Traveling with an Infant – Packing TIPS

Packing Tips for Traveling with an Infant

*Article contains affiliate links*

It is an interesting fact, which surprised me when I became a parent for the first time, that as tiny as a new human is….the sheer volume of stuff they need is staggering.  No matter how short the trip out, whether you are just going to the grocery or grandma’s house, traveling with an infant means a large amount of ‘stuff’. Heaven forbid you have the wrong ‘stuff’ and find yourself with a naked baby (who had the proverbial diaper blowout) because you forgot to pack an extra outfit.

Been there – done that.

There we were, at a sushi restaurant we had been patrons of for years, with tiny new baby. I was clearly still trying to get the hang of being a mom when we had the EPIC diaper blow out. All parents know this moment. The one where poop oozes ALL. Over. The. Baby. You wonder how something soooo small and sweet can create such a HUGE and disgusting mess and then sit there just smiling at you in the adorable baby way. Ugh.

Thankfully, the owner of the restaurant who knew us well was sweet and reassuring! LOL! I was a wreck. She made me feel so much better after I cleaned baby up and realized now she would be naked except for a fresh diaper because I hadn’t repacked the diaper bag properly after the last diaper issue! Thankfully, naked baby was happy enough. 🙂 Don’t be me with a naked baby!! Pack the right stuff. 🙂

Be sure to pack the RIGHT stuff when you travel with baby!

This post contains affiliate links to the awesome products I think will make traveling with an infant so much easier!! If you click, I’ll get a super small payment (and by super small I think I might be able to get a cup of coffee after about a zillion clicks) and you will have the ease of shopping right here, right now.

You are a busy MOM – make things as easy on yourself as you can and shop now! Things will be shipped directly to you = easy squeezy.  Read the full legal affiliate link thing here.

Traveling with an Infant – Packing TIPS

baby in beige sweater, Travel with an infant packing tips,

Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Clothes

Pack at least two outfits per day and still plan on doing laundry. Babies have a knack of making crazy messes at the least opportune moments. Just plan on it. All but the fanciest hotels have self laundry. Pack the baby laundry detergent you use and quarters in a zip loc baggie for ease.

Read more reasons why ziploc baggies are must for the baby travel!

Ziploc even makes HUGE bags that are perfect for packing a day’s outfit for each kid. Make life easy on yourself!

Having familiar soap from home will comfort baby and you’ll have no worries about allergies on baby’s sensitive skin. My favorite was always Dreft when my kiddos were tiny but now there are lots of choices with no dyes and perfumes like All Free and Clear.

Be careful packing detergent. You want it NOT to make a mess in your suitcase. As a traveling mom of a baby you have plenty to do without adding an extra mess! I like to pack  laundry detergent pods in a small tupperware. They are protected from being broken by getting squished and if they still manage to leak the mess will be contained.

Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Sun and Surf

A baby’s skin is a lot more delicate than ours AND a lot of sunscreen isn’t for use on infants younger than 6 months. Even if you can find one that is OK for an infant making sure every single inch of baby is greased up properly is no easy task. Heaven forbid you miss a spot! A sunburnt baby would feel so bad.  Don’t miss a spot!

I prefer to use sunscreen material. It is so easy to dress baby in material that will protect skin – no sliminess involved. Wonderful new materials are soft, breathable AND can be washed in the sink. They can dry overnight and be ready to wear the next day. My babies wore sun shirts, hats, and swimwear all made from this wonderful material. This cute and breathable shirt is from IPlay. Love the cute colors!

I loved these baby swimsuits for my babies! Just zip them up and let the water play begin! There is easy access for diaper changes and no worries about missing a spot with sunscreen. AND…what baby wouldn’t look super duper cute in this outfit?? Don’t forget the hat and sunscreen on tiny baby hands and feet.

You never outgrow the need for sunscreen material clothing! We wear it faithfully and it is my go to clothing for all of our travels. The material is soft, colorful and the designs are getting better all the time. My favorite sunscreen clothing companies for the littles are Coolibar and Sun Precautions – they have great gear.

Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Swim Diapers

Pack swim diapers. Even though you might be able to find the right size and type diapers at your destination, you’ll either spend too much time looking for them and or too much money. Bring the diapers from home and spend your vacation on more fun things that diaper shopping.

