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)!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase something through the links. See my full disclosure policy here.
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!
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.
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!