Packing List for Baby: What to Bring and What to Leave at Home + PRINTABLE

Kimberly Miles Avatar

a woman with tan skin sits on a plane next to a tan baby boy with curly hair. he is seated in a car seat an looking out the window

That first trip with a baby can feel a little overwhelming. Never fear! We’ve been there and used our experience to create this packing list for baby. It will ensure you have ALL of the things you will need and NONE of the things you won’t!

I’ll never forget that first major trip I took with my son. He was barely 2 years old and I thought it was a good idea to spontaneously book a last-minute trip to Puerto Rico. Did I mention that I had never flown with him before?

Needless to say, I immediately began to stress out. With just a matter of days left before our flight, I had to quickly figure it all out: What should I pack? What should I leave at home? What if I forgot something that couldn’t be replaced when I arrived? Talk about overwhelming! A baby packing list with the things I definitely needed, the things I may need and the things did not need would have been helpful.

Thankfully, we survived. And I learned exactly what baby gear needed to be (and what didn’t need to be) on our baby packing list for future trips.

Whether you’re headed on your first road trip with your baby or first flight, here I share the must-have items to put on your travel packing list for baby (plus recommendations), as well as the things you can leave at home.

Baby carrier, an essential item on the packing list for baby

Packing List for Baby: Essential Travel Gear

Don’t forget these travel essentials to help you get to, from and around your destination:

  • Car seat
  • Car seat dolley
  • Umbrella stroller
  • Stroller gate check bag
  • Baby carrier
  • Large diaper bag backpack
  • Baby travel bag

If you need to know which brand of travel stroller to buy, check out our recommendations.

Car Seat

If traveling by car, you will need to have a car seat. If traveling by plane and you don’t mind buying a second seat for baby, having your own car seat can keep your baby comfortable and feeling “at home” throughout the flight. I used a car seat the first time I traveled and flew with my son and by the end of the flight he was fast asleep.

Car Seat Dolley

This is a lifesaver for anyone who needs to fly with a baby and their car seat. Traveling with a car seat is enough of a pain, but managing both luggage and a stroller means you can quickly find yourself in over your head! A rolling car seat doesn’t just make it easy to pull the seat through the airport, but can also free up one of your hands if you choose to use it as a stroller.

My personal favorite is the Go-Go Babyz Travelmate, which made traveling with my son a breeze, especially as a single mom.

Umbrella Stroller

When traveling with a baby, you’ll want to make sure you pack the most lightweight and portable, yet functional, stroller possible. A single or double umbrella stroller checks all of those boxes.

There are several brands that offer sturdy umbrella strollers with sun covers as well as undercarriage storage and detachable cup holders, which will help with holding extra items while keeping your little one comfortable.

Stroller Gate Check Bag

If flying, you’ll want to keep your stroller clean and protected during the flight with a gate check bag. When I would fly with my son’s stroller, I used the Angel Babyz Stroller Gate Check Bag. It’s sturdy, but its real super power is a shoulder strap that made carrying it around the airport a breeze.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Save on luggage fees and boarding hassles by stuffing jackets or other small lightweight items that you don’t need on the plane into your stroller gate check bag!

Baby Carrier

If your baby likes to be worn, a baby carrier is super helpful when you need two hands to lug around luggage and strollers. My son used to love being worn in his Baby Bjorn when I needed to get things done but wasn’t in a place to put him down.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Make sure to check airline rules about whether you are allowed to wear your baby in the carrier while in flight.

SheBuysTravel Pick

Large Diaper Bag Backpack

When traveling with a baby, using a large diaper bag backpack for all of baby’s belongings versus a shoulder bag is highly recommended. A backpack will free up both of your hands, puts much less stress on your body, and doesn’t get in the way of wearing a baby carrier! A backpack also keeps things nice and organized, making passing through TSA a breeze.

Nowadays, you can even find multi-functional backpacks that convert into a portable baby travel bassinet and have a built-in phone charging station.

Baby Travel Bag

Sometimes a backpack doesn’t quite fit everything, especially if you need more space for larger items such as baby blankets and multiple sets of clothing (especially if you have more than one kiddo). In that case, you’ll want to bring along a large baby travel bag to keep everything together.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Keep liquids toward the top of the bag for easy passing through TSA.

