If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of your little one’s panic-inducing cries on an airplane–and what feels like the eyes of every other person imploring you to take care of it–then you’re well aware of the benefit of having exactly what you need at your fingertips when you’re traveling with children.
There’s so much to remember when you’re getting out the door with your little ones, and getting ready to cross state lines or the ocean is a whole other beast. Traveling with a baby is definitely not for the faint of heart, and being prepared with baby’s essentials is key to their comfort and happiness, and key to your sanity and peace of mind.
To that end, we’ve rounded up the best travel hacks when it comes to packing your bags that can make you better prepared for your flight or road trip.
Pro-tip #1: it’s not about having everything you could possibly need for every potential scenario. Deliberately minimal travel is about having the right things in the right places, so you have easy access to exactly what you need.
A stroller is always optional if you wear your baby, and car seats are recommended for the safety of the baby when traveling in the air; however, some families do travel with the baby in their lap when flying. Aside from these items, we’ve put together a minimalist packing guide so you can include just the essentials in your carry-on and checked baggage. This first part of three posts will explore the essentials of traveling with an infant.
What To Pack – Your Bag Within Reach
Your most important essentials when traveling with a newborn or infant are all about diapering and feeding. In your bag nearest you, you should have these things within reach (quantities depend on the duration of the trip).
- 2 bottles (pumped breastmilk, sterilized water with travel-size formula package or ready-to-use formula)
- Blanket (for warmth, burping or for breastfeeding coverup)
- 2-4 diapers
- Diaper wipes
- Diaper cream
- 1 extra onesie/pajama
- Pacifier plus another backup
- 1 favorite, engaging toy
- Baby carrier
- Small first aid kit
- Ziploc bag for soiled items
- Sunglasses: yours and theirs
- Wireless headphones for yourself so you can listen to a podcast hands-free
What to Pack - Your Kibou
Pro Tip #2: Your Kibou doesn’t count as a carry-on AND it’s the perfect size to travel down the aisle and into the minuscule airplane bathroom. Keep the most essential of items by your side hands-free whether you’re on the move or sitting in your seat.
- 1 Diaper
- Small tube of diaper cream (if needed)
- Credit cards
- Driver’s license or passport
- First aid kit
- Wireless headphones
What To Pack - Stowed Carry On
If you’re on a long flight, there are some things you’ll want to have access to but only for emergencies. That’s when having a “personal item” (that you stow under your seat or wear around your waist like a Kibou) and an extra carry-on for the overhead bin is handy. Diapering and feeding needs are essential when traveling with newborns and infants, so the stowed bag should have all of the extras.
- Extra changes of clothes
- Extra shirt for yourself (re: throw-up, spilt milk/formula, leaky diapers, etc.)
- Extra bottles or liners
- Extra diapers and wipes (enough for a 2-3 days in case you have travel hiccups)
- Extra blanket
- Extra toy
- Puffs or other baby food
- Tylenol/Motrin or other medications
- Bag for soiled clothes/other messy things
What To Pack – Checked-Baggage
Your checked baggage will vary depending on where you're traveling and for how long. If you’re heading somewhere that has a washer/dryer, you can always pack less clothing. And remember, unless you’re going somewhere very remote, you can also buy most items at your destination.
- Enough onesies, pajamas & cute outfits for the duration of your stay
- Dirty clothes bag (if you’re unable to wash)
- Travel-size toiletries (i.e. shampoo/body wash and lotion)
- Nail clippers
- More extra diapers
- Extra baby food
- Breast pump, milk bags or other storage
- Baby monitor
- Seasonal necessities (like swim diapers or swim vest)
Hit the Road or the Skies
There are a number of other things you can pack for your baby when prepping for your family vacation, but the most essential gear is included in the above lists. If you’re ready to travel with the family this summer, take the minimalist approach to packing and reduce the stress with less unnecessary clutter.
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