Must-have items for traveling with baby and baby travel essentials worth buying. What do you really need for traveling with a baby? Expert guide to baby travel gear by a mom of two who to loves to travel
Traveling with a baby doesn’t necessarily require a lot of gear however, some baby travel gear goes a long way to make your family trip with a new little one stress-free.
We have traveled extensively with our babies, sometimes I have be traveled alone with a baby and a toddlers, so I feel I have the experience to recommend travel great for baby that is actually worth getting.
Some of these recommendations are for flying with kids but the majority of them work on all types of travels: road trip, resort holiday, city trips and more.
In all cases, I favour items you can also use while not traveling, to minimize clutter and expense needed.
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Travelling with baby essentials: 10 things you actually need when traveling with a baby
My list of baby travel essentials is really short because I am going to be honest: you don’t NEED an awful lot to travel with a baby.
In the vast majority of cases, the gear you need for travelling with a baby is the same baby gear you have at home, just a little more of it!
That said, a lot of items are nice to have and can make you trip with baby easier.
This is why in this article I am going to share my top 10 must have items for baby’s first vacation and general baby travel gear you may want to get.
What you actually need for travelling with baby is:
1. A baby carrier for travel
This is a bay travel essential even if you are not usually babywearing.
A baby carrier comes in handy on a plane, after gate checking your stroller for instance, anytime you want to visit an attraction that doesn’t allow strollers (museums etc) or if you need your hands free.
Our favorite baby carrier for travel is this one but we have several we like: you will find them below.
2. A stroller for travel
This is another must have, even in destinations that may be deemed ‘stroller unfriendly’.
A stroller is simply your best friend when you want a moment of freedom from holding your baby and you don’t need to break the bank to get a travel one.
Choosing a stroller for travel is no easy task as there is no one stroller that ticks all the boxes (lightweight, from newborn, good on cobbles, all terrain, good on the beach…).
The number of stroller buying guides gives it away!
Have a look at our list of best strollers for Europe, best strollers for the beach and best double buggy lightweight for travel – you will see they come at different price points and you may even spot the stroller you already have at home.
If we had to pick one, we would probably go with the Mountain Buggy Nano, which is lightweight, easy to fold and suitable for newborns as it lies flat (plus, it comes at a reasonable price point).
If budget is not an issue, then you can also look at the Baby Zen Yoyo 2 which is an excellent piece of baby gear for airplane travel especially (it packs tiny and it super light) and can be combined with a cool newborn insert (newborn pack)
3. A travel diaper bag
Your changing bag will be with you all the time so you want to it to be practical and beutiful.
Depending on the type of bag you have at home, you can probably use the one you already own but there are a few characteristics you want in a diaper bag for travel that you may want to look out for.
I like in particular backpack ones as they leave your hands free and are easy to use even if babywearing.
4. A car seat
A car seat is a baby travel essential on all trips, even the very first one from the hospital home!
If you are traveling by plane, you may think carrying with you your bulky car seat is a pain but I believe it is important to do so as it will help you once at your destination.
Your own car seat will keep your baby safe on taxi rides and it is important o have if you are renting a car since you can never be sure of the cleanliness and conditions of those coming with the car.
The one we used and loved was the Maxi Cosi Baby Capsule, which is safe, practical, comfortable and compatible with many chassis.
5. Al your feeding essentials
Depending on your feeding habits, the items you will need to feed baby on the go may vary so the best way to go though the motions and see what your baby and you actually need.
This can be as simple as breastfeeding pads to a full pumping gear (see below), baby cutlery, travel high chair and snacks if weaning.
Take into account that babies find solace nursing when flying and older babies may like to munch on things to relieve ear pressure – makes sure you are well equipped with food, travel snacks for kids are never enough!
6. A theether / soother
You don’t need anything special for travel, as long as the one you have is easy to wash.
Also, make sure you bring more than one as it will fall on the floor even more than usual!
7. Lots of changing of clothes
For baby and you, because travel does come with spillages and stains.
8. Baby medications and first aid kit
Just in case, so you know you have medications you trust and know how to administer.
I use one that we got ready made and then supplemented / replenished with our won stuff. You can read what I have in my family travel first aid kit here.
9. Baby toys / blanky
To help baby stay entertained and feel reassured in unfamiliar surroundings
10. Wet wipes
I don’t remember what life was like without wet wipes – we already use them extensively at home but on the go, they truly are essentials!
