Travelling with a baby can be a nerve-wracking experience for parents, especially if it’s your first family trip.
I think we can all agree that babies come with a whole lot of stuff, so you may be wondering how you’re going to make sure you have all of the essentials for your holiday without taking the kitchen sink with you!
This ultimate checklist for travel with baby includes a guide to what to pack in your carry-on luggage for your baby as well as a complete list of essentials to remember for your holiday.
By getting organised and planning ahead with this checklist you will ensure a stress-free trip and holiday for your family!
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What to pack in your airplane carry-on bag for baby
If you’re set for a long or short plane journey then you’ll want to be fully prepared for the trip.
It’s nerve-wracking when you know you’re going to be trapped in a small space with people who may not think your baby’s constant gurgling, and occasional crying, is that cute.
Getting all of the right stuff in place is definitely a huge part of the battle. Otherwise there’s only so much you can control when it comes to babies and how they behave on the plane!
The key things to try to pre-empt are hunger, boredom and ear pain. You can help with the ear pain – when the plane is taking off and landing – with bottles, dummies or breastfeeding. Sucking and having a drink can help.
Make sure you have plenty of milk or food to keep your baby happy and when it comes to sleep have a plan for how you will settle them down for a snooze. Their favourite toy can help, as can ear defenders to block out the noise of the plane.
So use this handy airplane carry-on essentials for baby checklist to get ready for the trip.
- Nappies x25
- Wipes x2 packs
- Portable changing mat
- Nappy cream
- Nappy bags or plastic bags
- Ear defenders
- Baby blankets x2
- Muslins x2
- Bottles x2
- Formula milk / expressed breast milk
- Food – x3 jars if baby is weaning
- Bibs x2
- Pacifiers x2
- Teething ring/toy
- Change of clothes for baby
- Toys – books x2 and favourite soft toy
- Hand sanitiser
And of course don’t forget your own travel essentials for yourself including:
Passport and tickets, plus any travel forms you need to fill out
- Phone charger
- Spare top for you – in case of baby spit-up
Checklist for travel with baby
This list has everything you need for a one-week holiday – however it will also work for two weeks as long as you’re happy to do some laundry.
In terms of clothes it’s sensible to bring at least one outfit per day for when you are there. This list includes babygros and onesies, however that assumes your baby may need layers for where you are going.
You may also like: Guide to the different types of baby clothes
If you are heading somewhere tropical then during the day they may just wear a onesie (which leaves the arms and legs open to the air). However bear in mind if you are staying somewhere with air conditioning they may get chilly at nighttime.
Under clothes we’ve added dressy outfits, for evenings out. This could be a dress or a pair of shorts and a top. Of course you may choose to keep it simple with the clothes and stick to onesies and babygros, especially if your baby is very young.
Want a free printable PDF of this list? Just scroll down to the end of this post to grab a copy.
Sleep and travel
These are the essentials for your baby’s nap times and bedtime, as well as for getting out and about. If they have a comforter or favourite toy then bring that along, but it’s always a risk when travelling with something your baby is very attached to. We have lost beloved comforters a couple of times and it’s always tricky.
You can get around this by purchasing multiple versions of the same comforter. Make sure you wash and switch them out regularly so they look just as worn and loved as each other!
- Travel bed
- Munchkin Baby Travel Pod – this is amazing for day trips but also works as a cheap travel bed for small babies.
- Foldable travel cot mattress – travel cots come with a mattress but some people find these quite hard, so you may wish to include a foldable travel cot mattress to ensure comfort.
- Travel cot fitted sheet x3
- Blankets x2
- Baby sleeping sack x2
- Favourite toy
- Baby monitor – the Baby Sense gets great reviews from travelling parents!
- Car seat – whether you want to take a car seat really depends on how you will travel to and from the airport when you arrive at your destination.
- Lightweight stroller
- Baby carrier
These are the key items you need for washing and changing your baby. Don’t forget to pack any medications they are taking.
If you want to save space on nappies then check whether where you are staying is close to a supermarket where you can stock up on wipes and nappies when you are there.
