Does the idea of traveling with a baby terrify you? When I had my first, just the thought of everything I would need to put on my baby travel packing list had me swearing off vacations until they were out of diapers!
But whether you are going on a road trip, a quick overnight stay, or even flying, figuring out what to pack when traveling with a baby doesn’t have to be daunting.
Spending some time before the trip to plan for almost every scenario can be really helpful. Organizing, preparing, and traveling with some optimism can be beneficial too!
Just remember, your baby truly only needs a few essentials and most places have a shop or nearby store stocked with supplies. To get you started on your list, we have created this baby traveling checklist. Don’t fear the infant packing list, take a deep breath, you’ve got this!
You are probably most comfortable with your baby at home. You know where everything is and you have all of your necessities easily accessible.
There are toys, spare clothes, your baby’s favorite foods, and more. Thinking about having to take all of these things on a trip and deciding what to leave behind can be scary.
However, with a little bit of time spent prioritizing and planning, you can make your own custom baby travel list that you can use again and again!
The best way to get started with your baby packing list is to think about your essentials vs. non-essentials. Of course, making sure you pack what you will absolutely need like diapers and wipes is extremely important.
You will also want to take some items that aren’t completely necessary but can be very helpful. On an infant travel checklist, these are usually things like books, toys, or even a boppy pillow.
Make sure that you think about a variety of situations and what could become essential. For example, sunscreen may not be essential during a Colorado winter but could quickly become essential during a trip to the beach.
When you create your baby travel checklist we recommend starting with the essentials then moving on to the non-essentials. Just write everything down! You can choose what to leave behind later and remove it from your list.
To help you really flesh out your baby traveling checklist we have created three main categories and put common items in each. It’s like a mini baby vacation packing list within a master traveling with baby checklist. Trust me, breaking it down can make things much easier.
- What To Pack When Traveling with a Baby
- The Ultimate Baby Packing Checklist
- Helpful Tips & Advice on Baby Vacation Packing List
- Take Time to Plan and Pack
First up is your baby carry on bag or flying with baby checklist, which will contain many of your baby travel essentials. This will also serve as your baby overnight bag should your luggage get lost or delayed.
- Diapers. Always have plenty of diapers in your carry-on as it’s certainly more convenient to grab one from the bag instead of going out to buy them during your trip. Not sure how many diapers is a good number? I usually pack what I think I will need and then throw in two more.
- Wipes. Wipes aren’t just great for diaper changes. They can be useful for wiping sticky fingers, cleaning up markers, or just a quick refresh after a five-hour flight. Don’t skimp on the wipes!
- Bottles. If your little one takes a bottle, be sure to pack everything you will need. This includes all bottle parts, formula, and maybe an insulated mug as a way to warm the bottle with hot water. A portable bottle warmer is also good-to-have to keep the bottle warm anytime on the go.
- Pacifiers. If you are flying, pacifiers are wonderful. They can help calm your child, prevent their ears from popping and keep them quieter. Now is not the time to switch brands or try a new type – just pack your child’s regular favorite pacifier.
- Changing Pad. Changing diapers on the go can sometimes get questionable (airport bathrooms?). A changing pad can help create a clean and safe place to lay your baby down no matter where you are. We particularly like the Munchkin Designer Change Kit because it is compact yet has everything you need.
- Nursing Cover / Blanket. If your child has a favorite blanket, bring that along. But for infants, you may want to bring a versatile blanket that can double as a nursing cover, a lovely, a sun shield, and more.
A great option is these aden + anais essentials Muslin Swaddles that can be used in almost any scenario. If you have a nursing cover that makes you feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, bring that too! Some of them, like the Itzy Ritzy Mom Boss 4in1 Nursing Cover, can do double duty as well.
A nursing blanket is a highly versatile item not to be missed especially if you have infants.
- Change of Clothes. I typically don’t go overboard with a change of clothes. Usually, it is a onesie and a pair of zippered footie pajamas for my baby. It is easier than packing separates and simpler to change them into while on the go.
- Hand Sanitizer. Always a must!
- Lotion. A good all-purpose, unscented lotion can usually work as a diaper cream, a chapstick, and a balm.
- Doggie Bags. Yep, you read that right! I commonly bring along a few doggie bathroom cleanup bags. They are great for dirty diapers, food wrappers, used wet wipes, and anything you can think of that is wet, smelly, or dirty.
