Toddler Holiday Checklist: Here's What You REALLY Need To Take

An open suitcase is on the bed, a toddler sits in one half smiling and there's a globe in the other.

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Image © skawee, under a Creative Commons license.

Planning a holiday with your toddler in the near future?

Whether home or abroad, there is always so much more to think about when you are going away with children in tow. Not only have you got to pack for yourself, but now there's also a small person (or people!) relying on you too.

It doesn't matter if you're going away for one night or 14 nights, you still seem to have to pack the same things when you are going away with a toddler. There's nothing worse than forgetting something important, so have a read through our toddler packing lists and make sure you're not caught short-handed. Although, it's also worth bearing in mind that these days you're never far from a shop so don't panic if you do forget something, it's probably not going to be too hard to find.

It's a great idea to start packing well in advance of your holiday so that you have time to check and double check you've got everything on your packing list. It will also give you time to purchase or borrow any essentials you may be missing. If you're going away with other families with children, it might be worth seeing if there are any items you can share to save on packing. The logistics of fitting everything in your cases or car can also take a bit of trial and error. Make sure everything you might need in an emergency is easily accessible such as wipes and spare clothes.

If you're taking a young baby on holiday, check out this list of essential things to take. And if you'll be heading off to the beach, take a look at these top tips for visiting with young children.

Holiday Packing Essentials

Wherever you're going on holiday with your toddler, you'll want to think about packing most of these things. Check with your accommodation to see what they provide, you may not need to take your own cot or stair gate, for example.

Toddler wearing sunglasses sitting on a suitcase on a country road looking happy everything has been packed for holiday.

Image © zaikina, under a Creative Commons license.

Car Seat - if you won't be using a car at all on your travels then you probably won't need to take your car seat. If you're using a hire car don't forget to check the manufacturer's guidelines to make sure your car seat fits.

Car window shade.

Pushchair - lightweight ones that are easy to fold make the best holiday pushchairs. It's also handy if it has a fairly spacious basket underneath for carrying your holiday essentials.

Sling/baby carrier.

Snacks. If you think you've packed enough snacks, pack some more.

Water bottles.

Entertainment such as books, stickers, colouring and toys.

Sun hat/winter hat and gloves.


Sun cream.

Changing bag with changing mat, wipes, nappies, nappy bags, cream. You'll probably want your changing bag to be something that is easy to carry around, such as a rucksack, and have lots of space for extras like clothes, snacks and toys.

Travel cot.

Cot sheet.

Baby monitor.

Clothes, clothes and more spare clothes! I think we all know you can never have enough, just in case.


Shoes (sandals, trainers, wellies).


Plastic bags (you never know when they might come in handy).


Sleep bag.

Any regular medication needed.

Calpol and Piriton.

First aid kit.

Swimming costume. UV protective swimsuits are perfect for keeping toddlers covered up and there's less skin to try and apply sun cream to.

Swim nappies.

Towels. Your accommodation may provide bath towels but not ones for the beach or pool.

Swim aids such as armbands.

Portable high chair. This will make eating out in restaurants easier.

Bed guard.



Travel stair gate.

Toothbrush and toothpaste.


Nail clippers. Those tiny nails grow so fast.

Toiletries including shampoo, bath bubbles and a flannel.

Lightweight blanket.


Mum smiling while she holds her toddler in her arms on the beach.

Image © senivpetro, under a Creative Commons license.

Holidays Abroad

Don't forget if you're flying on a plane you can only take a certain size of hand luggage on board with you and you'll need to make sure you have the absolute essentials in there. Nappies, wipes, drinks, snacks, entertainment and a change of clothes are all must-haves on board.

When travelling abroad don't forget to pack:


Medical insurance card.

Emergency contact information.

Travel adaptor.

Mosquito net.

Insect Repellent.

Camping Holidays

If it's your first camping holiday with your toddler it can be worth doing a trial night in a garden space beforehand to check you're all comfortable with your sleeping arrangements.

Camping packing essentials include:

Extra warm layers. It can get really cold at night so make sure you're layered up well to keep warm.


Toddler sized blow up bed.

Sleeping bag.

Portable bath or paddling pool. Usually, there are only showers on site so this can be a good option for bath time.

Toddler sized camping chair.

Two toddlers lying on their stomachs in their camping tent looking out the zip door.

Image © lunamarina, under a Creative Commons license.

Beach Holidays

If you'll be making a trip to the beach whilst on your family holiday, here are a few extra items to add to your checklist. Make sure you don't forget your swimming costume and sun cream too.

Beach shoes.

Pop up UV sun tent.

Wind break.

Buckets and spades. Toys like diggers and dump trucks are also popular in the sand.

Beach blanket.

Talcum powder for removing sand.

Pushchair sun shade.

Added Extras

These items are nice to have, but by no means essential, so don't worry if they're not in your suitcase.

Tablet and charger.

Earphones so no one else has to listen to the fifth episode of Paw Patrol on a long journey.

Portable DVD player.

Rucksack for your toddler to wear. Your child may want to feel included and take their own overnight bag. You could pack a nappy, change of clothes and some small toys in it for them to carry around and be your little helper!

Toddler cutlery.

Reusable straws.

Cool bag.

Portable blackout blind. You can get ones with suction cups so you can attach them to almost any window and stop the early evening and morning sun disturbing your child's sleep.


There's currently something extra to think about: making sure you're Covid-19 safe whilst on holiday. These packing list essentials will help keep you protected whilst you are away.


Hand sanitiser.

Antibacterial or sanitising wipes. It's sensible to wipe things down before and after using them.

Thermometer. It may be a good idea to have one on hand in case of a suspected high temperature.


Hand soap.  

Antibacterial spray.


Written By

Jessica Walrond-Robertshaw

Jess grew up in Surrey and now lives in Hampshire with her two-year-old son. They enjoy exploring together and finding new places to visit. They both love water and you're most likely to find them by the sea, a pond, a splash pad or in the garden doing water play. Jess also enjoys physical activities such as aerial acrobatics, paddle boarding and obstacle course racing.

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