The first time we traveled with our baby, we thought we have everything figured out. It turns out we were only half correct. We took note of what we missed and needed to make our next trip better. The goal is only to bring essentials only as we want to travel light.
Divide your baby’s things in two. Keep the things that you won’t need during your travels into the luggage bag, and keep the things you will need to use on your journey in the diaper bag.
There are also other things to consider. Do you need to bring along a stroller? Or are there better ways to travel in? What are the things that you need to check with your hotel? Read on to find out.
Things To Pack In Your Luggage
My husband and I share one piece of luggage, but our baby requires his own luggage because of the number of things he needs. Some things are needed in larger quantities, like his change of clothes, but for other things such as diapers, we have learned that buying those at our destination is a great way to make our luggage light. Inflatable Bathtub – This has made our lives so much easier when bathing our baby. If your hotel does not have a bathtub, this will come very handy as you can inflate it and bathe your baby in a safe environment. This bathtub weighs only 1 kilo and can be folded to the size of 3 folded shirts stacked on each other, making it easy to bring along. There are things you need to know about bathing your baby in a hotel. I’ve written an article for that here.
I prefer bringing a baby carrier over a stroller because it’s so much easier to travel when you carry your baby. You get to walk up and down the stairs without issues, navigate shopping malls, restaurants, or bumpy roads easier. In terms of safety, it is also safer than a stroller. I don’t like my baby moving in front of me as I can’t see what’s coming when I turn the corner. It is so much more lightweight and compact than a stroller, saving a lot of luggage space.
If you’re traveling to a humid country, bring at least 5 sets of clothes for your baby for each day you will spend there. Your baby can sweat a lot, and we end up changing 4-5 sets of clothes for our boy daily. Babies also often spit, drool, or vomit. If you’re using a bad diaper, you can have diaper leaks too. If space is not an issue, bringing 8 sets a day is not a bad idea. The fewer clothes you have, the more you may need to use the laundromat.
Bibs are fantastic at catching spit, drool, or vomit. It is handy when your baby is teething as they can drool a lot! It is easier to change the bib than to change his clothes. Bring 20 of them. You may end up using between 6-12 bibs a day. Wash the dirty ones in the evening. I prefer to bring cotton bibs as they are more cooling for my baby.
Silicone bibs serve a different purpose than cotton bibs. You put them around your baby’s neck during meals. If your baby is already on solids, putting a silicone bib around their neck can make the whole feeding session a lot cleaner. It can catch around 90% of the food that would fall on their clothes, which means there’s less need to change their clothes. You likely only need one as it can be cleaned and dried on the spot, but no harm bringing a spare. Here’s how it looks like.
I only put 10 pieces of diapers in my luggage, and most of them are for emergencies. You can save a lot of luggage space by buying the diapers at your destination. If you can, check beforehand for any stores that sell diapers around the place you’re going to stay, don’t be caught off-guard by finding that the nearest shop is miles away.
If there are no shops nearby, it may be a good idea to bring 12 pieces of diapers a day, or a little more than how much your baby normally uses a day, for each day you’re spending there. Better safe than sorry. If you’re up for it, bringing cloth diapers is a good alternative as you can bring less since you can wash them there. You’ll probably need 15 of them.
Take a blanket or two to keep your baby warm during the night. Hotels can have freezing air conditioning. I bring my baby’s blankie as it acts as his comfort toy too. You can put this in the diaper bag, but that makes finding things harder. I prefer my diaper bag to have as a few things as possible.
If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors without shade for your baby, especially if you’re going to the beach, getting a baby sunscreen is a good idea. When it comes to baby products, I’m very cautious that it is not fragranced. Body products that smell nice are not good for your baby’s skin and can irritate. I found this on Amazon, a fragrance-free baby sunscreen with high ratings. They claim to be pediatricians & dermatologists tested too.
Nasal Spray, thermometer & plasters
Because a baby’s immune system is not as strong and we’re traveling to a new place, they may get sick, and getting sick while traveling is a nightmare. We don’t bring a complete first aid box, just a nasal spray if he gets a blocked nose, a thermometer to measure his temperature when needed, and some baby plasters. So far, we have never had to use them, but it’s good to be prepared. Be mindful of the liquid limit of 100ml per bottle on flights if you put the nasal spray in the diaper bag.
