Written By: Psychologist Natasha Tanic
Travelling with the whole family, including a toddler, can be a fun, memorable experience.
Showing your toddler the world and seeing it through your little one’s eyes is an incredible opportunity.
However, travelling with a toddler also brings about some challenges. Being prepared can help you avoid meltdowns, injuries, or bad moods, so everyone enjoys the trip.
Keep reading for the most important things to bring when travelling with a toddler.
What should you know before travelling with a toddler?
Before diving into a packing list, there are a few things to keep in mind when travelling with a toddler.
If you have never travelled far with your young child before, the process can seem daunting. These tips can help you prepare to have the best experience.
First, it is important to keep in mind that toddlers like routines. They thrive on following routines, including meals, wake-up time, naptime, and bedtime.
Travel can easily wear out your little one and make your trip more difficult. Try to plan your daily activities according to your toddler’s existing routine.
Next, have your travel documents prepared and organized before you leave the house.
Your time and attention is going to be taken up by your toddler, and you won’t have a lot of time to dig through a bag looking for passports or tickets.
Keeping your files organized and easy to access can help make the travel process smoother.
Finally, if your child is old enough to understand, you can explain some security measures to them ahead of time.
They may not yet grasp why airport security, bag checks, or metal detectors are necessary, but you can help to put them at ease.
Identify which safety officials they should trust to smooth the process of dealing with a lot of strangers at once.
The Essential Of Travelling With a Toddler
When you go to pack your bags, think through each day and activity of your trip. Identify any challenges that may come up along the way and add quick solutions to your packing list.
It can also help to write out an actual list before packing your child’s bags. This list will ensure nothing slips through the cracks while packing and that you return home with all of your belongings.
Some of the top essentials for travelling with a toddler include the following.
- Clothes: Your child will need more than one outfit per day. Pack clothes that are appropriate for the weather and activities you have planned. Remember to bring extra pajamas in case you can’t access a washing machine. Also, double-check that shoes fit comfortably before packing them.
- Food: Keep your child’s regular diet in mind when packing. Formula, breast milk, baby food, and favorite snacks should all be included on your list. Don’t forget sippy cups or toddler utensils to make mealtimes easier.
- Medicine: Even if your child is not on regular medication, you should bring a first aid kit along. Allergy medicine, rash creams, band aids, Neosporin, and nail clippers are just some of the common items you may need during the trip.
- Sturdy diaper bag: Your diaper bag has to hold up through travel and all of your activities. A sturdy backpack is probably the best bet to help keep both of your hands free.
- Plenty of diapers: Bring more diapers than you think you need. Pack swim diapers if you have water activities planned, and bring pull-ups if your child wears them.
- Wipes: Wipes are an obvious essential for toddlers. But, they are also great for cleaning up smaller messes along the way.
- Changing mat: A portable changing mat that fits in your travel bag can help you avoid a long search for a convenient bathroom.
- Blanket: Toddlers can sleep anywhere! Bring a light, thin blanket that rolls up in your bag to help them stay comfortable.
- Wet bag: A wet bag is a must-have, even if you are not taking a beach vacation. Messy clothes can be thrown into a leak-proof bag until you can get back to your hotel.
- Hand sanitizer: Keep travel bottles of hand sanitizer clipped to your backpack for easy access.
- Travel bottles: Find small bottles approved for air travel to hold your child’s shampoo, soap, and lotion. You can also find travel versions of their toothpaste and toothbrush. Spill-proof bottles will keep messes out of your luggage or diaper bag.
- Tissues: Travel packs of tissue can be a lifesaver. Throw a couple of packs in your bag for runny noses, small spills, and more.
- Sunscreen: Baby-safe sunscreen with a high SPF is a must-have to protect your child’s skin while outside.
- Water bottles: Keep both you and your little one hydrated with a leakproof water bottle.
For General Travel
Whether you are on the road or in the air, your child’s safety is top priority.
Some parents skip bringing a car seat on a plane because it is bulky. However, a car seat is a great thing to have once you arrive at your destination.
Look for a lightweight, travel model for easy transport. You will also need the car seat for taxis, buses, and other forms of transport you use on your trip.
A travel stroller is another must-have when travelling with a toddler.
Even if your child loves to walk, do not expect them to keep up with you the entire day.
A stroller is often the perfect place for a nap while on-the-go and can help prevent meltdowns during the day. There are lots of study travel strollers that fold up and are light enough to travel.
For Your Hotel
If you are staying in an unfamiliar place, it may be difficult for your toddler to fall asleep. The following items can help make your hotel room or lodgings more comfortable for your little one.
- Portable crib: Your hotel may provide a crib, but it is important to check beforehand. If you are staying at someone’s home, a fold-out crib may be necessary. If your child has moved out of their crib, bring a travel bed rail.
- Potty seat: If your child is potty trained or in the process of learning, a potty seat can help maintain their progress. This familiar tool can also make them feel more secure when using the bathroom away from home.
- White noise machine: Block out unfamiliar sounds and help sooth your child during bedtime and naptime with a portable white noise machine.
- Nightlight: A nightlight is easy to throw in your bag and can make your child feel safer at night in an unfamiliar room.
- Painter’s tape: Painter’s tape can be very handy when travelling with a toddler. Cover sockets at your hotel, block off sharp corners, and keep cabinets or toilets closed. The tape is safe and won’t damage walls or paint.
When travelling with a toddler, it is crucial to have entertainment for them for the entire trip.
Whether they nap during the journey or not, they’re going to want to have fun toys, games, and activities to do along the way.
Your little one may not be interested in every museum, tourist spot, or attraction you visit during your trip.
Here are some ways to keep them happy and occupied during your trip.
- Favorites: Let your child pick out one or two of their favorite toys. It can be fun to let them join you in the packing process.
- Stuffed animal: If your child has a favorite stuffed animal, be sure to bring it along. It can help them feel more comfortable at bedtime.
- Travel toys: Toys designed for travel are easy to store in your bag and simple to clean up. From single-piece toys to portable games, there are plenty of options for your little one.
- Books: Soft, travel books are easy to throw in your bag and don’t add weight. You can also download books on a tablet or phone to have more options on your trip.
- Colors: There are plenty of travel kits that include coloring books and crayons. You can also pack sturdy zipper bags with colors to keep your child busy during downtime.
Travelling with a toddler can be an amazing experience but it also brings challenges.
Being prepared can help you avoid meltdowns and bad moods, and ensure that everyone enjoys the trip.
Whether you’re traveling by land, air, or sea, there are lots of things to consider if you’re traveling with a toddler.
Making the journey a fun experience leads to wonderful memories that will stick with your child for years to come. And who knows? You many even inspire them to become a life-long traveler.