Friday, November 16, 2012

10 Tips on Packing for Tots

Well, it's that time again in our household...time to pack up and take a trip! We are heading north for a thanksgiving trip that I am so super thrilled about! Of course, the hard part is all the packing. Now, after I have packed for myself - and no, I don't pack for my hubby b/c he would hate everything I picked out - I must pack for the little one.

I feel relatively used to this packing thing. After all, little O has been on many trips with us since his birth including two complete road trips to Pensacola, FL; a plane trip to California; a plane trip to NYC; a visit to Tennessee; a road trip to Louisville,KY; and a road trip to Atlanta, GA. So, this next trip is nothing new. We travel a lot! And I have tried to make my packing as precise, compact, and simple as possible. Trust me, going through the airport with a baby, stroller, and two bags can be quite the dramatic scene if you are not properly prepared. So, here's how I pack:

1. First I pull out my Toddler Packing List and get busy filling my suitcase and diaper bag according to the trip-appropriate list. Remember, if you are flying, you want to carry only what is absolutely needed, but do take what is needed. For instance, an extra outfit, although you may not need it, is necessary. You don't want to be stuck with no clothes for the little one. Also, check TSA guidelines for what can and can't be in your diaper bag.

2. You must be careful to think ahead at what your trip may hold. If you are staying in a hotel, you will need to take your own crib sheet and blanket. If you are staying with family, check to see if you need to tote the pack-n-play.

3. Check the weather. Go to and check out the forecast for where you will be to make sure you packed appropriate clothing.

4. Take a stroller. I always take my umbrella stroller when I am traveling. I am not worried about the airline ruining it, and it fits into the car nicely with all of our luggage (the big stroller takes up the entire trunk). It's also much easier to fold and unfold at the end of the jetway.

5. If you are going to be on a long flight or long road trip, bring some form of entertainment. We love books and small toys that keep little minds occupied. It is also wise to keep your little one awake all through the check in and waiting-to-board process. This way, they will probably be ready to nap when you get on the plane. (Out of 14 take-offs, little O has only been awake for 1).

6. Bookbags serve as nice diaper bags when traveling by air. You can keep it on your back and still have two very functional arms! (Something I learned after trip #2).

7. Make sure you plan for meals for your little one. Most airlines will serve drinks (during which time you can get some apple juice to fill up that sippy), but you must think about your little one's mealtime and where you will be. Pack a PB&J if you will need it. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

8. Don't stress about those glaring eyes from the other passengers as you board the flight with an infant - Kids will be kids and you cannot control everything. If they ever cry at home, chances are they will cry on the plane at some point. On one of our trips, O actually didn't cry the entire flight, but a disgruntled passenger in front of us placed all the blame on him for the crying of a baby behind us. Oh WELL! it happens. Don't let it stress you out!

9. Sit by the window or on the aisle...not in the middle! Your baby, even if he is sleeping will take up more room. The window seat is my favorite because I can lay him in my arm, let him stretch out, and we still don't cross that imaginary line into the other passenger's bubble. Once my seat was in the middle of two, and I called the airline and had them switch me because of the baby! (they don't want unhappy passengers either).

10. Keep all documents in a handy spot. You have enough to hold on to and enough to worry about - don't worry about your documents. Keep your boarding passes, IDs, and a copy of baby's birth certificate all in one spot (like an outside zipper) that is easy to get to when you need it.

Hope this will help some fellow Moms in the future! As for me, I'm all packed and ready to go!

Here's the checklist that I use.

Toddler Packing List

For the suitcase:
o       Clothes (Pack one outfit per day plus 40% extra)
o      Pajamas
o      Socks
o      Shoes
o      Burp cloths
o      Coat (if needed)
o      Hat, gloves (if needed)
o      Crib sheet
o      Bed blanket
o      Blanket
o      Towel(s)
o      Washcloths
o      Toiletries:
o       Soap/Baby Wash
o       Shampoo
o       Lotion
o       Baby powder
o       Diaper rash cream
o       Vaseline
o       Q-tips
o       Cotton swabs
o       Brush
o     Diapers
o     Wipes
o     Extra Pacifier
o     Snacks/Food needed

For the carry-on:
o     Diapers
o     Wipes
o     Changing pad
o     Pacifier
o      Bottles/Sippy Cups (only what you must have before you get to your baggage)
o     Burp cloth
o     Snack cup
o      Medicines (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Cough)
o     Thermometer
o     Diaper rash cream
o      Milk (in cup)
o     Diaper disposal bags
o     Spare outfit
o     Bib
o     Spoons
o     Small toys/books

For the car (non-flight trip):
o     Diapers
o     Wipes
o     Changing pad
o     Pacifier
o     Bottles/Sippy Cups
o     Milk
o     Juice
o     Burp cloth
o     Snacks
o      Sandwiches/Meals (if stopping to get something will be difficult)
o     Medicines (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Cough)
o     Thermometer
o     Diaper rash cream
o     Diaper disposal bags
o     Spare outfit
o     Bib
o     Spoons
o     Toys and Books
o     Blanket
o     Music
o     Baby mirror

* TSA does not limit the amount of milk/formula or medicines allowed for infants as long as they are declared at the checkpoint. However, they will most likely perform a liquids test on the bottle/cup, so be prepared. 

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