(Last updated on: 27/04/2021)
Knowing what to pack when travelling with a baby can be a fine art, especially for the new parent or inexperienced traveller. I normally pack light, but as soon as we were travelling with a baby on-board that changed…drastically! I wish I took a photograph of all of my luggage on that first trip abroad, it was that hilarious!
Whilst there is no doubt that you do need a few more things when travelling with a baby than you otherwise would, there is no need to pack up everything but the kitchen sink-it is possible to pack light! Whether you are taking your first flight with a baby or whether you are an experienced family traveller, we can all use some good packing advice from time to time! So here is my guide to what you need (or don’t need) to pack when travelling with a baby.
What to pack when travelling with a baby
The easiest baby to travel with is a breastfeeding baby. This is, of course, not practical for everybody, nor is it everybody’s preference. Also, once they get to around six months they are probably eating solids too.
When we travelled to Costa Rica with a baby in tow it was super easy as Isla was exclusively breastfed so we didn’t need to worry about packing bottles or about sterilisation etc. Sri Lanka with a baby, on the other hand, was a completely different story as by this time she was drinking formula. As I explain in my post outlining my top tips for flying with a baby, ordering formula at the airport and buying ready-made formula can be a real help with this.
If you are flying with a slightly older baby who is eating solids or a toddler then I highly recommend that you pack some great travel snacks for toddlers and babies! Snacks can help to keep them calm and occupied and can help to prevent their ears popping during take-off and landing too.
You really don’t want to take too much with you, especially if you are travelling to more than one location, so I personally would advice against packing lots of fabric bibs and portable high chairs etc. We simply tied baby to a seat using a large muslin and took a plastic bib that could be wiped. We also bought a bucket in Sri Lanka that we could use to sterilise everything, which is far cheaper than many of the gadgets that are around!
After our first couple of trips we ditched the travel cot. Isla prefers to co-sleep anyway, but regardless of this, it takes up precious luggage space along with a lot of space in your accommodation. We simply travel with Isla’s sleeping bag and an additional blanket just in case we need it. If you do prefer to use a cot, however, I would recommend the Spacecot for ease and the Phil and Ted Traveller for size.
Babies get through a lot of clothes so my advice is to take some washing power/hand wash gel rather than to pack a million different outfits. If you’re travelling somewhere hot they will likely all get stained with sun cream anyway so better not to ruin ALL their clothes, right? Bargain buys are best for this purpose.
A good baby carrier is a must as strollers are not always practical (uneven floors, busy markets, airports etc). We love our Baby Bjorn but there are lots of options out there. On our past couple of trips we lugged the stroller around but barely used it so I’m not sure we will take it in future! Check out this post for a look at the best baby carriers for travel!
Lastly, you will want to make sure that baby doesn’t get bored on long journeys, during mealtimes etc so pack a couple of their favourite toys. Travel is an entertainment itself so we don’t find that Isla spends much time playing with her toys while we are away, but there are definitely moments when they are needed! Small, stimulating toys are best and if they have a comforter don’t forget to pack that too! Take a look at this post for a comprehensive list of things to pack when flying with a baby.
Do you have any tips for packing when travelling with a baby? I’d love to hear them-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!