Select Page

How to pack for a trip with your toddler

Well here we go…first blog post!!! This is Kimmy, the “wife” at HusbandWifeDoctorLife.com. I figured I would write about something that is fresh in my mind—travel packing for a toddler! My family and I recently traveled to Rochester, NY for a church convention. I was extremely nervous about this trip. Our daughter, Selah, has been traveling since she was 5 months old. However, it is MUCH easier to travel with a baby than it is a toddler. When she was a baby and got fussy, I would simply whip out a boob and breastfeed her, which would calm her down instantly. In fact, I could just keep her on if need be. But now…my daughter is 21 months going on 21 years old! She is what we would call “own way” in Jamaican Patois; it means exactly what it sounds like. She is feisty, fierce, and wants to do everything her own way. I think that I will love this trait about her when she is a young woman, but right now she is…a handful.

So I went to my trusted source for all things, aka YOUTUBE! I searched for “travel with a toddler” and got lost in the rabbit hole of YouTube videos. Y’all know you can find everything and anything on YouTube, right? (Perhaps I will do a separate blog post all about my YouTube escapades…:). You really can find everything, y’all).

After watching a million and one videos, I have complied a list of essentials when traveling with a toddler. Just a quick note: This post relates to being on the plane itself. I will do a separate post about all of your travel necessities, so stay tuned for that.

In this post you will learn my handy dandy 1.5 Rule. This is not a hard and fast rule, or something that I learned in medical school. It is just something I have developed over many years of traveling with babies and toddlers. Please let me know if this works for you! I would appreciate the feedback.

  1. Diaper bag BACKPACK
    • Yes, the all caps and bold font on the word BACKPACK is NECESSARY. Mommy or Daddy, you need a backpack. There is nothing worse than wrangling an almost-two-year old than trying to wrangle her and everything falls out of your cute shoulder diaper bag that is inevitably left open. Ain’t. Nobody. Got. Time. For. That. Make sure you have a super sturdy backpack diaper bag with lots of pockets and compartments to hold all of the items I am about to tell you you need. I recommend the Land diaper bag. It is seriously the best diaper bag out there, and this is coming from a reformed Jujube and Fawn Design lover. Why spend over a hundred dollars on a bag that is subpar, when you can spend around $40 and get a bag that stores more, is lightweight, has pockets that are deep and actually hold items, has an entire zippered front that is INSULATED? (Y’ALL) Need I say more? Pick up your Land bag here.
  2. Extra diapers and wipes
    • Self-explanatory. Don’t get caught slipping without the necessities. Here is the 1.5 rule: I recommend 1.5 diapers for every hour of travel. (I know what you’re thinking: “That’s crazy. YOU CAN’T HAVE HALF OF A DIAPER!” Hear me out.) Let’s say your plane ride is 2 hours. Let’s factor in 2 hours at the airport before the trip, 2 hours when you arrive (I am being generous, here)–> That is a total of 6 hours of travel. Multiply 6 by 1.5, and you will see that you should bring AT LEAST 9 diapers on this trip. If you happen to end up with a 0.5 number, such as 7.5 diapers, round up. By golly, please round up: Poop happens.
  3. Snacks, snacks, and more snacks
    • I cannot stress enough the importance of being well stocked with a wide variety of snacks! We all know that airplanes are not like they used to be (…back in my day…lol). Toddlers also do not do well with the standard airplane fare—they should not be eating peanuts and pretzels because they are choking hazards. For our trip, which involved 2 plane rides and a transfer, I packed crackers, tangerines, chips, apples, yogurt, applesauce pouches, water, and juice. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO BE OVERLY CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR CHILD’S HEALTHY EATING HABITS. This is the time to make sure your child does not scream incessantly for 2 hours straight. You can go back to your all-natural hand-picked berries once you get off the plane. PACK ALL OF THE SNACKS, including the hand-picked berries. The 1.5 rule applies here also: Whatever your child likes, bring at least 1.5 for every hour of your plane ride. For a 6-hour plane ride, you need AT LEAST 9 snacks. I am stressing the “at least” here. If you can, bring more. I did, in fact, have 6 yogurt tubes with us. I sure did. And you should, too.
  4. Books
    • Books are great, as children love flipping the pages. I recommend this Animal Alphabet book, because you can flip the pages AND move the words back and forth. This is like toddler book heaven, y’all. Get yours here.
  5. Toys
    • Your airplane toys should meet 2 major criteria: FUN and QUIET. No one minds (too much) a toddler squealing with joy. What they do not enjoy is a toddler crying and/or screaming and/or a noisy toy that is disruptive to their beauty rest.  Here are some contenders: Pick and choose as you please.
      • Etch-a-sketch
      • Fan
        • Electric (if it is quiet) or regular fan would work. Heck, you could make a fan out of paper and have a toddler engaged for minutes (which is a long time in toddler world). There is something about an object that is able to make their face cold that fascinates them.
      • Doll of some sort
      • Safe jewelry
      • Whatever—you can really make almost anything into a toy for a toddler. The main point is, have OPTIONS.
    • You guys are pros at the 1.5 rule now-bring 1.5 toys for every hour of travel. They don’t have to be big toys (your paper fan counts!). This helps stress the importance of a large sturdy diaper bag backpack.
  6. Extra outfits
    • My 1.5 rule applies here also, but in a different form. Plan on dividing the number of hours by 1.5 to determine the number of extra outfits to bring. To use the example above, for a 6 hour trip you would divide 6 by 1.5, which equals 4. Thus, you should have AT LEAST 4 extra outfits, including socks. The time to be a minimalist packer is when you are solo backpacking through Europe. This. Ain’t. The. Time. Pack the clothes.
    • Bring at least one extra pair of shoes.
    • If you get a half number, round DOWN (if you get that you should bring 4.5 outfits based on your length of travel, you can round that down to 4).
  7. Diaper rash cream
  8. Aquaphor
    • Aquaphor is everything. Do you hear me? EVERYTHING. Aquaphor covers a multitude of sins. Never leave home without it. Capeesh? Bring a large tube. Heck, bring a tub, if you can fit it in your diaper bag backpack.
  9. Bib

And there you have it! If you remember the 1.5 Rule, and you pack your patience along with your gazillion yogurt tubes, you will be all set for your next trip with your toddler!

Do you have any helpful toddler travel tips? If so, leave them below! We would love to hear from you.