Packing the Perfect Toddler Travel Bag – That They Can Carry!

As I was starting to pack for our vacation, my daughter asked me if she could bring her own backpack too. “Of course!” I said! And then I had two thoughts run through my head. 1. “This is going to be such a relief! She can carry some of her own stuff through the airport and for the duration of our trip!” And 2. “Is she actually going to carry this around the entire time?! What if she doesn’t?! Oh well, let’s give it a shot!”

Amazon to the rescue for the perfect sized toddler backpack with pockets for storage and a clasp around the front so that my daughter wouldn’t try to take it off in the middle of the airport! Once it arrived, she was ecstatic to test it out and carry her stuff around the house.

Let’s move on to packing the essentials (careful not to make it too heavy for your little one!) Below is my list of favorite items to bring along while traveling with a toddler – that they can carry! Note that this isn’t my full travel packing list, just what I put in her backpack.

Dry Erase Workbooks and Markers These are my absolute favorite right now! Do you know what kids do with regular crayons and markers?! Color everything that they shouldn’t! These are stress-free, mess-free and can be used over and over for continuous learning! I brought three books with us to give my daughter some variety, and they kept her busy for both the flights as well as downtime in our hotel.

Travel size snacks Avoid overpriced airport food! Pack a few travel-sized snack packs like cereal, granola bars, fruit snacks, pretzels, crackers. You do not want a “hangry” toddler during a flight! Chewing or sucking on a sucker also helps reduce that terrible ear-popping sensation while flying.
*Keep travel snacks with you for those long hikes and travel excursions too.

Empty sippy cup/water bottle Complimentary drinks are given on the airplanes, but those cheap plastic cups on top of that tray are asking for a spill by your child! Once you get the juice or water, transfer it into your cup!

Extra outfit Always, always, always pack an extra outfit or two in your carry-on bag!! Spills, motion sickness or the possibility of an airline losing your luggage are all terrifying!

Dipers/Wipes If your toddler is still mastering potty training, I recommend tucking a few diapers into the backpack for those long trips and places where bathrooms aren’t quickly accessible (or anywhere close to being clean- gross!) Wipes are always great to have around not only for the bathroom, but for a quick sanitation of airport trays, hands, face, etc.

Sunglasses: Let your little one look out the window of the airplane without those crazy bright sunbeams blinding you!

Stuffed Animal/Blanket If you’re worried about your child being scared of a flight, then I would definitely recommend bringing their favorite stuffed animal or small blanket that can help with a stressful situation.


Phone/Tablet downloads I personally don’t care for much TV time when on vacation, but this can be a lifesaver for a rough flight (or when you don’t have good channels where you are staying!) Download a few shows and games. Make sure you don’t need to use any Wi-Fi to view them during the flight!

Binoculars This one is a hit with my daughter! She’s quite the little explorer and loves having them with her. They may or may not be of much use on the airplane, but as soon as you land and start exploring, your kid will have so much fun!

Activity book I opted to pack another activity book (in my bag) for something extra to do. This one is not dry-erase and slightly heavier, but it has so many learning activities, my daughter is never bored with this book.

Reading books about travel/place you’re visiting I like to give my daughter a rundown of where we are going, what we will be doing. So I will bring along travel brochures for her to look at, and just recently, I purchased a book about the state that we were visiting.

I am happy to report that my daughter made it the entire vacation without any complaints! I’d love to hear your airplane experiences with your little ones and what you like to bring along for your travels!

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