My husband and I have always been minimalists when we travel, each of us only bringing a carryon for any destination (I am still SO PROUD of the fact that I was able to pack everything I needed for two weeks in Paris in one duffle bag!). We want to maintain that same philosophy when it comes to traveling with Sophie, but obviously babies need a decent number of extra items (such as a safe place to sleep and a car seat!).
Now that we’ve been on a couple of adventures with Sophie we feel like we have a pretty good handle on what we need for a successful trip with a baby. Some of these items are “nice to haves” and while they aren’t exactly necessary, they sure make travel a hell of a lot easier!
Sharing my reasoning behind all of the items as well as a (free!) printable list at the end of the post.
This is only necessary if you are traveling internationally; don’t forget to start this process in enough advance to get your baby’s passport in time! Even though you can rush aspects, it always seems to take forever. Also: be sure that you have secured any necessary visas!
Immunization records, copy of birth certificate. Also worth noting: if you are traveling internationally as a solo parent, you may need proof of consent from the other parent (that will need notarization) so plan ahead!
I know that mom experts advise against using these covers because they can cause a baby to overheat, but I feel like having one for travel is mandatory right now since anyone under two can’t wear a mask and isn’t eligible for the COVID vaccine. We plan to use it while at the airport, while on the plane when we aren’t feeding / changing Sophie, and in any public area situations that we may be in while out of town. We won’t be using it while in the car or anywhere that Sophie is safe from strangers’ germs and could potentially get too warm.
COLLAPSIBLE TRAVEL CRIB
We wanted something that could grow with Sophie; this one can be used until she is ~3 y/o, so that gives us plenty of time to travel in the next few years! It’s super easy to set up and break down and has a bassinet option for when baby is small. This option (or this option) would be great if your little one sleeps better in a dark environment. I also found this super economical travel bassinet option that was just perfect for a short term fix! I definitely wouldn’t choose it as a long-term investment, but as a short stay solution it would be totally ideal!
Our infant car seat model is able to be installed into a vehicle with / without a base as well as attach to our stroller. Because of this design we are fortunate that we won’t need to bring the base with us for the plane or our rental car (one less thing to worry about! 🙌🏼). If you do a decent amount of traveling I would definitely take this aspect into consideration when making your car seat purchase. We’ve also heard amazing things about the Doona stroller which is basically a Transformer as it is a car seat and stroller all-in-one!
We love our stroller. Super versatile, intuitive, compact, and stylish.
If you care about the appearance of / maintaining the integrity of your stroller / car seat and plan to gate check them, be sure to pack a protective travel bag for it.
BABY CARRYING WRAP
I wasn’t sure that I would use this often, but I was so wrong. This wrap has come in handy for me so many times — I love that it is soft and easy to store / put on my body ahead of time and just put baby in when we reach our destination. It’s perfect for travel because of the ease of carrying / being hands free / for situations where a clunky stroller would be inconvenient! I have found this wrap to be the most convenient for travel as it is soft and comfortable to wear, folds / rolls up small and can easily be tossed into a diaper bag or luggage without taking up much [valuable] room! But if you are planning to wear baby for extended periods of time I would recommend using a carrier instead (like if you’re going to go hiking at your destination or just plan to do a lot of baby wearing).
INFLATABLE BABY BATHTUB
You can just use a sink wherever you’re staying if you’re comfortable, but I personally don’t feel confident enough in my baby bathing skills to do that until she’s sitting up on her own so I found this inflatable tub that folds up into almost nothing when not in use and Sophie loves it! It even comes with a cloth cover so that baby doesn’t slip and it’s soft on her skin.
If you aren’t breastfeeding, you have three formula options to choose from: pre-mixed liquid, loose powder, and powder packets and there’s something to be said for each of them, it just depends on your needs and use case.
If you’re using loose powdered formula, then you’ll probably need something to keep it in. I love this travel container for multiple reasons: (1) the jars are BPA-free, (2) the cylindrical shape makes it easy to slide in and out of my diaper bag (as opposed to a clunky box that would take up a ton of space), and (3) the storage size is great for us when we’re on the go… for daily use or for trips! Don’t forget to toss in a measuring scoop from the formula container & these tiny blending whisks!
