Given that we are headed to the beach for a week with our 14 month old, it seemed like the perfect time to write this post. If you are pulling your hair out planning your next trip, here are a few things that might help you with your next trip! I’ll also include a packing list at the end of the post in case that’s helpful.
- Select Toddler Friendly Location (if possible): Now you may be forced to go somewhere that isn’t where you would pick, if so, you can still follow the remaining tips. However, if you do have a choice, chose thoughtfully. We find it easier to travel to locations where we can drive since we typically haul along so much with us. It’s also easier staying in a hotel or a house (ideally with a kitchen) that doesn’t have endless hazards. A house may be absolutely beautiful, but if the goal is to relax, you may not want to spend a week chasing your toddler away from breakable/dangerous areas. We also prefer areas that have a lot of family activities and places to eat. If your only choices in the area are fast food or fine dining, you may end up regretting it.
- Rent what you can: Unless you have a huge vehicle, typically the hardest part about packing is getting everything to fit in your car. Try to rent/buy some of what you need where you are staying. For example, if you are renting a House or staying at a hotel, see if you can rent a highchair or portable crib (if you are comfortable with it). If you are going to the beach, look into renting beach chairs or an umbrella. For food items or disposable items, I also try to buy when we arrive instead of hauling everything with us.
- Do a Grocery Pickup Order: Many grocery stores are now offering delivery or grocery pickup where you can place an order for your groceries online and then simply stop by to pay and pick them up without ever having to leave your car. This does normally cost a nominal fee (although sometimes there are specials where this fee is waived). We love using this when we travel because no one wants to spend all day driving, unload the car, and then head back out to do grocery shopping. We just do a quick pickup on the way in, and we are all set!
- Don’t Forget Must Have Items: Sure, you can make do without many items that you have at home, but before deciding not to bring something, imagine spending the time without it. Ask yourself how long you will be there (your decision will likely be different for a weekend trip vs. a full week) and what you will do instead. For me, must haves are a highchair, gate for blocking stairs, and portable crib. In some situations, I would sacrifice the first two, but never the last.
- Bring the Sunscreen: Even if you don’t think you will be outdoors much and it’s the dead of winter, you’ll inevitably end up somewhere unexpected, and it will be a bright sunshiny day. Go ahead and pack it just in case. You may be fine, but please make sure your protect your toddler’s skin. They have a lifetime of living with it!
Toddler Packing List (obviously bring all your usual items for yourself too!)
- Regular Diapers
- Swim Diapers
- Diaper Bag
- Changing Pad
- Toiletries (Shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers, brush, diaper cream)
- Toddler safe high SPF sunscreen (we like the ThinkBaby brand)
- Insect Repellant
- Portable Crib/Pack N Play
- Crib Sheets (2)
- Baby Monitor
- Baby Gate (if there are stairs)
- Sound Machine (optional, but we always bring ours)
- High Chair (or portable feeding chair)
- Sippy Cups
- Rubber Tipped or Plastic Spoons
- Beach Towels
- Beach Chair
- Dressy Outfits
- Casual Outfits
- Swimsuit/Swim trunks
- Cover up
- Beach Toys (optional)
- Float/Inflatable Pool/Puddle Jumper (depending on your child’s age and where you are staying)
- Baby Carrier
- Toys & Books
- Wearable Blanket/Blanket
- Security/Comfort Object (Blankie or Stuffed animal)
- Medicine (if your child uses any)
- Laundry Detergent
Do you have any tips to share or extra items not on my packing list? If so, please leave in a comment below.