Practical Packing for Tropical Toddler Trips

Practical Packing for Tropical Toddler Trips

Packing for a completely different climate when you have small kids is not easy.

Here is what we found tremendously useful on a tropical holiday with toddlers:

Random Things:

Yes, just regular masking tape. Originally I brought it so that my 15-month-old could play with it on the plane (tape on an airplane tray = solid 20 minutes of peace at least twice), but it ended up coming in handy for SO MANY other things.
For example when the windows of our room were not even a little airtight, and mosquitoes came and went as they pleased: tape. Fixing bags, sunscreen bottles, glasses, toys. Labeling things. Generally awesome for sticking things together.

Bringing all-purpose liquid soap (we had Dr. Bronners, but I’m sure any other liquid castille soap will do) is a game changer in South-East Asia. This was the thing we used the most, for washing hands, fruit, clothes, utensils and plates in our room. This type of soap can also be used to wash body and hair, so we were pretty set for the whole trip. Bringing soap and an occasional splash of hand sanitizer ensured healthy tummies.

For certain countries, this is a must. We bought a very cheap but good one in Thailand that I could stick on my head (better believe I looked cool), so that when we were on the move after nightfall we were able to see and be seen. Not everyone is big on street lights.

Pul diaper bags.
The waterproof pul lined bags usually used for cloth diapers can be used for so many other things! For wet stuff, for laundry or for keeping things dry.

Stickers with info on them.
We got these stickers (not sponsored, I just like the stickers, lots of other places sell them). They stick on clothes, shoes and other items, and don’t come off in the wash. I added my full name so if stuff was lost people could find me on Facebook, and my international phone number. We put them on everything, kid’s teddy bears, the Go Pro, our passports…

Wristbands with info on them.
These were mostly just for some peace of mind since our kids are used to being pretty free range in a safe environment. We got adjustable multiple-use wristbands (can be put on ankles too) with all our contact information.

Multiple use items:
Items of clothing you can use for multiple occasions. For example a sarong or a big lightweight cotton scarf/blanket. This can be used for everything! Last minute dress for you or emergency outfit for a kid who is soaking wet for whatever crazy reason it is this time. Create some shade, super useful if you don’t have the best stroller in the world (remember oxygen flow though). Blanket. Towel. Sheet. Creating privacy. Even for swiftly wiping up crap the kids spill in some embarrassingly fancy location.


For The Plane:
The plane you guys. My son slept for one hour out of 11. Bring ALL the entertainment and more importantly, ALL the snacks. Nobody has ever been as hungry as a kid on a long haul flight.

  • Snacks that take a long time to eat (lollipops take really long. Just saying).
  • Get a pill/medicine box with many little compartments and fill them up with cheerios, raisins and whatever little snacks can fit in there. Kids love this and mine sat playing with this for ages.
  • Stickers are everything. Even better if you can get ones that easily come off again…
  • Dry-erase books are great for almost all ages, and work at restaurants too once you are at your destination
  • With all the eating comes a lot of digesting…take as many diapers as you think you’ll need and then add another 5 🙂
  • Baby wipes and even hand sanitizer will guaranteed feel useful several times during a long flight with endlessly snacking kids.


Our “Just In Case” Packet:

  • Manuka honey for the tummies, a teaspoon a day or as needed.
  • Electrolytes for kids in powder form.
  • Pain medicine for kids and grownups .
  • Tons upon tons of not-too-toxic mosquito spray.
  • Essential oils, including lavender & peppermint (for calming down, easing nausea AND as an added bonus, mosquito’s and spiders hate them). Digize for any stomach discomfort, Panaway for soreness in muscles or joints, and Thieves for immune system support.
  • A card from our insurance stating that we have international health insurance coverage.


The Essentials:
When you are packing, try to think which items you could not do without, and put one of those in each bag (check-in and your carry-on). That way, if the checked bags are late, no big deal, you still have all the necessities.


My tip would be to bring a minimal amount of clothing.
One long sleeve item per body part per child and not much more of short sleeved items. Air out and hand wash as necessary (also, when super cheap: buy new as necessary, we had to get new tunics for the kids because white linen tunic: meet Indian food.)

Think functionality: not cold, not hot, not bitten.

You know those shorts/skirts/dresses in the back of your closet you save for a possible tropical trip? Odds are, if you never want to wear them at home, you’ll never want to wear them on holiday. Unless you truly loooove how you look in them. In my experience, you’ll bring 10 items and wear the 3 you love.

Roll everything up, stuff smaller items into other things to save space.


For The Parents:

Low-maintenance products
Something I find very handy on trips with the kids where I don’t have much time to groom myself, is a special little cloth from Enjo (again, not an ad, just a fan) that washes your face thoroughly in seconds without any soap.

Compression socks
For the flights. Trust me on this! Better circulation means feeling better, sleeping better, less jet lag and less water retention.

Try to relax
Bring something that helps you relax. Whether that be your melatonin, certain music, your book/kindle or something that makes you more comfortable during both the flight and the trip. There may not be many moments of me-time, but make sure you have something that feels comforting when you get those precious few minutes.
I brought my flotation gear last time, so those seconds I had to myself were spent in deep relaxation in the pool. (Again, you know the drill, not an ad). On our next trip, I also plan to bring my essential oil diffuser and noise cancelling headphones

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