Traveling With A Baby And Toddler: What To Pack And Why

A parent’s worst nightmare is traveling far from home with tiny humans in tow, who will be off their schedules for the foreseeable future. That’s why a detailed packing list is a parent’s Holy Grail to a successful summer vacation. 

Last summer my husband and I attempted our first vacation as a family of four. I spent months scouring Pinterest, trying to find the right packing list for our family. To my dismay, I never found The One. So, over the course of a few months’ time, I managed to create my own Vacation Packing List.

Traveling with a baby and a toddler: what to pack and why

It’s in the details…

While the holy grail to a vacation is a great packing list, the key for it to be successful is in the details of that list. So, while many items on my list are self-explanatory, others require a bit of detail. I am going to highlight some items on this list, to give a more in-depth approach to successfully packing for a family of four.


Water Bottles/Mouth Piece- I cannot remember the name of this great little invention, but its a lifesaver for a toddler who insists on drinking out of a plastic water bottle. It’s an orange mouth piece we purchased from Buy Buy Baby that screws directly on to any plastic water bottle.

Pulp- Boon Pulp Silicon Feeder was perfect for our 11 month old to teethe, while eating her fruits and vegetables. 


Gallon Ziploc Bags- This is my secret to an organized suitcase! Each child has their own set of  Ziploc bags, one for each day of the trip. These are cleanly labeled with the child’s names and day of the trip. (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc.) Inside each bag is their whole outfit for the day, including undergarments and accessories. This made getting ready for the day a breeze! 


Soap, Shampoo, Lotion, and Rinse Cup- Since our little ones have sensitive skin, I find it best to bring all of their bath time essentials! 


Portable Potty- This was my huge #momfail for the trip! We have an OXO 2-in-1 Go Potty that is excellent for travel, but since my daughter had been using the “big” potty for awhile, we decided not to bring it. Oh, did I mention she HATES automatic flushing toilets? Ugh! This made it virtually impossible to get her to use the restroom unless we were in the hotel. Literally every single place had automatic flush!


Audio Books- For a toddler, I found my choices to be quite limited. I had the option to check out individual storybooks with their accompanied disk, but I hated the idea of having to checkout multiple books! In the audio section of my library I was able to find one solution: a set of Dr. Seuss audio books, which contained several stories on just a few disks.

Costco- I shop for road trip entertainment months in advance. While I have found things like The Bing Bong Book and other odds and ends at various place, Costco is my go-to. They have great travel-sized coloring sets and touch-and-feel board books.


Lost Child Bracelet- As a mom of two little ones, going anywhere can be tricky. But going somewhere completely new and over-crowded with fellow vacationers can be downright overwhelming! While I do keep a very watchful eye, I also wanted to cover all my bases. So, I purchased some inexpensive child I.D. wristbands from Amazon.


Dish Soap/Bottle Brush- Don’t forget the dish soap and bottle brush to clean the mountain of bottles.

What are your must have items for a successful family vacation? 


Nikki Wildemuth
Nikki is new to the area. She graduated from the Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Campus in 2009 with a Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education. She married her husband the same year. Nikki loved the creativity of teaching and continues to bring that same creativity as a stay at home mom. During the day you can find her chasing after her precocious toddler. By night she is a Pinterest junkie! She enjoys getting out and spending time with her family!



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