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Mom’s Checklist For Traveling With A Toddler

Toddler on a plane with a paper airplane in hand.
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Ah, traveling with a toddler – the ultimate test of patience and preparation. With their boundless energy and unpredictable moods, it’s so easy to feel you’re embarking on a mission impossible when planning a trip. With the right checklist for traveling with a toddler in hand, you can tackle any travel adventure you’ve planned. So buckle up (literally) and get ready to hit the road with your little humans in tow.

Traveling with a toddler can be as unpredictable as the weather in Virginia. One moment they’re giggling, and the next, they’re throwing tantrums like a diva on a red carpet. But don’t let that discourage you from exploring new places with your little one! With some careful planning and preparation, you can make your trip an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. 

Traveling with a toddler can be daunting, but having a checklist for traveling with a toddler can make the process much smoother and less stressful. 

Related: Travel Essentials For Families

Here are a few reasons having a checklist for traveling with a toddler is important: 

Helps you stay organized: With so many things to remember when traveling with a toddler, it’s easy to forget important items like diapers, snacks, or their favorite toy. A checklist helps you keep track of everything you need to pack and ensures that nothing gets left behind. 

Reduces stress: It literally feels like you need to pack the entire house when traveling with kids. Packing and preparing for any trip can be stressful enough, let alone when you’re doing it with a toddler in tow. By having a packing list for toddlers, you’ll feel more in control of the situation and less anxious about forgetting something important. 

Saves time: Time is always precious when traveling with kids, especially if you have flights or other modes of transportation to catch. Having a checklist allows you to pack efficiently and quickly without wasting time trying to remember what needs to go in the suitcase. 

Ensures safety: When traveling with toddlers, safety is paramount. A well-prepared checklist will include essential safety items such as car seats, sunscreen, or insect repellent which help protect your little one while on vacation. When preparing my packing list for international travel with toddlers I like to check out travel.state.gov before getting started.

Makes packing fun: Kids love being included. Creating a packing list with your child can be a fun activity that involves them in the planning process and helps them feel excited about the trip ahead. 

Comfortable travel: A well-thought-out checklist can help ensure that your toddler stays comfortable during long travels. For example, packing enough snacks, diapers, wipes, and blankets will ensure they stay fed, clean, and cozy even when in transit. I’ll also add to the coziness by saying to make sure the stroller you bring along reclines.

I am here to tell you their comfort means everything and can make or break your travels.

 Peace of Mind: Knowing that everything has been taken care of ahead of time opens up a bit more space mentally so you’re not worrying about forgetting anything important while enjoying a vacation with family.

Creating a list of essentials for traveling with a toddler for your next holiday is crucial if you want everyone to have an enjoyable experience without missing out on all the excitement during your trip!

Related: What To Pack In Your Pool Bag With Kids

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Checklist For Traveling With A Toddler

1. Diaper bag essentials- Diapers, wipes, changing pad, diaper rash cream.

2. Snacks and drinks- Healthy snacks like fruit or crackers, a sippy cup with water, milk, or juice.

3. Feeding essentials- Bottles, formula or breast milk, breast milk bags, and a Haakaa if you need it.

4. Entertainment- Books, toys, coloring books, crayons, travel kits, and busy books. 

5. Clothing- One to two outfits for each day and a few extra outfits in case of spills or accidents. Don’t forget to check the weather and bring along appropriate clothing.

6. Safety items – Car seat, stroller, and/or baby carrier. Don’t forget travel bags for your car seat and stroller. Try to find out the car seat regulations in the location you are traveling to. For childproofing accommodations such as outlet covers and try to book family-friendly accommodations.

7. Medications – Any and all medications your child takes daily and stuff like Tylenol and Benadryl.

8. Blanket and pillow – Their favorite blanket and/or pillow. I wouldn’t bring both unless it’s a road trip and you have more room.

9. First aid kit- For the just in case of minor injuries. 

10. Toiletries- Shampoo/conditioner/body wash and if you forget any of these items, you’ll be able to find them at your destination.

11. Important documents- Passports for the whole family (if traveling internationally) and don’t forget travel insurance information. 

12. Sunscreen lotion with the appropriate SPF for the child’s age group. 

13. A reusable foldable potty training toilet seat to avoid using public restrooms which may not be clean enough. For those unexpected roadside emergencies (and for those who aren’t completely potty trained yet), having a portable potty chair may save the day – just don’t forget toilet paper, wipes, and disposable bags!

Related: Functional Travel Potty Options For Toddlers

14. Hand sanitizer to maintain hygiene during travel. 

15. Carry some cash along with cards so that you don’t have to worry about running out of money while on the move. 

16. A portable charger is a must-have these days when most travel requires electronic devices like smartphones and tablets to keep kids entertained during long drives /flights, etc.

17. Sleeping essentials- Travel crib or pack n’ play if necessary, favorite bedtime items (blanket or stuffed animal).

Let’s dig a little deeper into a few of these travel packing list items to bring on a vacation with a toddler.   

1. Pack more snacks than clothes – Ok maybe not more but you know what I mean. Normally you can’t leave the house without snacks so consider bringing along even more when traveling.

