A Toddler Packing List

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I am so way-incredibly-beyond-crazy-excited about the family get-a-way that we are going on tomorrow.  We are heading to a resort about three hours away for the weekend.  It will be just The Man, Little C, and myself.  We have been so busy lately, that this is hopefully exactly what we need.  No cleaning, no laundry, no grocery store, no cooking, no distractions, just us.

I can’t wait to see Little C floating in the lazy river, going down the slides, riding the ponies, playing outside, and just having a great time. According to reviews, this resort is very family friendly, so it should be right up our alley.  I’ll make sure to fill you in on all the details when I get back.  While I am extremely excited for the trip, packing is still never a fun task.  To make it a little more fun, I decided to share with you my toddler packing list.  While it is way easier to pack for her now than it was when she was an infant, there are still lots of things to remember to pack for such a small little person.

Here is C on her first pony ride at about 17 months.  She loved it!  Can’t wait for her to have the chance to do it again this weekend.

C has her own travel bag with her name monogrammed on it – in bright pink, of course.  We pack all of her stuff in her bag in order to help keep things as organized as possible.  In our family’s sea of black travel bags, it is also easy to tell her’s apart.  It’s always good to be able to quickly identify which bag the diapers are in!    Here are the items that we make sure to pack in her Little C bag.

1.  Two outfits per day.  You know, one to wear, and one just in case……  Since it is hot as firecrackers here, the outfits will be airy and comfortable.  Also, don’t bring anything that you are going to freak out over if it gets stained and you can’t wash it right away.  Of course, why would you put a toddler in anything that can’t get dirty in the first place.  😉

2.  Two jammies per night. Same story as the outfits, you just never know when there will be a diaper malfunction and you need to switch into the back-up jammies.

3.  Comfortable shoes that fit.  Toddler feet grow crazy fast, so make sure the shoes you are bringing for a trip actually fit.  Just because they did last week, doesn’t mean they do this week.  Double-check, and then bring an extra pair just in case.

4.  Way more diapers than you think you need.  On one of our first plane trips with C, I packed what I thought to be enough diapers for the trip.  It wasn’t.  We weren’t able to get the diapers she is used to where we were, and it just was not ideal.  Bring way more than you think you need.  They pack pretty easily and just about the last thing you want to run out of is diapers!

5.  Wipes.  Lots of them.

6.  For girls – rubber bands or barrettes.  Assuming your girl has hair, don’t forget the hair accessories to keep the hair out of her face.  Rubber bands break, so bring extras.  Barrettes magically disappear, so bring extra of those, too.  Little C would be a literal hot mess if we didn’t bring enough rubber bands and barrettes.

7.  Toiletries: Shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, wash cloth, diaper cream, comb, etc… Babies and toddlers don’t typically use adult toiletries, so hotels won’t usually offer a good substitute if you forget your baby or toddler bath items.  Make sure to throw them in the bag.  I know Little C would have some upset skin if we tried to use adult soap and a rough washcloth on her for several days in a row!  We also don’t want to be caught without the miracle of all miracles, Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.

If you don’t have kids yet, you will one day know the magic of the Butt Paste.  It is the only thing that will help when C has a rash.  We had to make a 3AM run once while on vacation to try and find some Butt Paste as C woke up screaming in the middle of the night with a horrible diaper rash.  It wasn’t funny at the time to us, but I am sure it was humorous to those working in the drug store at 3AM when my husband made a mad dash there to frantically search for the Butt Paste.

8.  Favorite blankie.  Oh Lord helps us all if “pink blankie” didn’t make the trip.  If you kiddo has a favorite stuffed animal or blanket, bring it and guard it with your life.

9.  Toys and entertainment.  Even though there is tons to do at this resort, we will still be spending some time in our room.  C will need things to play with inside when the outdoors just gets to be too much.  Even though the hotel where we are going says they will loan toys, I am not taking any chances.  We are packing a few toys and a couple DVDs.  We are planning to drive at nap-time, but there are no guarantees that will work, so we need things for her to play with in the car as well.

10.  Sippy cups, drinks, snacks.  Thankfully, we are past the days of pumped milk, baby water, bottles, formula, baby food, etc… However, we still need to be prepared with some snacks for C.  We will bring some empty sippy cups, Goldfish, packaged fruit, juice boxes, etc…  We will make sure to get some milk at the hotel for her as well.  That doesn’t travel quite as well.

11.  Location specific gear.  Depending on what you are going to do, you may need some specific gear.  In our case, swimsuits, swim diaper, swim hat, etc… In other cases, it may be jogging stroller, snowsuit, baby sized parachute, whatever.

12.  Sleeping arrangements.  This may not be something you pack, so much as something you plan for.  In previous trips we brought a pack-and-play for C to sleep in.  It sounded like a good plan, but she hates that thing with a passion, so we are leaving it behind this time.  We have requested a crib from the hotel, so we’ll see how it looks.  We will bring our own crib sheet from home, just in case.  If all else fails, we will all just sleep in the King sized bed.  Not ideal, but it will work.

