Traveling with a baby can feel daunting, especially for first-time parents. You feel like you must bring everything and the kitchen sink with you in case you or your baby need it. In actuality, you won’t touch half the things you bring. Instead, you’ll feel more stressed from carrying everything there and back. This is why you should focus on the true baby travel essentials.
There are baby items you’ll need that go without saying. For example, diapers, wipes, clothes, pajamas/sleep sacks, a breast pump, and food (breast milk, formula, bottles, or snacks). But there are some not-so-obvious items I honestly could not travel without. They have helped lots of parents, including my family, who make our last trip across the country with our little one much more manageable, less stressful, and more relaxing. Here are our 12 travel essentials for baby. Hopefully, these baby travel essentials will help you during your next trip!
Best Baby Travel Gear
Here are some of the best items to put on your baby travel checklist:
1. Meta Backpack
While traveling with baby, you need as many hands as possible. A diaper bag is a must-have, no-brainer baby travel essential, but a backpack diaper bag is even more helpful. It allows you to comfortably carry your baby on your hip and have your go-to items on your back.
The Meta Backpack from Petunia Pickle Bottom is one of our favorite diaper bags because of its well-organized compartments. There is a zippered pocket in the front with PEVA antimicrobial lining that is perfect for storing snacks or using it as a wet bag compartment. It has a large interior (with an extra-wide opening) and two mesh pockets with a washable changing mat. Its vegan leather exterior is completely wipeable if anything spills and water-resistant. We also love how it even has a trolly sleeve on the back, making it even easier for luggage travel. There are so many great features of this diaper bag backpack. Its sleek design and neutral colors make it a great travel bag for any style. It even has a mini version, so your mini-me can match!
2. Toys and Pacifier
Whether traveling in the car or traveling on a plane, you need things to keep baby busy, distracted, and happy. Bring some of your little one’s favorite age-appropriate toys with you. We brought some books, musical toys, teethers, and his pacifier with a pacifier clip. You don’t want their pacifier to drop on the floor!
We love these small and easy to pack touch-and-feel books. They are fun board books, and this one includes an adorable stuffy. This musical toy is a baby favorite, and it does have a lower volume setting, so you don’t disturb your neighbors. Also, an iPad or smartphone can help in a pinch when you need the big guns!
Babies can do really well on flights, but they can have difficulty napping. A pacifier can really help them settle down and remain calm. They also can help with the pressure in their ears during flights. We all know babies cry, but trying to help your little one by minimizing the crying as much as possible can make the traveling experience enjoyable for everyone. Most people just appreciate it when they see you’re trying. 🙂 These toys and books can help!
3. Snack Cup
If your baby can eat solids, having snacks on hand is essential. A good snack cup makes snack time much easier when traveling with baby. We highly recommend the all-in-one snack cup and bowl from morepeas. It has a great suction base to stay secure on hard services like airplane tables. They can also be stacked and secured together if you want to have multiple snacks on hand. We also like that it’s made of silicone, so it’s soft on baby’s hands. You can also attach this snack cup to strollers, car seats, and diaper bags with their silicone tether. We love this snack cup!
4. Travel Sound Machine
Hotel rooms, bed and breakfasts, and new houses can make different sounds during the day and night and can sometimes even be noisy. A portable sound machine is a must-have travel essential for baby because it will help lull them straight to sleep. We love the Hatch Rest Go because parents can easily clip this onto baby’s car seat, stroller, diaper bag, baby carrier, and more. It has 10 soothing sounds to help lull your baby to sleep, is super easy to use with only three buttons, is rechargeable, and is available in different adorable colors. We’ve tested it and love it. You’ll never be nap trapped again when you’re traveling with baby. It’s great to use in the car, wherever you and baby are when it’s time to sleep. Trust us; you’ll be so grateful!!
5. Baby’s Brew Bottle Warmer
Keeping our babies fed is basic baby care, but doing so efficiently can be more complicated when you’re on the road (or in the air). You’ll want to plan ahead regarding travel necessities for feeding. If you’re bottle-feeding your baby breast milk or formula, you may want to bring a bottle warmer. Some babies refuse to drink cold bottles, and if your little one is like that, finding warm water while traveling can be tough. The Baby’s Brew bottle warmer is a great option for traveling because it’s battery-powered.
If you’re formula-feeding, we recommend this set. It comes with a portable bottle warmer and a detachable formula dispenser. The Baby’s Brew formula dispenser is simple to use. Fill it with your baby’s formula and push the button at the base of the dispenser when ready. One push equals one scoop of formula. Not only does this make heating your baby’s bottle a snap, but now preparing it can also be mess-free!
