Traveling with a toddler! Yikes. So in the past 6 months, I have traveled 3 times all road trips with my Husband and daughter (who turned 3 last week). I am still shocked that the 2’s are over and 3 has begun. A lot of changes and growth happens in year 2. However, not much has changed as far as what I pack. Below is a packing list of my toddler travel essentials (for toddlers age of 2 to 3) for traveling on the road. Really what toddler gear I bring depends on where we are going and what stage of potty training she has been in.
We traveled two times to Savannah, GA visiting my Husband’s family and we stayed at my mother-in-law’s home. The other road trip was a weekend vacation to St. Augustine, Florida, just the three of us. Aside from the obvious clothes, toiletries, diapers, toys, dolls, etc. Here are my tips on what to pack for going on a road trip with a toddler:
Toddler travel Essentials:
Portable potty training seat– I use 2 in1 Potette Plus Travel Potty. I brought this on our first trip when she was potty training. I no longer use this as she is now potty trained (except at night. We are still working on that). This potty seat comes with a travel bag that I could put inside my diaper bag and bring when going out. Also, this potty comes with liners, but we never used them. You can literally just put this seat on the toilet, and potty train right on the toilet.
Faucet extender. I use Prince Lionheart This is such a simple gadget, to make washing hands easy and struggle-free. Slip it on over the faucet and their struggle to reach the water is over. This gadget is small, easy to pack and we have used it on every trip.
Step Stool. I use Graco Step Stool. Self-explanatory. Graco comes in a variety of colors, they are sturdy and safe. Sofia uses hers to reach the bathroom sink, brush her teeth, and to reach the toilet. For the past 6 months if not longer has been in the “I want to do it” or “No help me” phase. This stool enables her to have her independence with minimal assistance to use the toilet, wash her hands and brush her teeth.
Portable cloth seat or a travel high chair. I have My Little Seat. You can see a picture of it folded up in in my blog post- “What’s in your diaper bag?” This trendy designed fabric portable seat is great for a number of reasons. I can bring this to a friend’s house instead of the hassle of bringing a big bulky booster seat, or to a restaurant as a backup in case they don’t have provisions. Portable convenience aside, this seat makes a great transition from high chair to chair. This seat has safety buckles too, but then it also ties around the back of the chair. So, even when Sofia (my daughter) is trying to be an escape artist, she cannot get out of the seat, because she is still strapped in. (I brought this on our first 2 trips, but I hardly ever use this now as she is taller and will sit in her booster seat without trying to escape like she did before.)
Foldable Booster Seat- OXO Tot Perch Now that she is older and taller, we use this booster seat, instead of the My Little Seat. This seat folds up so it makes it convenient for travel and compact storage and has a handle to carry. The cushion is urethane which is stain resistant and cleans easily. This doesn’t have buckles it is designed for an older toddler. I brought this on our last trip.
Travel Toddler Bed– Intext toddler bed. The bed comes with a hand pump and a storage bag. This design has two pieces, which is nice if you were really limited on space; you don’t have to use the edging. You can just use the insert. What I love most about it, is the two part design. The raised edge is designed to help prevent toddlers from falling out of the bed. This is what I bring if we are going to Savannah. You can read more about this bed in my post Travel Toddler Bed.
Baby Gate- Everyone has their own gate that fits their home. I wanted to bring our baby gate to the St. Augustine trip. However, my husband felt we didn’t need it and thought I was packing too much. Note to self, if you think you need something for your baby, just pack it. Or you could be like us shopping at 9:00 p.m., on your vacation, at a Walmart, 30 minutes away from your accommodations. Yes, this happened. We were staying in a condo through Home Away, and it had an upstairs and a downstairs. Sofia, of course, wanted to play on the stairs or climb the stairs or throw things down the stairs…you get the idea. So there we were trying to find a store that was still open and “nearby” that would have a baby gate for us to purchase. Good times!
Stroller– Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Stroller, Phantom On our trip to St. Augustine, because we were not spending the whole trip at the beach and were going to go site seeing, we brought our stroller. This Jogger Stroller is very handy to have, light weight, and easy to maneuver. If you are interested in a great weekend trip, try St. Augustine! We had a blast!
Toddler Travel Essentials For The Car:
Snacks or Food: I bring fruit and veggie pouches, grapes, string cheese, Cheerios, Crunchies, or Beanies, box juice, and water.
Car DVD Player: There are so many options. Bring whatever you like. We actually just borrow from a family member. It is simple to set up, as it attaches to the back of the passenger headrest. The only time she will watch TV in a car, will be on a road trip. Because we can borrow a car DVD Player, we just haven’t seen the need to purchase one.
I will say as she has gotten older having a car DVD on a road trip is a “must have” game changer. Sofia is just not interested in coloring, playdough, magnets, books or any games when sitting in the car seat for more than 15 minutes. Rather than listen to her scream that “she wants to get out of here” or random crying we let her watch movies. Don’t judge me! I would still bring your toddler’s favorite activities but have this DVD Player as a backup. Seriously, don’t be tortured.
Paper towels and a trash bag: Spilled juice, vomit, or whatever that a baby wipe might not be able to clean up or any trash you collect.
Spare set of clothes: I have a diaper bag packed in the car that I leave in the back seat area. Separate from the trunk, packed with a spare set of underwear, bottoms, tops and socks. She usually manages to spill something or get food on her clothes. It is much easier to grab a bag from the back seat to find a clean shirt, then trying to dig through the suitcases in the trunk.
Hope you found my list of toddler travel essentials helpful. Want a Free Packing List or access to my Free Resource Library? Become a subscriber!
Thanks for reading!