We are home from a wonderful vacation to Costa Rica and we definitely learned a few things along the way about traveling with a toddler! It was our first international trip with Evelyn and it took me awhile to figure out what we needed to bring along for her. Toddlers and babies come with SO. MUCH. STUFF! Hopefully, this list will help you get to your next destination with all the essentials.
Costa Rica Toddler Packing Essentials
Travel Stroller – I bought a $20 travel stroller from Target, which was super lightweight and easy to carry around. This was perfect for strolling through the airport and you can gate check it at the terminal. We didn’t rent a car so we used it a lot for walking around to go out to eat or shop and it even came in handy to help lug around beach and pool gear at the resorts we stayed at.
Car Seat – There are services that allow you to rent car seats during your trip, but we opted to bring our own. Since we were there for almost three weeks it would have cost us more to rent one than to bring the one we already owned. You can buy a travel bag for your car seat and check it on it’s own or you can do what we did – put all of Evie’s gear in my husband’s large hockey bag!
Portable High Chair – There are high chairs available at restaurants and resorts but it’s not guaranteed, so we brought our super compact and lightweight Lobster portable high chair. It clips on to most tables and even comes with it’s own small carry bag, making it easy to bring along to restaurants. We LOVE this thing and Evie feels like she’s right up at the table with the rest of us.
Feeding Essentials – We brought two bottles and two sippy cups. We used our stainless steel bottle the majority of the time to keep the milk cold and we bought fresh milk wherever we went. There were plenty of grocery stores to buy “boxes” of milk and most of the restaurants provided milk as well. I also brought a toddler fork and spoon and two bibs.
Snacks – I wasn’t sure what kind of food would be available to purchase in Costa Rica, so I wanted to make sure to have a few familiar snacks along. I brought a small jar of peanut butter which came in really handy for making peanut butter sandwiches. I also brought graham crackers, crackers and cheese snack packs, breakfast bars and fruit snacks.
Hiking Carrier– We knew we wanted to hike and check out the beautiful scenery and waterfalls, so we made sure to bring a toddler hiking carrier which Jeremy wore and a small backpack for me to wear with a few essentials packed in it for our hikes (diaper, wipes, water, snacks, bug spray, sunscreen, etc.). There is a compartment for extra stuff in the toddler carrier but it was nice to share the load.
Swim Floaties – We had originally brought a baby life jacket which Evelyn hated. It flipped her on her back and she just didn’t like it at all. Luckily, a mom who was there let us try out their puddle jumper life jacket and Evelyn loved it! We ended up having a few family members who joined us later on the trip bring one with them from the States. Once we had that, we could swim and hang out by the ocean with out so much caution and worry. She was such a great little swimmer in it and we could all swim in deeper areas of the pool together! Seriously, best thing we had on the trip!
Sun Hats & Rash Guards – We were a little nervous about the sun in Costa Rica being so close to the equator for Evelyn’s skin. Flap Happy sent her so many cute UPF 50+ hats and an adorable swim rash guard to protect her from the harsh sun. She always wore a long sleeve rash guard while we were swimming during the hottest parts of the day.
Toys – We brought a few books, stickers, play characters and sand toys. This Packable Pail is pretty ingenious for travel. We bought a few things in Costa Rica for her as well because she got pretty bored of the few things we brought along.
Baby Monitor – If you’re just staying in a hotel room a baby monitor isn’t really necessary, but we stayed at a condo and also villa during our trip so we wanted ours along. It was nice because it reached outside so we could still enjoy the sunshine during naptime. But honestly, sometimes mom and dad needed naps as well! Ha!
Diapers & Wipes – We brought one pack of disposable swim diapers and two washable swim diapers. We also brought along 3 packs of diapers and wipes along since we were staying for almost 3 weeks. The wipes were also nice to have for cleaning hands and messes.
Blanket & Stuffed Animal – We stayed at three different locations during our trip, a condo, a villa and a resort. Each place had a crib or pack and play we could use while we were there. I made sure to check with each place in advance. We did bright one light blanky, a small sheet and a couple of her favorite stuffed animals so that she’d be comfortable surrounded by familiar objects.
There were plenty of places to buy things in Costa Rica, but we were happy to have our own things with us and not have to worry about it once we got there. Traveling with a toddler makes for a few extra bags, but it was an amazing vacation and we would definitely do it again! As they say in Costa Rica, “Pura Vida!”
Shop My Toddler Travel Essentials
What would you make sure to have with you while traveling with a toddler or baby?
Find out why we went to Costa Rica by clicking here.
I snapped the entire trip! Make sure to follow along on SnapChat: @SUGARMAPLEnotes
Disclosure: I received the Lobster portable high chair, Packable Pail and Flap Happy hats as a samples to review, but all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.