Over the years, I’ve written a lot about how to travel with a baby.
Between leaping head first into baby travel when Evelyn was 5 weeks old, to taking our special needs baby Sophie on several trips around the country, we’ve become pretty well-acquainted with the world of travel with a baby by now.
Truthfully, traveling with a baby is not all that bad. But it does require a ton of preparation for all the things that you might possibly need.
We’ve covered what to pack in your carry on before, along with everything you need to know before flying with a baby. I’ve even shared our favorite baby travel gear and travel-friendly toys.
But one thing I haven’t covered? A comprehensive, everything-you-must-pack guide to make the whole trip with baby go extra smoothly!
We were reminded of just how much stuff one little human can require as we prepared for our month-long adventure around Southern California. Our packing list felt endless. And I can say pretty confidently that we left nothing behind.
So let me spare you the stress of wondering “what am I forgetting”?
Read on for our ultimate baby packing list of EVERYTHING you might ever need when traveling with a baby! (+a free printable checklist at the bottom of this post!)
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BabyZen Yoyo Stroller | BabyZen Bassinet | MiaMily Carrier | MiaMily Infant Insert | Babyzen Yoyo Adapter Clips | BabyBjorn Travel Crib | Brica Travel Bassinet | MaxiCosi Car Seat | Car Seat Travel Bag
Baby Packing List | Travel Gear
First things first, the big stuff!
You may not need all of these items for every trip, but for the most part, we bring this same travel-friendly baby gear just about everywhere we go:
- Baby Carrier | A baby carrier is a must, even if it’s nothing more than an efficient way to move through the airport. I know not all kiddos love the carrier, but we find that having both a carrier and stroller available when we travel with Sophie is essential. You just never know when you’ll run into a place with lots of stairs or uneven sidwalks, so it’s good to have a back up that will keep you moving freely. We started out with the ErgoBaby, but made the switch to the more lightweight and compact MiaMily toddler carrier with Infant Insert and absolutely love it. Still on the fence? Read up and compare all of our favorite carriers for babies and toddlers here.
- Stroller | Even though our carrier is indispensable, we like to have options. After using and abusing our Graco Aire, we switched to the UppaBaby G-Lite umbrella stroller. We liked both, but eventually splurged on the even more lightweight and carry-on compliant Babyzen YOYO+. (add the bassinet pack for newborns). (PS. Don’t forget a good stroller travel bag too.) Best decision we ever made! Honestly, it’s an investment I only wish we’d made sooner! Another popular choice for baby travel is the BabyJogger City Mini.
- Car Seat | Depending on where you’re going, you may or may not want to bring the car seat. If you will need one, the Maxi Cosi and Nuna Pipa are two that can adapt to the YOYO+ (just get some adapters like these, and you’re good to go!). For older babies, a popular choice is the Cosco Scenera Next, which is super lightweight at just 10 pounds. I recommend getting a car seat bag to keep it clean while flying, and if you’re worried about it getting banged up by luggage handlers, you can upgrade to a padded car seat bag.
- Travel Crib | We’ve always brought our own travel crib, mostly because I want our kids to feel the comfort of a familiar sleeping environment, no matter where we are. We’ve been especially happy with our Baby Bjorn Travel Crib, which has held up with our travels all over the country these past 6 years. For infants, you can get away with a more compact option, like this Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet. And if you’re in a pinch, most family-friendly hotels will offer cribs for free, or you can rent one from a baby gear rental company, like BabyQuip. Read up on all our favorite baby travel cribs here.
Read Next: Essential Travel Gear for Flying with a Baby
Baby Packing List | Clothes
Sure, babies require a lot of stuff to pack, but the one area where they don’t take up much space in the suitcase: clothes!
I use these packing cubes for everyone in the family and almost everything for baby can fit into just one:
- Pants & Leggings | Usually 2-3 pairs. In colder months I’ll skip the rompers and dresses, and add more leggings, pants and sweaters.
- Shirts & Onesies | Usually 2-3 tops, adding 2-3 more in winter months.
- Dresses or Rompers | Usually 2-3 for warmer destinations, because they’re so easy to pack and don’t require mixing and matching tops and bottoms.
- Socks | 2-3 pairs, even in the summer months in case we end up somewhere chilly.
- Booties or Shoes | I’ve recently become obsessed with little baby shoes, but I try to stick to one simple pair of baby moccasins that match everything for travel, like these from BirdRock Baby.
- Hat | A must, no matter where you’re traveling, whether a sun hat for the spring and winter, or a fuzzy hat for the fall and winter.
- Swimsuit | Only if necessary, of course. These boy and girl options from Rufflebutts are our favorites.
- Pajamas | I stick to just 2 pairs of footie pajamas (plus a 3rd pair worn on our travel day).
This might not seem like a lot of clothes, but if we’re traveling for more than 5 days, we’ll wash and rewear items to keep our packing light. This means making sure we have access to laundry facilities while we travel (whether it be an Airbnb with a washing machine, hotel with a laundry room, or a wash and fold laundry service nearby).
Tommee Tippee Bottles | Formula Dispenser | Travel Mug | Slim Ice Packs | Pumping Backpack | Breast Pump Battery Pack | Bottle Cooler | Nursing/Car Seat Cover | Muslin Swaddle Blankets | Dr. Brown’s Bottle Wipes | Travel Dish Soap | Travel Bottle Drying Rack | Stackable Snack Container | Silicone Snack Cup | Wipe-Clean Bibs | Spoon with Case | Folding Spoons | Squeeze Pouch Baby Food | Sippy Cup with Weighted Straw | Travel High Chair
Baby Packing List | Nursing & Feeding
Things change quickly with a baby, and depending on their age and feeding habits, you may need any of the following:
- Bottles | We’ve always traveled with just two bottles and been fine. Tommee Tippee and Dr. Brown’s are our favorites.
- Drying Rack | I love our OXO travel drying rack; it’s come in handy more times than I can count! We also have a larger version of this Boon travel drying rack at home, and would highly recommend either. It’s truly one of the items you don’t think you need until you’re balancing wet bottles around a hotel sink.
- Dish Soap | Never fails, I always forget dish soap! If you’re staying in an Airbnb, there’s no need to bring your own (unless you’re particular about what you use). But if you’re staying in a hotel, for sure pack this little travel-size one for washing bottles!
- Nursing Cover | There’s a good chance you’ll have little privacy for nursing during travels, and at the very least a nursing cover can help with getting little ones to fall asleep in busy places. Or for a lighter solution, a muslin swaddle is great and doubles as a blankie.
- Breast Pump & Supplies | It’s a pain to lug around for sure, but if you’re going to need it, consider investing in a few pieces to make pumping on-the-go easier: a special backpack and battery pack. (and good news, the airline won’t count this against your carry on luggage allowance)
- Cooler Bag | We love a little cooler bag with ultra-thin ice packs, or if you need room for more bottles, this Medela cooler bag is a great option too.
- Formula Dispenser | For babies on a formula-fed diet, this little guy makes mixing bottles on the go so much easier.
- Tall Insulated Mug | This simple, yet useful item is a must for an on-the-go bottle warmer. Just ask your airport coffee shop to fill it with piping hot water after you get through security, and then dip your bottle in to warm milk up in no time!
- Wipe-Clean Bib | Once baby is into solids, a wipe-and-reuse bib is awesome for on-the-go feedings.
- Travel Spoon | Our favorite is still this one that comes with a little case for easy storage!
- Snack Catcher | This travel container is perfect for little cereals you don’t want spilled all over.
- Squeeze Pouch Baby Food | If you’re feeding while traveling, skip the mess and squeeze it from pouch form onto the spoon!
- Sippy Cup | We’ve tried many of the years, and these classic sippy cups from Munchkin or these sippy cups with weighted straws are both at the top of our list of favorites.
- Bottles Wipes | It’s tough to clean bottles, pacifiers, and spoons on-the-go, but these bottle wipes are a safe and easy way to do it when you don’t have a sink handy.
- Travel High Chair | If you have the space for it, I can’t recommend this travel high chair enough, which folds down flat for packing. You could also opt for a cloth seat harness for an even lighter, more compact option.
Refillable Wipes Case | Dirty Diaper Baggies | Hand Sanitizer | Hand Sanitizing Wipes | Natural Bug Spray | Sunscreen Stick | Brush & Comb Set | GoToob+ Container | 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash | First Aid Kit | Inflatable Bath Tub | Travel Size Pain Reliever | Travel Size Diaper Rash Cream | Travel Size Lotion | Travel Thermometer | Nail Clipper
Baby Packing List | Health & Bath
- Diapers | My rule of thumb is to pack a maximum of 8 diapers in the baby backpack and then buy more as soon as we arrive.
