too
  • Loads of toys and books because the new environment will be thrilling enough


  • Try to maintain some of the routine that you have (if you have one) at home to make the transition easier
  • Be flexible; my son never sleeps the first night we are out of town and our plans the next day inevitably get altered because we’re so exhausted
  • Try to do something every day that lets your kiddo be a kiddo and run around and play with new things

Other tips:

  • You can actually bring a diaper bag PLUS a personal item PLUS a carry-on suitcase onto the plane
  • You can check your stroller at the gate for no extra charge
  • They may or may not charge you for checking your pack & play, depending on how nice they feel like being
  • You can take liquids through security with a baby
  • Face your baby forward in the car seat if you’re comfortable with that so that he or she can see the new surroundings better
  • Avoid noise making toys, they’ll drive you and everyone else nuts

Please comment with anything that you have found indispensable on
trips with your infants too. We could all use the inspiration. Happy trails!

See my original post about the traveling with a baby checklist on Huffington Post.


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