Packing for a trip to Thailand with young kids can be a challenge, you don’t want to take too much and overstuff your bags and overburden your back. But you also want to be sure that you have everything that you need to keep your little ones happy and safe.
In this post, we share with you the essential items that you need to take to Thailand for a baby or toddler. We really hope that this will help you to prepare for your own adventure and help you to decide what to take and what to leave behind. We have put together this post based upon our experiences having spent 3 months in South East Asia with a 3-year-old and an 8-month-old.
This post focuses on the ‘extras’ that you should take rather than clothing, check out this page for our recommended packing list.
Essential Items for Travel to Thailand with Young Kids
When we travel now we tend to stay in fairly nice mid-range places rather than the budget places we stayed before we had kids. Before we left for our 3 month trip to South East Asia we had expected that most places that we stayed would provide mosquito nets.
We were wrong!! Luckily we had packed our mosquito nets ‘just in case’.
Out of around 20 places that we stayed, we were only provided with a net a couple of times. We always had air-con so I think the theory is that it will be too cold for mosquitos. If that is the theory, it is wrong!
Most places we stayed there were a few mosquitoes in the room that we had to go around swatting so we were very glad that we had packed our mosquito nets to provide a nice safe environment to sleep.
We avoided malarial areas but there was still a risk of dengue fever if bitten during the day, and besides that mosquito bites are just so annoying that you don’t want them if you can avoid it, and you certainly don’t want your baby and toddler to be getting bitten.
For these reasons we think packing your own mosquito net is absolutely essential so that you know wherever you end up you will be able to protect yourself. They also help to create a safe feeling environment if you are unfortunate enough to end up staying somewhere with other creepy crawlies that you wouldn’t want in your bed.
We recommend the box type net as they create a bigger sleeping space for little ones to crawl around on the bed and you are less likely to have to put up with the net hanging in your face all night. We have a double box-shaped net that works great but the single wedge-shaped one we took for our daughter is not so good and doesn’t provide much space inside.
If you plan to move hotel room often you will need to get creative at hanging the net. It is rare to find convenient places to fix the net but we always managed to figure something out.
Whilst some hotels can provide you with a travel cot (or crib to our readers from the USA), they are not universally available. Unless you are booking all your accommodation in advance and have reserved a cot, we would recommend taking your own.
The one we take has the added benefit that it is fully enclosed by mosquito netting so it provides the benefits mentioned above. Your baby may also prefer to have their own cot as it provides some sense of normality at bedtime if you are moving around a lot.
It is also harder to get hold of the special kids/baby versions that you can find at home so we think it is worth packing a couple of bottles before you go.
You are bound to need loads of it with all the wall to wall sunshine that you will be enjoying!
You will definitely want to take a few toys along for the downtime in the hotel rooms. Obviously, your little ones will have their own favourites but some of the toys that offer a good packing space to play value ratio include:
Stacking Cups might just be the greatest baby/toddler toy of them all. They can be used anywhere in all sorts of different ways.
Great for sand castles on the beach and pouring water in the sea or pool. They can be used as snack pots and made into telephones, spinning tops, hats and drums. Sometimes we even stack them!
They take up hardly any space and are definitely one of the best travel toys for our girls
Other toys that we recommend include a tea set (we just take the teapot and a couple of cups and spoons), a collapsible shape sorter, Duplo, and a learn to write toy. Check out our post on th ebest toys t=fro travelling babies and toddlers for more ideas.
We didn’t take our beach tent with us to Thailand as we didn’t realise quite how much time we would end up spending on the beach!
If you are primarily planning a beach holiday it would be well worth taking a beach tent to provide you with some shade and a good spot for your baby to feed and sleep.
There is no getting away from it, Thailand is hot! really hot even in the so-called cooler months. We found that coping with the heat was fine as long as there was a breeze and some shade.
Our favourite beaches provided good natural shade but at other times we pretty much had to retreat to our rooms for the hottest part of the day, so it would have been good to have had our tent for some portable shade.
We have the Littlelife family beach tent and it has been great for us on the beaches of Sardinia and in Devon, England. It has UPF rating of 50+ and does provide a cooler environment than in the sunshine (unlike some tents that will cook you!)
Even when they can walk well, toddlers can’t be relied on to want to walk in the direction you want, at the time you want and at the speed you need. So, for getting about it was essential to have carriers for both our baby and 3-year-old.
They came in handy when travelling by tuk-tuk or boat, making us feel that they were a little more secure than if they were just being held.
It also allowed us to get to places that we could have managed otherwise, like following a rocky path along the shore or climbing up to a temple at the top of a few hundred steps (to be fair, she climbed up but I was much happier to carry her down the steep steps!)
Take a Stroller to Thailand?
They are great to give you a break from carrying your baby though and can also double up as a portable bed that is particularly good if you can get your baby to sleep while you are eating.
If you don’t plan to do a lot of travelling around, or think you will use private cars for most of your journeys, it is definitely worth taking a stroller. Otherwise, you will want to weigh up the benefits against the challenge of having an extra bit of kit to lug about.
Tot Seat Chair Harness
This clever, compact piece of kit can turn almost any chair into a safe seat for your little one to eat their meal.
We were glad to find lots of high chairs in restaurants as we travelled around Thailand and South East Asia, but they are definitely not everywhere.
Having this tot seat with us meant that we didn’t have to worry too much about finding baby chairs, and also meant that we didn’t have to have her on our laps as we ate (ok, so she stayed in it most of the time but she was on our laps too!).
It was a great back-up to have and doesn’t take up much space in your bag. At one hotel that we stayed in Vietnam, the owner was so impressed that she copied the design and sewed her own version!
A tablet is such a handy thing to have when travelling with a toddler. They provide an almost endless array of entertainment and education and can really take the pressure off when you need a few minutes to get something done (e.g. packing,) or when you have a long wait for a meal, plane, train (or, let’s be honest, when you just need a little bit of quiet time).
You can have a read of our review of the best toddler tablets here.
You will definitely want to get a robust case to go with it to protect from accidents and just the bumps it will get whilst travelling (we tried to get away without one and cracked the screen after a few days).
You will be in the sunshine a lot of the time so in addition to your sun cream, we really recommend taking some swimwear that offers protection against the sun.
With arms, legs and head covered it reduces the need to cover their skin in sun cream and is also not at risk of being washed off in the swimming pool or sea.
We didn’t think of this but we noticed that some travellers with young children had brought their own life jackets for the kids.
Most of the ferries we went on were modern and felt safe, but there were one or two that were smaller and older that didn’t have life jackets that were small enough for babies or toddlers. It is something worth taking if you expect to spend a lot of time travelling at sea.
What to Take to Thailand for a Baby or Toddler
Having the right things with you can really help to make your trip make your trip go that bit more smoothly. At the same time, having too many of the wrong things can get super frustrating, so it is always a balancing act of what you need and what you can travel with easily.
We hope that we have been able to help you to decide what baby things you need to take on your trip to Thailand. Have we missed something off our list that you think is a travel essential? Let us know in the comments below.