- Travel Wipes Case | These no-frills travel wipes cases have become my favorite over the years. Like diapers, I load one up with as many as I can fit and then buy more once we’ve arrived in our destination.
- Dirty Diaper Baggies | These dirty diaper baggies have also come in handy more times than I can count.
- Baby First Aid Kit | We keep a super simple kit that includes only the basics, like travel-size diaper rash cream, infant pain reliever, a few bandages, a small thermometer, nail clipper, skin cream, etc. For all those other ‘what if’s’, we’ll buy it at our destination if needed.
- Prescription Medicines | Keep liquids in their original containers to avoid any issues with TSA, and for anything needing kept cold, we use our bottle cooler bag with ultra-thin ice packs.
- Sunscreen | These pocket sunscreen sticks are my absolute favorite because they’re easy to apply and take up so much less space.
- Mosquito Repellent | This natural one is our favorite. No chemicals or stink!
- Sanitizing Wipes | Especially good for wiping down a dirty airplane seat. I always keep a small travel-size pack in the diaper backpack.
- Hand Sanitizer | For obvious reasons, I always keep a travel-size hand sanitizer clipped to the backpack.
- Baby Shampoo & Body Wash | This 2-in-1 combo is our favorite, filled in a small GoToob+ travel container.
- Brush or Comb | Of course.
- Inflatable Travel Tub | Finally, this handy inflatable bath tub is an absolute favorite of ours and has gotten way more use than I ever thought it would. It’s definitely worth the purchase if you don’t have access to a tub or your baby is not sitting up on their own yet.
Baby Packing List | Play & Sleep
- Play Mat | We’ve stayed in lots of Airbnbs with hardwood floors and little comfortable space for baby to play. I so wish this fold-and-go baby gym was around when my kids were little!
- Small Toys | I try to keep toys to a minimum, mostly because when you’re traveling, you’re out and about a lot anyway. Sassy brand makes a ton of my favorite simple baby toys, and I keep a little collection in one of these mesh storage bags for easy packing.
- Pacifiers & Pacifier Clips | We find these pacifiers with these clips to work great!
- Swaddle Blankets | Another must-pack item, Aden & Anais makes our favorite muslin swaddle blankets that double as a nursing cover or burp rag too.
- Crib Sheet | Whether you bring your own travel crib or use the hotels, we like to have our own crib sheet. This crib sheet that’s designed specifically for portable cribs has traveled with us again and again.
- White Noise Machine | We love our Shusher and I swear it has made all the difference in helping our babies fall asleep in new places. This portable sound machine is another favorite among traveling moms.
- Favorite Blankie | Even though it can be a bit of a pain to travel with, having a soft baby blanket sure is nice for wrapping baby up on a cold airplane or having a familiar comfort from home.
Baby Packing List | Miscellaneous Must-Haves
- Diaper Backpack | A good diaper bag is essential, and I can’t recommend going with a backpack style enough! Having your hands free, especially in airports, is a necessity, and this FreshlyPicked diaper backpack has travelled with us all over the world!
- Birth Certificate or Passport | Did you know some airlines require you to show a birth certificate for your lap baby? To be safe, I always carry a copy in my wallet. And if you’re planning on traveling internationally, be sure to start the process for your baby’s passport as soon as possible.
- Dropper Stopper Baby Tether | From toys, to bottles, to snack cups, this is our favorite item for keeping all of our baby essentials from hitting the dirty airplane floor.
- Plastic Storage Bags | Whether one-time use, or an eco-friendly reusable, we’re always finding a need for the modest plastic storage bag. Whether for dirty clothes from a blow out incident, saving leftover snacks, keeping trinkets and keepsakes together, we’re always finding a new use for these.
Free Printable Checklist: Baby Travel Packing List!
It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve traveled with a baby, I’m always bound to forget something if I don’t make a list!
So I’ve created our very own baby travel packing list that we use for each and every trip, and now you can steal it for yourself! Find it in our free resource library, along with tons of other printable family travel planning tools available exclusively for email subscribers.
What are your must-have packing list items when traveling with baby?