Tuesday, 3 April 2018

traveling with a toddler: essentials checklist

we've just come back from a gorgeous, relaxing, week-long holiday in Mallorca, Spain, with our 2 year old (we just celebrated his birthday a month ago!). but it was made more brilliant by having been prepared and bringing all the things we need to keep him happy, safe and entertained!

below is the toddler holiday packing list, with annotations, so you can know which brands we use and why we love them. but if you're just after the printable list, click here to be taken to google docs.

of course, it will depend on what sort of holiday you're going on as to what sort of clothes you need, and whether you'll need additional items like extra sunscreen or snow boots...

here’s our ultimate toddler packing list:

Foldable Travel Stroller - we have a GB Pockit (UK/US), which we've used since he was 8 months old, and we LOVE it. it folds small enough to fit under the seat in front of you on the plane, so you don't have to check it at the door. i've done a full video review over on my YT channel if you're interested.
Travel Car seat - we just purchased an Urban Kanga (UK/US) for this holiday, because we've had some really bad car seats in rental cars, and it should save us money in the long run also. the Urban Kanga is small enough to carry onto the plane, but we chose to put it in our main luggage, ready to take out the other side. stay tuned for a full review of this!
Travel Cot - though we didn't need one for this trip, when we take our car to family, friends or on holidays within the UK then this is an essential for us. we have the BabyBjorn cot (UK/US) and love it - well worth the investment for how easy it is to put up and away.


Baby Monitor and Charger
Cot Sheet(s) - there isn't always one provided in hotels
Baby Carrier and/or Wrap - although our son isn't really into his any more and he'd prefer to walk, every other holiday we've been on before our Ergobaby (UK/US) has been an essential part of making sure he's happy all day visiting the sites
Cotton Muslin(s) - perfect multi-purpose holiday items, for snuggling, for shade, to sleep, for cleaning up messes
Blanket and/or Toddler Sleeping Bag
Nappies/Diapers - see my favourite biodegradable eco-nappies in my latest blog post
Biodegradable Nappy Bags - an easy switch to an eco option ;) (UK/US)
Baby Wipes and Tissues
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Toys and Books
 - Small balls
 - Favourite letter books
 - Stacking cups
Washable Bibs - we love the Close ones, that are full sleeve and have both poppers and a tie - and the designs are really cute, and they've come out with even more styles since we bought them a year ago (UK/not yet available in US, similar here)
Sunhat/Winter Hat - ours is a Briar Handmade one in Natural Stripe (UK/US)
Snacks & Fruit Pouches
Stainless Steel Containers for Snacks - we have the Kids Konserve trio (UK/US)
Bathing Suit
Swim Nappies/Diapers & inflatables
Boots or Indoor Shoes
2 x Outfits per day:
 - trousers/shorts/dungarees
 - t-shirts/tops/shirts
 - jumpers/hoodies
 - socks


Change of clothes
Milk/Juice/Water & Bottle/Sippy Cup
Washable bib
 - Raisins
 - Popcorn
 - Mandarins/satsumas
Nappies/Diapers (enough for 36hrs)
Biodegradable Nappy Bags
Wet Wipes
Hand Sanitizer
Travel Changing Mat
Sandwich Bag
Plasters and other medication
Toddler Backpack
Toys & Books
 - Toy cars
 - Mini Animals
 - Busy Book and/or Lift-the-flap Books
 - Crayons & Paper
 - Pipe Cleaners
 - Stickers
iPhone, iPad and headphones - i got a tip from a friend to pre-download his favorite CBeebies shows onto the iPad, so we could watch abroad and on the plane without wifi

for a printable version of the toddler travel checklist, click here.

we usually take two big suitcases for the hold, one small one on the plane, and then two backpacks and the pushchair. this makes it just about doable when you need to catch a train or bus afterwards, as it's not too much for the hands that we've got, and it's easy enough to push the GB Pockit with just one hand.

our baby packing list isn't that different, just fewer toys & snacks and more nappies & onesies!

when traveling with a toddler here are some of our most useful tips!:
  • remember to take more snacks and toys than you think you need! these can calm and prevent some tantrum moments from the overwhelming excitement of traveling.
  • remember to download his/her favourite television programs onto a tablet/device
  • try and organise the time of a flight to be at a time when you know your child has enough energy to cope with the excitement, rather than scheduling it for naptime. we always try and schedule him to sleep on the way to the airport. and then he sits in the pushchair until the gate when he can get out and run around a bit before the flight. this trip we had a lunchtime flight and he did nap on the plane on the way back... but it wasn't easy getting him to sleep!
  • if you're planning a road trip, plan it to be crossing naptime, so he/she sleeps some of the way
  • plan regular stops, either in the car or when traveling on short plane journeys - it's important to stop the business of travelling and give your child some of your attention and focus so they can play and learn and have fun! you can't expect them to sit down for a whole day long! we make sure to break up really long drives with an overnight stay if we can. 

  • acknowledge that traveling is naturally exhausting and you will need to plan in a good recovery day with lots of naps to help them be at their best for the rest of the trip.
  • if you've got a child that's used to regular long naps in the day like ours, make sure to allow these at least every other day, in spite of how much YOU want to see everything on the trip! they can nap in the car, but it's not the same level of rest, and it won't help them to be their happiest.
  • don't overdo it on the food, and don't expect them to eat as much as at home! "out of routine" means out of the routine of eating and understanding good portion control, so be mindful that you may need to intervene if they're eating too much ice cream (or in our case, drinking too much orange juice!). 
  • plan to stay in an apart-hotel, with rooms with a small kitchenette, OR choose somewhere with a good full-board service that caters to kids tastes - sometimes bland foods or mum-made foods on holidays are JUST what you need to keep your child full and happy. 
most of all, relax and have fun and enjoy showing your toddler the wonderful sights of your destination!

any tips that you have to add, please leave them in the comments below x

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