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Traveling with toddlers can be such an exciting adventure, but let’s be honest, it can also be a bit challenging! I remember my first trip with my little one – I was overwhelmed with packing and making sure I had everything we needed. That’s why I’ve put together this list of 8 must-have items for traveling with toddlers. Trust me, having the right gear can make all the difference in keeping your little one happy, comfortable, and safe while on the go. So, whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer family vacation, these essential items will help you be prepared and organized for a smooth and enjoyable trip with your toddler.

Travel Stroller

One of the most important items to have when traveling with a toddler is a travel stroller. Lugging around a heavy, bulky stroller can be a real hassle. A lightweight and compact travel stroller is a game-changer. Look for one that’s easy to fold and unfold, so you can quickly get it in and out of cars or through airport security. Also, make sure it’s sturdy enough to handle different terrains, from city sidewalks to bumpy paths. A good travel stroller will not only provide your toddler with a comfy ride but also make your life a whole lot easier while exploring new places.

2 photos of the joolz aer + lightweight stroller. Open is fully open and the other is folded close
Joolz Aer + Lightweight Stroller - Nordstrom

I personally love the Joolz Aer+ lightweight stroller for traveling with toddlers. It’s lightweight and easy to fold and has an easy carry strap which makes it convenient to carry around when not in use. I like that it comes with a travel pouch that protects the stroller. The seat can also be reclined for comfortable naps.

Child Hip Carrier

As a mom I know my child doesn’t always want to be stuck in a stroller and it’s not always easy to carry them around when you want to explore. I remember during a visit to the aquarium, all my son wanted to do was be carried by me through the entire thing. This despite having a perfectly good stroller to sit in. A hip seat can help distribute their weight and make it easier for you to carry them around for a longer period of time. Your back and arms will thank you. It’s super comfy for the kiddos too, as they have a cushioned seat to rest themselves on. They are also super lightweight and compact so you can just throw them under your stroller or in your travel bag.

A woman wearing the tushbaby hip seat with a small child sitting a top, cuddled up to her side
TushBaby Hip Carrier

The Tush Baby hip carrier is a fantastic option for traveling with toddlers. It has four versatile carry positions so you and your child can choose what feels most comfortable. Plus, the five storage pockets are great for keeping essentials like snacks and toys within easy reach. I love the hideable bottle holder for easy feeding.

Baby Wipes and Sanitizer

My kids are past the diaper stage and I still buy wipes. They’re total lifesavers for quick clean-ups, whether it’s messy hands or unexpected spills. I always make sure to have gentle, hypoallergenic wipes on hand to avoid any skin irritations. And a travel-sized hand sanitizer is a must-have for keeping germs at bay, especially when soap and water aren’t around. These two items are definitely essentials for keeping things clean and tidy while on the go.

The Honest Company Baby Wipes - Amazon
Babyganic Foaming Travel Hand Sanitizer- Amazon

Life jackets

My kids love waterparks and lazy rivers, so I like to be prepared for water activities. A reliable life jacket is a non-negotiable item when hitting the beach or enjoying some water fun with your little one. I don’t just buy any life jacket that’s for sale online. It has to be manufactured by a trustworthy company and it needs to have passed regulations. I choose Coast Guard-approved life jackets specifically designed for toddlers to ensure it fits just right and provides the best protection in the water. You also want to select a color that is high contrast with water so that if it’s easier to locate. 

airhead lifejacket for infants with a red colored jacket and a yellow head support
Airhead Infant's General Purpose Life Jacket - Amazon

The Airhead Infant’s General Purpose Life Jacket is a standout choice. It’s from a trusted American company that’s been in business for decades and it’s Coast Guard approved. Being buoyant life jackets tend to float up and this life jacket has a crotch strap that makes sure it doesn’t flip off. I also like that it has a head support.

Travel Potty Seat

A travel potty seat is a must-have for making restroom visits easier when traveling with a potty-trained toddler. Regular toilet seats are just not made for kids to fit on so rather than having them put their mitts all over a random toilet seat with gods knows what on it, I choose to carry my own with me. I wipe it down with antibacterial wipes once they are done using it and put it in a separate bag to carry along.

Frida Travel toilet seat box packaging with a travel toilet on the display in front and the carry along bag it comes with on the left sides. It's a small white bag with a seafoam green draw string.
Frida Baby Fold And Go Potty Seat - Amazon

This is an awesome fold and go potty seat by Frida Baby. What I like about this toilet seat is that it is lightweight and folds to make it easy to carry. It also comes with it’s own carry along bag so once the kids are done using it, you can just wipe it down and put it back in this bag to keep separate from rest of your stuff.

First Aid And Medicine

Although getting sick on vacation is not something anyone wants to happen, it is better to be prepared in case it does happen. Don’t forget to pack a basic first aid kit and essential medicines when traveling with toddlers! Accidents and minor illnesses can happen anytime, anywhere, so it’s always better to be prepared. Include items like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, and adhesive tape in your first aid kit. As for medicines, pack child-friendly pain relievers, fever reducers, and any prescription medications your child may need. Having these essentials on hand will help you quickly address any minor mishaps or health concerns, ensuring a safer and more comfortable trip for your little one.

I also like to bring along pedialyte in case you need to replenish any lost electrolytes due to vomiting or diarrhea. I buy individual powder mix sleeves because they are light to carry and you just need a bottle of water to mix with. Just make sure to read the instructions to know how much water.

It’s also best to talk to your doctor to know what would be suitable for you to bring along for your children as you want to take age and allergies into consideration.

Portable Diaper Changing Mat

Alatino portable diaper changing mat folded close on display. There is another photo of it full open with a baby on it and also another photo showing that it can be hung on the back of a seat headrest
Alatino Portable Diaper Changing Pad - Amazon

This is a great diaper changing mat that has many pockets to store everything that you will need to change your baby’s diaper. There is a baby wipe dispenser attached so that you can easily grab some when you need them. You can also unzip and just carry only the change mat if you like. It is easy to clean. Just wipe it down and it’s good to go.

Sunscreen

Yellow bottle of SPF 50 Sunbum Sunscreen for kids
Sun Bum Sun Screen - Amazon

Sunscreen is a must-have item when traveling with toddlers, especially if you’re planning to spend time outdoors. Opt for a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your child’s delicate skin from harmful UV rays. 

This sunscreen by Sun Bum has high SPF coverage and it’s also reef friendly and water resistant for upto 80 minutes. When you travel to a lot of a tropical vacation spots. They usually that your sunscreen be reef friendly which means that is free of chemicals that may harm sea life. 

Make sure to apply it generously and reapply every couple of hours, or after swimming or sweating, to ensure continuous protection. Pack a travel-sized sunscreen in your diaper bag or daypack so you can easily reapply throughout the day. Protecting your toddler’s skin from the sun’s rays is essential for their health and well-being, making sunscreen a crucial item for any family adventure.

Alright, wrapping it up here. Traveling with toddlers can be a bit of a juggling act, but having the right gear definitely helps. From the Joolz Aer+ stroller and Tush Baby hip carrier to a handy travel potty seat and diaper changing mat, these essentials make life on the go a whole lot easier. And let’s not forget the sunscreen and first aid kit – always good to have on hand. So pack smart, stay prepared, and enjoy making some special memories with your little ones on your next family adventure. Safe travels, everyone!

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