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Top 10 Items to Pack for Traveling with Toddlers

There are tons of items you can pack when you have a little one. However, it seems like we always forget the most important.   These are 10 of the items that I make sure I always pack and have with us whenever we travel.  Feel free to share them with a mom or dad who is taking the first vacation with a little one!

  1. Outlet Covers  This may seem like a nonessential item, but just wait until your little walker or crawler is in a hotel or apartment that is not kid friendly.   Don’t buy the nice kind, go for the cheap brand from the dollar store, throw them in the zip up compartment of your suitcase and if you need them great, if not- no big deal.
  2. Children’s Benadryl/Tylenol and a Thermometer. I’m not a paranoid parent.  I rarely dose my kids with meds or coddle them over a boo boo.  However, there are times when you definitely need the Tylenol- especially when it concerns teeth.   I always keep our kids meds in a plastic ziploc bag with a syringe for easy transportation.  We recently went away with my sister and her kids.   My kids were fine, her youngest was cutting a tooth.  There is nothing worse than a poor cranky baby in an airport, in a car or up in the mountains without a Walmart in sight.
  3. Swim Diapers– I know, I know so expensive.   But here’s the deal, buy one pack and they will last you until your kid is out of diapers.  In fact, we bought the medium size and by the time my toddler didn’t need them my littlest was in them.   I don’t typically use swim diapers at home in our pool or at the beach, but you have to if you are in someone else’s pool or a public one.  It’s just good hygiene and common courtesy.  Plus, it is super embarrassing if your kid is the one that poops in the pool.
  4. Activity Box (best if you are driving)- I let my kids each bring a book bag with their own toys.   I don’t care what toys they put in it, that’s what they want, that’s what they bring.  However, I pack an activity box.  In the box I have a few small games (Jenga and Perfection are great for 3 year olds), coloring pad, crayons, a small foam craft kit from Michaels with glue, stickers, a frisbee, some balls, temporary tattoos, chalk and bubbles.   We had room in the car this year so I even brought our Step 2 T-ball and golf set (it’s super small).   This box stays on top of the shelf or refrigerator while we are on vacation and I bring it out when they are starting to get antsy.
  5. Travel Activity Box/Bag with Snacks This box/bag goes next to me in the car or with me on the plane.   I fill it with small plastic containers of snacks (I can refill them for the way home or during activities on vacay), dry erase marker and activity pad, dvds, headphones, Car Bingo (available on Amazon), and a few small toys to play with.   We also have a LeapPad and that goes in this bag/box, too.
  6. Extra Clothes for the Ride-  I rarely put by 3 year old in those rompers or onesies anymore, but they are small and easy to pack.  I put one for each child in my purse/diaper bag because without fail, I always need to change their clothes.  Something about high altitude on a plane causes little ones to have blow outs.  You don’t want to be sitting on a plane with poopy clothes and nothing to change them in.   My older one rarely has accidents, but he spills drinks many times.   Throw the onesie in the bag and forget about it.   I keep some in the car, too.   You never know when it will be needed.
  7. Sunscreen, Bugspray and Bandaids-  I rarely put sunscreen on myself, but we gotta protect our little ones.  My 3 year old is obsessed with bandaids and always seems to need one.  He legitimately needed one on our last plane trip and no one had one!   He tore part of his nail and was miserable the whole time.   Throw one or two in your wallet (or make your husband carry them in his).
  8. Pack and Play- My 1.5 year old has long been out of his pack and play, but we bring it with us for him to sleep in on trips.  It contains him and makes our life easier.  Some resorts have pack and plays you can borrow, call ahead and ask them so you don’t have to haul yours.
  9. Toddler Cups- I always bring at least 2 cups per child.  Keep one empty one in your purse for after you go through airport security.  Somehow they always want water and I hate spending $3 on a bottle of water that is going to spill all over their clothes (see tip about travel clothes above).   Ask someone at one of the airport restaurants for ice and water and they will gladly fill it for you.  The other two can go in your suitcase.  If your child needs toddler silverware, put them in the cup, along with their bib and pack them up.   Easy storage and it will make your life easier dining out and keep you from cleaning up a ton of messes.
  10. Favorite Toy/Blanket- There is nothing scarier than being far away from home and not sleeping in your own bed, especially when you are little.  Make sure that your little one has whatever comfort he or she needs to soothe them and make them feel at home.   Just remember to make sure you bring it home with you!    My mom left my favorite toy on vacation and her friends had to mail it to her.   It was a long couple of days without it.

I hope you have a wonderful trip.  If you have any items you make sure you never forget for traveling with a toddler, please comment below.  Feel free to share for any mom that may need some ideas packing.   Remember, we are all in this together!

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