Packing when traveling with a baby is almost as stressful as flying with one. Almost. Weeks before I go on an adventure with my kids, I start to get that “What if I forget something???” feeling. I try to remember the last trip we were on—what did I forget that time that nearly caused a level-five meltdown? Usually it’s something to do with a lovey, but you seriously never know. And it happens to all of us. Put your mind at ease by checking out this list of what to pack before you hit the road.
1. Passport or ID
If you are traveling abroad, yes, your baby will need a passport. Plan in advance, because it can take about six weeks to get it! If you are traveling domestically, baby’s birth certificate will suffice.
Bring one diaper for every hour you’ll be in transit. It’s a lot, yes, but it’s better to err on the side of caution and be over prepared. Beyond that, research whether or not you can easily buy diapers in your destination and save some space in your suitcase.
Not just for dirty bums, wipes can come in handy for cleaning sticky hands, dirty tray tables, spit up, and more. Again, you can probably take enough for the flight and buy some at your destination.
Plan on at least two outfits per day — more if your baby is prone to blowouts. Pack two extra outfits in your carry-on for both of you, as well. If your baby gets sick on the flight, chances are you’ll both be a mess.
Depending on the age of your baby, you may want to allow her to have a little screen time, even if its a simple shapes/colors game.
6. Toys & books
I mean, duh, right? It’s so hard to know which toys your baby is going to want to play with, so bring items from various categories. A small stack of nesting blocks, a cuddly toy, something noisy, and soft-cover books. And don’t get them all out at once—your baby might appreciate a new toy once she’s become bored with the last one.
I always bring three times more snacks than I think I’ll need for the plane. If your baby is on solids, consider bringing extra pouches, extra Cheerios—whatever she’ll eat! If you’re traveling somewhere exotic that may not have your picky eater’s fave, plan accordingly.
8. Breast pump or formula
If you are nursing, you will likely need to pump at some point. if your baby is on formula decant twice as much as you think you’ll need into a Ziploc bag (with measuring spoon) and pack in your suitcase. You don’t want to get where you’re going and realize they don’t have the only type of formula your baby will drink!
Whether you’re pumping or formula feeding, you’ll want to be sure to have plenty of bottles!
I always opt for a carrier over a stroller when I’m traveling. Chances are you’ll need it on the flight if your baby needs a nap, and you never know how easy it’s going to be to maneuver a stroller when you get to your destination. If you can bring both, opt for a lighter travel system that’s easy to fold up.
11. Car seat
If you’re renting a car, check to see whether the company can provide a car seat. If not, definitely travel with your own.
12. White noise
My toddler often sleeps with a Sleep Sheep nearby, but that thing is too bulky to pack in my suitcase. Download a soothing white noise app to set up by your baby’s crib while she’s sleeping.
13. Travel cot
An annoyingly cumbersome item to travel with, but pretty vital. Unless your baby is co-sleeping, bring a pack n’ play or crib, and look for something easy to use and as lightweight as possible, like the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib. One way to get around this: Call your hotel in advance and ask whether they provide cribs; if they do, you can skip this item!
14. Blackout shades
If your baby will not fall asleep unless it’s pitch black out, you may want to roll up a yard of opaque black fabric in your suitcase and then hang it from the windows in your baby’s room. In the summer, the sun might not set until quite late depending on where you travel.
15. Plastic bags
Pack a variety of plastic bags; they’ll come in handy for storing dirty diapers, clothes, trash, and wet bathing suits.
16. Diaper rash cream
Especially if your baby is prone to redness, this will be useful to have.
17. Washable bibs
So much easier and quicker to dry than cloth bibs.
If your baby depends on these, make sure you have extras in your carry-on and suitcase!
19. Medicine & First Aid kit
Hopefully your baby will stay healthy throughout the trip, but bring a first aid kit, as well as a thermometer, in case of fevers or scrapes. Remember not to put this in your carry-on if it exceeds the TSA liquid requirements.
Phone chargers, iPad and/or laptop chargers, camera chargers—you’ll drive yourself crazy if you forget these items! Also, don’t forget to bring the correct adapter if you are traveling abroad.