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Our first trip as a family of four was to Thailand for 21 days. Our daughters, Violet was three years old, and Iris was eight months old. My husband and I had gone two years before, so we had a good idea of how kid-friendly, and not so kid friendly cities like Bangkok and Patong could be. We also knew how convenient grocery and convenience stores would be. Unfortunately, we still went a bit overboard with packing. Too much luggage made airport navigation extremely difficult and repacking between hotels was just awful. When I tell you, we learned an incredible life lesson that trip. Rule of thumb: there are kids in every country, so there were places to buy kid stuff there as well. After extensive review and reflection, we decided to create this packing list for a trip abroad with toddlers. We hope it makes your adventure a little easier. Don’t forget to download your free Toddler Packing Checklist at the bottom of this post.

Right amount of diapers to pack

Obviously, diapers are the first item on this packing list for a trip abroad with toddlers. In most places that we’ve traveled to, grocery or convenience stores were easy to find. If your kiddos are wearing a diaper, it might serve you well to only add enough to your packing list for 2-3 days and purchase small packs of diapers as you go. Having enough diapers to get through a few days at a time works great for us and it frees up space in a suitcase or eliminates one altogether.

toddlers sitting in front of suitcase full of items needed for a family vacation
Packing list no-no. Too much stuff

Packing enough formula

On our family vacation to Thailand traveled with our formula fed 8-month-old I packed three 36 oz cans of formula for a 21-day trip. We ran out 5 days before heading home. We didn’t realize how the heat; activity level and stress of a new environment would affect her milk intake. Babies find comfort in feeding and it was hot! I was able to find the baby formula for her, but it was harder than I thought it would be. Labels were in Thai and their selection was way different. If your traveling with a baby, make sure you have extra formula on your packing list unless you’re able to read labels in the native language. Your suitcase will be heavy at first, but it’ll lighten up later leaving you more room for souvenirs.

Packing tops, bottoms and undies

Kids manage to get sticky no matter where they are in the world. Luckily, children’s clothes are smaller than ours, so they don’t take up too much space — Pro-Tip: Research laundry services either in-house or in a near your hotel. My packing list always includes only 5 bottoms and five tops and seven undies, more than enough for most destinations. Also, don’t forget to take into account all the cool elephant pants and t-shirts you’ll likely pick up. Keep an eye on the weather and plan for an unexpected rain shower. Seems like when traveling with kids, there’s always a surprise rain shower.

Toddler standing in front of a stack of packed suitcases ready to go on a trip abroad
Desperately Seeking a Packing List

First-Aid on your family vacation

I never travel anywhere without hydrocortisone cream, children’s Tylenol, Benadryl and Neosporin. If I’m lucky I won’t need it, but I certainly do not want to be without it if I must.

Miscellaneous items for a trip abroad with toddlers.

  • Travel toilet paper 1-2 rolls (all restrooms are not created equally) and when traveling with kids, you want to be prepared.
  • Baby and backpack carriers for small kids. Why? It’s easier to navigate in crowds than a stroller. You also don’t have to worry about uneven or lack of paved streets and walkways. When shopping for a backpack carrier, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association has certified three brands of backpack carriers: Chicco, Kelty Kids, and Kokopax, LLC. We also loved the Cool Air Mesh Carrier by Ergo because of the soft mesh fabric is durable and keeps the wearer and child cool & comfortable. Click here for help finding the perfect backpack carrier
  • Hand sanitizer and wet wipes.
  • Sunscreen
  • Copies of birth certificates and recent vaccination record
  •  Mosquito repellant
  • Sippy cups. Why? Airplane cups are small and hard enough for grown-ups not to spill. Get something without a straw, durable and easy to clean, as you’ll be hand washing them yourself.
  • Don’t forget your RoamRight travel insurance.
  • Water bottle

Did I miss anything? What do you pack when preparing for a trip abroad with toddlers? Drop us a line and let us know.

For a complete shopping guide, check out our Amazon suggestion list for more family travel gear, gizmos, and necessitie.


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To read more about our trip to Bangkok, see A Guide to Traveling to Bangkok with Toddlers.

toddler in airport wearing backpack. Text overlay.
Toddler Abroad Packing List

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