The Baby’s Brew Portable Bottle Warmer Pro utilizes slow-heat technology to ensure that all nutrients are preserved and that there are no hot spots in your baby’s bottle. The warmer fits most wide-neck bottles, but if it’s incompatible with your bottle model, you can use an adapter to make the perfect fit. I also love that you can adjust the temperature function to get it just right for your little one:
- 80° F — For getting liquids to room temperature
- 98.6° F — For breastfed babies
- 103° F — For other liquids besides breastmilk
- 110° F — For help with reflux
You can expect your baby’s bottle to be ready in five to 10 minutes. Not only that, it maintains the temperature for up to five hours. You can have your baby’s bottle ready when they give you the first sign that it’s time to eat!
6. Wet Bags
Babies spit up, have accidents, and spill things — that’s just a day in a baby’s life. Usually, I have a wet bag with me in my diaper bag, but when I’m traveling, I recommend a larger wet bag that can hold all your baby’s soiled and dirty clothes during your whole trip. You might not have access to a washer and dryer to wash your clothes while traveling, so this wet bag will at least separate your baby’s clean clothes from the worn and dirty clothes in your diaper bag. Plus, it comes in an assortment of patterns — so you can pick one that suits your kiddo(s) perfectly.
7. A Good Travel System = Doona Car Seat/Stroller
We have known about and loved the Doona car seat/stroller for years, but once we used it during a trip with baby, we can’t recommend it enough! It made the whole flying and traveling experience so much smoother — we can’t imagine traveling any other way with a baby. Rather than bringing a car seat and a stroller to travel safely with baby, Doona has made it easier and more convenient for all parents by combining a travel system into one product!
The Doona is a fabulous product, but if it’s not something you can fit into your budget, ensure you have a good travel system stroller for your travels. Being able to easily click your baby’s car seat in and out of your stroller and into the car is essential. Parents already have a lot to juggle when traveling. With a trusted travel system that quickly converts when you need to is super helpful. This is why having a good travel system is a must when traveling with baby!
8. Disinfecting Wipes
Airports, airplanes, and car stop bathrooms are filled with germs. It’s common for people to get sick when traveling, and that is the last thing you or your baby want to experience. If your plane seats are leather, we recommend wiping them down with a disinfecting wipe. Honestly, we recommend wiping down anything your baby comes in contact with at car rest stops, hotels, as well as the airport or airplanes. You will be surprised by how dirty everything is. Keep those germs at bay and have your baby feeling healthy all trip long.
9. Snot Sucker
Your baby may experience allergies or different reactions in new places. We all want our babies to breathe and sleep comfortably no matter where we travel. This is why we suggest packing a saline spray and Nosefrida with you. Using the saline to help loosen things and the aspirator to help clear their nose can bring some much-needed relief for your little one if they are experiencing some congestion. You all will be able to sleep better at night with this pack.
10. Travel Drying-Rack and Baby-Safe Dish Soap
If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you won’t need to worry about this. But if you’re bottle-feeding (either pumped breast milk or formula), you must consider how to clean those baby bottles you brought. This travel drying rack is the best! It compactly folds and holds the bottle brushes you need to scrub those bottles properly. And this travel-size baby-safe dish soap is a perfect size. These both come in handy!
11. Guava Lotus Travel Crib
Whether staying in a hotel or with family, figuring out what your little one will sleep in when you’re away from home can be daunting. This Guava lotus travel crib makes things much easier! It’s lightweight and super compact and unfolds/folds up easily. Even more conveniently, it can be carried like a backpack!
Because the mattress lays flat on the floor, this portable crib is also perfect for snuggling up to your baby or nursing them to sleep before sneaking out. In addition, it can save the day if you find yourself in a rut with extended airport layovers and need a clean, comfy place to set baby down.
12. SlumberPod Privacy Pod
Many babies sleep best in completely dark rooms. Blackout curtains are not guaranteed in any hotel room or Airbnb. It can be difficult to bring blackout curtains with you while traveling. This is why we love this privacy pod! It helps create a dark and calm sleep setting for your baby, making it easy to include in our baby travel essentials.
We tested it and adore that it has a pocket at the top to place your video monitor (if you choose to bring yours). This way, you can easily see what your baby is doing inside their sleep space. There’s also an option that includes a fan, so there is plenty of airflow for baby. Just assemble the pod and place it over their portable crib. Little ones and parents love it! Parents can now share a room with their baby and still have the lights on, be up and about doing what they need or want to do while their child comfortably sleeps in their pod.
13. Portable Infant Booster Seat
If your baby is of sitting age, you’ll love this portable infant booster seat for taking on the go. While it can be used as a standalone seat if desired, it also easily attaches to any standard chair and includes a removable tray. All while being small enough to toss in the bottom of the stroller! The versatility and convenience can’t be beaten.
These are some of our top baby travel essentials. Is there anything you would add to our list? Please share with us!