baby essentials

Complete Baby Travel Packing List for Stress-Free Trips

Complete Baby Travel Packing List for Stress-Free Trips - The Sleepy Sloth

Whether you're going on a vacation that's long overdue, or attending your sister's destination wedding, traveling with your little one needs plenty of preparation. Even if you were a spontaneous packer before having a baby, things are different now. As a new mom, you quickly learn the importance of being prepared for anything. If it was up to you, you'd probably want to bring the entire nursery on your trip. Unfortunately, airlines have weight and baggage limits, so you need to pack smart.  

If you've never traveled with your baby before, you're probably wondering what to pack in your carry on bag and suitcase The last thing you want to do is forgetting to pack something essential or bringing something you don't need. Don't worry, though! We can walk you through a suitable packing list without worrying about a bulky suitcase or forgotten essentials. 

Baby Essentials

Baby Essentials: Baby Gear

Let's start with the big stuff. These are things you'll need to carry your baby whether you're out and about or putting them to sleep. 

Baby and Toddler Carrier

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

Even if you're taking a stroller along with you, there will be points when you need to fold it up and pass it through security. Even if that's not the case, you may choose to send it with the rest of your luggage. Either way, bringing a baby carrier ensures that you have one free hand to hold your passports and phone.    

For older infants and toddlers, you'll want to upgrade to something more comfortable that can hold heavier loads. Depending on how much time your baby will spend in their carrier, you'll want to get something that's breathable, has a hood for sunny conditions, and comes with lumbar support. 

Stroller 

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

Constant carrying isn't fun for anyone - not you or your baby. That's why a stroller is essential for a stress-free trip with your baby. Depending on how often you plan on traveling with your baby, you may want to invest in a separate travel stroller. Preferably, it should be collapsible, portable (so that it easily fits in the overhead compartment), and lightweight.  

Stroller Hook

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

When you're out and about with your baby, there'll be a lot of things to carry on hand. From feeding essentials to a diaper bag and a spare change of clothes, you need enough space to carry all these things. Not to mention the travel shopping you get. That's where a stroller hook can come in handy. 

Car Seat

Should I take it on-board? No!

Whether or not you should pack a car seat depends on where you're going or if you're traveling by car. If you plan on renting a car at your destination or having a friend/relative drive you around, then you should bring it along. Otherwise, you're all set with a carrier and stroller. 

Sun and Sleep Cover

Should I take it on-board? No!

If your stroller doesn't come with a sun and sleep cover, we highly recommend you get one. A good sun and sleep cover should easily attach to your stroller and block out the sun so your baby can nap peacefully. Preferably, it should have a zipper so you can check on your baby and let a breeze through. 

Travel Crib 

Should I take it on-board? No!

It's great to pack a travel crib with you since it allows your baby to sleep in a familiar environment. If you haven't bought one yet, make sure to choose something that's compact, portable, and comfortable with machine-washable materials.

Baby Packing List: Clothes

When going on a trip, it's essential to pack just enough baby clothes so they always have something clean and dry to wear, but without going over the weight limit. Let's take a look at what you should carry as part of your baby's wardrobe.

A general rule of thumb is to carry two outfits for each day of the trip, plus two extra outfits. This means you'll have enough change of clothes for your baby and won't need to do the laundry whenever you get back to your hotel room. 

Onesies and Shirts

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

For infants, onesies are much more practical since they stay tucked in and don't ride up. If your toddler is a little more independent, there's no harm in bringing T-shirts instead. 

Leggings and Pants

Should I take it on-board? No!

For a more elaborate ensemble, it's a great idea to pack a few leggings, pants, and/or skirts. Just remember to focus on comfort over style, especially if it's your baby's first trip. 

Socks

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

Flights, airports, hotel lobbies, and indoor public spaces can get pretty chilly. You'll want to carry a few pairs of socks, especially if you're traveling during the colder months or visiting a colder place. 

Rompers or Dresses 

Should I take it on-board? No!

