Essential International Packing Travel List: 3.5 Year Old Toddler 1 Year Old Baby

This is THE list if you are packing for small creatures. I’m still working on packing lists for different ages, though for you, I got you covered for a one year old baby and a 3.5 year old toddler.

The list is long, but it covers everything I could think of when packing. Everything. There are definitely items that are annoying to carry (extra medicine mainly) but you never know when you’ll need them. And of course if you don’t pack them, you’ll absolutely need them!

I included my favorite toys, essentials like diapers and wipes, medicine, extras, clothes and safety. You will need to think of the type of weather and location to make final decisions. Rainy weather = rain boots and raincoats. Winter weather = legging layers, snow boots, gloves, hat. You get the idea.

I use this packing list as my guide when traveling internationally to India and Sweden, but you can apply it anywhere for young children.

DOWNLOAD THE CHECKLIST PDF! Easy to print checklist for you.

HAND LUGGAGE:

Toddler:
Headphones
2-3 emergency diapers (even if your child is potty train you never know when you might them)
2 undies
1 pair pants
1 top
1 sweater
Toddler backpack
Toddler rolling back – optional but can be fun. Be prepared when toddler is tired, you will have to carry the bag.
1 blanket
1 neck pillow
2 packs stickers
1 plain notebook
Crayons
Markers
Favorite stuffed toy – if your kid has one, take it!
Water ink set from Melissa and Doug
Reusable water bottle

Duplos – a car, couple people or animals, few blocks
OR
Few wooden animal toys – always a success

Snacks – see below

Baby:
5 hours per diaper x trip length + 4 extra =
2 wipes packages (75 count) = I prefer two packages instead of giant package because if I lose the giant package, I have no more wipes!
1 warm outfit
2 pairs socks
Favorite stuffed toy
Duplo car and some people or animals
Reusable water bottle

Parental unit – Mom or Dad
Extra top
Headphones
Adult tylenol
Hairbrush
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Mouthwash
Hand sanitizer
Lotion/hand cream

Snacks:
Puffs – Cheerios or the like
Saltine crackers – Seriously, your life will thank you
Fresh fruit – this will help you on the first leg of the journey when fresh fruit is at a premium at 38,000 feet. Blueberries, bananas, and mandarin/clementine oranges are the least messy.

Bars – Larabar, granola bar, nature’s bar…whatever your children love.
Animal crackers – this is treat and a BIG hit for both kids.
Baby food pouches – even if your kids are no longer into those fruit, veggie pouches, take some! You never know when you will need them and you never know when there is a dearth of food options. I pack 6 pouches for a 36 hour door-to-door trip (three pouches/kid).

Candy – no, stop it. I know you and the children are going on a special trip but the last thing you need to do is offer sugar to them. There is nothing worse then giving young children a sugar high and no where to run it off! If you must, pack the candy for yourself in your purse.

Medicine:
The list below is a total hit or miss. If your children are not sick, then all is well and you do not need anything from below. If they get sick while traveling or are already sick, well, best to have everything with you! Remember, once you are on the plane, no one is giving you baby medicine to deal with fevers, coughing, etc.

Gripe water
Petroleum jelly
Ibuprofen
Baby Benadryl
Baby Tylenol/

CHECKED LUGGAGE
I am excluding all parent packing here and focusing on the kids only. Consider how many days your trip is (including travel time) and whether you will have access to laundry.

Baby potty – a Potette or something similar
Baby seat – if your younger one needs assistance at sitting at the table. I love the Fisher Price portable one. It does take up space in the suitcase though!
1 pack new crayons
1 pack new markers
3-5 small, favorite books – pick books your kids love and ones that you will tolerate for the entire duration of the trip. Seriously.
Moving vehicles – one per child
Extra Duplo – so they can keep building!
3-4 sticker sets – the dollar bin at Target or Michael’s is your best friend
Inflatable balls – compact and will endlessly entertain your younger one.

Baby diapers – Count 5 diapers/day x days of the trip. Add 3 days extra of diapers in case of delays or heaven forbid, illness!
Wipes – We average 15 wipes/day (yes, I have counted), but it depends on your usage. Wipes are usually easy to find and if you do not have any, wet paper towels work just as well.
Extra medicine
Extra snacks – for the trip home and back up on your travels.
Baby thermometer
Baby nail cutter
Sunblock
N95 masks – especially useful if you are going somewhere with higher pollution levels
Pedialyte – In case the kids get very sick and you need to give them electrolyes

Clothes:
Clothing is highly dependent on the weather of your destination. Cold weather means more clothes because of layering and gear. Gloves, snow shoes, hats, and even snow suits maybe needed. On the flip side, if the destination is rainy or in the rainy season, pack rain jackets and rain boots – they are impossible to find at any store last minute (yea, I’ve looked!)

