Baby + Kids

25 Toddler Travel Essentials

My family is very fortunate in that we can travel frequently and to destinations all over the world. We’ve made memories together in South Korea, Dubai, Tokyo, Hawaii, Vancouver, Las Vegas, and many more. And as fun as these trips have been, there’s one part of traveling that is a lot harder to look forward to, which is packing.

When you’re traveling with kids, especially babies, and toddlers, packing everything you need can be daunting. As a mom of four, I’ve learned that planning and organizing can make a huge difference when packing for a trip. 

Today, I’m sharing a round-up of essential items for when you’re traveling with toddlers in tow. 

Toddler Travel Essentials List

25 Toddler Travel Essentials

With every family trip we took, I learned more about what it takes to help things run smoothly. I’ve discovered everything from the best carry-on luggage for kids (and wrote this kids’ carry-on packing list to go with it) to the best way to pack for family trips to maximize luggage space.

Although it didn’t take traveling to learn that toddlers are finicky, our trips have shown me that they simply require specific things to keep them happy. Having learned so much through my own experiences, I wanted to share the items I found essential for traveling with toddlers. 

Toddler Airplane Travel Essentials

CARES Kid’s Fly Safe Harness

If your toddler is big enough to sit in their own seat on the plane, the CARES Kid’s Fly Safe Harness is a total game-changer. Rather than carrying a car seat through the airport, you can pack this harness in your diaper bag or travel bag and pull it out once you board. 

The CARES airplane harness is FAA-approved and designed for kids 22-44 pounds. It fits all-size airplane seats and takes only 1-2 minutes to install.

Kids Backpack

Giving your toddler their own backpack to carry on travel day not only eases the burden on your shoulders but also makes it easy to keep their toys and snacks within reach. I recommend the Zoy zoii Cute Toddler Backpack to any parent who is planning on flying with a toddler. 

Car Seat Travel Bag

Toting around a car seat is no easy feat. Add in the chaos of the airport and it’s enough to drive you crazy. A car seat travel bag makes it significantly easier to transport your toddler’s car seat. Plus, it’ll keep the car seat from getting dirty or damaged if you decide to check it. 

Toddler Car Travel Essentials

Backseat Car Organizer

A backseat car organizer is a must-have for road trips with a toddler. The pockets and pouches make it easy to keep everything your toddler might need within arm’s reach. There’s even a pocket for a touch-screen tablet. 

Kids Travel Table

You could also get one of these kids’ travel tables. They’re great for storing everything your toddler might want during the trip, in addition to giving them a flat surface to eat on. It includes a tablet stand, dry-erase board, cup holder, and storage pockets.

Toddler Travel Toys

LCD Writing Tablet

If your toddler likes to draw, I highly recommend getting an LCD Writing Tablet. They can draw picture after picture during your road trip or flight, without needing a handful of pencils or crayons. Best of all, the battery lasts 3-6 months so you don’t have to worry about packing extra batteries or keeping it charged.

Activity Books

When it comes to activity books for toddlers, nothing beats water reveal pads. Just fill the included pen with water and let them “paint” each page to reveal the colorful image. As the pages dry, they go back to black and white, which means they can be used over and over again. 

I love Melissa & Doug Water Wow! – Water Reveal Pad Bundle and Water Magic 2 Pack Scented Reusable Water Reveal Activity Pads

Travel Busy Board

Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, a foldable busy board is a fantastic toy to bring for your toddler. It’ll help keep them busy while also encouraging them to work on their fine motor skills. 

Toddler Travel Snacks

Food Pouches

You can’t beat the convenience and portability of food pouches. Toddler food pouches are great for feeding hungry kids when you’re on the go. I recommend keeping a few on hand at all times because, as you probably already know, hunger can strike a toddler at any moment. 

Veggie Straws

Veggie straws are perfect for when your toddler wants a salty, crunchy snack but you don’t want to give them junk food. These individual snack bags are practically made for travel. 

Snack Bars

Toddler snack bars are another convenient and healthy option. These bars are tasty, filling, and easy to pack, no matter whether you’re traveling by car or airplane. 

