The way we pack now has changed a lot since we had kids. So, has the way we travel. But, being organized in the lead-up to a holiday is key. There’s no need to stress though, we’ve made things easier for you. This is a complete baby packing list so you know exactly what you’ll need to pack for your baby (and what you don’t).
Skye Gilkeson | Updated 2023
A Complete Baby Packing List for Your Next Trip
This baby packing list is comprehensive and it seems like a lot of stuff. Of course, you won’t need all of these items for your baby if you are just going for a night away.
But, if you are traveling with a baby on a plane or going on a long vacation together for a week trip or longer, this complete baby travel checklist should be really useful to help you work out what baby gear you need to take on a trip and what you can leave at home.
Baby Packing List: The Big Ticket Items
A travel stroller
While a travel stroller is a more expensive item, it absolutely belongs at the top of any baby packing list.
A lightweight stroller is really essential for anyone taking their baby overseas on a family vacation.
The best baby travel gear should be light, compact and simple to operate. So, the right stroller will save you space, save you back pain, and should fold up to fit in the overhead compartment of the plane or easily in the rental car trunk.
Most have heard of the Baby Zen Yoyo stroller and you will find at almost every check-in and gate you will be asked if your stroller is a Yoyo.
If you opt for a Yoyo, beware of the many fakes on the market and ensure you are getting an authentic Yoyo from a Baby Zen seller.
After asking a number of other people, we chose the Mountain Buggy Nano stroller instead and we absolutely love it.
It costs about half the price of the YoYo and it weighs slightly less. Both strollers can be carried onto a plane and stored in the overhead compartment in a stroller cover.
These stroller acceessories are probably baby items you don’t immediately think of when planning a trip but they can come in handy, especially when you’re trying to get baby to fall asleep al fresco.
The Mountain Buggy Nano weather cover pack was game-changing for use in winter in Japan.
A stroller liner
We also invested in a stroller liner. I wasn’t sure at first whether it would be worth the money, but it turned out to be one of the best things we bought as it saved us a couple of times. When exploding nappies soiled the pram liner, instead of the pram. it was easily washed and the good news was that it dried in a hotel room overnight.
It also provided more comfort for our daughter. Just ensure whichever liner you buy, it will fit in your travel stroller.
We use a Baby Bjorn and love it and it is definitely one of our essential items when traveling with a baby.
Other friends love their Ergobaby carriers, particularly for older babies.
After chatting with other family travel writers we took the leap without a travel cot and we are glad we didn’t take one on our latest trip where we were on the move and had a lot of planes.
It did mean there was a mix of travel cots from hotels or co-sleeping during our trip but we didn’t mind that too much.
If we were taking a road trip or staying at a friend’s house closer to home, we would definitely take one with us and the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib would be our pick.
Again, we spoke to many people about whether to take a car seat overseas for our baby and most said it is a safer bet to take one.
We took the risk and didn’t take one when we traveled to the United States and found we got a real mix of seats, some of which I really wasn’t happy with.
Also, in the United States and Europe, be prepared that you will likely be collecting and installing your own baby seat into your hire car. Unlike Australia, the companies won’t do it for you.
We had an amazing, brand-new infant car seat on our recent trip to Italy. So, it really is the luck of the draw I think. For those with children in booster seats.
Travel booster seats
There are travel booster seats too if you have older children. They are suitable for kids over 4 years old and should be on your kids packing list if you are happy to carry it on your trip and they want the comfort of their own seat.
Car seat insert
We use our own car seat insert in rented car seats, to help protect our little lady from germs and also so it feels and smells familiar.
We wipe all parts that she can touch down with disinfectant wipes too.
Nappy (diaper) bag
I highly recommend you choose a nappy/diaper backpack as opposed to a regular diaper bag.
I have tried both options while traveling and the backpack is definitely the winner for me.
We went for the Skip Hop Main Frame black backpack which, while at times a little small generally works really well for us and hooks easily to the stroller.
One of us generally had it slug across our front, while the other wheeled the pram.
When choosing a nappy/diaper bag to hook onto a travel stroller, remember it can’t take nearly as much weight as your regular stroller and will tip easily.
Carry on suitcase
We generally use a bigger backpack as a travel nappy/diaper bag while on flights with items like extra nappies carried in our cabin bag on travel days. Our nappy/diaper backpack then becomes a day bag when out exploring.
This is essential because it’s easier to have more room to move around in a bigger bag than trying to repack a smaller bag perfectly, all the time.
We actually use our Patagonia bag as an extra bag for our daughter’s things when on a plane as it is easy to pack and sits upright on its own really easily.
