As a traveling Mom who has taken her one-year-old to 10 countries and 20 states, I have truly tried all the products – the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the 50+ flights I’ve taken with my toddler, trial and error has taught me the exact formula to toddler travel packing success, which translates to “I’ve made the mistakes, so you don’t have to.”  I’m also a minimalist traveler who is ride or die *Team Carry On* so I only pack the essentials. I also plan out exactly what we’re going to need while traveling because a little bit of preparation goes a long way. Whether you’re traveling with a baby or a toddler, here is my list of the toddler travel essentials for your traveling toddler:

The Main Toddler Travel Staples

  • A car seat: We like to use our FAA approved car seat in the airplane seat and when we get to our destination. If you aren’t using a car seat on the flight, but still want to travel with it, you can gate check it for free. Please note that if you want to bring your car seat on board, it must have an official sticker from the FAA permitting it on board. We also use this car seat bag if we’re gate checking the car seat.
  • A Trusty Travel Diaper Bag: We always travel with our No Reception Diaper Bag. Use the code Roamaroo20 for $20 off.
  • A Compact Stroller: We love using the Bugaboo Butterfly, which is a stroller that folds up to fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you. You can also gate check a stroller for free.
  • Baby Carrier: Baby wearing / toddler wearing is a must on travel days because it keeps your hands free. I personally like the ErgoBaby Omni 360, which I wear when I board flights and when I’m deplaning.

Toddler Travel Sleep Essentials:

  • Get your Slumberpod today! This is a portable blackout tent that fits over the pack & play and it is one of our top 3 must have toddler travel items. Parents can keep the lights on while your toddler sleeps in complete darkness. It also folds up small enough to fit in a carry-on suitcase! Use the Code Roamaroo for $20 off your order
  • A Travel Crib: The Guava Lotus is our go to travel crib for babies and toddlers. It packs into a backpack and can fit in the overhead compartment on an airplane.
  • Transform Toddler Sleep with SlumberTot Inflatable Bed If your toddler has graduated to a toddler bed, this inflatable toddler bed is a must! Use the code Roamaroo for $20 off your order!
  • Nanit: The Nanit is our go to baby monitor. We use it at home, and we also travel with it on the road. It connects to WiFi so if the hotel doesn’t have a password protected WiFi, you can ask the front desk if they have a password protected WiFi for a baby monitor. As an alternative, you can also hot spot to your phone.

Toddler Travel Essentials for the Airplane:

  • Water Bottle: Bring a portable water bottle that also has a top to protect from germs. Older toddlers will love this Yeti version, too.
  • Portable Sound Machine: We use a portable sound machine on the airplane and when we get to our destination.
  • Silicone Mat: Silicone placemats are game changers for travel. They can be used at restaurants or on the tray table to create a clean surface.
  • Snack Cup: Bring a snack cup so your toddler can easily access snacks throughout your travel day.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Whether you like using gel or wipes, find a hand sanitizer you like and bring it with you in case you can’t wash your hands.
  • Antibacterial wipes: We wipe down everything – tray tables, seats, seat belts, etc. Airplanes are disgusting and toddlers like to lick everything.
  • iPad: As much as I’d love to say we go screen free, that’s just not the case. Travel days are about surviving and that’s where the iPad + Miss Rachel come in. Parents, do what you need to do to survive the day – judgement free!
  • Lovevery Toys: We subscribe to Lovevery so we receive new developmentally appropriate toys every few months. If we have a trip coming up, we’ll try to save a few toys for the day of travel to present new toys. These novel toys help keep our daughter focused and engaged.
  • Books: We typically bring ~3 books with us, 1 of which is a current favorite bedtime book so that our daughter can feel the comforts of home no matter where we are in the world.
  • Crayons: These crayons are fabulous to travel with! We typically have our daughter choose 5 crayons to travel with out of the bunch.
  • Make a Face Sticker book: This book is the best for toddler travel! This two-in-one sticker book and coloring book keeps her occupied for travel days and at restaurants.
  • Coloring Book: If your toddler isn’t ready for stickers yet or you, the parent, just don’t want to deal with stickers (no judgement!), this coloring book is perfect for travel days.
  • AirTags: Put these in any pieces of luggage that you’ll be checking so that you can track the location of your luggage. Since these are small batteries, please be sure to secure them and keep them away from children.


  • Travel Highchair: This travel booster seat can work on its own on the floor or it can be attached to a regular chair at a table.
  • Rent your gear! There are baby rental services like BabyQuip and Babonbo (overseas) where you can rent gear in the destination that you’re traveling to. This makes it super easy to travel light while still having creature comforts from home.