In Toddler Travel, I share what I’ve learned through my own experiences in the U.S and Europe with my daughter, as well as tips from friends and other trusted sources. – Eva
This is not a comprehensive packing list for traveling with a toddler. Instead, this is an edited list of items that Kirk and I take on trips with Ingrid to make life easier. Not the most obvious things like plenty of diapers, socks, and snacks. This is the stuff that — if you are a new, slightly scatterbrained parent like myself — might not be as obvious to bring.
Tent Bed – These are MUCH smaller and lighter weight than a pack and play. Plus, Ingrid thinks it’s a fun little fort and she can’t climb out of it. (FYI: There was a big recall of these last fall. Please research to find out if they’re right for you. Not for babies under the age of 1.)
White Noise Machine or App – Not only for the kid! You never know how noisy the hotel / apartment you’re staying in will be… this really came in handy for us.
New Toy (or two) – Get something you know they will LOVE and will keep them occupied while riding in the stroller, waiting for you to get ready in the morning, etc… Make sure that it’s small and lightweight. We gave Ingrid a Pippi Longstocking doll on the first day of the trip, and a little set of Hello Kitty figures towards the end. Lifesavers.
Kid Travel Neck Pillow – If your toddler loves sleeping with a pillow as much as ours does, this little guy might do the trick. Ingrid loved that it looked like a horse, and we loved how small and packable it was. She happily slept with it every night and often requested to take it with her in the stroller during the day.
Wrap Strap – There aren’t high chairs everywhere, so if you have a really wiggly little one (like we do) you can keep them securely in their seat with this convenient velcro strap. I actually keep this in our diaper bag at all times, and it’s surprising how often we end up using it.
Disposable Bibs – We use cloth bibs at home, but my sister gave me the idea of using disposables when traveling. We just throw a few into our bag each day, and off we go. It’s nice to be able to just use one and then toss it. Eating with a toddler while roaming around a big city can be challenging, so these help make it a little easier.
Laundry Kit – For a longer trip, you’ll probably need to do laundry if you’re trying to travel light. Laundromats can be hard to find, hotel laundry fees are crazy expensive, and washing machines in foreign countries are difficult to figure out (at least for me, ha ha). We brought this twisty clothesline and individual packets of laundry soap.
Dishwashing Kit – If you’re staying in a hotel, you’ll want this to keep your water bottles (we used this collapsable kind for traveling) and toddler cups clean. A sponge cut in half, a small bottle of dishsoap — and if your kid uses the kind of sippy cup with a straw — a tiny brush should do the trick. (Thanks for the idea, Meredith!)
Rain Gear – I don’t know about you, but this is something that I often forget to pack. And if you’ll be traveling in a place that is at all prone to rain, you’ll be very sorry if you don’t bring it. Our last trip was to Northern Europe in the fall, so rain gear was a must. For us, this meant a small travel umbrella for me, a hoodie for Kirk, a rain cover for the stroller, and a water repellent coat for Ingrid. We also ended up getting her a pair of rain pants and rain boots while we were there.
Of course, every child and situation is different, and what worked for us may not work for you. But I hope this may be of some help if you are planning a trip with a little one. If you have any tips to add, I’d love to hear them in the comments section. Thanks! – Eva
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