I personally believe in disposable diapers, especially in a travel situation where diapers that need to be cleaned would be hard to handle logistically, but if you don’t use disposable diapers there are reusable swim diapers, too!

A great hack for visiting the beach with a baby is a fitted bed sheet. Lay it down on the beach and put something in each corner to weigh it down. Put baby inside the ‘crib’ to remain sand free! Wish I had known this clever idea when mine were babies!!!

Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Cold Weather Gear

Just like with travelers of all ages, layering is the best way to keep baby warm when the temperatures dip low. A tiny baby can be attached to you inside your own jacket and benefit from your body warmth, too.

We lived in Denver when my youngest was born and we did a lot of hiking. Baby K was always toasty. I dressed him in his regular clothing – long sleeved onesie, pants and socks and then put him in the baby carrier on front of me. We loved the Baby B’jorn. I tucked a blanket in the edges of the baby carrier to hang on the outside of baby. Lastly I put on MY coat – my maternity one was the perfect size and zipped the coat around him. He was a warm and happy hiker! I loved having him right in front of me so I could touch his little hands and feet easily to make sure he was toasty and warm. We moms need to have those littles close!

Now I see that Baby B’jorn has a cover perfectly made like a coat for baby! It every has a hood to keep baby’s head warm and toasty! Where was this when my babies were tiny? I would have been all over this little coat!

***Car Travel with Baby SAFETY NOTE** Do not strap a baby in the carseat OVER a baby jacket. The puffiness of the jacket will keep the carseat straps from being snug enough for safety in a crash. Instead, first buckle baby in the car seat and then put a blanket over the top of the straps. Some carseats have their own blankets designed just to fit over safely.

Before baby is mobile a sleep sack is a warm and toasty solution to keep baby warm at night in the safest way possible. I love these!!! If it really cold you can put on two. Even a super wiggler will have warm and toast toes in these sleep sacks.  

My daughter didn’t walk till she was 13 months old. She loved being carried! 🙂 But, my son was an early walker at only 9 months! When you have a tiny baby who insists on walking around but still shouldn’t be using a regular blanket – how do you keep them warm? Well, the sleep sack comes in a design just for your kiddo. They even called it the ‘Early Walker‘.

**PARENT HACK** Is your little one an escape artist? When mine got old enough to work the zipper on the pjs – only to get out and later wake up cold, I heard more awesome advice from a friend! Buy a size up on the pjs and put them on backwards with the zipper in the back! Anything to keep your little Houdini warm and sleeping longer, right?

Infant boy on tummy, travel with an infant packing tips,

Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Food

We all want to save the planet. Parents are especially aware of this because we want to leave it a little better for our kiddos! BUT, when traveling disposable stuff is the way to go.

Use bottle liners (these drop in bottle liners were my favorite by Playtex) and toss when they are used. Who has time to wash bottles on vacation? Not me!

Also for packing bottles in a day bag I liked to put the powdered formula in an assembled bottle. When you are out and about just add water up to the correct line, shake, and feed to baby! Make things as easy on yourself as you can!! Mom is a tough job. It is OK to make things easy!

But, if regular bottles are the way you want to do things even when traveling = more power to you! There are all sorts of travel goodies to help you when on the road. This traveling microwave bottle sterilizer makes easy work of getting bottles ready for baby. Microwaves are easy to find most anywhere.

Do you need to keep bottles warm? There is a bottle warmer for car use! This one snuggles right up to any size bottle using a velcro strap and plugs into the car outlet. Think of it as a warm and toasty electric blanket for bottles.

Need a place to put baby when it is time to eat? I wish this cool portable high chair had been available when my kids were littles! I put them on my lap or used the stroller. Both worked OK, but the stroller in particular was less than perfect because it was so low compared to the table. Baby couldn’t see us and my back was tired from leaning over to feed baby, but still better than nothing. THIS cool thing is lightweight and can let your baby be safe and secure anywhere! No lugging anything heavy and no need for high chairs. Use it later as a leash for your toddler. No judging….you never know if your infant will grown into a toddler with the speed of lightening!

Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Diapering and Cleaning

Pack more diapers than you think you’ll need. What if some of your luggage gets lost? What if baby gets diarrhea? Be prepared. Even if you CAN find your favorite diapers at your vacation destination do you want to spend time shopping for them? Bring your own diapers! Or ship them ahead to your destination. As fun as it is to explore the grocery store (and it can be really cool to see what cool and different types of cookies and pastries you can find) you do NOT want to be in desperate search of a certain size or type of diapers.

I have not tried these – not available when mine were in diapers, but they are disposable biodegradable bamboo diapers, but might make you feel better about using disposable stuff when you travel. Be sure to try new diapers at home first!! Babies have very sensitive skin and could be irritated by a new diaper.  A trip is NOT the time to try new stuff with your baby.

Besides baby wipes and disposable changing pads ($1 each), consider bringing puppy pee pads (50 cents each). They are larger, more absorbent and usually cheaper than baby options. Use them for diapering or just a clean place to place baby for tummy time no matter where you are. Just toss when you are done!

I’m of the opinion that all moms need to carry wipes with them. Once a new parent realizes just how awesome and varied the uses are for wipes you realize your kids will never outgrow the need for them! Of course you need them for all the obvious things like cleaning bodily fluids – and, isn’t it incredible just how many types and volume of bodily fluids a tiny infant can create – but you can use them for yourself! Use them to freshen up or wash hands for yourself or older kids. Once I used them, while waiting in a very, very long line to get the car inspected, to clean off all the nooks and crannies in the dashboard of the car!! LOL! You really NEED to carry wipes.

Wipes come in many flavors and scents but with my own bizarre allergies (Read how to travel with allergies here.) I prefer things without a scent myself. These water wipes have NO chemicals and are all natural.  And if you have been traveling for 36 hours might even want to take a spit bath with these to feel more human!!

Planes are germy places! Everyone knows that germs and babies are not things you want to go together. So, pack these Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to clean down your travel area. Even though baby will be safely tucked into their carrier…you’ll be touching things and then touching baby. Cut to the chase and clean the area so you can breath easier about the germy journey. Think you know the germiest spots on a plane? I think you’ll be surprised as I was…read about Germs and Airplanes to find out exactly what all you need to clean.

Traveling with an infant – Packing tips – Sleeping

Think outside the box on this one. My babies have slept in the stroller, in a dresser drawer pulled out and put on the floor, and once even in a laundry basket. You do NOT need a fancy schmancy official travel bed to travel with baby.

**** NOTE that the March of Dimes says that it is UNSAFE to sleep in the same bed with your 0-3 month old baby. The safest place for baby to sleep is alone, with no bedding, in the same room with parents.**

The AAP (Academy of Academy of Pediatrics),

recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:
Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.”

Not all of these recommendations were around when my babies were tiny and I did sleep with them sometimes. I feel really fortunate that all turned out well for us. I know now, with these strong recommendations, I would be terrified to sleep with my babies!! So, when you are potentially facing a change in schedule when you travel and thus less sleep…how do you prepare a safe spot for baby to sleep when you travel?

I love this travel bed/beach tent for babies  because it is a duo product. You can use it for naps inside the hotel or on the beach. The top will keep the sun off baby’s sweet newbie skin and the zippered screens will keep those horrible bugs from snacking on your sweet baby!!

This portable travel tent from ILOVEBABY has even more vents if you are headed to where the temps are really high! I like the teal color, too.

Sleeping can be tricky with a newbie during travel. Sometimes babies sleep anywhere and for long periods of time. If you are this lucky parent….well, those of use whose babies did NOT sleep EVER will just try not to hate you! LOL!! Holy cow, I was sleep deprived for the longest time. LOL! If you are like me…and your newbie was determined to never sleep for more than 45 minutes only to be completely refreshed and ready to rock and roll again –  leaving YOU an utter zombie…this noise maker is for you.

Firstly, anything that can be familiar to baby, the same as at home, will be comforting and help baby sleep better. And of course anything that helps baby sleep better helps EVERYONE sleep better, right? A sleep machine makes the same noise anywhere you go and can help the whole family  sleep better. Also, and perhaps more importantly, the noise machine can drown out any of the little sounds – or BIG sounds you hear when traveling that could potentially wake the sleeping baby! OMG – do NOT wake the baby!!! Once when we didn’t have an air conditioner in the hotel room, we slept with the windows open. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard a garbage truck making that horrible beeping “I am backing up’ noise at o’dark thirty!” and a crying baby is NOT the very next sound you want to hear at that moment.