- Small Toys. Think about which toys are easy to carry but also very entertaining. Look for baby toys that have multiple sensory aspects without being too noisy or disruptive for those around you in the form of a soft toy plush, a car seat toy or a lovey.
- Teether. Depending on your child’s age, you may want to bring along a teether or two. Little ones love to put stuff in their mouths and you do not want them resorting to something they found on the airport floor. Teething toys with clips are awesome!
- Toy Strap. Speaking of toys, don’t forget to bring a way to keep them contained. Some sort of strap or clip, like the BooginHead SippiGrip, will keep you from having to sanitize toys, cups, and pacifiers every few seconds.
Toy straps help to keep your baby’s toys contained!
A baby suitcase can hold considerably more. As you will see, this next part of our baby travel pack will have a mix of essentials and non-essentials.
- Clothes. I am guilty of always overpacking, but I want to be prepared for all situations. Bring enough clothes to cover if your baby has an accident, as not all places have laundry. Think about the ordinary items you may need, like a swimsuit and sun hat (if you’re bringing your kid for a swim or to the beach) or boots and a jacket.
- Bibs. Wipe clean bibs are excellent for when you are traveling. You don’t have to worry about washing them, instead, you can simply rinse or wipe them off. Silicone options are wonderful since it’s soft yet durable. You can check out our guide on how many bibs you need for some ideas on how many to pack into the luggage.
- Bottles. While you may have one or two bottles in your carry on, the suitcase is where you will pack most of your child’s bottles.
- Drying Rack. Needed to dry bottles, pump parts, toys, and pacifiers. Choose one that is made for travel, such as the Boon Travel Drying Rack & Bottle Brushes, it’s compact and has its own case.
Easily dry bottles, pacifiers and other small baby items with a travel drying rack!
- Dish Soap. Don’t forget supplies to wash your child’s bottles, utensils, pacifiers, and all things plastic! Usually, you can find travel sizes of your favorite soap brand.
- Breast Pump & Supplies. If you are nursing it is a good idea to bring your breast pump, just in case you want to leave your little one with the grandparents for a while or if your child goes on a nursing strike. Remember to bring all the parts to go with your pump, like flanges, valves, and membranes.
- Toiletries. Pack all your child’s toiletries, even things they don’t use regularly. My baby doesn’t get diaper cream with every change, but I still bring it with me in their suitcase. Lotion, soaps, sunscreen, toothbrush, and toothpaste are a few more items I don’t leave home without.
- Cooler Bag. A small cooler bag or a lunch box with slim ice packs isn’t only ideal for taking drinks to the beach! It can store breastmilk or formula if necessary.
- Snack Containers. It is the little things like snack containers with lids that parents tend to overlook. If you are walking through an amusement park or going on a hike, you will want your child-friendly containers for meals and snacks.
- Travel Utensils and Plate. Travel spoons and forks, as well as a plate mat, like the ezpz Mini Mat Plate, are awesome for resorts and hotels. Sometimes the eating surface of public high chairs and tables can be questionable and breakable plates are out of the question!
- Sippy Cup. A sippy cup is another must-have! In fact, I always bring at least two.
- Bottle Wipes. Whether you are on the plane or exploring the town, sometimes there isn’t a great place to wipe down dropped items like bottles. Anti-bacterial wipes whose residue is safe for your child to ingest are something I always have on hand.
- More Diapers & Wipes. You can never have too many! Pack a few in the carry-on and the bulk of your supplies in the suitcase.
- Baby First Aid Kit. Nail clippers, tiny bandaids, a nose suction! You never know what you will need on a trip. Pack a first aid kit just to be safe, we love the Johnson’s Tiny Traveler set.
- Medications. If your child regularly takes any medications, don’t forget to tuck them in your bag. Many parents also bring common medications that their child could need, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen, Benadryl, and gas relief drops depending on your little one’s age. If you are a fan of using gripe water to soothe your baby’s potential tummy troubles, that can go into the bag as well.
- Playmat. You don’t have to bring a playmat, but it can offer your child a clean and safe place to play. Options like the 3 Sprouts Play Mat Bag roll up into a convenient travel bag and even have sides!
What a convenient play mat bag – good way to keep all the toys together too!
- Books and Toys. Don’t forget the entertainment! I usually opt for toys that are very engaging while also being lightweight and easy to clean. It never hurts to pack a few brand-new toys (small Montessori toys are good) to keep your child occupied while on the plane, train, or bus.
