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Packing for a Family Vacation With Babies and Toddlers


The elation of taking a family vacation can swiftly turn to anxiety and dread when parents consider the responsibility involved with taking their family on extended car rides or flights to far-flung destinations. If you are in the throes of packing for a family vacation with your little ones, then bookmark this list of what not to forget.


Packing for baby and toddlers

While going on vacation with a baby for the first time can seem daunting, it can be a more straightforward process than with a child at other ages when they are more mobile or easily bored. You likely already have all of the daily necessities tucked into a diaper bag to grab at a moment’s notice. Nevertheless, if you are going away for a night or longer, be sure to pack the following travel essentials:

  • Passport if going overseas

  • Child’s birth certificate

  • Affidavit letter from non-travelling parent if required

  • Health record and medical insurance information

  • Diapers and swim diapers

  • Wet wipes

  • Diaper bags

  • Travel-sized diaper cream

  • Formula, bottles, and sanitizing tablets

  • Sippy cup

  • Nursing cover if you use one

  • Baby food

  • Disposable bibs

  • A variety of baby clothing appropriate for the weather

  • Travel changing pad

  • Portable travel cot or playpen

  • Baby monitor

  • Infant medications – antihistamine, pain and fever medication

  • Thermometer

  • Favorite stuffed animal or security blanket

  • Sunscreen

  • Travel stroller with sun guard, stroller hooks and fan to keep baby cool

  • Baby carrier or wrap

  • Car seat


Tips when packing for babies and toddlers

We recommend writing down what you have packed so that you are less likely to accidentally leave anything behind. As a tired parent, it is worthwhile making a checklist for your own items as well, since mobile phone chargers and the like are easy to forget.


Remember that you don’t have to bring everything. In most destinations, you can buy extra clothes or toys if necessary. Hotels, Airbnb locations, and family members are typically happy to purchase a few necessities like bananas or baby biscuits that might be lifesavers for cranky toddlers upon arrival.

If you are flying to your vacation, always check the airlines' luggage regulations before securing a reservation. A cheap fare can add up if you are expected to pay additional baggage rates for a car seat, stroller, or baby bag and many larger airline carriers include these fees. 


It can sometimes be more straightforward at busy airports and on the road to travel hands-free with a backpack rather than a bulky diaper bag and separate purse. We also recommend downloading a white-noise app and acclimatizing your baby or toddler to a babbling creek's sound or soothing music in the weeks before you travel. This way, regardless of where you stay, your child will be lulled to sleep and reminded of the security of home.


Avoid broadcasting that your home is empty by posting pictures or information about your departure to social media. We highly recommend taking lots of pictures of your family vacation but wait until your return before uploading the best snaps.

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