- Baby bath and hair wash
- Baby moisturiser
- Nail clippers
- Wipes x5 packs
- Nappies (8 per day of your trip)
- Nappy cream
- Nappy sacks
- Portable changing mat
- Muslins x7
- Bath towel
- Medications (including baby painkiller)
When it comes to clothes you can keep it simple if where you are travelling to is very hot. Your baby may prefer being in just a nappy when they are at the beach.
Keep their skin covered as much as possible when they are in the sun, with sun hats and light layers.
- Babygros x7
- Onesies x7
- Dressy outfits x3
- Hat x2 (summer/winter, depending on climate of where you are going)
- Sunglasses – some babies won’t keep them on but an older baby may be OK wearing shades
- Cardigans/sweaters x3
- Pramsuit/coat x1 (if travelling somewhere cold)
- Swim suit
- Swim nappies
- Hair accessories – bows, hair ties etc
- Baby clothing hand wash detergent
Your baby’s feeding supplies are an important part of your packing. A handy bottle or cool bag can help to keep food and milk cool when out and about on a warm day.
You can get very compact high chairs for travelling, such as this cool one that fits into a pouch, in order to save you space when travelling.
- Travel high chair – rather than being big and bulky like the high chairs you use at home, go for a small seat that attaches securely to regular dining chairs so your baby can eat on the go
- Sippy cup
- Baby food – calculate how many meals for your trip and pack accordingly with spares
- Bottle/food cool bag
- Ice packs
- Breast pump
- Bottles x5
- Bottle brush
Day trip essentials
If you are going somewhere sunny then these day trip essentials are perfect for trips to the beach and water parks.
- Beach towel
- UV sun tent – these are really brilliant with older kids too. It provides a safe and shady spot for kids to get out of the sun and take a nap on the beach.
- Baby sun cream
- Hand sanitiser
- First aid kit – plasters, sting/bite cream, teething gel
- Play mat
Can I take a car seat on a plane?
Some airlines will allow you to take a car seat with you onto a plane if you would like to place your baby in there to sleep. However you will need to purchase an extra ticket, as EasyJet outlines in their guidance.
You may also find the car seat must:
- Be an FAA or TUV approved car seat – meaning it is appropriate for travel on an aircraft
- Be designed to be secured by a lap belt
- Not exceed the dimensions of the plane seat
- Be forward facing – some airlines allow forward and rear facing car seats so always check beforehand
Some airlines will allow a baby under two to fly for free – always double check the rules with the airline as more than one child under two can sometimes mean you will be charged. Sometimes there is a small fee involved even if your baby doesn’t have a seat (for easyJet the fee is £25 for example).
Some airlines may have their own car seats.
It’s always best to check with your airline before your fly so it’s clear they will allow your car seat on board, or what provisions that have for babies.
Do be aware of the guidance relating to safe baby sleep, as the NHS states car seats shouldn’t be used for long sleep periods.
Some airlines will allow you to check an additional two items into the hold if you are travelling with a baby. That may include a lightweight stroller, car seat or high chair for example.
How to pack for travelling with a baby
One thing to check before you make any plans is what the accommodation you are travelling to will provide.
Many family-friendly destinations will provide you with a lot of essentials to make life so much easier for you.
Typical items that many hotels and rental holiday cottages may provide include:
- Travel cot
- High chair
- Baby cutlery and bowls (if property has a kitchen)
- Baby monitor
If you’re unsure of what will be included in the room then check with the agent or company who you booked through.
Most holiday accommodation will state upfront what essentials are included in your room.
Avoiding travelling with large items like a high chair and travel cot makes life so much easier!
If you’re unsure that where you are heading to will include all of these essential items then try to minimise what you take.
For example can you use a baby carrier for a week instead of a pushchair? If the pushchair is absolutely essential then can you use that as a high chair so your baby has their meals in it while you are away? You can line the pushchair with a giant muslin (like this one) during meal times to keep it clean.
If you want to take some form of chair for your child to feed in then consider a small booster seat that fits to adult dining chairs. Some fold away into small pouches for handy travel.
Download the travel packing checklist to help you organise your holidays planning here:
Final thoughts on packing for baby’s first holiday
I hope you’re now feeling prepared for your baby’s first holiday. Getting organised ahead of your departure is definitely key to enjoying a stress-free journey for your whole family.
You may also enjoy this article about taking your baby to the beach.