Trail Mix

Trail mix is my go-to toddler snack when traveling. It’s loaded with healthy ingredients that even picky toddlers enjoy and it’ll help keep them satisfied until their next meal. My go-to trail mix for my kids is Power Up Kids Frozen Elsa & Anna Very Berry Power Packed Trail Mix By Gourmet Nut

Snack Containers

Regardless of which snacks you pack for your toddler, you’re going to want a travel-friendly container to put them in. The three containers listed below are my favorites because they’re portable, toddler-friendly, and great for both airplane travel and road trips. 

Spill Proof Water Bottle

Toddlers are always thirsty. Avoid getting caught without something to drink by packing a spill-proof water bottle just for your toddler. Keep it empty until you get through security, then fill it up before you board the plane. 

kids playing in the sand

Toddler Travel Gear

Lightweight Car Seat

Whether you’re using it on the airplane or once you arrive at your destination, traveling with a toddler often means having to bring a car seat. Lightweight convertible car seats can fit comfortably in whatever vehicle you’re traveling in and are much easier to carry around.

Portable Sound Machine

A portable sound machine makes a huge difference when you’re trying to get your toddler to sleep when they’re surrounded by noise.

This portable white noise machine is compact, rechargeable, and offers three different soothing sounds with adjustable volume.

Portable Power Bank 

Traveling with a portable power bank ensures that you’ll never be stuck somewhere with a dead phone or tablet, with no place to plug them in. Just don’t forget to charge it before you go. 

Travel Stroller

Standard strollers tend to be large and heavy. Travel strollers, on the other hand, are lightweight and compact. And if you’re questioning whether it’s really worth it to buy another stroller just for travel, I can confidently tell you that it absolutely is. 

My two favorite travel strollers are the Joolz Lightweight Travel Stroller for Babies and Toddlers and the Summer Infant 3Dmini Convenience Stroller

Portable Crib Or Inflatable Toddler Bed

Parents swear by the Graco Pack ‘n-Play when traveling with babies and toddlers. They’re convenient and provide a safe space for your toddler to sleep when you’re staying in a hotel room. However, if you’re trying to minimize the luggage you’re traveling with, consider bringing an inflatable toddler travel bed instead. It’s far less bulky than a travel crib and can be stowed in your suitcase. 

Inflatable Bathtub

This is one toddler travel essential that a lot of parents don’t think about. But if you still use a baby bathtub to bathe your toddler at home, packing an inflatable bathtub is a game changer. It takes up very little room in your suitcase and makes it easy to give your little one a bath at your hotel or Airbnb. You’ll be especially glad you brought it if you’re staying somewhere without a bathtub. 

Portable High Chair

You can’t count on every dining establishment you visit to have a high chair for your toddler. A portable high chair ensures they’ll have a safe place to sit and eat, no matter where you are. When you’re not using it, you can keep it in your backpack or diaper bag. 

Disposable Placemats

Similarly, you don’t want to have to worry about your toddler having a clean surface to eat on. Disposable placemats solve that problem. They also make clean-up a breeze. 

Disposable Toilet Seat Covers

You don’t have to be a germaphobe to see the value in packing disposable toilet seat covers. If your toddler is like most, they like to hold onto the toilet seat for support. No matter where you stop for a bathroom break, you can just pull one out and not have to worry about germs and who knows what else. 

Stroller Fan

A stroller fan is a must-have, especially if you’re planning a vacation somewhere warm. To keep your little one cool, pack a battery-operated stroller fan with flexible handles and a baby-friendly cover.

Tushbaby Hip Seat Carrier

This carrier is a lifesaver when traveling with a clingy toddler. The Tushbaby can support babies and toddlers up to 44 pounds and can be worn in four positions: feeding, side-carrying, front-facing, and face-to-face. 

It also has large storage pockets, a bottle holder, and loops that you can attach miscellaneous items to. When you’re not using it, you can fold it up and stow it in your bag. Do your back a favor and pack the Tushbaby for your next trip. 

kids are wearing vest
What are your toddler travel essentials?

I love traveling as a family, no matter how chaotic it can sometimes be. One way I minimize the chaos is by packing items that will make the trip easier for each member of my family. These things have made all the difference when traveling with a toddler. What has worked for you? What are your must-have items for a trip with a toddler? Share in the comments!

For more travel tips, including packing lists and destination ideas, check out the blog. There, you’ll also find advice on motherhood, home improvement, and so much more.

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