 

dress

 

If you want to skip the hassle of coordinating matching shirts and pants, then rompers or dresses are a great idea. Here's an added tip: you can keep everything organized with packing cubes.

Soft Shoes 

Should I take them on-board? Yes!

If your baby is learning how to walk, you never know when they may be in the mood to toddle. We recommend packing a pair of soft shoes to go with all their outfits.  

Pajamas

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

Pajamas are a staple for part of your carry bag and your baby's wardrobe. Babies sleep a lot, especially during their first year, so you want them to feel comfortable.

comfortable pair of pajamas

Always pack at least three pairs so you have something clean and dry in case of any spills or leaks during the night. And if you're traveling by plane, we recommend choosing a comfortable pair of pajamas for the flight. This way, you don't have to worry about changing them into their pajamas mid-flight.  

Hat 

Should I take it on-board? No!

If you're going somewhere warm, a sun hat is a must. In fact, we recommend packing one anyway in case you're out and about during sunny afternoons. If you're traveling to someplace colder or during winter, a warm, fuzzy hat is essential. 

Swimsuit 

Should I take it on-board? No!

This depends on the weather and where you're going. If you plan to visit the beach or waterpark, or are just staying at a resort, it's great to keep one with you.  

Baby Travel Checklist: Nursing and Feeding Essentials

Traveling with baby? Here's everything you need (besides baby bottles) to ensure fuss-free feeding times!

Nursing Cover

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

Any ultimate packing list is bound to include a nursing cover if you're still breastfeeding. Not all public spaces have designated areas where you can nurse your baby in private. So, it's best to carry something that keeps you covered while you're nursing.  

Bottles, Bottle Brush and Dish Soap 

Should I take it on-board? No!

Most moms find that two bottles are enough if you can find the time to wash them between feeding times. Don't forget to pack your bottle brush to wash them properly while on your trip. If you're staying at an Airbnb, you may not need to bring dish soap along with you. However, we recommend bringing some travel size dish soap if you're staying at a hotel. 

Portable Drying Rack 

Should I take it on-board? No!

If you've never gone through the hassle of drying baby bottles around the sink, you're better off not knowing. A portable drying rack is a game changer, especially if you're washing bottles, utensils, and sippy cups.  

Sippy Cup, Snack Container, and Utensils

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

Speaking of which, you'll want to carry a sippy cup with you if your baby has started drinking water. You should also carry a snack container for their cereal, and feeding bowl with spoon if they've recently started solids. 

Breast Pump 

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

If you're used to pumping, then make sure you add it to your travel bag, along with storage bags, ice packs, cooler, and electric battery. The good news is that some airlines may consider it a medical device, so it doesn't count towards your carry-on luggage allowance. 

Hot Water Flask

Should I take it on-board? No!

When traveling around, a hot water flask makes for an excellent bottle warmer. Just ask a cafe or restaurant to fill it up with piping hot water and it can heat up a bottle in a few minutes. Don't bring it on the plane though; you can ask the in-flight staff to give you some hot water instead. 

Baby Food Pouches

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

If you want to avoid the hassle of feeding your baby with a bowl and spoon, just pack a couple of baby food pouches instead.  

Travel High Chair

Should I take it on-board? No!

These are a great way to enjoy mealtimes with your baby while you're out and about. We highly recommend them if your baby is getting more independent and wants to eat on their own. 

Wipes, Bibs, and Burpcloths

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

These are an essential for any carry-on. 

Formula Dispenser with Formula

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

If your baby currently takes formula milk, then make sure to pack enough for the whole trip, plus some more. You should also invest in a good dispenser that makes it easy to mix bottles on-the-go. 

Hygiene and Bath Essentials

Baby Packing Checklist: Hygiene and Bath Essentials 

Whether you're planning to travel by plane or by train, here's what you need to keep your baby clean: 

Diaper Bag 

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

Though this is a no-brainer, we recommend investing in a backpack style. These offer much more functionality and allow you to keep your hands free. As for diapers, there's no need to carry enough for the entire trip. Just pack enough for your flight (plus a few more), and buy some once you reach your destination. 