What you can leave off of your essentials packing list for baby:

  • Bulky car seats (especially if you don’t plan on driving)
  • Bulky convertible strollers

Diaper changing pad, an essential item on the packing list for baby

Packing List for Baby: Clothing and Diapering

Traveling with a baby means dirty diapers and messes! Don’t forget these must-have clothing and diapering items in your luggage:

  1. Extra baby clothes
  2. Change of clothing for mom/dad
  3. Diapers and wipes
  4. Diaper changing pads

Extra Baby Clothes

When packing your bag, include plenty of extra baby clothes for the trip. When traveling with my son, I would always pack two extra sets of clothes (including the onesies and booties) for each travel day, plus an additional two outfits just in case.

You never know when you’ll have a diaper blow-out or when the baby food or milk will spill. It will save you stres and embarrassment if you have plenty of extras handy.

Change of Clothing for You

I learned this the hard way when my son had a major blow out in a restaurant, leaving my shirt sleeve covered in– you know what. Make sure you pack at least one extra shirt for you along with the baby’s change of clothes in the diaper bag or carry-ons for those unexpected messes.

Disposable diapers and wipes

Make sure you pack enough diapers to get you through your trip, or at least until you can get to the next store to stock up. When flying, pack more than you think you’ll need. The last thing you want is to be mid-air and run out of diapers! Don’t forget the diaper cream and baby wipes.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Bring plenty of Ziploc bags to lock in the smells and messes before you put them in a public restroom or lavatory garbage bin. It’s one of the best uses of Ziploc bags for traveling! 

Diaper Changing Pads

When traveling with a baby, you never know when a diaper change will need to happen. Public baby changing stations aren’t the most sanitary, and sometimes one isn’t available at all. That’s where portable diaper changing pads come to the rescue! Many diaper bags and backpacks come with a built-in diaper changing pad, but you can also find separate ones with baby wipe holders such as the MuppyKap Portable Changing Pad. Also, disposable changing pads are an option for easy clean up.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Before you board a flight with a baby, read these very thorough directions for changing a diaper on a plane! You’re welcome.

What you can leave off of your packing list for baby:

  • Cloth diapers (especially when a washer/dryer is not available)
  • Too many disposable diapers

Packing List for Baby: Nursing and Feeding

A well-fed baby is a happy baby! Be sure to pack these nursing and feeding items in your carry-on and luggage:

  1. Bibs and burp cloths
  2. Breast pump and breast milk storage bags
  3. Breastfeeding cover
  4. Baby bottles
  5. Pacifiers
  6. Sippy cup and utensils
  7. Baby food and snacks
  8. Portable high chair

Bibs and Burp Cloths

Extra bibs and burp cloths are a diaper bag must-have on any regular day. But when traveling with baby, you’ll want to pack even more for each day — especially if you won’t have access to a washer and dryer.

Breast Pump and Breast Milk Storage Bags

If you’re breastfeeding your baby, make sure you bring along a breast pump, including a manual pump such as the Philips Avent Free Comfort Manual Breast Pump for when outlets and batteries aren’t available. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of breast milk storage bags in your diaper bag as well as your carry-on.

Breastfeeding Cover

For those times that you need to breastfeed in public and want privacy, you won’t want to forget to pack a breastfeeding cover.

Baby Bottles

Be sure to pack enough baby bottles for your trip and a bottle brush for cleaning, if you need it. When flying, stick with smaller baby bottles for your carry-on to prevent any issues with TSA. Smaller bottles also take up much less space!

Pacifiers

If your baby still uses pacifiers, make sure you have plenty on hand, plus extras in case one of them gets dirty or goes missing altogether. My son was notorious for throwing his pacifier on the floor while I was driving, so it was nice to have a new one handy in the diaper bag to give to him. Pacifiers will also come in handy during ear-popping flight take-offs and landings.

Sippy Cup and Utensils

Having a sippy cup on hand is a must-have for mess-free road trips as well as flights. An empty cup has been extremely helpful when flying with my son. When the flight attendants come through for beverage service I can pour his drink in his own enclosed cup and know that it won’t end up all over me, the tray or on the floor (or worse, someone else). If they’re old enough to use their own utensils, don’t forget to pack those as well.

Baby Food and Snacks

Assuming they’re eating solids and old enough to feed themselves, don’t forget to bring enough baby food to last you through the trip (or at least until you can stop to buy more). You’ll also want to bring along some of their favorite bite-sized snacks for the car or plane ride. When flying with my son, I would always make sure to bring along lollipops for the ear-popping plane rides.

Portable High Chair

For easy feeding while at the beach, camping, or even in your hotel room, a portable high chair is a must-have on your packing list, especially during road trips. However, if flying, it may be better off to save yourself the trouble and leave it at home.

