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Packing for Your Toddler

Luggage capacity, weather are key issues

It takes a bit of forethought to decide what your toddler might need on a trip. Where you go, how you’re getting there, how long you’re going for, how much luggage you can carry, what the weather may be like and your access to laundry facilities will all factor in to your final decisions.

Don’t try to pack the morning of departure day; ease some anxiety by making a list and stockpiling essential supplies about a week before you go. The thought of being far from home and forgetting a vital item is a main stressor when it comes to travel with toddlers.

Here are a couple of ideas of what to bring when traveling with a toddler.

  • Nonperishable snacks at the ready – think of items to quell hunger and boredom and provide some teething relief, if relevant.
  • Sippy cup (bottle if still using) and drinks – always have something on hand to avoid dehydration.
  • A few bibs for messy mealtimes.
  • Cold pack and cooler to transport food and drink items.
  • Toddler toothbrush and toothpaste, no tear shampoo that doubles as body soap, body lotion, bug repellent and other relevant toiletries.
  • Toddler proofing supplies.
  • First aid kit containing bandages, antiseptic ointment, diaper rash cream (if using), any prescription medicines (bring copies of prescriptions with you), thermometer, baby pain reliever (ibuprofen or acetaminophen), baby antihistamine, and your doctor’s phone number.
  • Arsenal of small toys and distractions (see entertainment section).
  • Consider a harness or wrist leash if your little wanderer is cause for concern.
  • Layers of mix and match clothing appropriate to the climate you’ll be traveling in – think washable, comfortable fabrics in colors that don’t show dirt.
  • Pack outfits together in zip lock bags or packing cubes to make unpacking and wardrobe selection easier (you might want to put all family members’ pajamas or swim suits together as you’ll likely need to retrieve them at the same time).
  • Bathing suit, sun hat, sunscreen if going to a hot climate.
  • Bring all your diaper paraphernalia if your child is not yet trained, and even if you’ve successfully mastered potty training, pack a few pull-ups just in case there’s some regression on the journey.
  • Bring a waterproof sheet to guard against night wetting.
  • Night light so your toddler’s new bedroom isn’t too dark.
  • A stroller – especially a lightweight, foldable umbrella stroller – is a nice-to-have, as little legs tend to tire out.
  • Other equipment such as a booster seat, portable crib, bed safety rail and car seat may be necessary to bring, depending on where you’re going. Consider a travel gear rental agency if these pieces are too cumbersome to carry yourself.

NOTE: If your toddler is traveling out of the country with just one parent, bring a signed, notarized note from the non-traveling parent authorizing the traveling parent to cross the border with your child.


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