Travel Necessities: Bags Edition
Traveling with a Toddler

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We recently took a family vacation to the Bahamas. We stayed at our favorite resort, Baha Mar (full review here!). Michael and I have been to Baha Mar several times, it’s also where we got married! This trip was Weldon’s first trip to the Bahamas and first international trip! Michael and I used to be strictly carry-on-only travelers, but with Weldon, that’s just not possible. Traveling with a toddler requires a lot more gear! For context Weldon is two years old, so while he requires a lot of stuff, he doesn’t require as much as when he was a baby. We’ve significantly paired down our packing since his first flight in April 2021. I’m sharing the bags we checked, gate checked, and carried on to give you a better idea of how we make traveling with a toddler work.

Checked Luggage

For our main bags, I used two Large Away bags (full review of the bags here!). Michael and I are both big fans of Away luggage. We’ve had our bags for over five years, and they’ve held up great. The Large Away bag fits a ton! We flew Southwest on this particular trip so we checked these two bags for free.

In addition to our main luggage, we checked two additional items. I prefer to travel with Weldon’s travel crib. We use the Guava Lotus travel crib. I like knowing the setup and knowing what to expect with Weldon’s sleeping situation (we use the SlumberPod over the crib) . The crib is super compact and actually fits inside the Large Away bag, but because of the 50 pound weight limit on checked bags (without having to pay a fee), we decided to check the crib as a separate bag since cribs check for free!

Lastly, we checked our carseat bag that included our carseat and other random items like diapers, wipes, Weldon’s life jacket etc. I recently purchased this carseat to use as our “travel carseat.” It’s SO much lighter and less bulky than our everyday carseat we use at home. As with cribs, carseats also check for free!

Gate Checked Luggage

We always travel with our UppaBaby MINU stroller. It folds down with the push of a button. We have the MINU specific bag that we use to gate check the stroller. One caveat is that you have to remove the two back wheels of the stroller for it to fit properly in the bag. Michael usually takes on this task while I handle Weldon. The stroller fits in the overhead bin, but we always choose to gate check it just so we don’t have to deal with bringing it on the plane.

Carry On Luggage

For this trip, we each had our own backpack. I packed Michael’s NorthFace backpack, my Herschel backpack, and Weldon’s Dagne Dover diaper bag backpack. Michael’s backpack served as the snack bag for our travel day, and I used mine as the entertainment backpack. I kept all of Weldon’s usual items in his diaper bag. In addition to the three backpacks, I brought my CalPak belt bag to carry all of the items that I needed easy access to during our travel day like my wallet, passports, and boarding passes.

All together we checked four bags, gate checked one item, and carried on four items total. While it seems like a lot, it was pretty manageable for Michael and I to make our way through the airport with all of our gear. I hope this post was helpful! If you’re considering traveling with your kids, my advice is to just do it! Are there challenges along the way? Do you have to plan and pack farther in advance than usual? Are there bound to be hiccups? Yes, yes, and yes! But it’s all doable and totally worth it! I highly recommend traveling with your toddler!