While some little travelers start to carry their own bags or get ride-on suitcases as toddlers, keep it simple with babies, you already have your hands full.
A Bassinet cover
We have friends who love their travel bassinet covers. We simply fashioned a cover out of a muslin wrap and pram clips when we needed to (generally on long-haul, not domestic flights).
A baby monitor
A baby monitor is definitely something we never leave home without when traveling with a baby.
Baby Packing List: Travel Documents
Two copies of your baby’s birth certificate so you have proof you are their parents. Store them in different places; one in your carry-on and one in your luggage in case you lose one.
Your baby’s travel documents
Check their name is correctly spelled and that they have been added to all flight bookings etc.
Having different surnames has meant our daughter’s tickets have been booked incorrectly on more than one occasion, leading to some long delays at check-in.
Carry a copy of the travel insurance policy covering your baby. Or, get a confirmation in writing that your credit card covers them as well.
Extra passport photos
Extra passport photos are a little thing but are really handy to have just in case you need a last-minute visa while traveling, especially as it’s really hard to get babies to take passport photos.
Baby Packing List: Carry-On Packing list
A baby’s first trip is such an exciting and nerve-racking time and that first flight with a baby can be daunting. From worrying about other passengers to feeding and wondering will my baby sleep on this flight.
Know that we have all been there, and most people with children sympathize with how hard air travel with babies can be.
This carry-on packing list includes everything we take on a plane with a baby.
Baby Toiletry and First Aid Kit
We create a little carry-on kit containing baby essentials and items you may need if your baby becomes unwell. When it comes to medications, consult your doctor to determine what you carry and are comfortable using.
These are the basics of what we carry in a plane toiletries kit for a baby:
We are in love with our digital thermometer. We were given it as a baby shower gift. It comes with us on every trip with its disposable covers and a spare battery with us (don’t forget the batteries need to be in your carry-on bag).
Nappy/diaper cream for diaper rash
Disinfectant surface wipes
You should always wipe down your tray table on a flight with baby safe wipes. It is the dirtiest part of a plane for travelers, least of all babies who touch everything and proceed to put those hands directly into their mouths.
Give yourself peace of mind by wiping the tray table, seat belt, buttons, and anything else they may touch before you get seated.
We use pacifier and bottle wipes and wipe the tray table the armrests, the bassinet and anything else she may touch that may carry germs.
Travel Baby Change Essentials
Travel change mat
Invest in a good portable baby change mat – ensure it is big enough and it is waterproof.
A loop handle can be really handy too just to sling over your wrist and grab the baby.
We keep our travel change mat loaded with a couple of nappies, wipes, and nappy/diaper bags so we can just grab it and head straight for the bathroom, making diaper changes a little easier.
The first time you fly with a baby, it’s hard to know how to pack nappies and how many to take.
As a general rule, we pack about one every hour or two for a young baby.
They do offer nappies on most flights if you find out you don’t have enough diapers. So, don’t panic just ask the flight attendants for anything you need.
Make sure you have enough in your suitcase to get through your first night at your destination too. The last thing you want to do is to go looking for nappies as soon as you get to your hotel.
We store our baby wipes in our change mat ready to use and extra wet wipes in our carry-on for feeding and extra clean up.
We use cloth nappies as burp cloths and take two on the plane and an additional in our luggage.
Thanks to some advice from friends we now carry several kits we call Crisis Kits when travelling.
Essentially, they are large sandwich/packing bags (a plastic bag), each carrying a onesie, singlet (vest), nappy/diaper, and nappy/diaper bag in them, in case the worst happens.
The zip lock bag is essential in case you have to dirty clothes that have to wait for the duration of long haul flights to get to a washing machine.
We carry 2 or 3 depending on how long the trip is.
Spare Clothes for Parents
An outfit change for Mum and Dad is also really important for any spills, vomits, food or the like.
Baby Travel Toys
What entertains a baby can change by the month but toys are definitely considered baby travel essentials.
Generally speaking, the younger the baby, the easier it is to distract them, so really simple new toys and books will do the trick.
The key in all cases though is to take one of their favourites and introduce new books or toys as well on the plane or in the car, so they feel safe with their go-to comforter and they are stimulated (or more importantly distracted) by a few new friends.
Choose thin, lightweight books. I found some amazing books in the U.S. called Indestructibles which were perfect.
Read our guide to the best travel toys for kids from babies to teens here
Baby Feeding Essentials
When flying, a good time to feed your baby milk is during take-off and landing as the sucking action helps unblock their ears and it gives them comfort, and with any luck leads directly into nap time.
If you can get that timing right (which can be harder than it seems), then you may avoid a lot of upset (and noise).
We carry 4 sterilized baby bottles that are ready to use. We love Pigeon baby bottles.