Things To Pack In The Diaper Bag
I prefer my diaper bag to contain only essentials, things that I must have access to when I’m on the plane, in the car, sightseeing, dining, or anywhere where I don’t have access to my luggage. It needs to be organized so that whenever I need something, I can get it quickly. Baby Wipes – Keep one packet in your diaper bag. We find that 80 wipes are enough for a few days. If we need more, we will buy them at our destination. We don’t use it to wipe our baby’s mouth, though. We mostly only use it to wipe our baby after he poo, so maybe that’s why ours can last so long.
Changing Mat & Spare Diapers
The changing mat is a must-have when changing your baby’s diapers on the go. It gives your baby a clean place to lie on while you change his diapers. Try finding one that has pockets and use it to keep some baby wipes and a spare diaper, that way, you only need to carry the mat into the changing room instead of finding all the other required stuff. Keep a few more diapers in the diaper bag in case you need them.
Safety Seat Harness
Your baby should be able to sit by 6 months, and having a safety seat harness can make mealtimes so enjoyable. Just put this on the chair, strap your baby in and enjoy your meal in peace. This harness can be used on most chairs, as long as it has a backrest. Get one without any frames so that it can fit nicely into your diaper bag, like this one.
If your baby uses pacifiers, remember to bring some along as it is his comfort toy. I recommend that you reduce the usage of pacifiers or even eliminate using them because prolonged sucking on the pacifier can create crooked teeth or bite problems. That statement is from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry [source]. My baby prefers the breast for comfort, and eventually, his blankie and teddy bear became his comfort toy. That’s how he never used the pacifier, and we never bring one out.
Remember to bring some of his toys out. It’s an excellent way to keep your baby occupied. It will be better if you can bring his favorite toy, just something small enough that you can keep in your diaper bag so you can use it during flights. If you need to bring a lot of toys, place most of them in the luggage. In my experience, though, babies prefer small boxes, containers, clothes clippers, and the likes, and those take up even less space.
I find ziplock bags to be helpful to keep things separated in the diaper bag. If everything is just placed inside the bag, it can be difficult to find what you need, especially when you need it now! You can sort the bottles into one bag, keep the toys and pacifiers in another, and keep the used ones in a separate bag. If you bring any liquids, it can also catch any spills that may occur. I find that five is enough for my needs.
Diaper Bag Dispenser
When your baby poops, you need to change his diapers ASAP. After that, you need a place to throw the soiled diapers. There will be times when you don’t have access to a bin, such as when you’re traveling on the highway. It would be best if you had something to store the soiled diapers temporarily and the diaper bag dispenser is your answer. Here’s one, it’s small enough to fit in your diaper bag, and one roll has 24 bags in it.
If you’re breastfeeding, I suggest you get one and put it in your diaper bag. This way, you can breastfeed no matter where you are. I’m not particularly eager to breastfeed my baby in the toilet, and nursing rooms are not everywhere. If you’re traveling internationally, this is almost a must if you breastfeed because it is taboo to breastfeed in public in many countries. Here’s a link to Amazon if you need to get one.
Keep one spare clothes in the diaper bag for yourself, and you’re going to need it if, let’s say, your baby vomits on you or his diaper leaks while you’re cuddling him. This has happened to me before, and I learned to pack at least one extra shirt.
Breast Milk / Formula Milk
I breastfeed my baby on demand, so I don’t have to bring any milk with me. It saves us a lot of space because we don’t need to bring any bottles, ice packs, containers, and other things needed to feed a baby.
If you cannot feed on demand, bring enough milk powder for the journey. If you’ll be flying and then be on the road for 10 hours and your baby feeds every 2 hours, bring enough milk powder for 5 feedings, plus an extra 2 feedings worth of milk powder. I suggest you keep them in small packets, so it’s easy to take out.
For the rest of your stay, try to check for milk powder available near your destination and buy it there if you can. It will save you a lot of bag space and weight. If you’re flying and carrying breast milk, make sure you comply with the airport rules as breast milk is liquid. I’ve written a separate post to guide you on the rules of bringing breast milk on the plane. Please read it and make sure you comply to avoid confiscation.
Flask Of Warm Water
You will need this if your baby likes his milk warm. Alternatively, you can request warm water from the flight attendant.
2-3 feeding bottles, preferably bring along some bottle liners, so you don’t have to sterilize the bottles, which is important if you’re traveling to countries without clean water. If you’re not sure what they are, here’s a link to Amazon. Bring enough, as the liner must be disposed of after each feed.
Baby Snacks, Spoons & Cups
If your baby is already on solids, keeping some snacks in the diaper bag is a good idea. When my boy gets cranky, I take out some crackers, and that’s usually enough to keep him distracted. My boy really loves to eat… Take some baby spoons with you too. I personally prefer that my baby use his own spoon instead of public ones. Bring a sippy cup or a straw cup so your baby can drink water when he’s thirsty.
