While going on an International trip with a toddler seems overwhelming, there are ways to break down the stress of packing, and make it manageable.

When I started making a packing list for our trip out of the country with our daughter since she entered “toddlerhood,” I used a packing list that had served us well when we flew with her as a baby.

I built on the list over the months, as she got older with new needs, and as more things came to mind on how to improve the checklist. Voilà: a toddler packing list for our international trip was born, based on her preferences and growth, and on our vacation destination overseas.

If you’re taking your first vacation abroad with a toddler, fear not: I’ve compartmentalized this toddler packing list into logical sections and topics. When you reference it, keep in mind that I used it for a 12-day trip to South America (warm weather) with our 14-month-old daughter.

Helpful Tip

You can click the box next to each packing list item to mark it as packed! Use this packing list as your running checklist as you’re packing.

Scroll down to see the list.

Top international travel essentials for a toddler

Here are a few items that are important first steps for any international traveler, but especially your little one.

  • Passport (Did you get your child a passport yet?)
  • Any other required travel documents (vaccinations, Global Entry, etc.)
  • Medications from home (mentioned below)
  • Phone numbers of doctors or specialty pediatric providers at your destination (also see how to avoid getting sick while traveling)
  • Snacks. For. The. Flight. 😊 (also mentioned below)
Helpful Tip

Get Global Entry for your child in a few easy steps so that you can return to the US with ease when the trip is over.


At an age between 1 and 2 years, we chose to take two straw cups (one for water, one for milk) for our child, and the cleaning accessories needed for those (our accommodation didn’t have a dishwasher). Your child may have different “favorite” cups, or other snacking/meal needs, so take that into account with travel-sized or pared-down versions of mealtime essentials.

Helpful Tip

We chose not to travel with a travel booster seat or travel high chair, simply out of space constraints. We were lucky to be staying with friends who had a high chair. We also made sure that our last accommodation could provide our room with a high chair. For all other times, we’d have our daughter sit on one of our laps or on the floor, for meal time.

For continued breastfeeding needs

Helpful Tip

If you are still breastfeeding or nursing past one year with your toddler, head to my guide on how to feed a baby while traveling, which has a robust list of nursing gear for trips.

Diaper changes

Using the Nike Convertible Diaper Bag, we can fit quite a lot of essentials and backup items for our toddler. It’s also an ideal personal item for a lap infant, just the same as when flying with a baby.

Mini diaper bag for flying

Using the Kibou diaper bag fanny pack has been a huge save for us, as it’s the only tiny diaper bag that can survive an airplane bathroom! Check out how it works in my guide to how to change a diaper on a plane.

Don’t miss the hottest minimalist diaper bag for traveling parents at our Kibou fanny pack review.


With sleep, the needs for your toddler may vary, and the overall packing checklist varies on what’s available at your destination and where you’ll stay. For example, we’ve taken our travel crib when we stay at Airbnbs, but when we’ve stayed in hotels or with friends who have a kid, there’s a crib or travel crib when we get there.

Regarding the list of sleep items below, your child may be low-maintenance or kind of high-maintenance. Consider that you may not have space for everything you imagine once you start packing your bags, and you can choose basics from this part of the packing list.

See our Guava Lotus travel crib review if you’re on the hunt for a new toddler travel crib that can be taken on a plane trip.

Helpful Tip

Toddler sleep is a big topic for us, and you can see more about what we’ve done to make staying in a hotel room with your toddler a little more palatable at this article about how to stay in a hotel with a baby.

Toiletries & medicine

This is where the list is a bit international-specific. If I travel domestically, I know I can pop into a CVS during regular hours and hopefully pick up infant pain reliever or fever reducer. When I travel internationally, the thought of this is a little more daunting, if the unexpected should occur.

With our trip to Colombia, we chose to take along our “favorite” medical remedies for our toddler, along with the regular toiletries for bathing and staying clean.

Stroller & carrying

The logistics around your car seat, stroller and maybe even chosen toddler carrier can be the most overwhelming when flying internationally with a toddler. For help with visualizing everything, I recommend checking out our tips for flying with multiple little kids in case you have more than one little person with you.

Helpful Tip

Check out our helpful list of tips for road trips with babies to see more on recommended items for bringing along if you will be renting a car on your vacation.


Clothes will vary on the climate of the trip, as well as the activities you’ll be doing with your toddler. Swimming at a hotel pool? Pack bathing suits. Skiing with family and friends? Bundle up!