Formula (if applicable)
The best way to carry formula is with tin in your carry-on and some pre-measured portions in your bottles, so you just need to add water.
If you are bringing on bottles of milk, you’ll need to show it to security on the way through.
Carry it with some ice packs to keep it cool as you’re waiting in the lounge and ask the flight attendant if they will store it in the fridge once you’re on board.
Portable Breast Pump
Don’t forget your breast pump if you are on a long-haul flight.
Reusable water bottle
Don’t forget a reusable water bottle for Mum. You can carry it through empty and fill it up in the lounge so she has plenty of water when feeding. Breast feeding makes you really thirsty and being in the dry air of a plane makes that much more intense.
Bottle Sterilising tools
We generally request a kettle to be in our hotel room before check-in as well. Use a sterilizing tablet in the kettle before you drink from it too.
An insulated bottle bag
Even if you have room in your baby bag, carrying a separate bottle bag is a good idea.
Simply hang it on your stroller hook through the airport and hand it to security as you’re folding down your pram for screening.
You can also pre-request a baby meal for the flight if your baby is eating solids, but you need to do it before your flight.
I would recommend you to take baby food pouches or food your baby has eaten before so they are familiar and you aren’t risking any kind of allergic reaction.
If you have an older baby you may need sippy cups. We didn’t need these until we were travelling with older kids (toddlers)
Keep an easy-to-clean silicone bib in the insulated bag with your bottles.
A portable high chair
While we have never traveled with a portable high chair, we have friends who absolutely love them.
Baby Clothing and Other Items
A change of clothes for each parent in case of a mishap.
A muslin wrap
We use our muslin baby wrap for everything and anything.
They come in very handy on planes to protect babies from the lights, strangers, and an air conditioner blasting their little head and face.
They are great for covering over the pram while the baby is sleeping and many other uses too.
A piece of clothing that smells like you
This may sound a little unappealing but I’m not talking about something you’ve been wearing on a week-long trek in Nepal.
Even if it’s the jumper you board the plane wearing or their favorite blanket, it might give your baby some extra comfort when trying to settle them in your arms, the baby seat, or the plane bassinet.
Baby Packing List: What to Pack in Your Baby’s Suitcase
Our daughter has a medium Lojel Cubo suitcase which is the perfect size for our travel.
Our entire family has Lojel suitcases. We have the large suitcases and they are amazing.
I pack our baby’s suitcase in the same way we pack our own.
We divide it into compartments and packing bags (one with onesies, one with dresses, one with pants and tops in outfits, etc) to make it easier to navigate, find exactly what we need, and re-pack quickly.
Muslin baby swaddles
We choose 100% cotton or bamboo so they are breathable and we can simply layer them when needed.
A bunny rug (baby blanket)
Cotton is the best.
If you are taking your own travel cot
PJs x 3
We love Bonds Zip Wondersuits for traveling. Always choose onesies with zips over buttons or clips for traveling. It is so much easier to change your baby quickly or in tight spaces.
Sleeping bags x 2
We love the Ergopouch sleep suit bags
Disposable Nappies (disposable diapers)
A few to get you through the first night at your accommodation.
Exactly what you pack will depend on how long you are traveling and where you are going.
A sun hat
A sun hat is essential, even in cloudy weather. If we are travelling in a car on a road trip with a baby, we always have one handy in the baby backpack.
A reusable swim nappy or disposable swim diapers for your summer or beach trips.
Not essential but great for road trips, your next beach vacation and if you have the room/weight allowance on the plane.
Including a hairbrush, nail clippers, baby shampoo, soap, baby oil, toothbrush, sunscreen, and other creams.
Baby Packing List: What to Pack for a Road Trip With a Baby
While these aren’t must-have items, there are a few non-essentials that we found useful when traveling in a car with a baby, particularly for long periods of time.
They helped make things a little easier when she became bored or had enough of the car. So, if you have room, pack these too.
We found a lightweight portable mirror handy for traveling with a baby in a rear-facing baby seat to help keep her distracted.
Car window shade
A window shade is a great idea if you are spending long periods in the car, particularly in hot weather. Young children can get very hot and even sun burned through the window of a car. So, it’s important to protect them with a window shade, clothing and SPF.
A portable sound machine
A portable white noise machine or shusher can help settle younger babies, particularly when you can’t get to them straight away.
Take a portable sound machine with you. Or if you don’t like the bulk of sound machines simply download a free white noise app to play when needed.
I hope this baby travel packing list helps ease the stress of planning and packing for your trip with a baby.
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Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller.
She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health.
As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her appetite for adventure.
Read more about Skye’s story here.