Packing Checklist for Traveling with Toddler
If you’re looking for a packing checklist for traveling with toddler in tow, you’ve come to the right place. For many of us, packing for a trip is the WORST. But what’s way worse than that is having to pack for a trip with your toddler, especially if it’s a work trip.🛄How will you ever manage?
As a parent who has logged over 10,000 miles of work trips in less than a year with my toddler in tow, I have some tips to share if you’re willing to listen. They also work pretty well if your baby hasn’t reached toddlerhood.
The key to the perfect packing checklist for traveling with toddler is simplicity. If it’s not easy or manageable, why bother? 🤷🏾♀️ Lucky for you, this checklist is both.
Let’s get started.
1. Invest in packing cubes
The very first item on our packing checklist for traveling with toddler is…a set of packing cubes! And when you’re not traveling, they are super compact and nest within each other. I store them in the front pocket of my suitcase, when not in use.
2. Make note of what your toddler eats
Our next item on our packing checklist for traveling with toddler requires you to do a bit of pre-work.
A week before your trip, write down everything your toddler eats. This will help you identify how much food to bring with you. Make note if the items are perishable or non-perishable.
Always pack more than you’ll need; it will never go to waste, because you can use what’s left over when you get home.
Now that you’ve gotten through two items on the checklist for traveling with toddler, let’s add some more!
3. Pack bowls and eating utensils
The third item on the packing checklist for traveling with toddler has to do with familiarity.
Pack whatever you use at home to assist with feeding– bottles, sippy cups, silicone spoons, etc. Now you don’t want to overdo it by bringing EVERY single sippy cup in your cabinet; just bring a few. After all, you’re just going on a trip; this isn’t a permanent move.
You’ll be using a separate packing cube for these feeding accessories.
4. Organize your toddler’s packing cubes
Item number four on our packing checklist for traveling with toddler has to do with organizing.
You’ve gathered all of the supplies, now you just need to put them in the appropriately sized packing cubes. Here’s how I arrange the items:
Small – feeding accessories
Small/medium – pants/shorts
Medium – tops/socks
Medium/large – food/snacks
Large – diapers/wipes
Extra large – toys/books.
I would also use one of my large cubes (a different color) which would house a a plentiful supply of diapers, a pack of wipes, more than enough snacks, a variety of small toys and a complete outfit with socks.
This special cube would be packed in my carryon luggage and would serve as my ‘diaper bag’.
5. Bring a travel stroller
The next item on our packing checklist for traveling with toddler has to do with transportation. In this case, we’re talking travel strollers.
Some moms have multiple strollers, one of which is a travel stroller. For many of those moms, their travel stroller is a less compact (and much less expensive) alternative to their workhorse stroller.
If you’re in the market for an additional stroller, select a travel stroller that won’t give you a heart attack if you see it flung onto the conveyor belt at the airport.
You will put your car seat/cover in the seat of the stroller as you glide effortlessly through the airport entrance. You will then check the stroller at the check-in counter (where you drop your luggage), prior to heading to security.
Be aware that after you reach your final destination, some airports will have your stroller waiting for you in the bulk area of baggage claim (same place where they have golf clubs). Other airports will send the stroller down the conveyor belt.
In short, don’t panic if you don’t see it at first. Ask questions first; panic later.
6. Get a ride to the airport
If you’re going on a trip with a toddler, you want to have as stress-free of an experience as possible. Going around in circles looking for a parking space at the airport will only add stress.
With that being said, the next item on our checklist for traveling with toddler has to do with transportation to the airport. We recommend you catch a ride with a friend or use a ride-sharing service.
Because you’re not driving, you’ll be able to catch up on your emails, run through your to-do list, or read a book to your toddler.
You’ll be dropped off right in front of the terminal, leaving you one less thing to worry about.
Remember, if this is a work trip, you can expense taxi/rideshare fees.
7. Bring a carrier
Our next recommendation is great for navigating airports, so it had to make it on the checklist for traveling with toddler. Bring a carrier. Here’s when you would use it.
Once dropped off in front of the terminal, you will keep your baby in their car seat while you open the stroller and put on the carrier. Then, remove the baby from the car seat, put the car seat in it’s protective cover and nestle it safely into the seat of the stroller.
Lastly, put your toddler in the carrier. You won’t have to remove the carrier when you go through security and meltdowns should be curbed because your toddler is attached to you.
Make sure you have practiced carrying your toddler in a carrier prior to your trip. You want to make sure they are familiar with how it feels on their body beforehand, so you can make adjustments in the comfort of your home.
8. Bring a car seat with protective cover
As we draw near to the end of our checklist for traveling with toddler, we want to draw attention to something designed to keep your toddler safe: their car seat.
The great thing about having a car seat cover is the added padding it offers. Your car seat will be protected from dents and dings plus your cover has a handy carrying strap.
Check it at the counter with the stroller and luggage. Now you have one less thing to worry about!
9. Carry a laptop sleeve in your backpack
If you going on a business trip, you’ll want to include this next item on your checklist for traveling with toddler: a laptop sleeve in your backpack.
You want to make sure your work laptop is kept safe, especially if work is the reason for your travel.
I found that my diaper backpack was an insufficient vessel when it came to carrying my laptop (and everything else that usually goes in my diaper bag), but the padded laptop sleeve added an extra layer of protection and gave me peace of mind.
10. Carry 1 large soft checked luggage and 1 small soft carryon luggage
Our final item on the checklist for traveling with toddler is luggage.
Soft luggage is a godsend when you’re trying to cram a larger object into a smaller space, like a very full overhead compartment.
Purchase a suitcase belt if your luggage doesn’t come with one, so you can attach the small carryon to the large one, piggyback style.
Your carryon luggage will contain your diaper backpack as well as all of the entertainment you selected for the trip. Transfer what you need into your packing cube and then store the rest overhead. Settle down into your seat and pray for an on-time departure.✈️✈️
Final Thoughts on the Packing Checklist for Traveling with Toddler
We’ve covered a lot of ground today. Let’s go over what we learned today. We have ten items on our checklist for traveling with toddler in tow.
We are going to buy packing cubes and fill them with everything our toddler will need for the duration of the trip (feeding accessories, food/snacks, clothes, diapers/wipes, books/entertainment.)
When it comes to packing food/snacks, we are going to observe what our toddler eats, the week before the trip, so you have a better idea of how much food to bring.
We are going to bring a travel stroller so we can navigate tight corners with ease. It will be helpful when transporting our car seat/car seat cover.
We are also going to bring a carrier with us and we’re going to select our soft-shelled luggage.
Lastly, if we are traveling for work we will either bring our work backpack with the built-in sleeve, or just bring a laptop sleeve and slide it in our diaper backpack.
Once you travel a few times with your toddler, you’ll find your groove and know exactly what to pack and what to leave behind. Enjoy your adventure!