Pack many and mix and match types so you have what you need in case you want to clean a surface (like the tray table on the plane) or remove a stain or quickly clean hands
Baby travel gear you may like for travelling with a baby
Now that you have your essentials for traveling with baby, you want to have a look at other baby travel items that make your trip and vacation more comfortable.
For ease of use, you will find a summary chart, then things to look for when picking baby gear for travel and finally reviews and tops picks for each category.
We have selected gear for: moving, sleeping, feeding and feeding, so you know you are covered in all situations!
This chart has our favorite products for traveling with a baby a handy links to Amazon so you can check out price and exact specs.
In the rest of the article, you will find more info on why and how we chose each and additional resources how to pick the best items when packing for baby.
|Baby item||Season||Shopping Link|
|Baby Carrier||All||Ergo 360 Baby carrier (newborn to toddler)|
|Baby carrier cover||Winter||Bebamour winter carrier cover|
|Water baby carrier||Summer/beach||Boba Air Baby carrier|
|Compact travel stroller||All||Mountain Buggy Nano|
|Car seat||All||Maxi Cosi Baby Capsule|
|Car seat footmuff||Winter||JJ Cole Urban Bundle me|
|Car shade||Summer||Enovoe Car Window shade|
|Fully stocked travel diaper bag||All||Ruvalino backpack diaper bag|
|Portable high chair||All||Liuliuby portable baby harness high chair|
|Portable steriliser||All||Portable wireless steriliser bag|
|Baby bassinet/bed||All||Brica Fold and Go|
|Black out blinds||All||Portable baby blackout blinds|
|Portable baby bath||All||Inflatable baby bath|
|Portable breast pump||All||Philip Avent Double Electric Pump for travel|
|Cooler bag for breast milk||All||Tiblue insulated bottle bag|
|Gate check bag for stroller||All||JL Childress stroller gate check cover|
What to look for when choosing baby travel essentials
I believe the best items for traveling with an infant are often those you already use at home and you and your baby are familiar with.
Just make sure they have some important characteristics. The best travel accessories for babies meet the following criteria:
Nothing kills the joy of travel more quickly than lugging around too much stuff.
You want your baby gear to work hard for you so you can use it in many different situations.
Pick one good item you can use over and over again. The perfect example? A good stroller!
Get a good travel stroller and you can use both at home and when traveling.
Comfort for both you and your baby
Especially when it comes to babywearing items and carriers, pick one that feels right for your body.
Read reviews carefully, pick some that are excellent, some that are terrible and some in-between: when it comes to must-have items for traveling with baby, that little extra step of reading the reviews will go a long way to ensure the item is right for YOU.
Easy to clean materials
Laundry is a huge part of parenthood so baby travel items that can be easily thrown in the wash without extra effort are always a good idea.
Pay particular attention to the materials and check if you can wipe-clean or it needs a full wash – in that case, think of your style of travel and if washing on the go is an option.
This has nothing to do with the gender of your kids but with your partner!
I fell in love with a baby carrier in a gorgeous shade of hot pink but just before buying I realized my husband wouldn’t be seen dead wearing it.
I switched to a neutral (and beautiful) green color and suddenly we were able to share baby-carrying duties.
Bay travel gear wouldn’t make my list of essentials unless I could count on it to be sturdy and have a long life.
Travel can put a strain on gear: select things that will last heavy use as anything flimsy is likely to leave you stranded
Baby travel essentials for moving and flying with a baby: packing list for traveling with baby
I am fond of baby carriers for travel.
They are excellent for city exploring and hikes in nature they tend to fold pretty small, meaning you can carry them with your easily without too much effort.
I find them very handy to use even in airports when being hands-free is a definite plus although do bear in mind that when passing security you will have to get your baby out.
I recommend soft structured carriers over wrap around sling as they are easy to remove/wear at airport security/museum entrances etc.
Baby Bjorn carrier, original, click here for specs and price: perfect for young babies and small children, this is my top infant travel essential item.
- Pros: Easy to buckle and unbuckle,
- Spread the weight evenly across your shoulder and back creating no strain
- Hugs baby snugly
- The gender-neutral design makes them good for sharing with dads too
- Suitable from birth to 11kg according to manufacturer’s instructions
- Cons: none, except the need to change carriers once the weight limit is reached
BEST FOR infant and young babies
This was an excellent purchase of us and opens my list of baby travel essentials I recommend.
