Traveling with a toddler without checking luggage

all my stuff and the baby stuff fit in these bags!

all my stuff and the baby stuff fit in these bags!

My husband and I took Jack (16 months) to visit friends in Portland for 4 days, and we were happy to be able to fit our minimalistic necessities in only carryon baggage! It saved time because we skipped waiting for bags at the conveyor belt, and it was easier to carry everything around the airports. Here is a summary of what we brought:

Baby transportation: toddler tula

I wore Jack through the airport and hiked with him on my back during the trip. He took a few naps in the tula and we didn’t bring a stroller which saved a ton of space. I also know some people whose strollers were broken when checked on a plane, so we didn’t have to worry about that.

Car seat: borrowed from friends (backup option was to rent one with a car)

Jack still fits in an infant seat, so our friend’d toddler sat in her convertible seat and he used her old infant one which worked out perfectly fine.

Clothes: I brought layers for both of us- 2 short sleeves, 4 long sleeves, and a jacket per person. I took jeans and yoga pants for me, and 4 pants for Jack. I brought a bib per day for Jack and hats for both of us. I brought him soft leather shoes and rubber rainproof shoes.

Diapers: we decided to use our (ecofriendly) disposable diapers so we didn’t make our friends uncomfortable asking to wash cloth diapers at their house. We like the Bambo Nature diapers which are compostable and free of carcinogens and allergens. I brought enough diapers to change him every 3 hours and one for overnight, plus a couple extra. EC helps cut down on diapers though, as Jack pooped a few times in the toilet!

Toys: we stayed with friends who had a ton of toys at their house which Jack loved. For the plane, we brought a small wooden plane, his favorite small ball, and his favorite book. We also brought his Foogo straw thermos with almond milk (he loves to press the button!) and his pura bottle with some water. We spent time opening and closing those, eating snacks I brought, looking at the plane magazines, and playing with the plastic cups they provide on the plane. He loved looking out the window and opening and closing the window. We also walked around the plane a little.

Toiletries: I brought toothpaste and a toothbrush, and Jack’s toothbrush which doubles as a toy. I use a shampoo bar that doubles as soap which saves space.

Electronics: I brought my laptop which took up a ton of space, but I like watching videos on netflix while Jack naps on me :) I also brought a phone which I use for white noise for Jack.

I may have forgotten a few things, but that’s most of what I packed. My husband took a carryon with his clothes and the gifts for our friends, so I fit my stuff and Jack’s all in my bags. Our next challenge will be to see if we can take only carryons during our 6 day trip to PA! In that case we may bring a few diapers and buy some natural ones at whole foods there, because the diapers took up a ton of space.