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Travelling with Toddler Essentials

Written by Karli Steenkamp

Travelling with a toddler means that packing for a trip needs serious planning. Packing shouldn’t be a headache, but needs some thinking through. Whether you are travelling by car, plane or train, you need to have everything ready and nearby when a very demanding toddler is hungry or tired. There are a few travelling essentials that will make a trip a whole lot easier. 

The bag 

One of the biggest decisions is what bag to take, other than a suitcase. Choose a bag that is easy to carry, but can fit plenty of things. A backpack is a great idea because it is not in the way and you have two hands-free with a busy toddler.  

First Aid Kit 

When away from home, you want to be prepared for any incidents. Here is a list of things that will come in handy from cuts and bruises to stings and fevers. 

  • Plasters 
  • Antiseptic ointment or wipes 
  • Nose drops 
  • Thermometer 
  • Sting treatment 
  • Paracetamol or ibuprofen syrup 

Remember to take lots of tissues, sunscreen, and bug repellent. 

Everyday Essentials 

Always pack more clothes than what is needed. Have plenty of clothes in your luggage and a few extras in your carry-on. Even if you are going to a warm location, take a warm jacket or two if nights cool-down.  

If your toddler is still on nappies, make sure you have more than enough. Pull-ups are a great idea if your child is not toilet-trained as restrooms are not always available.  

Bottles and sippies must be taken with. Ensure that you have enough as you may not be able to wash them straight after they were used. Microwave sterilising bags are very handy and don’t take up too much space. Nappy disposable bags can have dual-purposes for dirty nappies or dirty clothes. 

Put your soap and lotions in smaller containers so that it is easily accessible when you need it. 


Whether you are flying or driving, have a snack or treat nearby. Be careful when having snacks that are high in sugar. A bouncy, tired child can make your trip a rollercoaster. Pack healthy snacks such as dried cereal or fruit, carrots, grapes or bananas, crackers or granola bars. Yogurt sachets can also fill a hungry tummy.  

If you are flying, eating a lolly drop is a good idea for take-off. This is often when little ones get an earache due to air pressure. 

If your child still drinks milk, be sure to take as much as you need. Many flights do not have fresh milk on board. When you do take any liquids on board, make sure you check with the airline about their security regulations if you are allowed to take it on the plane. Many airlines request that you buy liquids once you have gone through the security checkpoint.  

Things to keep them busy 

Sticker books will keep your toddler entertained for a few minutes. Luckily after that, there are reading and colouring books. A worthwhile investment will be a portable DVD player or an iPad. Download games on the iPad or movies that they can watch.  

Go to a cheap toy store and get as many interesting toys that you keep in a bag. These new toys will be a distraction and will keep them busy as each toy will be a surprise. 

It is very important to remember your child’s favourite toy or blanket to make them feel secure and have a little bit of home with them.  

When flying, it can be worth your while to get an inflatable pillow to put in-between your child’s seat and the next one. This allows your child to extend their legs or even lie down.

When you are packing, make sure you are organised and know where everything is. Pack well in advance so that you can pack calmly and not feel rushed. Ask your toddler to choose two or three toys that they want to take. Travelling should be fun and a well-packed trip will get you many happy miles.

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