13.  Baby meds.  Obviously if your child is on medication, make sure to pack that.  Even if they aren’t on any medicine, it is a good idea to bring some baby meds just in case they spike a fever, start teething, etc… Again, you never know.

This sounds like a lot of stuff, but it all fits into C’s little duffel travel bag.  Thankfully toddler stuff is still mostly pretty small.  What type of things do you pack for your kiddo on trips?  What did I forget (oh, and tell me quickly before I leave it behind!)?

I’ll leave you with a picture of the first pony that C rode (see above) as he later tried to eat me.  He did not let go of my jacket for several long minutes.  We aren’t on speaking terms.  Hopefully the horses at this resort have better manners.

Also, I want to wish you a safe and happy weekend.  Special thoughts go out to those on the East Coast.  Stay safe.  As a Gulf Coast girl myself, I know hurricanes are nothing to mess with.


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  1. I remember the days before our daughter I thought packing was crazy and tough. Now, with her just hitting the 1 year mark and hitting the 15 month mark when we go to Hawaii…I’m dizzy with the thought of packing (without over-packing). Sounds like you covered all the bases. I find ourselves coming up with a bare minimum list and if it turns out some space remains…we fill it with the extras (toys, clothes, an extra bag to ship souveniers home, etc…). I could just slap my old self and lecture him saying “You have no idea how great and easy it is to fly coach with your self an another adult (whether it be layover, delay or lost luggage). Don’t stress it! Wait until you throw a little one into the mix. You will then appreciate the everyday headaches of flying.”

  2. EricT, I couldn’t agree with you more!! Our very first hotel trip with C, we also were taking the dog. I about lost my mind the first time I packed for my infant, myself, and the dog. Long gone were the days of “easy” travel! It truly gets easier every few months once they hit the one year mark. It was much harder packing for an infant than a toddler. Your approach for Hawaii sounds spot-on.

  3. Bluto, in the case, crazy = cheap. My whole family was going to be out-of-town with us, so I had no free dog sitters. However, we were staying at the Westin Dallas Fort Worth airport. At the time, there was no extra fee to bring your dog. Being the cheapo that I was/am, we figured we would just load up the dog and save on boarding! It was a bit much, but it worked.

  4. A good trip tip for souvenirs purchased on vacation…If you can get to a post office, buy the boxes “if-it-fits-it-ships.” Send the souvenirs to your home. They arrive without taking up extra suitcase space. And besides, who doesn’t love getting mail!

  5. Might want to ask the resort what they mean by crib if you haven’t already done so. The “crib” we got at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek was a pack-n-play. But like you said, you can have her sleep in the bed if need be.

  6. I usually do 50% more clothes and jammies instead of double and it works out ok.
    Other things we pack for a road trip include a nightlight, portable DVD player, bedrail (some hotels have them), small bottle of dish soap for washing toddler dishes, bibs, toddler flatware and black plastic tablecloths and masking tape to make impromptu blackout curtains when needed.

  7. Swan, very good tip!

    Scott C, good point. I did check ahead of time and verified they have a real crib. Pack-n-plays don’t work out well for us. Always good to double check!

    Nicole, for longer trips we do closer to 50% as well, especially for things like jammies. I swear we always need close to double on clothes though. When she was younger it was due to serious projectile spit-up/vomit, and now she is just a messy toddler. 🙂 Love all the other items you included as well. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Baby sized parachute! Haha 🙂 I don’t even have kids yet, but I know I will in a couple years, and it’s great to know I won’t have to give up travel. Your blog is really one of a kind!

  9. Hi Summer,

    It was great listening to you last Saturday at FTU. It will be our first Europe trip as a family using points and i am excited.

    I just have a quick question though, have you been to Italy with the family if yes and great tips you can share. we will be in Rome, VEnice and Naples and I think i have packed enough for my son Thor who will be 22 mos then. I feel quite guilty not getting him a seat but its too late..we are leaving next week!! so any additional advice? I want to just bring 3 days worth of diapers and buy there cause i really want to pack light with all the train rides i want to be as comfortable as possible and would not want my husband to just haul heavy stuff all the time. thanks much!! love love your blog!!

  10. I’m traveling from Hawaii to the mainland (without husband) with a 20 month old. So I’ve elected to pack a lot lighter – buy diapers/wipes at destination, have carseat at destination, only one outfit per day (planning on washing some), PJs – just 3 for the week (wash, repeat), etc. What I have loaded up on are things for the carry-on bag – snacks and activities and LOTS of them. It’s a 14 hour journey with two stops.

    One medium bag to check, one backpack for handsfree carry-on, a moby wrap just in case (doubles as a blanket for sleeping on plane) and a small umbrella stroller. Keeping it simple and minimal for ease of access. I have also used “packing cubes” for the loads of activities and diapers/changes of clothes in the backpack so I can find things when I need them.

    Packing light helps reduce my stress and the load I have to carry by myself.

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