Baby Travel Essentials + Printable Packing List

We’ve been traveling with our toddler since she was 8 weeks old, and we’ll continue until she’s too cool to go on trips with us. This baby travel essentials checklist will help you make sure you have what you need to enjoy your trip.

We’ve done multi-state road trips, short, cross-country business trips and 16-hour flights to get to beach and adventure vacations …

We’ve travelled with a newborn, a toddler, and a group of babies. We’ve stayed in hotels, Airbnbs, chalets, and campgrounds. We’ve packed everything we needed into two carry-on bags, and have also overpacked and had to check gigantic suitcases full of baby gear.

We’ve even travelled with cloth diapers.

So, this is the best, most well-informed resource on baby travel essentials on the internet.

Travel Baby Essentials Checklist

baby travel essentials

Most of these essentials are for the trip there, and some things that are unreliable to find when you get there. But keep in mind, almost everything else can be purchased or rented when you land.

Contrary to popular belief, you can (and maybe should!) travel with just a carry-on. We’ve done it both ways — with a carry on and with a big checked suitcase.

BUT…

Where traveling with a carry-on only is definitely more convenient without baby, we found that it’s actually far LESS convenient WITH your tot.

That’s because you have to juggle your baby, all of your gate checked gear, and your carry on luggage through the airport if you just have carry ons. It’s a lot. Not impossible, but your hands will be full.

I’ve gone ahead and starred the things you can probably get away with leaving behind if you do plan to travel with just a carry on.

Here’s the best baby travel gear for 2019:

Legend: * – optional but handy

Bring on the Plane:

  • A change of clothes for you (just in case…)
  • Water bottle
  • Travel immune support (like FLIGHTFŪD)
  • Diapers
  • Diaper cream
  • Wipes & travel case
  • Wet bag (even if you don’t cloth diaper)
  • Plastic ziplock bags
  • Tylenol*
  • Bandaids*
  • Baby nail clippers
  • A big  and stylish enough diaper bag to do a day trip with
  • Baby carrier (Ergo – not a wrap carrier, because you can use it everywhere)
  • Blanket or comfort toy
  • Soother if you don’t breastfeed – yes even if your baby doesn’t usually use a soother, as it’ll help your baby clear her ears
  • Emergency snacks
  • Plastic bags, change of clothes for flight
  • Portable changing pad or station (you’ll find yourself changing your baby on the floor more often than you’d expect)
  • Portable charger for you
  • Comfy pjs or travel clothes that are easy to change diapers in, in a small space (ie a two piece suit, not a onesie)
  • Earplugs
  • A small bottle of dish soap
  • A new toy — this will keep your baby distracted.

Gate Check

Checked Luggage

What to Pack for Baby on a Cold Weather Vacation

What to Pack for Baby on a Beach Vacation:

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat for baby
  • Bathing suit
  • Baby sunglasses
  • Swim diaper

The Big Vacation Packing List with Baby

  • A change of clothes for you (just in case)
  • Water bottle
  • Diapers
  • Diaper cream
  • Wipes
  • Wet bag (even if you don’t cloth diaper)
  • Plastic ziplock bags
  • Tylenol*
  • Bandaids*
  • Baby nail clippers
  • A big  and stylish enough diaper bag to do a day trip with
  • Baby carrier (Ergo  or Babybjorn – not a wrap carrier, because you can use it everywhere)
  • Blanket or comfort toy
  • Soother if you don’t breastfeed – yes even if your baby doesn’t usually use a soother, as it’ll help your baby clear her ears
  • Emergency snacks
  • Plastic bags, change of clothes for flight
  • Portable changing station (you’ll find yourself changing your baby on the floor more often than you’d expect)
  • Portable charger for you
  • Comfy pjs or travel clothes that are easy to change diapers in, in a small space (ie a two piece suit, not a onesie)
  • Earplugs
  • A small bottle of dish soap
  • A small baggie or bottle of baby laundry detergent
  • A new toy — this will keep your baby distracted (something that )
  • Travel car seat
  • Umbrella stroller
  • Portable, lightweight travel crib
  • Bottles/bottle brush
  • A portable baby monitor – sometimes wifi baby monitors don’t hook into the internet at resorts, so be aware
  • White noise machine (or double up with fan, iPhone etc)*
  • Toothbrush for baby
  • A book to keep nighttime routine*
  • Baby soap (most adult soap is harsh and hurts their skin)
  • Shoes
  • Lobster high chair*

What to Pack for Baby on a Cold Weather Vacation

What to Pack for Baby on a Beach Vacation:

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat for baby
  • Bathing suit
  • Baby sunglasses
  • Swim diaper

What to Leave Behind

We’ve seen enough of our friends go on trips with their little ones (and been on enough trips with our daughter ourselves!) that we have a pretty good sense of what to leave behind.

You can take these with you, of course, but do so at your own risk of overpacking. I won’t judge!

  • Your Pack and Play. A portable travel crib will do the trick (we have this one and it’s been one of our most well-used and loved items) , and most pack and plays are just clunky.
  • Baby sun tents. You don’t really need this.  use the travel crib as a sun shade, or rent one there. Did you know that many destinations have companies that allow you to rent pretty much everything you need? Google “baby gear rental” + the destination you’re visiting: Screen Shot 2019 01 02 at 5.34.12 AM
  • Too many clothes. This will just take up room in your suitcase and we always find our baby wearing the same thing over and over again.
  • Too many bottles. Bring a maximum of 5. Just make sure you’re on top of sanitizing them.
  • Tons of baby food. If your baby is at the stage of eating solids, you might be nervous to buy a bunch of baby-friendly food there, but don’t be. Bring enough for the day of travel, but remember that no matter where you go, you will be able to buy baby-friendly food.
  • A bassinet. Again, the portable travel crib is your best friend, and you won’t need a bassinet if you have one of these – no matter what age your baby is.

Your first trip with your baby can be daunting, especially if you have no idea what to pack. But even if you over or underpack, what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll learn for next time!.

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