Are you off on holiday this summer and looking for some top toddler packing tips? Gillian from A Baby On Board has shared some fantastic advice with us.

As any parent knows, children inevitably come with a lot of luggage. The days of taking one small carry-on bag are far behind you, sadly! When everything is important it can also be difficult to know what to take and what to leave behind, as well as the best ways of transporting it all to your dream destination.

So from our tried and tested experience, here’s ten tips for toddler packing, which work from nights away to long-haul breaks:

  1. Think about your luggage: If you have a pram to push, toddler hands to hold, car seats to juggle as well as all that other motherhood stuff, a suitcase might not be your best option. When we go away we now take fabric holdalls with wide straps instead of more solid luggage. These are useful because you can carry them over your shoulder leaving your hands free (and you can also ram loads more in – useful when space is at a premium).

toddler packing

  1. Pack with toddlers out of the way: If you want an easy life! It’s much quicker to do it when they’re not around as you don’t have to run around after them and keep re-packing once they’ve taken everything out, again. Make the most of naptimes or do it when they’ve gone to bed.
  1. And once you’ve started packing, don’t let them at the luggage: They’ll either unpack it behind your back – increasing the likelihood of you arriving at your destination minus something important – or put random things in the case (we recently arrived at a weekend away, unpacked and found ten odd socks that someone had added at the last minute).
  1. Pack light…for you: When space and weight are at a premium, you are far down on the list of priorities. It’s time to perfect that long-discussed capsule holiday wardrobe. Take light, easy to handwash items and anything multi-purpose – like a jumpsuit that can double as trousers or a bikini that works as a bra – is good.
  1. But pack as much as possible…for them: As any parent of toddler knows you’re never more than two seconds away from a messy handprint or potential spillage. You can never have too many vests, pyjamas, t-shirts, trousers, tops…
  1. Pack LOTS of distractions: Anything that will entertain them on the journey or when you arrive is worth its weight in gold. Take child-suitable headphones for the iPad, sticker books, colouring, favourite toys and snacks.
  1. Get as much as possible at your destination: While you need to take important things (medication, just-in case Calpol, favourite toys, enough wipes and nappies to last) unless you’re going somewhere really remote the chances are there’ll be a shop for you to stock up once you arrive. It’ll save on space if you don’t take two weeks’ worth of nappies in your bag.

toddler packing

  1. Mix it up: Don’t put all of each person’s things in one bag only, spread them all across your cases. This way if one goes missing en route you won’t arrive with nothing for the toddler (nightmare).
  1. Roll things up! When you have a lot of clothes to take and not much space you can fit more in if you roll things up, sausage-style (you can see this in my toddler packing YouTube video).
  1. Let them have their own bag: We pack a smaller hand bag for our toddler as it’ll give them something fun to discover on the journey, and fill this with a few sticker books, snacks and surprises for the journey.


Credit: Gillian from A Baby On Board has been working with Villa Holiday specialists James Villa Holidays, helping families pack effectively for their summer holidays as part of the company’s latest series of How To Guides