We use this white noise sleep machine at home and this portable ‘travel sound conditioner‘ while we are on the road! Now that my babies are bigger (11 an 13) we travel with 2 machines if we are in adjoining rooms. They are small, lightweight (1.2 pounds each) and worth the space and weight!!


with an infant – Packing tips – Medicine

I  have always traveled (and still do) with a thermometer and medicine in a first aid kit. (Read what I pack in my first aid kit here!) Fevers always seem to happen during the middle of the night or on a holiday weekend while you are in the middle of nowhere. Be prepared! Once, I broke this rule and brought everything but the thermometer. I managed to find one at a pharmacy in Madrid but couldn’t read a celsius one. I had to google ‘what celcius temperature is a fever for a child’ for it to be useful.

Again, where was this ingenious invention when mine were little? Holy cow! Put the medicine in this hollow pacifier – officially called a pacifier liquid medicine dispenser and give to baby. Assuming medicine doesn’t taste ferocious to baby, they will drink it down AND you’ll know how much baby consumed. More than once I struggled to get medicine into baby by squirting the medicine into baby’s mouth near the cheek –  only to have it spit right back at me. Then…how much medicine did baby actually get? There was no way to really know. It was stressful! This fantastic invention would end the wondering.

Teach your children to be global citizens and maneuver the world! Kudos to you for starting their travel education early! You’ll need all the information you can get because parents can never be too informed.

The Educational Tourist at Bosphorus Strait,

Check out these articles on more traveling with infant tips:

Tips for Traveling with an Infant

Tips for Airport Security with an Infant

Is Your Baby Old Enough for Air Travel?

Happy Travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

The Educational Tourist logo

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39 Responses

  1. This seriously gave me major flashback to the time when I went on a 15-hour trip from San Francisco to Manila with my five-month-old daughter. I wish I had stumbled upon this before that trip – it would have saved me a lot of trouble (and sanity!)

  2. Gem says:

    That was a nice read!

    I don’t have any kids but that was quite informative. I will make sure to share this!

    Often, I would hear people how hard is it to travel with an infant. I am sure some of your tips would help make their journeys a bit easy.

    Cool to know there are swim diapers? How different are they from regular diapers?

    Thanks for the tips! Happy travels 🙂

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Swim diapers are the greatest invention! Sometimes babies feel warm water and then need to go potty! Swim diapers have little flaps that ‘contain’ 😉 AND how they only soak up what they need to and not half the pool too is a mystery to me, but most pools require them. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Katie says:

    Great article! I am not a mother, but love your shout out at the end “Teach your children to be global citizens and maneuver the world! Kudos to you for starting the travel early!”. It is important that we teach children young what it means to be a global citizen.

  4. gtcookbook says:

    Props to you for not giving up on traveling despite having kids! I feel like even traveling solo I’m too much to handle on my own. Don’t have any of my own, but will pass on the tips to my new-mum friends 🙂

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Thanks for sharing! Each stage of life and traveling has its own wonderful and difficult portions…parents can never be too prepared!

  5. I don’t have small children but a lot of my friends do. Great Tips.

  6. Great tips! I’m a few years away from worrying about this for now, but this looks like an awesome guide. I’ll definitely bookmark it for the future!

  7. Jenn Coleman says:

    I have never had children and have never had to travel with an infant, but all of your tips look really spot-on. I really love the beginning of your last paragraph about traveling with your kids early and teaching them to be Global Citizens.

  8. What an awesome comprehensive guide for all different situations and weather!!

  9. Katharina says:

    Wow. We don’t have kids yet but are planning to travel with ours in the future. To be honest I never thought if how much stuff you need to take. That’s a whole large suitcase on the side lol. Two outfits per day?!

    • NatalieTanner says:

      YEP – at least the outfits are small, though, right? Once they are old enough to carry their own small suitcase and don’t need so many outfits in one day…you feel like you have so much extra room!! LOL!

  10. Wangui says:

    Awesome article….I am a first time mum to a 1 year old…. I can definately relate to this…Thankyou for the tips

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Welcome to the mom club! 🙂 You already know there is nothing harder and nothing more wonderful. 🙂 Glad you stopped by! