Traveling with a baby can be daunting, especially if it’s your first family vacation, but it doesn’t have to be. Babies need a ton of stuff, so you may wonder how it can all fit in your suitcase (and your car). Our list of budget-friendly baby travel essentials will help you pack like a pro while only taking what you actually need and enjoying a stress-free trip!
Table of contents
- 23 Baby travel essentials
- Expert tip: Travel at night with your baby when possible
- 3 Commonly forgotten baby travel checklist items
- Helpful ideas to travel successfully with a baby
- What do babies need for traveling?
- What items are essential for a baby on an airplane?
- Articles related to babies and motherhood
- A list of baby travel essentials can help you budget for the most important items!
23 Baby travel essentials
Traveling is a great way to share new experiences with your baby and enjoy quality family time together.
The change in routine and the physical demand of traveling can make it difficult for both babies and their parents.
So, here are the baby travel essentials and travel gear that will make traveling easier for mom and little ones.
Note: Some of the product links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase, we might get a small commission that helps us grow!
1. Car seat
When traveling with a baby, safety is your number one priority. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends using an approved child restraint system (CRS) on an airplane.
Taking your infant car seat or toddler car seat with you may feel like a huge hassle, but it can save you the time and hassle of finding suitable transport options in other countries if you already have your own. It’s important that you check with your airline which car seats are approved, though, as not all of them will be accepted on the flight.
To help protect your CRS from damage during traveling, consider purchasing a travel car seat bag to use on your journey and save money by not buying replacements.
2. Baby travel cot
Baby travel cots are also called a pack-n-play, or a travel crib, and it’s one of the baby travel must haves. They are a great way to provide a safe and familiar place for your baby to sleep on your travels, especially without a regular crib. They are compact, easy to transport, and reasonably budget-friendly.
When considering which travel cot to buy, look out for the following features:
- Ease of use: You want something that won’t take you hours to put up and pack away.
- A mesh window: This is important so you can always see your baby.
- Washable covers: In case of accidents or use over time
3. Portable feeding seat
If you’ve reached the weaning stage with your baby, a travel feeding seat will make feeding and snacks much easier (and safer) whilst away from home. No more trying to feed your baby on your lap whilst trying to eat yourself!
Before purchasing baby travel essentials like this, check the item’s minimum age requirements and weight to ensure it suits your needs. And here’s some advice to a new mom: fabric seat harnesses are a great, portable solution.
4. Baby monitor
A lightweight travel baby monitor is one of the baby essentials for parents on the go. Whilst you’re on holiday, you can get peace of mind that your child is okay without having to go into their room constantly.
Travel monitors must have long-range, good battery life, and be durable enough to withstand traveling.
In addition, certain models are non-WiFi, which is excellent if you don’t have a reliable internet connection where you are staying.
5. Foldable baby bath
Just because you’re staying in holiday accommodation doesn’t mean you have to miss out on bath time fun or the baby’s usual bedtime schedule.
Portable baby baths are designed to be convenient, making them the perfect travel companion for your tot. They also ensure that you can enjoy bath time safely, wherever you are.
Choose one that folds or collapses flat so that it can lay flat in your luggage. And don’t forget the bath toys for the tub, too!
6. Portable white noise machine
If your baby is used to sleeping with background noise, a white noise machine is a great item to pack in your bag and take with you.
Generally, portable sound machines are small and durable, so they are easy to pop in your suitcase or baby’s bag. A noise machine may be a packing category that’s easy to forget, but it’s so important.
Top tip: Some even have built-in night lights, creating the optimum sleep environment for your little one.
If your baby uses a pacifier, it’s essential that you pack enough of these baby travel must haves for your journey.
8. Baby toiletries
An essential part of your baby packing list is toiletries. Just like us, there are some items that babies rely on every day.
And if you don’t have much space in your suitcase, you can buy smaller traveling bottles to fill up your supply at home to help you have the best family vacations on a budget.
Here are the toiletry travel essentials for your baby that you will need:
- Baby wipes
- Diaper rash cream
- Baby shampoo
- Baby nail clippers
- Items for potty training
Use packing cubes to neatly organize your baby’s items and save you time finding what you need when you arrive.
9. Baby first aid kit
Accidents happen and sometimes can’t be prevented. Especially during travel when it’s hard to baby-proof anything. But you can be prepared.
A baby first aid kit will contain everything you need in case of mild illness or small injury, from plasters and antiseptic to cold compresses and thermometers.
It’s crucial that you buy a pediatric first aid kit so that the items included are suitable for your baby.
10. Feeding equipment
Whether you’re breast or bottle feeding, certain items are essential to take while away from home.
If you’re nursing, don’t forget to pack a nursing cover, pads, and breast pump. If your baby is a bit unsettled in an unfamiliar environment, you will probably find that if you nurse your baby, it will help to soothe and settle them.