- White Noise Machine. We don’t go anywhere without our child’s white noise machine. It helps replicate their home sleep environment. It also means that baby can go to bed without the rest of the family having to tip-toe around. Some parents also carry travel baby monitors.
- Storage Bags. A handful of Ziplocs or reusable silicone bags is excellent for many things you need to store or carry. They can hold pacifiers, snacks, or even some shells your child found on the beach.
- Wet Bag. We use cloth diapers at home, so we always have wet bags on hand. But they’re also ideal for those who don’t cloth diaper. It is a waterproof bag with a zipper that is perfect for holding dirty clothes, swimsuits, and yes, stinky diapers. It’s just an awesome travel item to have on hand! We love our Bumkins Wet Bag.
Are you still with me? This is the last list of our what to pack for baby vacation master list!
You will undoubtedly need some rather bulky pieces of baby gear. These will probably have to be checked but will definitely save your sanity while you are away from home.
- Stroller. Don’t skip the stroller! You can purchase a slim and light travel stroller model, but you don’t have to. We have brought our umbrella stroller as a carry-on, we have also checked our larger everyday stroller. Strollers help keep your child safely within sight while you are exploring or running through an airport terminal.
- Car Seat. Depending on the trip you may or may not need a car seat. Sometimes you can rent a car seat. Other times travel car seats are ideal for both plane trips, taxis, and more.
- Carrier. Either a cloth carrier like the Moby wrap or Boba, a backpack carrier or a sling will do. Carriers are great for when your stroller isn’t convenient, such as navigating through an outdoor market. We have written a guide on baby carrier vs wrap vs sling that you can check out in case you cannot decide between the different types.
- Travel Crib with Sheet. A travel pack and play is a must when traveling. You can use the travel crib for naps, overnight sleep, or just contained playtime. Don’t forget two sets of sheets and their favorite blanket!
- Inflatable Pool. Not just for swimming, an inflatable pool can be an excellent place to let your child play. It is cleaner than setting them on the ground and helps contain their toys. If you have extra room, an inflatable pool is something to consider.
- Pop Up Tub. Collapsible tubs are common among campers for washing dishes. But, they can also be used to wash bottles, clothes, or even your baby. They’re light, convenient, and extremely versatile. We usually try to tuck one in our suitcase somewhere.
A collapsible dish pan lets you wash dishes and baby bottles without taking up so much of your luggage space.
Having travelled with my three children to many places, these are some of the things I have come to realize when it comes to packing for the getaways. Keep these tips in mind to make packing easier!
Pack according to the destination.
If you can purchase diapers or wipes where you are going without breaking the bank, then do so! However, if your locale won’t have what you need or will only have it at a very high cost, it is better to pack it.
Babies don’t need as much as you think.
While this article talks a lot about being prepared for all scenarios, you probably don’t need as much stuff as you think you do for your baby. Those hair bows? Leave them home. Shoes for every outfit? You can likely get away with two versatile pairs.
Swap out items when you can!
Can’t fit the noise machine? Your phone will work just as well! Forgot outdoor toys for the plane? Paper airplane cups are pretty intriguing to toddlers! Parents are very good at thinking on their feet; traveling makes great use of this skill.
Double check on the documents.
Babies need documents. Babies still need passports. Start the process far in advance to avoid fees for expediting.
Pack light or don’t.
Some packing lists may tell you that you don’t need to pack a lot for a baby, that you can get away with minimalist packing. Personally, it depends on the parent.
I feel much more comfortable traveling with what I will need and what I am familiar with instead of hoping to find items when we land. Other parents hate the hassle of bringing extra stuff and rely on stocking up when they arrive. Do what makes you feel confident and comfortable.
We hope you feel a bit more prepared and organized when it comes to what to bring when traveling with baby. It will take a bit of work upfront, but if you plan accordingly and pack well, your trip will be smooth sailing!
Most of these items are similar to what you would find on a toddler travel checklist and can easily be adjusted to suit your child’s age. Just remember, even though you try and plan for every scenario, sometimes things happen. Take a deep breath and remember to pack your patience, travel with kids isn’t always easy but it is always fun and memorable.
Do you have something to add on to the travel packing list? Share with us in the comments! Know parents who are going on a trip with their kids soon? Consider sending them this guide!
Last update on 2021-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API