Dustin and I love planning for summer vacations with Diego. But the biggest questions that come up are “Where are good places to travel with toddlers?” and “What should I include when packing for Diego?” To answer the first question, I wrote a post with some of the best places to travel with kids. However, once we decide where to go, I am then faced with the task of packing. This is no easy feat considering that traveling with toddlers requires a bit more thought than packing for myself haha!
No matter where you’re planning to go this summer (even if it’s just at a local resort for a couple of nights) it’s always helpful to know what should be included in a toddlers bag so that you know what to pack, and what NOT to pack. I’ve also included a FREE travel checklist that you can download and print off to use as you pack!
Packing a Suitcase for Toddlers
As any parent knows, traveling with toddlers can be a challenge with kids who are always on the move. That’s why I like to pack a small ‘fun bag’ which is a little different than the normal suitcase and includes toys and entertainment as well as practical items for travel.
The key for packing this smaller, personal suitcase is that it is reachable! When picking which bag to pack, make sure it can either fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. If it won’t, it will be hard to access during the flight.
Check out the things that I like to include in Diego’s ‘Fun Bag’ in the video below. The full list is featured after that.
- Jacket – Airports and planes can be a hit or miss as far as the temperature goes. I like to pack an extra jacket just in case it’s super cold. BONUS: if it’s a down jacket, it can double as a pillow or blanket.
- Water bottle – Even when flights hand out complimentary drinks, they still don’t have lids which makes it extra likely for spills. Take their favorite water bottle and forget the turbulence tumbles. Just make sure it’s empty when you go through security! I love this one from HydroFlask. It helps keep the water nice and cold.
- Healthy and Organic Snacks – There are two benefits to bringing your own snacks. Not only will it be healthier for your family, but it will also save you money from buying overpriced food at their airport. I like bringing graham crackers (Annie’s Organic Honey Grahams are my favorite) and fruit snacks (Diego loves these from YumEarth); things that are already prepackaged so you can take the perfect amount you want. I also ALWAYS include a lolly pop in case his ears start hurting he can suck on it 🙂 I love the ones from Yum Earth.
- Hand Sanitizer Wipes – Bring hand sanitizer wipes instead of hand sanitizer gel so you don’t have to worry about taking more liquids through the security. They also make it easier to wipe off airplane surfaces as well. Baby wipes work well, but I also love these from EO. Anything to help disinfect the plane and sticky hands!
- Toys/Coloring Book – Taking along a few of Diego’s small toys can help pass time not only on the plane but also while we wait in the boarding area. Be careful to take along their FAVORITE toy, only because it might get lost or dirty. However, if you buy one or two new small items before leaving, you won’t have to worry about an unhappy toddler should the item get lost. A PJ Mask coloring book and crayons were also on the list because he loves the PJ Masks 😉
- Kids Bluetooth Headphones – It’s no secret; toddlers are wiggly and always on the move. So, finding a pair of headphones without a cord that could get caught on wiggly hands is key to making sure the sound of music stays in their ears and not on the floor. These from JBL are perfect because they are small enough for his head and they stay on his ears.
- Blanket (or other comfort item)– A forgotten ‘
lovie‘ or stuffed animal can be the end of a toddlers world (I’m sure all of my fellow mom’s out can relate, haha!) That said, this item made the list simply for your reminder to pack their favorite sleepy-time item 🙂 Diego also loves his Woody and Jessie characters from Toy Story, so I’ll have to remember to pack those too!
- Pillow – In the *rare* chance that your toddler falls asleep on the plane, be prepared so that they can sleep for as long as possible. Pack a personal pillow or a neck pillow for them to use so that it will be more comfortable for them. It doesn’t have to be a huge pillow. In fact, the smaller the better, so that it doesn’t take up too much room in the suitcase.
- iPad/Tablet – In today’s technology-driven world, I can honestly say that this is a lifesaver. Before the flight begins, I download an iPad or Tablet with a few movies and TV shows that Diego will like. Unlike the other things that have been included up to this point which will keep him entertained for a short amount of time, putting on a movie helps him sit still and make the flight go faster.
Shop The List Here:
I have more airplane toys and entertainment here!
Now that the entertainment is taken care of, packing for the rest of the trip is next on the agenda. Download this FREE packing checklist to make sure you don’t skip a thing.
The key to packing for toddlers is to make it a habit. After following this list a couple times, it will become second nature to include what you need to. You also learn what you need and do not need after having done it once.
Don’t be intimidated by the task! It can seem daunting, but it’s definitely doable 🙂
Packing Toddlers Clothes – Folding
Now, I’m no folding expert, but I know someone who is … Marie Kondo! I love how her method of folding clothes maximizes space. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to include everything from toys to snacks and blankets and more.
Here’s how Marie Kondo suggests folding kids clothes:
Check out this video to see the best way to pack your clothes. Even though the clothes she folds are for adults, I love the way she puts them in the suitcase because it maximizes the limited space you have to work with.
Other Items that Make Traveling with Toddlers Easier
Things that get
I mentioned earlier that snacks are a key part of our packing list. Here are a few more that I like. Again, it’s all about ease of travel, so something with a resealable bag or prepackaged portions are my best friend.
Finding the right bathing suit for vacation is also important. Not only does it need to cover their skin to protect from the UV rays (find my homemade sunscreen here to also help protect against the sun), but it should also be durable and stretchy for all the running around they’ll be doing.
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