Optional Things To Bring Along
These are things that I don’t bring, but I think it makes sense to bring. I don’t bring them because they take up too much space, but it may work for you. You may even find it important.
Getting a travel crib for your baby to sleep in can be an excellent idea. You may have checked with your hotel, and they provide cribs, but my experience tells me that hotels can be bad at this, especially when you’re traveling internationally.
The hotel I went to promised me a baby crib, but what we got is actually a playpen with the frame jutting out in the middle, not to mention the crib’s surface is uneven. They also did not provide a mattress because they thought the baby could sleep in it! I tried finding other ways to make the playpen comfortable to sleep in, but nothing works because the hotel didn’t have a suitable mattress or pillow. We ended up sleeping together on the bed with him, which we didn’t want to because we could injure him.
If you want to skip any potential headaches, the surest way is to get a travel crib. It’ll be worth it. I’m going to leave a link here if you need one, it’s highly rated at Amazon, and it’s something I will get for our next trip. It may be a good idea to let your baby get used to sleeping in it before your trip so that he doesn’t get cranky with a new sleeping environment.
Car Seat & Stroller
To save space, if you are getting a car seat or a stroller, I suggest getting a 2 in 1 that you can convert from one to another. That way, you only need to get 1 item for 2 purposes! Getting both of them separately is just going to make traveling harder. Here’s one that is rated very highly on Amazon. It can convert from one to another quickly and easily. The only downside is I feel that it’s quite expensive.
I don’t have one currently since I prefer to use a baby carrier and don’t want to bring too many things, but when I have my second baby, it will make a lot of sense to own one. It’ll make traveling easier and safer.
When I feed on demand, I don’t have to express breast milk during my travels. But sometimes, you may feel that your breast is engorged and your baby is asleep, and if you don’t want to waste the milk, you’ll need to have the proper equipment to start pumping. If you’re producing more than your baby can drink, you’ll need a way to store the extras. Here’s what you may need.
Breast pump and all the parts that come with it.
Milk storage bags for the expressed milk, preferably those with double-zip for spill resistance.
Ice packs/gels & cooler box to help keep the breastmilk cooled/iced when traveling.
Sterilizer if you really need it. I recommend getting some microwave sterilizer bags and use the hotel’s microwave for your sterilizing needs or use boiled water to sterilize. Bringing a sterilizer takes up way too much luggage space.
I never let my baby sleep alone when we’re traveling, so I never had to use a baby monitor. But because other moms have mentioned that their baby sometimes sleeps in separate rooms, you may want to bring along a baby monitor to give you peace of mind.
Things To Verify With The Hotel
I suggest you check with your hotel if they provide any of the following if you intend to use them. Some hotels don’t provide all of them, and it’s good that you go prepared.
Check the refrigerator
While hotels should have refrigerators, not all of them have freezers. If you’re storing breast milk, you may need a freezer. Check the freezer size; hotels may provide tiny freezers that cannot store more than a few packets.
Check the baby crib
If you’re not bringing a travel crib, you should find hotels that provide baby cribs. Try to ask for a photo of the crib because hotels may not know the difference between a crib and a playpen, and make sure there is a mattress in it. As I shared above, the hotel gave us a playpen with an uneven surface without a mattress. It’s basically unthinkable to let my baby sleep in that.
Check the bathtub
If you’re not getting an inflatable bathtub, check if the place you’re staying has a bathtub because not all hotels have one. Bathing your baby can be a pain if you don’t have the proper equipment. I suggest reading this post on how to bathe your baby in a hotel.
This table summarizes the whole packing list. You can also download the list after the table.
|No||Things To Bring||Remarks|
|1||Inflatable Bathtub||Pack In Luggage|
|9||Nasal Spray, Thermometer & Plasters|
|1||Baby Wipes||Pack In Diaper Bag|
|2||Changing Mat & Spare Diapers|
|3||Safety Seat Harness|
|7||Diaper Bag Dispenser|
|10||Breast Milk / Formula Milk|
|11||Flask Of Warm Water|
|13||Baby Snacks, Spoons & Cups|
|1||Travel Crib||Optional Stuff, Hand Carry|
|2||Car Seat & Stroller|
|3||Breast Pump||Optional Stuff, Pack In Luggage|
|4||Milk Storage Bags|
|5||Ice Packs/Gels & Cooler Box|
Here’s a copy you can download and print out to make a checklist 🙂