In addition, if your baby is taking a bottle, pack enough formula milk so you don’t have to worry about running out while you’re away. Packing a small travel bottle brush is also a good idea to clean your bottles on the go.
A plastic baby spoon and other utensils are a baby travel essential if your little one is starting to have solids.
11. Baby-proofing kit
If your baby is on the move, consider packing a baby-proofing kit to minimize the risk of accidents while on vacation.
A baby-proofing kit contains electrical covers and corner guards for furniture to make the property you’re staying in a safer environment. Some may even include travel stair baby gates, which are essential if you’re staying somewhere with stairs.
12. Travel highchair
Make your weaning journey easier and less stressful when you’re away from home with a reliable travel highchair.
Having your own portable high chair means you won’t have to worry about whether your accommodation or places you eat at will have sufficient facilities.
Look for ones that are lightweight and easy to clean, and you won’t regret your purchase!
13. Backpack diaper bag
When you’re a mom, you need your hands free. That’s why a backpack diaper bag is a great item to have.
They’re easier to carry around if you’re out and about. Backpack diaper bags usually have extra pockets and storage for all your baby’s needs, such as a change of clothes, diaper changes and other toddler essentials.
Plus, they have compartments to help you be organized.
14. Lightweight stroller
A travel stroller is one of the best baby travel essentials because it makes it easier to get around. Choose one that’s lightweight and collapsible, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space.
It will also be easier to load in overhead compartments of trains and airplanes. Leave the bulky pushchair at home!
15. Ergonomic baby carrier
An ergonomic baby carrier is another of the travel essentials for baby because it’s better for your back. It’s a safe and practical way to carry your baby, especially where strollers are hard to maneuver.
A baby carrier also gives you the advantage of being hands-free while your tot enjoys the scenery. Choose a carrier that can be worn for both the back and front so it can be adapted for your baby’s toddler stage. Make sure it’s comfortable and machine washable as well.
16. Sleeping bag/swaddle
Add sleeping bags and swaddle blankets to your baby packing list of essentials for another layer of comfort. Choose lightweight swaddles and sleeping bags to make them easier to fold and more space-saving for your suitcase.
Top tip: the trick to traveling with a newborn or toddler is mirroring their regular routine. So, if that means your child normally falls asleep swaddled up in a blanket, you should also do this when away from home.
17. Sensory travel toys for babies
Baby travel essentials can also be fun! Toys can help distract babies and make them less anxious because it’s familiar and comforting. They’re also a great way to pass the time, making travel easier and more fun.
Some of the very best travel toys for babies include rattles. They are reasonably small, making them the perfect size to slip in your hand luggage, and your baby will love the noise they make.
Baby will love looking at the pictures whilst listening to you tell them a story. You may also include items like stickers, depending on your child’s age.
18. Travel blackout blind
When traveling with tiny humans, sheer curtains in the rooms are the worst. Your baby will likely wake up at the first sign of light, stopping anybody from sleeping well.
That’s why you need your own blackout blinds in your vacation budget, whether staying in a hotel, Airbnb, or with relatives. Amazon sells lots of different portable blackout blinds to suit your budget and style.
19. Waterproof wet bag
Carry a waterproof wet bag with you so you don’t have to worry about getting anything wet. It’s a better alternative than plastic bags. You can store wet clothes in it and keep the rest dry.
20. Water shoes
Water shoes are a must-have travel item if your baby has started walking.
They help to stop your kids from slipping and falling when playing around the pool, especially if they have just started walking and are a bit wobbly on their feet.
Additionally, swim shoes are great if you’re visiting beaches with lots of shells, corals, or rocks.
21. UV beach tent
When considering travel essentials for baby, don’t forget to take in the climate where you are staying. A pop-up beach tent provides an excellent sunshade for your little one.
Most tents also feature 50+ UPF for extra protection, so your tot isn’t sunburnt. That’s why beach tents should be added to your baby packing list.
Here’s a reasonably priced beach tent you can set up easily!
22. Cooler for snacks and formula
When traveling with your little one, you’ll need to keep snacks and liquids on hand, and a travel cooler is an easy way to do it. You can use a cooler for snacks and bottles or a cooler to store breastmilk.
23. Stroller weather cover
Whether you are out and about in the city or spending the day at the beach, if you’re going to be outdoors, a weather cover can be helpful. Bring a stroller cover that protects from rain and wind to make your baby more comfortable as you travel.
Expert tip: Travel at night with your baby when possibleThere are several benefits to traveling to your holiday destination during the night when you have a baby in tow.
Firstly, it won’t disrupt your child’s routine as much, so there’s more chance that your bundle of joy will sleep during the night. That means that they will spend less time awake, hungry or bored.
There are usually fewer road users and passengers at night, so you can expect to arrive at your destination sooner than if you were traveling during the day.
If you’re flying to another country, you may also save money by booking night flight tickets, as it tends to be cheaper to fly during unsociable hours.