For your toddler, let him/her help with choosing clothes. You will of course finalize the items, but let them pick their favorite tops, bottoms, undies and socks. They will be thrilled and they get to be part of the process. This is also a great learning and development opportunity for them (very Montessori friendly), don’t miss out on it.

Where Have I Been?

Where have I been? You must be wondering. It’s been a few months since I last posted and while I had no shortage of things to write, I was uninspired to write. Blogger’s block you could say.

I also have been struggling with how much to share of my children’s faces. In the age of data mining and selling, I don’t know if I want to share their most adorable faces with the internet. Maybe I am being over paranoid, or maybe not (are you listening Alexa?). For now, I will keep their faces to a minimum, but will still share photos of their fabulous hair.

I have also been struggling on what direction to take this blog. Do I want to focus on finding my Indian identity as an American woman raising Indo-Swedish children? Or do I want to talk about international travel? Or toys? (dammit why do I love toys so much! And why do they always make such a mess!). Or food? (I bought an Instant Pot – it is the BEST SHIT EVER).

Anyway, I made a poll below. It takes 2 seconds to fill it out, so fill it out! Pick your favorite two from the list.

What should I write about?

View Results

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Toodles for now, let’s see where we go.

9 Tips To Have A Successful Yearly Family Photo Shoot

After surviving, planning, and executing two maternity photo shoots and one first year smash cake shoot, I wanted to pen my tips and suggestions for you to have them too.

I will give you a word of warning – hire professionals. Yes, they cost money. I am fortunate to work in the wedding industry, and it’s easier for me to find fantastic, qualified people.

For you, not so much, but do due diligence and hire pros. At the very least, you need a professional photographer and makeup up artist.

Here are my tips on doing a time based series of family portraits:

Keep it simple – Trickier than it seems. The first year we did the maternity shoot for baby #1, we had a beautiful and elaborate setup with a floral wall, dessert table, picnic rug, and wearable floral garland. I also wore two outfits – a lehenga and a saree. For someone 36 weeks pregnant, we worked 10 hours that day. Not something I recommend, but the payoff was stellar.

For the next two years hours, we paired down the decor to really focus on the family and the ability to recreate poses.

Have a playbook of simple poses – Feel free to pin any of my images or share them with your photographer. (hint hint) Simple, family images will last you a lifetime. Review the poses with your photographer beforehand, this way at the venue your photographer can figure out what is feasible.

Take a few glamorous poses – When you become a mom, you are not afforded as many options to be the stunning, intelligent glam girl everyone you knows by. This is your moment to take a few snaps.

PRINT YOUR PHOTOS – I cannot explain how imperative it is to be able to print your photos for not just the wall, but for mini photo albums. Your children will LOVE a photo book of their time in the tummy and after. You don’t want them clamoring on your computer or phone, so PRINT YOUR PHOTOS.

Do a milk bath maternity shoot – This isn’t the same as the family portraits, in fact, it has nothing to do with your family portraits and everything to do with you, lovely mom. Do something for yourself.

Hire a professional photographer – I will say this again, HIRE A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER. In fact, if you hire anyone, have them be a professional. Yes, you can do your own hair and makeup, and you can even do it on a budget by heading to a Sephora (which I’ve done and was pleased with), but you can only be pregnant with each child for a certain period of time. And those children will only have a first birthday once. Please, hire a pro to make your photo shoot extra special and professional in quality.

Plan the next year – Make sure you pen mark the next year you will do the photo shoot. If possible, book your photographer and baker (for the first year smash cake). This way, you don’t have to stress about knowing if your photographer will be available when you need them. Work with local businesses you love and trust (word of mouth and the internet works wonders).

Choose decor that matters to you – This may sound strange to you, but go with decoration that means something to you. We had toy blocks, books, and trucks we love. The pink blanket featured in each of years was something I bought with my friend in Morocco a decade ago. The balloons spoke to our love of fun, while the tassels were something we could keep forever.

You can always go to the big box store to buy decoration – it eventually ends up in the trash. Instead look at instagram for individual artists that can create signs or paintings to feature in the photo shoot AND in your home. A few of my favorites are The Script Within, Twisted Pen, and Lifted Balloons, a Bay Area couture balloon artist.

South Asian women reading this…

Be proud to be Desi – Wear your clothes with pride. Put your little ones in them. Get decked out.

Your bun(s) in the oven are baking only for so long. Celebrate your time with them.