We love checking things off lists, especially when they’re mom-approved lists. Since traveling with babies and toddlers can be complicated (even more so during the holidays), we’ve put together our favorite tips and packing must-haves, and we created a streamlined, downloadable packing list for you.
Have any other packing suggestions for traveling with a baby or toddler? We’d love to hear them. Please comment below.
BraveMom Packing Tips
If you’re traveling by plane, make sure to pack two extra outfits for each person. That way you and your baby are covered if he or she spits up or has a blowout twice on a long flight (it happens!). Bonus: if your luggage is lost, you’ll still have something to wear.
If you’ll have access to laundry facilities at your destination, you can cut down on the total number of outfits you need. Plan for four destination-appropriate outfits: one to wash, one to wear, and two to spare.
If possible, pack all the diapers you’ll need for your entire trip. As you use diapers, you’ll make room for all the "stuff" you end up collecting along the way.
Must-Have Item: Plastic or Ziploc Bags
Packing complete outfits in gallon-size bags makes it easier to grab a change of clothes and can also save space in suitcases, carry-ons, and diaper bags. Label each baggie with your child’s name and type of outfit (PJs, swimsuit, warm weather, cool weather, etc.).
If you have more than one child in diapers or training pants, you can put each size in its own clearly marked baggie.
You can also keep extra baggies in your purse or diaper bag in case clothes get dirty while on the road.
Plastic grocery bags are perfect trash bags for the car, and they can come in handy if someone gets motion sickness. They’re also a great solution for storing wet or soiled clothes, blankies, or lovies.
Tips to Keep Kids Entertained while Traveling
Check dollar bins and dollar stores for a collection of new, inexpensive toys. Wrap them up like presents and hand them out throughout the trip (each rest stop or every few hours). If you don’t have time to make another shopping trip, try wrapping up old toys or books your kids haven’t used in a while.
Other fun things to play with include pipe cleaners and chunky beads, foam stickers, pom-poms, finger puppets, Post-Its, and any containers your kids can use for sorting or moving things back and forth.
Find parks or indoor playgrounds along your route or near your destination, and schedule extra time for play. Remember to give toddlers and bigger kids 15, 10, and 5-minute warnings before it’s time to go to avoid meltdowns when you have to get in the car.
Must-Have Item: Tape
Toddlers and bigger kids love tape, and it’s perfect for use anywhere that you don’t want to make a big mess, like on the plane! Kids can decorate most surfaces (tray tables, armrests) with pieces of masking or painter’s tape, but you won’t have to worry about leaving residue behind.
Once they’ve finished creating their tape art, kids can bundle the tape into a ball or use the pieces to build. You can also get different colors of tape for even more creative play!
At your hotel, use tape to build a road for toy cars, mark off playhouse floor plans, or make stepping stones to avoid hot lava!
Make sure to take pictures so your kids can relive the fun memories later.
Download our KB Moms Travel Checklist to jog your memory.
You might not need to bring everything on this list, but it’ll help remind you of the things that are important for you and your family. We’ve even included some blank spaces so you can customize as needed! Download our checklist here.
BraveMoms Travel Encouragement
Packing for a family vacation can feel exhausting. There are so many things to do, to pack, to bring, and to remember that it’s hard to stay focused on how much fun you’ll have when you’re finally spending quality time with your loved ones.
If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, take a breath, and think about the memories you’re helping your kids create. Even if they may not remember the details as they grow up, they’ll always remember the feelings and emotions they experienced while traveling, and they’ll remember being with you.
These experiences are building blocks to who they’ll become. Make it fun, be flexible when you can, and keep some routine when needed. Always give yourself grace. You’ve got this, Mama!
For more travel tips, check out KB Survival Guide: Breastfeeding and Pumping While Traveling and our Facebook Live.