must-have baby travel item

5 must-have baby travel items (and they’re not what you would expect)

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(Last updated on: 10/12/2020)

Wondering what are the must-have baby travel items? There are soooo many baby travel items on the market right now, from portable highchairs to foldable car seats and bed boxes. The problem is, however, that all of this travel gear takes up a lot of weight and space! 

Do you have unlimited luggage allowance and lots of spare hands? Probably not! 

Whilst some of these baby travel gadgets are brilliant, it just isn’t realistic to lug them all around on your travels most of the time (check out this post for more information on travel hacks to help avoid taking such items). Instead, you need to prioritise which items make the final cut, and which don’t. So to help with this, I have put together my top five must-have items when travelling with a baby. 

must-have baby travel items

Must-have baby travel item #1- Sling/baby carrier

We couldn’t live without our baby carrier! Baby-wearing has so many benefits when travelling. You don’t get caught out by stairs, small passageways and uneven terrains. Baby is held close to you at all times instead of near dirty floors and pollution from cars etc. Baby is also made to feel more secure in unfamiliar environments by being attached to mummy or daddy (or whoever else might be lucky enough to carry them).

For me, it also gives me peace of mind. I worry that someone could run off with the pram or that when I push it into the road a car might appear from nowhere and hit it. I’m sure that I am just a normal mum who worries too much, but for me I am far happier knowing that my daughter is securely strapped to me or my husband!

You might also be interested in my post- ‘Top tips for flying with a baby

We have tried out a few baby carriers during our first two years of family travel. You can read the full reviews here-

Ergo Adapt

Babybjorn One Outdoors

K’Tan Sling

Kiddy Adventure Pack

Of the four above, we preferred to carry baby Isla in the Babybjorn One Outdoors when she was younger (which you can find here), but as soon as she reached about 10kg this was no longer comfortable. It was also pretty awkward to wear on your back.

We recently purchased a Tula Toddler carrier, which I can genuinely say is one of the best baby purchases we have made! Investing in a good baby carrier is so important. You need to have good support and feel comfortable, otherwise you won’t want to use it! Baby also needs to feel comfortable in it.

must-have baby travel items

The Tula Toddler is really easy to put on your front or back and accommodates children up until around age 4. It’s also really small and lightweight, which means that I can easily fit it in my bag and use only when Isla no longer wants to walk. I gain nothing (apart from maybe a few pence commission at no extra cost to you if you buy via my Amazon link here), by recommending this baby carrier to you- I just genuinely love it (and so does Isla)!

Must-have baby travel item #2- Rucksack with multiple compartments

Babies require stuff and so it is really important to have a good bag to carry this stuff in!

Generally hubby will carry the bag (which is usually filled with heavy bottles of water, amongst other items) and I will carry the baby. He will often spend much of the day carrying this bag, so it is important that it is good quality, a reasonable size and that it is comfortable to wear.

Before I had baby Isla I thought I would need a ‘proper’ changing bag and for a while I loved my BabyMule (read my full review here). However, I quickly learned that any bag will do!

In fact, we have found that the best type of bag for travelling is a sports/hiking bag. These bags are typically designed to have good support and lots of compartments for different items, which is ideal. We tend to have one section of our bag for baby stuff and the rest for all of our other day-to-day travel items.

must-have baby travel items

I do, however, think that it is important to have some sort of bag or pouch to keep the nappy changing equipment together in one place. I have a portable changing mat like this one, which has handy compartments to keep baby wipes, nappies etc. I simply keep this in the designated compartment of our rucksack, which is sooo much easier than carrying an entirely separate changing bag!

You might alsdo be interested in my post- ‘Travel-themed gift idea for kids

So an important question is ‘which bag is best when travelling with a baby?’. There are so many different bags to choose from and everybody has a different shape body, so I would highly recommend that you visit some sports shops and try some on.

I had a bag that I bought in the sale, reduced from around £60, but the zip recently broke. So my suggestion would be to get one that is good quality. I am planning to replace my broken bag with an Osprey next (like this one). Whilst the price tag can be a little bit high with Osprey, the reviews are great and I want to make sure that I have a bag that is going to last the long-haul!

Must-have baby travel item #3- Soother- Dummy/breast

Parents can be so judgemental!

‘You shouldn’t feed your child chips’

‘You should never give your baby a dummy’

‘Oh my goodness, don’t disrupt the child’s routine!’

If you plan on travelling with your little one then you probably need to grow a thick skin and learn to take remarks such as this with a pinch of salt, if you haven’t already.

When you call into the service station in outback South Africa and the safest looking food is a portion of chips, you won’t worry that you are going to kill your child with too much salt or make them obese. You will be happy that they are fed.

When your baby is screaming during take-off because their ears are hurting, you won’t worry that their speech might not come along as quickly, because you’ve eased their pain by offering a dummy.

When your child grows up to be inquisitive, culturally aware and adventurous you won’t say ‘I wish I put them to bed at 7.30pm every night instead of taking that late bus or going to that show’

Travel can be daunting for adults, let alone children. I will never forget the time that baby Isla kept waking in the night in the Costa Rican jungle because she was scared of the howler monkeys! Sometimes babies and children need a little security at home as well as while travelling. So don’t feel ashamed if you choose to breastfeed your baby to sleep or to offer a dummy. Just do what works for you!

You might also be interested in my post- ‘Costa Rica with a baby

Must-have baby travel item #4- Something to suck during flights

Speaking of dummies, or pacifiers as American’s like to call them, these can come in really handy when flying.

We always knew that we would travel a lot with our daughter and so one of our justifications for offering her a dummy in the first instance, was that she would have something to help her ears when we fly. For us, a dummy is a must-have baby travel item.

flying with a baby

The dummy has actually turned into much more than a travel item for Isla. In fact, she uses it more than I would like her to. But it doesn’t have to be this way- you can offer it as little or as much as you feel appropriate for your little one. We prefer the Mam dummies as they are shaped to replicate a mother’s nipple and they also glow in the dark! You can find them on Amazon here.

Not convinced by dummies? Breastfeeding or offering a bottle during take-off and landing can be just as effective.

Must-have baby travel item #5- A positive attitude

My last must-have baby travel item is not actually a tangible item at all!

A positive attitude is the most important thing that you can take along with you on your family travels. Baby will sense if you are calm and happy and if you are feeling uneasy, then so will they!

South Africa with a baby

Yes, travel is different and you will need to make adaptations… but that’s all part of the fun! Your baby will gain so much out of the experience and so will you! Looking for inspiration for where to travel with your baby next? Check out my top 5 destinations for travelling with a baby and follow our adventures on Facebook!

Any questions or must-have baby travel items tips? I’m happy to help- drop your comments in the box below.

Psssst! By the way, I have recently designed a flight log book to allow your kids to record all of the journeys! If you’re looking for a special way to record your children’s travel memories then head over to Amazon to take a look!

  1. GSE Solutions

    Great post! Always a positive attitude, love it! Carolina at GSE Solutions.

    • Hayley

      Thanks Lauren!

  2. Sally from Little Hiccups

    I like this list! So often when I see “must have” lists for travelling with babies they contain things you really can do without. A good wrap/carrier, clothes, diapers, food and something to suck on flights for comfort are the real necessities. Oh, and definitely the good attitude!

    • Hayley

      Thanks Sally, I agree, so many lists have way too much stuff!

  3. Mel

    Great article. For me, Num 3 is the most important.

    • Hayley

      Thanks Mel, I’m glad you liked it!



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