3 Commonly forgotten baby travel checklist items
Before you leave for a trip, there are certain things you can do to make the actual traveling more streamlined and enjoyable.
Use this checklist for baby travel to make sure everything is in place before the day you travel.
1. Travel insurance
Babies get sick. And if that happens, insurance can prevent you from losing a ton of money.
More importantly, travel insurance will ensure you have the right medical coverage in another country if you need to use it.
2. Check medications
If your baby takes regular medication, ensure you have enough to cover the days you’re traveling. For certain medications, you may need a letter from your doctor that explains to the airline what the medicine is for.
Clearly label all medications with your baby’s name, your contact details, and the correct dispensing instructions.
3. Prepare custody and consent documents
If you’re flying solo with your baby, in some situations, you may need to prove that you’re the child’s parent (especially if you don’t share a surname). Pack birth certificates and a consent document from the other parent so you’re prepared if you need to show them.
Helpful ideas to travel successfully with a baby
While there’s no perfect routine or system to stick to when traveling with a baby, there are a couple of things you can keep in mind that may help traveling be easier:
Keep a routine as much as possible
If your baby is used to a specific routine, try to stick to it as much as possible. While traveling may make things difficult, at the very least, if your child can take regular naps at the same time that they’re used to, it can go a long way in making them feel more comfortable while they aren’t at home.
If you can also try to have meals at similar times to the usual, this can be helpful, as well.
Bring plenty of items to entertain your child
Since you may be traveling for hours at a time, bring plenty of toys and items to entertain your baby. Books, toys, music, movies, puzzles, etc., can all distract your child so they are less focused on their surroundings. This is one of the best car or airport hacks.
What do babies need for traveling?
Our complete baby travel checklist contains the essential items to put in your carry-on when traveling with babies. There’s no need to spend weeks researching and worrying about what to pack. Use this checklist for peace of mind that you’ll have everything you need:
- Baby passport
- First aid kit
- Travel insurance documents
- Travel consent documents (if required)
- Medication (if required)
- Phone charger
- Diapers/swimming diapers
- Baby wipes
- Changing pad or change mat
- Diaper bags
- Diaper rash cream
- Sanitizing wipes
- Baby lotion
- Baby wash
- Nursing cover
- Bibs (Silicone bibs are best for travel)
- Burp cloths
- Teething toys
- Baby books
- Two changes of baby clothes, onesies, or outfits
- Breast milk or formula
- Baby food (if weaning)
What items are essential for a baby on an airplane?
Items like snacks, toys and bibs are essential for a baby on an airplane. But in addition to these items, be sure to pack the following in your carry-on to help make the flight more comfortable for your baby and less stressful for you:
Airplanes can be noisy and unsettling places for little ones. During take-off, noise levels can rise and cause discomfort for babies and infants.
Baby-safe earplugs or headphones are a great way to help protect your child’s ears. They could even help your baby have a nap!
An airplane cabin can get cold, so blankets are essential for little ones. It’s also a lovely way to get cozy and encourage sleep.
Let’s face it, flying can get boring on long-haul journeys. Babies don’t understand the concept of time, so using toys as a distraction is a good way to ensure your flight goes smoothly. Don’t forget your baby’s favorite cuddly toy too!
Spill-free sippy cup
If your baby is starting to wean, you may offer your child water. Airplane cabins have low humidity levels, so having plenty of fluids on hand can keep your little one hydrated.
The last thing you want is to deal with cleaning up a spillage in a cramped environment, so pack a reliable cup you know won’t leak.
Functional baby carry-on bag
The best type of carry-on to use when traveling with a baby is one with lots of easily accessible compartments so you can organize your items, such as formula, bottles, clothes, bibs, changing pad, diapers, diaper cream, baby wipes, hand sanitizer etc. It will save you the time and stress of trying to find something that you need quickly!
A carry-on bag you can wear on your back will keep your arms free for the baby. Remember to check that your bag complies with your airline’s size and weight restrictions before traveling.
Airports don’t stock a huge selection of baby travel essentials, so it’s important that you take all the essentials you might need for a baby on an airplane.
Articles related to babies and motherhood
If you enjoyed this article on travel essentials for baby and the baby packing list, check out this related content:
- 5 Main Baby Costs In The First Year To Budget For
- Preparing For A Baby Financially
- How To Create A Baby Budget
- Should I Have Another Baby? Weighing The Costs
A list of baby travel essentials can help you budget for the most important items!
We hope you found this list of baby travel essentials helpful, although we recommend being mindful of your budget and any extra cost.
And remember, when considering how much does having a baby cost, you don’t have to follow every new trend or buy every viral product for your baby.
Consider the most important items you’ll need for your child in the first few years, and focus on purchasing those baby travel must haves first. But as always, we encourage you to do what’s best for your family, especially when it comes to how to spend money wisely.