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Blog Home Toddler Years What’s In Your Suitcase: 5 Packing Tips For Family Travel
Toddler Years

What’s In Your Suitcase: 5 Packing Tips For Family Travel

By Pehr
Feb 16, 2024

There’s nothing quite like your first trip as a family with little ones in tow! It’s exciting, it’s a busy season of life (you could all use a vacation!) and it’s also a venture into the unknown. The first time doing anything with littles can be a bit confusing (should I bring a car seat, and where’s that travel crib going to fit?). With our smart travel guide, we take the guesswork out of what to pack when you’re hitting the road with littles so you can relax, catch some rays and explore new places with the whole family. 

A mother and daughter wear matching Checkmate while building a tower of blocks.
Match With Mini

Packing With Babies And Toddlers

As your little one grows, all their accessories and baby gear will begin to dwindle. Once your little one reaches toddlerhood, they probably won’t need a travel high chair and they might be able to sleep in a big bed. A lot changes in these early years so the age of your littles will determine what essentials you have to bring when away from home. 

Whether you’re heading out on a country escape or on your way to another city, beating the winter blues with a beach getaway or starting to plan ahead for summer trips, here’s our top 5 tips for what to pack when traveling with littles. 

A mom puts an On The Go pouch in their On The Go diaper bag.
On The Go Travel

  1. Travel crib or pack and play. If you’re flying, a travel crib may be the lightest option that easily folds away. Pack and plays are a great option for a traveling bed because they’re usually big enough for babies and young toddlers to use as a safe space to read, play and practice pulling themselves up. If your accommodations aren’t baby proofed, it’s helpful to have somewhere to put your little one safely when you need to do something. If your little one has never slept in one before, give the travel crib a test drive before the trip so they’re familiar with the sleeping space. Don’t forget to bring sleep essentials like a sleep bag, organic cotton sleepwear, baby monitor, noise machine and lovey.  
  2. A small suitcase of clothing. Pack versatile pieces that can be layered like the snap one-piece in blueberry or lemon to keep your bags light. Especially if you are traveling somewhere warm and tropical, your little ones will be living in their swimsuits (and a few short sleeve t-shirts). Find out if there’s laundry on site so you don’t have to bring too many extras to swap out dirty clothing midday. Create the perfect mama and mini photo op with cute organic cotton outfits for your littles and the Women’s Checkmate Top and make sure to bring a few special pieces for dining out together. 
  3. The ultimate diaper bag. Pack all your little one’s daytime essentials in the diaper bag, along with a portable changing pad and On The Go Pouches to keep small accessories like soothers, teethers, loveys and wipes neatly tucked away. Pack everything you’ll need for the whole day - a cozy towel or hooded poncho towel are ideal for lounging poolside or building sand castles on the beach. If you’re introducing baby to swimming, pack a couple swimsuits (and swim diapers), a change of clothing and sunglasses, too.
  4. Sun gear and shade essentials. Pack the sun block, UV protected rash guards and swim tops, beach umbrellas and bucket hats (a wide brim is perfect for protecting your little one’s delicate skin). Bring a couple bucket hats to mix and match with clothing (they’re reversible, too!). A foldable travel stroller is light and compact - and it offers some shade for long days exploring in the sunshine. Sun safety for littles is especially important when traveling to hot southern climates so prepare yourself for the day before you head out. Choose organic cotton outfits that will breathe in hot weather and lightweight shorts or pants to give your littles an extra layer of protection from the sun’s rays. 
  5. High chair or booster seat. If your baby has graduated from their high chair, a booster seat is the next step in eating at the table with everyone else. Toddlers can usually sit at the table and eat without a booster seat but you’ll need to make sure they are safe at meal time (and expect some running around in between bites). If you will be staying at a hotel or resort, there’s a good chance they have high chairs and boosters for you to use during your stay. 


Traveling with little ones is an art that is always shifting. Though it may seem like you need all of the things, try to pare down what you bring, pack light and choose essential accessories that will make the trip easier for your family. We hope this guide to packing for littles helps you get organized and inspired for your next vacation!

Frequently Asked Questions

U.S. and Canadian citizen infants are not required to have a passport for travel by land or sea, but they are required to show their birth certificate. If not traveling with both parents, the Department of State suggests a consent letter accompany the parent and child. For travel by air, minors usually need a passport but if it’s a domestic flight, they may be able to present a birth certificate instead. Check with your airline and TSA ahead of time to determine any restrictions and make sure you have the appropriate documents ahead of your trip.

Many will agree that the best age to travel with a baby is between three and nine months, when babies aren’t yet mobile but are stronger than they were as newborns. Any time after age two is also considered an ideal time for a family trip.

Encourage your baby or toddler to swallow frequently while flying to equalize their ear pressure. Pacifiers and bottles are great tools as the sucking motion opens up the Eustachian tubes to allow air to flow more easily through the inner ear. Offer plenty of drinks throughout the flight to help prevent discomfort from changes in air pressure.

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