Toddler Packing Tips + Checklist!

Hellllooo! I hope all you friends are doing fabulously!

Vacation mode is over- we got back about a week ago and y’all, we had such a good time! It had been a while since we had had a real vacation and it was definitely needed. Though vacations are definitely not the same with 2 kiddos to wrangle, it was made so much easier by having help from my family (parent protip– vacation with family)!

I will say- packing with 2 kids is insane. You should have seen the amount of stuff we were hauling into our car. Ridiculous. I will say, though, that I think I did a really good job at not over-packing for Oliver. We had absolutely everything he needed without having a ton extra. After multiple trips to PA to visit family and an international trip to Spain last year, I think I’m getting quite good at packing for my oldest little! Which is why I’ve decided to share a few tips on packing for toddlers, as well as give you my complete packing checklist! I used this to pack for Oliver for the beach and was so glad I wasn’t missing anything (though the checklist does include some blank spaces for you to add items based on the type of trip you’re taking)!

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Diapers/Wipes/Ointments/Swimmies- Essentials first!

I try to make sure we pack the essentials first. We pretty much always take a whole sleeve of diapers with whenever we travel. Yes, we typically have extra, but I never want to have to worry about running out of diapers! Same with wipes- we take a brand new single pack with us every time. Since this was obviously a beach trip for us, we took plenty of swimmies for the ocean.

Shoes- Stick to 1 or 2 Pair

This is where I tend to go a little overboard. I love shoes. I love little boy shoes. But my son is a size 7 now, so his shoes take up a fair amount of room. I took 2 pairs that I knew would be able to match any of his clothes. I was also able to stuff these in the side pockets of his bag so they didn’t take up any inside space.

Clothes- Mix and Match

As Oliver is getting older, I’m getting a litttle bit better at not needing to plan coordinating outfits for him (also this kid just prefers to be naked. All the time.), so I was able to pick 2-3 pairs of shorts and 4-5 shirts and we were good to go. To be honest, I did originally overpack for him, but I had to pare his stuff way down to fit Zoey’s things, and I was so glad! Especially because we were at the beach- he was in a bathing suit all day and didn’t require that many outfit changes!

Toddler Packing Tips + Checklist

Blankets/Shade- So Necessary!

This one is pretty beach specific. I was so nervous about Oliver napping- he is a mess when he doesn’t nap, but I wasn’t wanting to have to leave the beach every afternoon only to have to come back. Luckily this kid played hard, and he dropped hard. He fell asleep on me, then easily laid down on a blanket under a canopy. We had one like this one and it worked so perfectly! Plenty of shade and lots of room to move around. And no one had to hold a 30 pound toddler for 2 hours, and the canopy kept me from worrying about him being exposed to sun. The blankets also made it way more comfortable for him to nap for 2 hours.

Toddler Packing Tips + Checklist

Snacks- More is best!

So that adage less is more? Not when it come to snacks for toddlers. Take all of the snacks. And I know snacks are on any list ever having to do with toddlers…that’s for a reason. Have you ever been around a hangry toddler? No exaggeration, it is the worst. So I went to Aldi before our trip (you can’t find snacks anywhere cheaper, I swear it) and stocked up on applesauce and yogurt pouches, crackers, fruit, cinnamon bread- we had 2 bags full of food. There are no concession stands at the beach, so if your toddler comes up to you wanting food…it’s best to have it!

Toys- Just a few!

Wherever we go, I try to take a few toys for Oliver. I want him to have something to entertain him a little. However, I try really hard to make sure I don’t overdo it! On this trip we took his dinosaurs (because he’s obsessed) and a car or two. It was his birthday on the trip, so we took one present. Toys take up a lot of room, y’all. There is generally a lot going on, so your toddler will have plenty to occupy him/her. Don’t over pack here!

In our many trips with kids, I’ve basically just come to the conclusion that you do not need as much as you think you do! Pack the essentials first so you know you have room! And once I’ve packed, I almost always go back through to make sure I absolutely need everything. Every time I end up being able to take some things out and save some space.

If you’re traveling with a toddler soon- good luck and have fun! 🙂

Don’t forget to sign up above or below to get your printable toddler packing checklist!

Have a phenomenal day!

Toddler Packing Tips + Checklist

Toddler Packing Tips + Checklist


  1. Jess

    July 18, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Very well said! He looks like he had a blast 🙂

    1. Alex

      July 21, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Thank you! He had such a great time! 🙂

  2. Emily @ Pizza & Pull-ups

    July 18, 2017 at 6:51 am

    I am totally saving my this for a trip we are taking next month. Thanks!