What you can leave off of your packing list for baby:

  • Large baby bottles
  • High chair (when flying)
Cute baby
Photo credit: Stock Unlimited

Packing List for Baby: Bath Time and Health

Don’t leave home without these essential items for the the bathroom and beyond:

  1. Toiletries
  2. Portable bathtub
  3. Travel potty seat
  4. First aid kit
  5. Medication & Documentation

Toiletries

Don’t forget to pack along the essential toiletries such as baby bath soap, baby lotion and a baby toothbrush.

SheBuysTravel Pick

Portable Bathtub

This is one of those items that you can take or leave depending on your trip. If you’re going camping or traveling somewhere without a bathtub, a portable bathtub is certainly handy.

For a lightweight, easy to transport bathtub, I recommend an inflatable bathtub such as the Goodking Baby Inflatable Bathtub. As a bonus, it can also be used as a baby pool! However, if where you are going has a tub or large sink, it may be better to save the space and leave at home.

Travel Potty Seat

For potty training little ones, a portable travel potty seat is good to have on the packing list. I recommend the BlueSnail 2-in-1 Travel Potty which is foldable, has a storage bag, and also has a seat ring that can be used alone.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Read all of our tips for potty training while traveling, including why you should pack Post-It-Notes! 

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit with medications, Band-Aids, ointments and necessary travel documentation is an absolute must-have on the packing list for baby.

In my family, my son’s Epi-Pen as well as a list from the doctor of all of his allergies go in a plastic bag and are packed in my carry-on. In addition, I pack travel-size bottles as well as a syringe or dosing cup for medications such as Benadryl and Tylenol.

SheBuysTravel Pick
Keep Going Travel First Aid Kit for Kids – 130 Piece
$39.95 ($39.95 / Count)
Buy Now
03/09/2024 05:01 pm GMT

What you can leave off of your packing list for baby:

  • Portable bathtub (when traveling somewhere with a tub or large sink)

Pack n play, an essential item on the packing list for baby

Packing List for Baby: Play and Sleep

From playtime to bedtime, make sure you’re well-prepared with these items in your luggage:

  1. Baby blankets
  2. Baby travel bassinet
  3. Travel crib
  4. Portable toddler bed and toddler travel bedding
  5. Baby books and toys
  6. Airplane toys for toddlers

Baby Blankets

To keep your baby warm and comfortable, make sure to pack a baby blanket (bring their favorite, if they have one). Baby blankets are also make good nursing covers!

Travel Crib

If driving, it may be helpful to bring along a baby travel crib especially if a crib is not provided at your destination. When my son was an infant, the Graco Travel Lite Crib came in handy as a lightweight and portable crib, bassinet and Pack-n-Play all in one. If a crib is available at your destination, you can leave this at home– just don’t forget to bring your own crib sheets!

Portable Toddler Bed and Toddler Travel Bedding

For camping trips and hotel rooms without separate beds, a portable toddler bed is a must-have on the packing list. An inflatable toddler bed like the Little Sleepy Head Toddler Inflatable Bed is easy to pack, lightweight and comes with its own carrying bag. A portable sleep mat such as the Urban Infant Bulkie Kids All-Purpose Sleep Mat keeps all of your toddler travel bedding in one place.

Baby Toys and Books

To keep your baby happy whether in the air or on the road, be sure to pack a few of their favorite lightweight toys and books in your carry-on and luggage.

Airplane Toys for Toddlers

Packing along toys and books to play with is a good way to keep older babies and toddlers distracted during road trips and plane rides as well as during the trip itself. I would always purchase a brand new toy for my son to surprise him and pique his interest during trips when he started to get bored, antsy or fussy.

If you don’t mind a little screen time for your little one, a kid-friendly tablet such as the Leapfrog Epic is an excellent way to help them pass some time.

What you can leave off of your packing list for baby:

  • Large toys
  • Heavy books
  • Bulky blankets
  • Baby monitor (unless they will be sleeping in a separate room)
  • Travel crib (if a crib is provided at your destination)

Play with beach toys, an essential item on the packing list for baby

Packing List for Baby: Beach Time

Ready for some fun in the sun? Make sure your beach trip is an enjoyable and comfortable one for baby by packing these items:

  1. Swim gear
  2. Swim diapers
  3. Sand-proof beach blanket
  4. Beach umbrella
  5. Sunscreen

Swim Gear

If you know a trip to the pool or beach is on the itinerary, make sure you have packed a couple of swimsuits, sunhat and plenty of sunscreen that is safe for babies. If including sunscreen in your carry-on, make sure it’s the appropriate travel size (3oz) to get through security!

Swim Diapers

Swim diapers are a must-have for both beach and pool time. Make sure you pack plenty in your luggage for those days that you head to the beach or pool with the family.