Ergo baby organic baby carrier, click here for specs and prices. One of our best purchases to date, an excellent carrier that we used with our youngest and then gave on loan to two friends.
Three kids later, it is still going strong!
BEST FOR Toddlers (if using with babies and very young kids, it is advisable to buy the baby insert)
For hikes and older children, we are fond of the Deuter Kid Comfort baby carrier, which is cool, durable and comfortable for parent and baby.
It sits comfortably on the parent’s shoulders and we found it particularly good for hikes and outdoor activities with older babies and toddlers.
Top tip: When choosing a travel baby product, make sure it is fit for purpose. When selecting a back carrier for hiking, for instance, make sure they are built for the outdoors: some city-carriers look the same as sports one but do not offer the same level of comfort
A baby carrier cover
This is a handy piece of travel gear for baby you can also use at home to protect them from cold temperatures and rain.
You can find a list with our favourite baby carrier covers for winter here.
A traveling stroller for babies and toddlers
I don’t believe it is necessary to purchase a stroller specifically for travel, but there is no doubt that some pushchairs are better than others when it comes to lugging them onto a plane.
We have several guides that can help you choose the best strollers: as you can see, we put a lot of work into this as we believe a good stroller is one of the most important must have items for traveling with baby and can last long into the toddler years!
- This is our guide to the best travel stroller for Europe and city travel
- Here you find our favorite double strollers
- And these are the best all terrain strollers for travel
At a glance, in our experience, these are the best travel strollers:
Maclaren Quest / Maclaren Triumph: great all-around umbrella strollers, they even fare well even on Europe’ notoriously cobbled streets
Babyzen Yoyo, useful for air travels as it fits in the overhead bin (small wheels however can make it hard on bumpy terrains)
Phil & Teds double stroller, big but with excellent tired and generous space for children and your belongings
What I loved about these is that they were sturdy and suitable for older toddlers too.
I find many light strollers too hard to push with a toddler on. A sturdy, solid frame makes for a better experience and protects your back from strain.
If you already have a pushchair and are wondering whether it is good for travel, I recommend you look at how easy it is to fold, how much it can recline and how much storage space it offers.
Be aware than when passing security in airports you will have to empty the stroller and fold it so easy manoeuvering is essential.
Make sure your stroller is equipped with the accessories you need for travel such as rain cover, UV canopy, winter stroller footmuff if needed etc.
Must have item for road tripping with baby: car seat
A good and safe car seat is among the very first things you need when buying for baby and this applies as much when traveling, both nationally and internationally.
For babies and young toddlers, the best car seat is probably the one you already have.
If you are planning on gate checking your car seat or send it as luggage on the plane, make sure you protect it with a good car seat bag or car seat cover like these here
A car seat bunting
If traveling to cold weather, a car seat cozytoes is a lovely piece of baby gear to have. Some have a universal fit that makes them good for strollers too – you can find a list of our favorite baby car seat buntings here.
If your baby has a favorite toy or cuddly friend to sleep with, make sure you bring it on travels.
It will be invaluable to give them a sense of comfort in unfamiliar surroundings.
Teething toys will also be invaluable when flying both for mouth/ear comfort and entertainment.
Or check a vast selection of travel toys on Amazon
A good changing kit / traveling diaper bag
A good changing bag (or diaper bags as they are also called) can make all the difference when traveling with an infant or toddler.
The best ones work double duty both as baby bag and your own day bag, minimizing the amount of bulk you need to carry.
If you are not keen on one, you can also consider compact changing kits that allow easy access to essentials such as changing mat, nappies, wipes and muslin cloths. I like this one fromSkip Hop on Amazon.
If you can count on dad to most of the carrying, you may want to look at baby bags that stylish dads won’t be embarrassed to carry such as these diaper backpacks here
Baby travel must-have for: eating out
A portable high chair
I am very fond of travel high chairs, especially the foldable ones that occupy virtually no space and can be attached to almost any sort of chair.
They make a huge difference to how hard or easy mealtimes are once your baby has transitions to eating solids.
Many restaurants are welcoming to kids but not equipped with seats for them and a travel high chair means your choice of establishments widens significantly.
You can find my selection of the best travel high chairs and table booster seat for travel here or see a selection on Amazon here.
Some come with a handy pouch where you can store bibs, baby cutlery, and plates too.
