profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor

Packing Checklist: What to Bring When Traveling With Baby

Packing for a trip with baby is a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be mission impossible. Check out this checklist with all the essentials you’ll need.

Ever since you added the newest member to your clan, you and your partner’s annual bae-cation is now a baby-cation. The memories will be all the more special, but it adds a new twist to the travel prep. Long gone are the days of throwing things into your luggage at the last minute and hoping for the best.

“It’s no secret babies need a lot of stuff, all the time. There are many small things to remember, and packing and keeping track of these items can be an experience in itself,” says CharlRe Slaughter-Atiemo, MD, a pediatrician and founder of Cayter 2 You Baby, a one-stop online shopping center that allows parents to pre-order baby supplies and send them to their vacation destination. “It’s good to be as prepared as possible for the unexpected—it’ll help alleviate stress and ensure your infant has everything they need to stay as comfortable as possible.” So what exactly should you be packing? Read on.

The Basics

Rule No. 1: There is no such thing as ‘packing light.’ Slaughter-Atiemo says a well-stocked travel bag should at the very least include:

  • Diapers: “A good rule of thumb is to pack at least two days worth of diapers for possible delays (and blowouts!).”
  • Baby wipes: Toss in at least one pack of 50+ wipes
  • Diaper cream
  • Changing pad
  • Bags: Disposable diaper bags, plastic bags for trash and a bunch of Ziploc bags for good measure
  • Formula or stored breast milk: You certainly don’t want baby going hungry. If you’re breastfeeding, having some stored breast milk on hand can be helpful if nursing on the spot proves to be a challenge. Check TSA’s guidelines on traveling with breast milk and formula if you’re planning on flying
  • Bottles and sippy cups: “Bring at least one bottle or sippy cup for every four hours of travel in case you’re unable to rinse and reuse a bottle or cup,” Slaughter-Atiemo says.
  • Baby food: “Disposable baby food pouches are convenient because you can squirt them directly in baby’s mouth and it doesn’t require a bowl or spoon,” Slaughter-Atiemo says. “Traveling with homemade baby food is a little trickier, but very doable. Store it in pouches and freeze it prior to travel. You can also make frozen baby food cubes and store them in an airtight container with ice packs, then thaw and heat them when appliances are available.”
  • Bibs: Plastic roll-up bibs are the way to go. “They’re easy to clean, reusable and great for travel.”
  • Change of clothes: For baby and yourself!
  • Pacifiers: Bring extras
  • Toys: “Small items are ideal,” Slaughter-Atiemo says. “Think rattles, mirrors, small board books, soft hand-held toys, keys and teething rings.”
  • Infant Tylenol: In case baby’s temperature spikes
  • Water and snacks: Don’t forget about your own needs! Parenting is hungry, thirsty work.

Products Most Parents Forget

That should cover all the basics, but some commonly overlooked items will actually come in handy when you least expect it. This is usually where the trouble lies, because it requires a bit more forward-thinking as you pack. You’re much less likely to forget diapers than, say, an outlet safety cover. But once baby is in a new environment, they’ll be eager to explore their surroundings. You can stay one step ahead by packing some essentials to baby-proof your hotel room. Here are other items Slaughter-Atiemo says lots of parents tend to forget:

  • Bottle brush and dish soap
  • Feeding utensils
  • Sunscreen and sun hat
  • Baby’s toiletries
  • Bath toys
  • Travel potty
  • Baby monitor and cord
  • Crib sheets/blankets
  • Medicine bag
  • Outlet covers

Travel First Aid Kit

Always expect the unexpected. You never know what viruses, bumps or allergic reactions baby may get while away from home. Taking a little extra time to prepare for all the elements will prove invaluable when you’re in a squeeze. With any luck, you won’t put it to use, but Slaughter-Atiemo says to always have these items at the ready:

  • Band-Aids, cotton swabs, gauze and alcohol pads
  • Nasal saline drops
  • Nasal suction device
  • Nail clipper
  • Thermometer
  • Infant Tylenol or Motrin
  • Prescription medicines: EpiPen, asthma inhaler, steroid ointment, etc.
  • Medicine syringe or cup
  • Gas drops
  • Insect repellant
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Aloe vera
  • Safety pins
  • Emergency card with your pediatrician’s number

You’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed right about now. Fear not. There are a bunch of ways to take the load off yourself and your cargo. Amazon Prime Now makes it easy to order products once you reach your destination for same-day delivery. Plus, CayTer 2 You Baby offers an “order ahead” service, which gives families the option to order all their baby’s travel needs up to 90 days before their trip and schedule the shipment to arrive at their destination at a later date. It eliminates the hassle of having to lug all that extra stuff, but gives parents the peace of mind of checking it off their list early on. And the best news is it ships to all 50 states!

Published March 2019

Plus, more from The Bump

Preparing for Baby’s First Trip

13 Essentials for Traveling with Baby, Tried and Tested by a Dad of Twins

Tips for Traveling with Baby Like a Pro

PHOTO: Getty Images