  • Zippy pajamas (5)
  • 5-6 daytime outfits (shirts, onesies, shorts)
  • Socks (4-5 pairs)
  • Shoes (1 backup pair, aside from the ones being worn on the flight)
  • Water shoes for swim (optional)
  • Jacket (1) (optional)
  • Hoodie sweatshirt (1)
  • Swimsuit (1) (optional)
  • Sun hat (optional)


While some kids are picky with toys, ultimately it’s you (the parent) who gets to pack which ones fit in the luggage. I opt for “flat toys” that aren’t bulky, but do the trick when it comes to amusement. There’s also hopefully room for a new small toy that will be novel for everyone to play with on the flight.

  • “Flat toys” for the plane ride like a toddler busy board
  • Some other favorite toys that pack small

We have lots of suggestions for the toys to take on a plane or big trip at our list of the best products for traveling with a baby (or toddler).

How to pack for a toddler for a big overseas trip

I have two words for this: packing cubes. When I started packing our daughter’s warm-weather outfits and put them in a pile, I thought, “Shoot, I am packing way too much.”

Then I took out our newest Bagsmart packing cube, put all her outfits inside, and zipped up the compression zipper. The size it shrank to was incredible.

If you’re new to packing cubes or if you’re looking for new ones, check out Dan’s list of the best travel packing cubes and see which fit your needs (and your stuff).

Another tip is to use a tech bag, and this is our own homemade travel hack. We found that one of these travel tech bags is great for storing the electronic parts of our baby monitor, which we travel with when our daughter is staying in her own room at our destination.

A tech bag keeps the “screen” part of your monitor safe, and also keeps the cords and plugs neat and not messing with any other stuff you’ve packed.

What does a toddler need for an international or overseas trip?

The truth is, your toddler needs just what they’d need on a domestic trip of the same nature within your home country (let’s assume that you live in the US).

The difference is that with an overseas trip, you are usually flying. Some families pack super light, and some families are cool with checking a large or oversized suitcase per adult, with a lot of the child or toddler items and packing cubes inside.

Things in your “home” units of measurement

Some of the things I’ll focus on in this list are inspired by our first trip with our daughter to Canada, where one of the main differences was (despite Canada not being a very foreign country to travel in) that things are in Celsius.

If you would like to make sure you have an infant thermometer, a little room thermometer or something else in your chosen type of unit, bring along a mini version.

It depends on your luggage setup

In my list, consider that I will take most of these things, but not all. I’ve listed alternate ideas in case you really do have the space (some airlines still allow two full-sized checked bags per ticketed seat, and that may help you out a lot!).

We chose to take one checked bag, and we checked our car seat at baggage drop. The rest was carry-ons and packed as smartly as possible for us and our toddler.

Like my friend Cait mentioned in our list of travel accessories for families, note that if you are heading to Europe for vacation, your toddler’s car seat might require a seatbelt clip to keep a seatbelt in a locked position! They’re small enough to purchase beforehand just in case you need these in an Uber or taxi while abroad.

How did I come up with this toddler travel packing list?

I based this list off of the needs of a week of travel. Even though our Colombia trip was closer to two weeks, I knew we would have laundry access exactly halfway through the trip, because we were staying at our friends Alex and Ryan’s country house in Medellin, Colombia.

Lucky for us, they have a toddler as well, and have all the toddler needs we could wish for; however, we spent four days in Medellin at an apartment-hotel on our own after our stay with them. So, we had to have our versions of everything, from a travel-sized sound machine to toddler spoons and bibs.

I based this list on a running list I keep for our daughter on our trips. Every time I think of something, from either seeing it on social media or being recommended it by a friend, I add it. Basically, this packing checklist for a toddler is a work in progress, and is always improving!

Typically, I let the available space in our suitcase dictate how much we’re taking with us.

A background on the toddler medications part of this packing checklist

Some of the inspiration for this list came from our trip to Halifax, Canada when our daughter was eight months old. On that trip, she ran a fever, and it happened that the one thing we forgot to pack was a rectal thermometer. Unbelievable! We had to go out and buy a Celsius one in a jiffy.

This being said, and with the amount of illnesses we’ve seen in the last year, our packing checklists now contain all the medicines we like to have from home, especially when traveling internationally.

Consider that if your child gets sick while abroad, navigating drugstores or pharmacies in another language can be a little bit of an obstacle. We feel more confident in flying with things like Infant Motrin and Infant Tylenol (and/or children’s Benadryl, for any unforeseen allergic reactions).

What about running out of one of my toddler essentials?

For anything you run out of, or for anything you forget, remember: you can pick things up at your destination. People all over the world have toddlers, and there are toddler and child products in stores. They may just look a little different than what we’re used to at home!

For anything you can’t find at your destination, that’s when it pays to get creative (except maybe for diapers and medications).

Best luggage to take for packing for a toddler

On our first trip with our daughter, we tried to bring as little as possible, and still wound up with lots of different bags. But one thing probably won’t change for us, in traveling with one kid: we take one 24” checked suitcase. Check out my review of it, at my Quince hard shell suitcase review.