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Everyone thinks that when you have kids you need to quadruple your suitcases and don’t get to bring anything for yourself. Not true! Keep reading to find out why!


The Secret to Packing with Babies and Toddlers

by Keryn Means



Table Of Contents



Our number of bags hasn’t changed at all. This is because there is a simple secret that most people don’t want you to know when it comes to traveling with kids: they are tiny, at least for a little while. Their baby travel gear is small too. Babies just don’t need a ton of stuff when you hit the road.

I find that I can pack myself and my 2 boys into one medium checked suitcase, a book bag, and a purse, still have room for my shoes, and an extra outfit or two in case I need options.

In fact, I did just that on a 5- week trip to Europe in October 2012.The key was organization, light mix and match layers, and knowing I would have access to a washing machine at least 2 of those weeks, and if not I could do a load in my hotel sink.


The secret to traveling light is to create a functional but minimalist capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide!


Here is a sample of what we brought with us:




Toddlers and Kids Packing List


  • 7 tops- half short sleeve, half long sleeve
  • 6 pairs of long trousers*
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 jacket or zip-up hooded sweatshirt (depending on weather)
  • 1 hat
  • 2 pairs of comfortable shoes
  • 2 pairs of pajamas


Activities: small ziplock bag of toys including a tiny model airplane for takeoff and landing, 5 crayons + tiny coloring book, tablet or smart phone for reading bedtime stories, watching movies, and playing games.


parents with little girls can swap out some long pants for leggings and skirts and/or dresses!





Baby Packing List


  • 4 onesies
  • 3 long sleeve tops
  • 1 short sleeve top
  • 4 pairs of long trousers
  • 1-2 pairs of shoes
  • 1 hat
  • 1 jacket or zip-up hooded sweatshirt (depending on weather)
  • Diapers & wipes for 2-3 days (buy more when you arrive)


  • Feeding: 3 baby spoons, 3 bottles, 1 bottle brush, formula and baby food for travel days to destination.
  • Activities: three small toys. This can include a Tupperware container of blocks (shake it, stack them, knock them over), a ball, and/or a roll of duck tape.


Use packing cubes to help you organize and even compress your belongings to maximize your space.


Extras and Baby Travel Gear


Cheap umbrella stroller (It’s OK if it breaks. You can replace on the road)

Baby carrier (my favorite is the ErgoBaby)

Car seats and booster seats (rent) I recommend renting these if possible or taking public transit. Carrying car seats across Europe would have been impossible traveling without another adult, and downright annoying with 2 of us. Most rental car companies will have seats available for a cost, but double check before you make your final decision.)

Baby medications (definitely pack your prescriptions. Most over the counter medications can be found in other countries. For more remote areas it is best, and sometimes easier, to bring your own).



A few last tips


While you may think you need more, you really don’t. Food, diapers, and even formula can be picked up in many destinations, especially in Europe. It may not be the exact brand you want, but whether they are Chinese, Mexican, Italian, or English diapers they will keep your baby dry.

As for toys, remember that you are bringing your children on an amazing adventure. Sticks, rocks, monuments, parks, and castles are their playmates on this trip. Plus you can always pick up a little special something along the way. Toy memories made on the road are the best kind.



LOVE these tips on toddler and baby travel gear and packing lists! Thank you so much Keryn! Don’t forget to check out her awesome family travel blog: Walking on Travels.

What are your packing tips for family travel?


For more packing tips, please read:


Hope you liked this toddler and baby travel gear packing list! Please share the love on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest! Thanks for reading!

Author: Keryn Means is the founder of Walking on Travels, a site that gives hope to today’s modern parent who doesn’t want to stop their lives; they simply bring their kids along for the ride. You can find Keryn dragging her 2 boys around Seattle most days and across the globe several times a year. Follow along on their adventures on Facebook and Twitter.