A portable sterilizer
If you are still in the sterilizing phase, you may also find handy to look at portable sterilizers: we have always been using the Avent products and found them to be excellent and durable.
All your pumping accessories
This includes your tried and tested breast pump (you can find a selection of the best portable breast pumps here), bottles and a reliable cooler bag for breastmilk, that will keep it safe on the go and all your nursing accessories including pads and nursing cover if using.
They occupy next to no space and they are a lifesaver when eating on the go or on planes or train.
They probably already are in your diaper bag so make sure you don’t take them out when packing for travel: you will use them extensively! Buy them here
Wet wipes (for skin and surfaces)
For eating on the go but also for cleaning plane seats, plane trays and changing station, a packet of wet wipes for cleaning surfaces and a different one for skin are priceless for staying tidy on the go. Find a large selection on Amazon here
Baby travel essentials for peaceful nights
A travel cot or bassinets for sleeping on travels
One of the best presents we were given, as new parents, was a travel cot.
Travel cots / travel cribs come in all shape and sizes and depending on the type you choose they can also double up as a baby playpen.
This is something extremely useful especially in unfamiliar surroundings when you may need to enforce some ‘containment’ strategies while you secure your room or vacation rental.
We are particularly fond of full-size travel cots (like the one in the photo) but I heard many parents happy with traveling bassinets and toddler beds too, handy solutions if traveling with more than one small child.
Portable black-out blinds for bright rooms
Travel, with or without jet lag thrown in the mix, can disrupt children sleeping patterns. to help them settle, we found portable black our blinds invaluable
For darkness, we found an excellent solution in with the portable gro-bag blackout blind.
They fold easily and attach to any window thanks to easy to use suction cups: perfect to make a room dark for a nap or to help reset the body clock
A baby monitor is an easy to carry item we used in vacation rentals, when not sharing a room with your baby and to play soothing music to them. Bring the one you already have at home so the music is familiar.
White noise machine
Noise machines are small objects, operated by battery or plugin,producing white noise, a soothing sound particularly beloved by babies and infants.
The theory is the noise reminds them of the type of sound they heard while in utero and indeed, noise machines did work for our kids!
The one we had comes inside a plush teddy bear and was activated by movement.
You would put it beside the in the crib and any time they made even a small movement and kicked it, the noise would start, helping our child settle back. Check them out here
Portable baby bath
Especially useful if your baby is used to a warm bath to help them settle for the night (mine got overly excited if we got them in the shower instead!). Buy it here
A baby sleeping bag
Baby sleeping bags can help to keep baby safe and warm in bed and can come really handy on planes when you can wrap your baby in it without worrying the blanket will fall or catch in the cabin confined space. Buy them here
Portable mosquito net for baby cot
This only applies to some destinations but I always mention a mosquito net as a must-have item for traveling with baby as it has come in handy for us on very many occasions.
They are perfect for mosquitoes of course but also if the baby is napping outdoors and you want to protect them from noisy flies and other insects that may bother them while snoozing.
Hotel baby proofing items
As baby-friendly as accommodation can be, it can be wise to take baby proofing into your own hands.
Baby proofing kits are easy to carry and make a world of difference to make a hotel room or rental baby and toddler-friendly.
Other baby travel essentials and luggage
This is not something to pack but something to help you packing: I love packing cubes and find them excellent to organize my luggage.
When traveling with a baby, they are also an excellent and easy way to separate clean and dirty clothes.
These go hand in hand with the packing cube advice above: small, cheap and often pretty, wet bags occupy little to no space and come in super handy when laundry needs to wait! Buy them here
Considering all the gear and bits that you need when traveling with kids, choosing the right luggage and travel bag is a priority.
We are light packers and are exceptionally fond of the following items:
- Osprey travel backpack (for me)
- Lowe Alpine travel backpack for my husband
- Omni 360 hard shell luggage by Samsonite if you want more space and / or prefer a wheeled bag
What we love about the travel backpacks is that you carry them like a standard backpack but open up as a traditional bag, rather than vertically.
This means you don’t have to fish out from the bottom of the rucksack what you need.
If you want more space however, hand shell luggage with spinner wheels is hard to beat!
I hope you find this list of baby travel essentials useful and it will act as a handy buying guide for you.
Printable packing list for traveling with baby
If you are already in packing mode, I also prepared a full list of what you may need on travel: it’s a pdf and if you click on it, you should be able to print it out and tick items as you go.