Sand-Proof Beach Blanket

One of the most used beach items for beach days with my son is a large sand-proof beach blanket such as the BREENHILL Beach Blanket. A sand proof beach blanket provides a place for the little ones to rest and play and is easy to clean and pack away at the end of your beach day.

If you’re driving your own car and have the space, don’t forget to also take along a beach umbrella to keep the entire family cool while enjoying your beach day.

Beach Toys

You’ll want to bring along plenty of beach toys for playing and exploring the sand and water. Foldable beach toys are both sturdy and easy for carrying along in your luggage without taking up much space.

Cut baby boy sleeping on tiny surfboard
Photo credit: Katrina Elena for Shutterstock

Packing List for Baby: Miscellaneous

Your baby packing list won’t be complete without including these items in your carry-on:

  1. Birth certificate and passport
  2. Chargers and cables
  3. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer
  4. Tissues
  5. Plastic bags

Birth Certificate and Passport

If traveling by plane and/or internationally, these items are a must-have. Otherwise, it is always better to carry a copy for your baby’s identification.

When I travel with my son, I keep all of our important documents organized in one place with a “travel wallet” such as the Valante Premium Family Travel Document Organizer.

Chargers and Cables

This should perhaps be one of the first items to pack, because you won’t want to be left stranded somewhere with a dead phone battery or unable to use any of your electronics. Before closing up your luggage make sure you have chargers for your phone, tablet, breast pump and baby monitor.

Having a portable charging battery such as the Anker Powercore is a must-have for when you need to recharge but aren’t near an outlet.

Anker PowerCore 26800 Portable Charger
$65.98 $55.45
Buy Now
03/09/2024 06:56 pm GMT

Wet Wipes and Hand Sanitizer

Antibacterial wipes and/or hand sanitizer will always come in handy for cleaning hands as well as surfaces. When traveling or on a plane, they are a must as you won’t always be able to get up and wash your hands, and you don’t know how dirty the surfaces are in the airport or on the plane.

Tissues

Just like wet wipes and baby wipes, you’ll want to have some small travel packs of tissues and/or a plastic bag full of tissues on you for wiping noses, or for if you get stuck in the bathroom (or elsewhere) with no tissue paper.

Plastic Bags

Having a few empty gallon-size plastic Ziploc bags with you will come in handy for separating clothing, holding open snacks/food, storing soiled clothing and keeping trash. Keeping items stored in plastic bags also makes it easier to go through security as well as repack your bag after security.

Want a printable checklist? Print out the baby packing checklist below to make sure you don’t forget a thing:

Travel Gear:

  • Car seat
  • Car seat dolley
  • Umbrella Stroller
  • Stroller Gate Check Bag
  • Baby carrier
  • Large diaper bag backpack
  • Baby travel bag
  • Airplane toys for toddlers

Clothing and Diapering:

  • Extra baby clothes
  • Change of clothing for mom/dad
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Diaper changing pads

Nursing and Feeding:

  • Bibs and burp cloths
  • Breast pump and breast milk storage bags
  • Breastfeeding cover
  • Baby bottles
  • Pacifiers
  • Sippy cup and utensils
  • Baby food and snacks
  • Portable high chair

Bathtime and Health:

  1. Toiletries
  2. Portable bathtub
  3. Travel potty seat
  4. First aid kit
  5. Medication & Documentation

Play and Sleep:

  • Baby blankets
  • Baby travel bassinet
  • Travel Crib
  • Portable toddler bed and toddler travel bedding
  • Baby books and toys
  • Airplane toys for toddlers

Beach Time:

  • Swim gear
  • Swim diapers
  • Sand-proof beach blanket
  • Beach umbrella
  • Sunscreen

Miscellaneous:

  • Chargers and cables
  • Wet wipes and hand sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Plastic bags

Did we forget anything? Share what other baby items you would bring on your family vacation in the comments!

Kimberly Miles Avatar
Kimberly Miles is a mother of one and an experienced solo and single mom traveler. So far, she has traveled to Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Dubai, Bahamas, Aruba, Mexico, and several places in the U.S. Kimberly was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, but in 2018 she took a leap of faith and made the beautiful beach town of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico her home with her young son. In addition to writing for SheBuysTravel, Kimberly ghostwrites blogs on a variety of topics. She also provides marketing consulting services and business guidance to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and corporations via her independent business KNM Virtual Solutions. When she’s not traveling or writing, you can find Kimberly working out, eating tacos, dancing the night away, or spending time at the beach with her son. You can read more of her work at Travel Unapologetically.
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