Just as you figured out how to pack for your baby s/he up and turned into a toddler. The suitcases of our toddling companions require very different contents than that of a baby. Find out how to best pack for you toddler.


With short attention spans and abundant energy, carefully packing to not only meet their basic needs but also keep them entertained may be the key to an enjoyable travel experience with your child.

Pack Two Bags for your Toddler

Pack two separate bags for your toddler, one to be checked or placed in the trunk and another to carry on the plane or remain near their car seat if it is a road trip you are packing for.

The checked bag should contain everything your toddler will need once you arrive at your destination. Obvious additions are clothing, shoes, excess diapers and wipes. Other key items include three to four sippy cups, baby dishes and utensils, swim diapers, baby powder if traveling to a humid climate, lotion, baby sunscreen, Tylenol and their kid-sized toothbrush and toothpaste. It is also a good idea to bring extra pajamas for different temperatures since it is difficult to predict the temperature of the room your family will be sleeping in. Finally bring one of your child’s favorite blankets from home as well as a white noise-emitting stuffed animal to help them fall asleep at night in an unfamiliar bed or crib.

What do you pack for your toddler

Make sure you have a carry-on for you child to keep them entertained.

What to Pack for Your Toddler in the Carry On

The carry on bag should include everything needed for in-transit entertainment. Some favorites for our toddler daughter include: toys, Play-Dough, books, dolls, coloring books, crayons and most importantly an iPad or other electronic device able to entertain your child with both age appropriate games and television shows. Plan ahead and load the device with your child’s favorite television episodes and movies a day or two before you depart on your sojourn to ensure there is sufficient time to synch the device and charge the battery before you leave.

Medical Information

A final tip is to bring the phone number of your pediatrician in case your child becomes ill. Before you leave, ask your pediatrician if s/he recommends taking any additional medications with you on the trip based on your destination and child’s medical history. You may want to collect the leftover bottles and tubes of medications you have given your child in the past, check to make sure they are not expired and put them in a plastic baggie to use if needed.

The Right Stroller

packing for toddler for vacation

Make sure you bring a stroller for your toddler

Last but not least, a lightweight stroller such as an umbrella stroller works great for maneuvering your toddler through airports and tourist areas. A stroller with sun protection and a rain cover will provide your child with the best protection from the elements.

Adding these items to your packing list will ensure your toddler has what s/he needs for your next family vacation. Prepared parents make traveling with a toddler much more enjoyable. What do you consider necessities when you pack for your toddler? Leave your suggestions in the comments.