Toddlers are notorious for their picky eating habits and constant hunger pangs. So stock up on their favorite munchies to keep them happy and satisfied throughout the journey. 

2. Bring enough entertainment to last a lifetime – Seriously. From coloring books to tablets loaded with games, having plenty of activities on hand will keep your toddler occupied during long flights or car rides. 

3. Don’t forget the essentials – Diapers, wipes, extra clothes, and baby gear should always be at arm’s reach when traveling with toddlers. You never know when accidents might happen! 

4. Embrace spontaneity- While it’s essential to have a plan in place when traveling with toddlers, allowing room for unexpected detours or stops along the way can make the trip more exciting and memorable. 

5. Be prepared for meltdowns – Let’s face it; traveling can be overwhelming even for grown-ups! So imagine how confusing it must feel for little ones who are still trying to understand the world around them. When tantrums happen (and trust me; they will), take deep breaths and remember that this too shall pass. 

Related: A Fun Summer Bucket List For Kids

Toddler Packing List For Beach Vacation

If you are headed to the beach for summer here are a few items to bring along:

1. Swimsuits: Rashquards are always a great choice when vacationing with babies and toddlers. Swim diapers and wet bags are a must.

2. Hats and Sunglasses- Protect those babies with some stylish shades and keep those little noggins cool under an adorable hat

3. Beach Towel- Whether you’re lounging in the sand or taking a dip in the water, bring plenty of towels for drying off and snuggling up. 

4. Snacks- From goldfish crackers to fruit snacks, pack plenty of munchies for those hungry bellies after hours of building sandcastles. 

5. Sand Toys- Digging holes and building castles is what beach vacations are made of. Bring along some buckets, shovels, and molds so your little ones can create their own sandy masterpiece. 

6. Water Shoes: Protect those tiny toes from sharp shells and hot sand with some comfy water shoes that are perfect for splashing around in the waves. 

7. Baby Powder: This might sound strange but trust me – sprinkle some baby powder on sandy hands or feet before wiping it off with a towel to magically remove the sand.   

8. Goggles.

Related: Must-Have Baby & Toddler Beach Essentials

Best Carry-On When Traveling With A Toddler

Indi Diaper Backpack- A multi-functional favorite backpack of mine is the Indi backpack. It’s an incredible everyday backpack to use and the best for moms needing to upgrade their backpacks.

The Indi comes in 3 sizes-small, medium, and large, and 4 colors with seasonal colors thrown in. But when the seasonal colors are gone, they are gone! 

The small or medium is a good choice for moms with toddlers. The large might be best for moms with multiples or still in the newborn phase.

  • Washable zipper bag.
  • (2) External front zipper pockets.
  • Insulated bottle holder.
  • Inside pockets with magnetic closure and velcro.
  • Luggage sleeve.
  • Clips for stroller attachment.
  • Mesh changing pad.
  • A Scout pouch for smaller items.

Landon Carryall Bag- While the Landon Carryall is not a backpack it’s a pretty stunning and stylish mom bag to consider for your travels.

If a backpack is not a necessity for you, this is a fantastic travel bag for moms with toddlers or without because it comes in a wide range of sizes from extra small to extra large. However, the extra small can’t be used for anything more than a purse.

The medium, large, and extra large come with

  • Laptop sleeve with elastic closure.
  • Crossbody strap.
  • Mesh pouch.
  • Key leash.
  • Large interior zipper pocket.
  • Shoe bag.
  • (2) Mesh pockets.

Related: Cruising With A Toddler Or Preschooler On Disney

Tips For Your Toddler Travel Checklist

Let’s talk about a few tips for your toddler checklist. Plan ahead. We all know our kids, right? Decided whether you need to book a direct flight when possible or your child will need a break and booking flights with layovers will work better for you. 

Flying with a toddler or going on a road trip?

A flying with toddler checklist and a road trip with toddlers checklist won’t be that different from your regular packing list for travel with a toddler.

You shouldn’t forget a few items when flying or going on a road trip: headphones for your kids for their electronic devices. What you might add to your baby travel packing list are noise-canceling headphones such as Banz.

Related: Baby & Toddler Headphones For Flying

Something else to consider is dressing them in comfortable clothing that is easy to change if needed (ahem…diaper blowouts). Two-piece outfits are always great if you are wondering what to pack when traveling with a 1-year-old or younger. 

And don’t forget layers because airplane temperatures can fluctuate like crazy.

If you don’t bring your car seat onboard the plane, then bring along a travel harness.

Request seats near the front of the plane so you can make a quick getaway upon arrival (and avoid getting stuck behind slow-moving passengers). This one is always up for debate but no matter where you end up sitting on the plane make sure you have easy access to get to and from the restroom.

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Traveling with a toddler can be quite an adventure but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Use my checklist for traveling with a toddler and prepare well in advance. I think you’ll have everything you need for a trip to remember.  

Pack plenty of snacks, entertainment, and patience (lots and lots of patience). And if all else fails, just remember that toddlers are unpredictable little beings who will undoubtedly keep you on your toes. So embrace the chaos, enjoy the journey, and don’t forget to take plenty of pictures. Happy travels!

Enjoy packing with my checklist for traveling with a toddler.

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