    1. Alex

      July 21, 2017 at 9:23 am

      thanks so much for reading! 🙂

  3. Megan | LoveFamilyHealth

    July 18, 2017 at 7:06 am

    This is a great post! I am ALWAYS the on packing the ENTIRE family for our trips and this will for sure some in handy! Signing up for your email list!

    1. Alex

      July 21, 2017 at 9:24 am

      Yes, it’s so hard to remember everything when you’re doing the bulk of the planning! Thank you so much! 🙂

  4. Laura

    July 18, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Yes, it’s so crazy how much stuff we can end up packing for our kids! Thanks for sharing this, especially love the tip of 1-2 pairs of shoes. We are overseas right now and we’ve brought two pairs for each of us, and my daughter has seriously only used the one pair the whole trip!

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Yes, kids really don’t need that many options and they start taking up so much space as they get older!

  5. Leighann

    July 18, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Yesss! Great tips. Mix and match clothing is SO much easier! And snacks all the way!

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      Definitely! Thank you so much 🙂

  6. Melissa Javan

    July 18, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Blankets and shade is probably one thing I would forget. Great reminder this. We often go on long drives to visit family members. I need to get an umbrella or something for shade for the beach, SOON

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Yes, so important for kiddos to be able to have a break from the sun!

  7. Kim

    July 18, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Totally Saving this for the next trip! This is so helpful! I am always forgetting something. Great tips!

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Thank you so much- so glad you found it helpful!

  8. Ashley

    July 18, 2017 at 10:34 am

    More snacks, less toys! Haha you are so right! I have not tried the beach during nap time, I just don’t think my girl will nap out there. Your son did so good! Great tips here!

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      I didn’t think my son would, but he played so hard until he just couldn’t go anymore, and he generally passed out before we even got back up to the blankets! haha Thank you! 🙂

  9. Tina

    July 18, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Great tips! It’s so nice to have a checklist laid out for those of us who are last minute packers! This way I just use your guidelines and I know I’m covered! Thanks

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      You’re welcome, so glad you found it useful! Thanks for reading!

  10. Essence B Underwood

    July 18, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    This is super helpful! My older two haven’t been toddlers in years so I will be out of practice by the time my younges hits toddler years! Saving this!

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      So glad you found it helpful!

  11. Yes I'm That Mom

    July 18, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Great list! I am a habitual overpacked lol will be putting this to use!!!

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      It’s so hard not to! I always go back through after I pack and can generally find a few items I don’t actually need!

  12. Jamilah Miller

    July 18, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Great points especially for the traveling parent. And realistic, simple tricks to packing light . Following blog as well 🙂

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you so much!! I so appreciate that! 🙂

  13. Erin

    July 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Love this! Headed to the beach this weekend, so this helped me a lot! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      So glad you found it useful! 🙂

  14. Jenny

    July 18, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    This is a great list of essential items! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks so much for reading 🙂

  15. Amanda

    July 18, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Great suggestions! I love my two-year-old’s Crocs as a versatile travel shoe. They sure do take a lot of space!

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      They do! I could have just taken one pair and been perfectly fine!

  16. Brittany Ferrell

    July 18, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I thought I was an over-packer already and then I had a toddler! You have to be prepared for toddler life and that necessarily entails overpacking! I completely agree with stocking up with the essentials and snacks! You never, ever want to run out of diapers or snacks with a toddler! I also love that you included less toys. You are so right, they take up too much space and plus the fun of a vacation is way more exciting than a toy anyway! Great post!

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      Yes, we took a few toys for my son and he played with them a little, but hardly at all! There is so much going on to stimulate them that they don’t need the extra entertainment! Much rather use that space for non-negotiables! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  17. jhilmil

    July 19, 2017 at 4:01 am

    Perfect & I’m so happy that I too plan my trips with similar checklists. I usually packed lot more things to eat, knowing him as a picky eater, but I guess many parents do that!

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      So glad to hear! Yes, I think snacks are a high priority for any toddler! Thanks for reading! 🙂

  18. April Kitchens

    July 19, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Great tips. Shade is soo necessary! The beach can be exhausting without shade.

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Yes, it really can be! Especially for little kids- we had to make sure he was taking some breaks!

  19. Amy White

    July 19, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Great list! I’m just entering toddler land and finding out that it is a whole different ball game. The whole food thing is 100% spot on.

    1. Alex

      July 20, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      Yes! It changes so much between baby and toddler! Thanks for reading!

  20. angie

    July 24, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    our little guys and gals need so much but if we are able to have a list like this it will make life so much easier
    thanks for sharing
    come see us at

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