Travel Packing for Toddler – What to Pack and What not to Pack?

Packing for a toddler in no child’s play. This is my take on mastering the art…

Travel Packing for Toddler


OK! So you are proud young parents, exhausted after months of diaper changing and late night colics. Finally planned that much awaited vacation to the sea or mountain or desert or jungle to relax and let your kid enjoy. Fine, but what now? Packing of course. But what to pack?
This is the dilemma most young parents face while packing for their toddler. To take or not to take…! Making your kid feel at-home will entail carrying the home with you. Given the ‘impractical’ luggage restrictions in flight and train, carrying your world with you might not just be possible. The idea is to be ‘precise’. I faced this dilemma when I went on my first vacation with my 2.5 yr old. But thanks to our early planning and farsightedness of my wife, we lived through it. So I decided to share my experience so that it may help others.
The preparation
My suggestion will be to start at least 1 month prior to the trip.
1.       While doing your regular chores for your kid start listing items you need for each activity separately, like bathing, feeding, playing, sleeping.
2.       Carry a small notebook in your pocket 24*7, and keep listing things as and when they come to your mind.
3.       Discuss with your better half and find out if you have missed out something.
4.       Visit your paediatrician and inform about the trip. Take his/ her advice and emergency list of medicine. Take any vaccine, if necessary.
In this phase the list of activities shall be as extensive as possible. Then start linking items between various activities. This will remove repetition of items required for various chores. Remember, minimalism is the key!
My suggestion will be to start at least 1 week prior to the trip.
1.       You will require at least 1 bag/ trolley exclusively for the baby’s stuff.
2.       Try grouping stuffs as per the activity wise list prepared earlier.
3.       Mark the bag mentally activity wise and start putting related stuffs in marked location, like cloths on right, bathing items right after cloths on top, shoes below bathing items, etc.
The list
Finally I give the list of must haves during a trip with a toddler. Few items may change as per personal requirement.
1.       Cloths. Separate sets of warm clothing, cotton clothing, jacket, cap, socks. Remember that even if you are visiting a desert, light jacket can always come handy if the AC in the flight is bit strong. Usually 2-3 sets of cloths will be required per day. Plan accordingly.
2.       Large Shawl. It can serve multiple purposes like wrapping the baby, set up a quick bed or simply keeping things together.
3.       Old newspapers. Can be bought for reading during the trip and comes useful for myriad of purposes.
4.       Diaper. Lots of it, or else you will have to scout for them in unknown places. Also, carry diaper changing pad to change diaper anywhere without worrying about cleanliness of the surface.
5.       Diaper rash cream, paracetamol syrup, cough syrup, colic syrup, diarrhoea medicine, other emergency medicine suggested by paediatrician, ORS.
6.       Thermometer. To check body temperature, of course.
7.       Wipes. Both wet and dry wipes. Tissues can also help.
8.       Hand sanitizer. So that you are ready all the time, for eating as well as for attending to the baby.
9.       Odomos/ Goodnight or any other mosquito repellent roll-on/ patch. Because mosquitos are everywhere.
10.   Electric kettle. It can be used in almost all plug points anywhere. I have even seen one couple use it on train! Can be used to boil water, warm milk or even prepare Maggi for the parents.
11.   Nylon rope. Comes handy if you want to hang cloths, as kids wet them easily.
12.   Baby’s utensils. Including spoons, one knife, usual bowls with cover.
13.   Tiffin boxes. Comes handy to carry food when you are outside for site seeing.
14.   Biscuits, chocolates and cake. Give rest to nightmares of dental caries for few days of the trip.
15.   Health drink. Like pediasure or whichever brand you are using. They are easiest to make on the move and are healthy.
16.   Corn flakes. They make a great, easy meal on the go with warm water or milk.
17.   Dry food. Like puffed rice, popcorn or even corn flakes to keep munching on the go.
18.   Favourite toys, crayons and activity sheets. Just to keep him/ her engaged.
19.   Fruits like Banana. They are available everywhere and is a complete food.
20.   Flasks. For carrying water.
21.   Toiletries. Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, lotion the baby is used to.
22.   Plastic bags.
This list is indicative and not exhaustive. Every child is unique and his/ her requirements best known to the parents. The purpose of this blog is to make you realize that Kid’s packing is no child’s play!

20 thoughts on “Travel Packing for Toddler – What to Pack and What not to Pack?

  1. Terri Ramsey Beavers

    These are great tips and I wish I had had them when my grandkids were small. I can use them now though with my grandkids who I love to take everywhere. I’ve got to really learn to keep a notebook on me because my memory is not what it used to be and I forgot everything on our last trip.


  2. This is a great list for parents with young kids. I remember those days when my kids were young. I am going to save this post in my family travel Pinterest board so others can learn.


  3. This is all really great advice. I haven’t gone on very many big trips with my kids, but I have visited family several times. I almost ALWAYS forget something and have to make a quick trip to the store. I guess I shouldn’t start packing the day we leave.


  4. I like to enjoy the trip. Packing seems awful to me cause I am sure everytime I try to pack within minutes I get so bored. So I leave these staff to my husbands. Now packing for kids would be the toughest job I am sure. But after reading your post I think the right strategy is the key. Great post Avishek.


  5. Deserted_Queen

    Great tips, these would be really handy to anyone who’s planning their first vacation with their toddler. Amazing post.


  6. worldlytreat

    These are awesome tips. I usually plan ahead and tend to overdo it most times. We are going on vacation in a few days, and my husband is wondering if we will be staying for a month considering the number of things I packed for my toddler. He will never understand. Thanks for the tips, I forgot the repellant.


  7. Ofai

    Nice pun at the beginning haha. I’m not a parent and not for a while so I’ve never thought of packing for someone else. It doesn’t seem like fun 😄


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