Disposable Bags For Dirty Diapers

Should I take it on-board? No!

Remember that you won't always find a trashcan nearby to throw away a dirty diaper. In these cases, it's great to have disposable bags on hand. 

Travel Changing Mat 

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

Again, not all bathrooms have a changing station, so carrying a portable changing mat can make diaper changes much easier. 

Baby Wipes

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

Carry enough wipes for the first 24 hours of your trip, and buy more once you arrive at your destination. 

First Aid Kit

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

This should include a few bandages, infant pain reliever, nail clippers, thermometer, and travel-size diaper rash cream. 

Mineral Sunscreen

Should I take it on-board? No!

This is something that's great to pack with you, though you can still buy it once you reach your destination. 

Disinfectant Wipes

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

These come in handy for disinfecting seats, shopping cart handles, and other surfaces in public places. 

Hand Sanitizer

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

This is a must, baby or no baby. 

Mosquito Repellant

Should I take it on-board? No!

If you'll be outdoors for much of your day, we recommend carrying some natural mosquito repellent to keep your baby safe. 

Shampoo, Body Wash, and Baby Lotion 

Should I take it on-board? No!

You can buy travel-sized versions and buy more once you reach your destination. 

Inflatable Tub 

Should I take it on-board? No!

Bedtime and Playtime Packing List 

To make sure your baby feels comfortable when it's time to play or sleep, here's what to bring. 

Blanket and Swaddles

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

toddler

Whether your infant prefers being swaddled or your toddler can't go anywhere without their favorite blankie, this is a must for your carry-on.  

Pacifiers and Clips 

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

These are essential, so make sure you don't forget them (especially for long-haul flights!).

Play Mat and Toys 

Should I take it on-board? No!

Since you'll be out and about for most of your day, you won't need too much stuff when it comes to playtime. Just bring one or two of their favorite toys and books for when you're staying at the hotel. 

Baby Monitor

Should I take it on-board? Yes!

We recommend packing a baby monitor if you plan to sleep in a separate room, stay in a bigger house, or go out while your baby is sleeping. 

Though you won't need it during the flight, it's generally recommended to take expensive, fragile electronics in your carry-on. 

Crib Sheets

Should I take it on-board? No!

Since hotels usually don't provide crib sheets, we recommend bringing your own so that baby can sleep comfortably. How many you need to bring depends on your baby's needs and habits. If you expect to change it every night, you'll need to get three or four crib sheets so that you don't have to do do the laundry every night.  

 

Tips For When You Travel With a Baby 

Now that you know what items to keep, here are a few tips:  

Keep Plastic Storage Bags 

You never know when your baby has an accident and you need to carry dirty laundry back to the hotel. You'll be grateful that you decided to pack a few storage bags. 

Check If Your Hotel Provides a Crib

If you're staying in a hotel, you could ask if they have cribs. This way, you won't need to bring a travel cot, which takes up a lot of space. Of course, we recommend checking with your hotel first, because they may not have one available when you arrive. If it's possible to book a crib in advance, just choose that option. 

Know What You Can And Can't Take On The Flight

Always check with your airline to know what you can and can't pack. It can be quite frustrating to find that some of your essential items aren't FAA-approved. Though you can carry liquids, cooler bags, formula, and breastmilk in reasonable quantities, you should still double-check what is and isn't allowed. 

Get Travel Insurance

Since babies require a lot of stuff, you're already going through quite a hassle when packing for the trip. To ensure peace of mind for the rest of your trip, we recommend getting travel insurance for everyone in the family. 

Summary: Travel Packing List For Babies

When going on a trip with your little one, you can divide the packing checklist for baby into five categories: baby gear, clothes, nursing/feeding, hygiene/bath, and sleeping/playing. The first includes things like a stroller and car seat, the second includes clothes like jammies, onesies, and socks, and the third includes their travel bottles, baby formula, and baby food pouches. In hygiene and bath, you'll have to pack things like a diaper bag, first-aid kit, and baby wipes, while the last category includes crib sheets, the favorite blankie, and a baby monitor. 

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