*Top Tip: I had to trim the handle of the measuring scoop to fit in the formula container because it’s just slightly too long.
Sophie loves these bottles and so do we. They’re easy to clean (love the flexible silicone), the slow flow nipple keeps Sophie from getting gassy, and the lid covers make them ideal for travel! When we travel we bring three to rotate between (in this storage container), but I normally just keep one in my bag for day-to-day use.
PORTABLE BOTTLE WARMER
This is completely bougie and unnecessary and, honestly, Sophie will take a bottle at any temperature, but in an effort to give her a warm bottle whenever we can, we grabbed this travel bottle warmer which has actually been so helpful for us when we’re traveling. (FYI: we needed this adapter for our bottle type)
These are our favorite burp cloths; we use them for so many things and I always keep a few with us at all times.
* This list includes everything you could possibly need to pack for any situation, just adjust according to occasion / seasonal needs!
Thankfully, Sophie is still tiny which means that her clothes are tiny and they don’t take up much space. We can currently pack all of her clothes for a trip into one packing cube and just put that cube in our luggage.
Sure, you can transfer existing products into your own travel containers, but I actually love these little branded bottles for Sophie’s bath products. We keep them in her own little Truffle bag [get a discount off of your first Truffle purchase by clicking here!].
This suggestion is up to you depending on how long you will be gone and how quickly your baby’s nails grow. I just trim Sophie’s nails right before we leave on a trip and leave the electric file at home, but if we were going to be gone for an extended period of time I’d pack it.
⚡️ = charged ❗️= downloaded
A #1 absolute MUST HAVE. Be sure you have all styles of charging cables for phones, tablets, and any other devices that need power to function.
PORTABLE NIGHTLIGHT ⚡️
Not a must-have, but definitely a nice-to-have for navigating unfamiliar locations in the dark and minimizing disruptions during overnight diaper changes / feedings since bright lights can be stimulating.
IPAD / TABLET ⚡️
Download any Movies / TV Shows to keep kiddos entertained ❗️
To use with previously mentioned tablet to watch entertainment.
@busytoddler has an IG Highlight called “Travel Kit” with lots of travel toy ideas!
PORTABLE FAN ⚡️
If you’re traveling to a warm climate and will be spending a decent amount of time outside (such as a day at DisneyWorld), I highly recommend taking at least one of these with you to hang onto your stroller.
As part of our packing routine, I always make a point to charge up any products that run on batteries (in this case, our nightlight and bottle warmer, but previously it was my electronics like AirPods and iPad). And as Sophie gets older we will be sure to download movies / shows to our devices to keep her occupied on long flights — when it comes to air travel, we’ll be in literal survival mode and will likely let her watch as many tv show episodes / movies as she wants if they keeps her attention, especially for those longer cross-country (or international!) flights.
I also buy a large bottle (or two!) of SmartWater at a HudsonNews stand at the airport for making formula bottles on the plane (I could probably get some water from a flight attendant, but I don’t want to have to rely on them any time Sophie needs a bottle). Plus, I know the water is sanitary; I have heard horror stories about the tap water on airplanes. 🤢
As soon as we land we try to find a store that sells diapers and wipes (such as a Target) and stock up for our visit so we don’t waste precious space in our bags trying to pack enough of them for the entirety of our trip. This is also a great opportunity to grab anything else that you may have forgotten to pack, such as a toothbrush or swimsuit (hey, it happens)!
The products in this list are travel-specific and are in addition to everything already in our diaper bag. All of our Diaper Bag essentials can be found in this post. Sophie inherited my hospital bag as her travel bag so she’s already got a space for all of her travel things for the foreseeable future.
CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE PRINTABLE DOWNLOAD
What items do you swear by for traveling with your little ones? Feel free to drop any additional product recommendations in the Comments section for other parents!
I hope this list helps you to feel better prepared for traveling with a baby, especially as a first time parent!
Sending hugs —