Ask a TravelingMom: How Much Carry On Should You Bring For a Toddler Traveling with small children is never an easy task especially when your carry on is a toddler and their luggage! This Ask a TravelingMom question comes to us from our website. She asks:

“When traveling with a toddler, I was thinking about just having a big purse (also can go on my back) and our daughters’ carry on. Do you think this will be enough, or should I have my purse and a carry on plus our daughters’ carry on?”

Our Travelingmom experts have rallied and have the following answers:

It depends on how much stuff you are willing to bring or need to bring with you. When my daughter was a toddler, we would each bring a roller bag to carry aboard the plane, plus I had a tote bag (with wallet/purse inside); that way we could pack everything we needed to bring and didn’t have to check any bags. My roller bag was also a handy way to keep her “with” me and safe – when both my hands were full, I’d have her hold onto the pull handle so I knew she was with me and not wandering away, as toddlers tend to do.


Teresa Shaw Working Travelingmom

When my twins were toddlers we each carried a backpack leaving us “hands-free.” They each had toys, books, water bottles and their favorite snacks in their bags. Starting your kids at a young age to take care of their “stuff” empowers them and builds self confidence. For me, my backpack was big but always under the seat in front of me. I also included a “special” new item to keep them busy and all the essential food and necessities.

Dana McKenney Zucker Triathlon Travelingmom

Since you are not just juggling a toddler, but a car seat, stroller, and possibly a stuffed animal or woobie, I would recommend streamlining as much as you can. Go backpack or hands-free with essentials and check the bags. It’s not like you’re not going to deal with checking the stroller or that car seat anyways.

Angela Cavallari Walker TravelTips Travelingmom

I agree with Teresa and Dana. Packing less really is the key to any travel–as long as you pack a credit card, and have enough wiggle room in the travel budget to buy anything you can’t live without once you arrive. I’m also a big believer in having kids be responsible for their own stuff. My kids were pulling suitcases at age 4. It’s even easier now with spinner bags. This is a great way to teach kids about making choices and traveling light: Lay out a few things they could pack in a backpack to entertain themselves on the flight and let them choose which they want to take. (I always put out one more thing than could fit in their backpacks. If they could figure out how to get it all in there, they could take it. Otherwise, something had to be left at home.

Cindy Richards TravelingMom with Teens Travelingmom

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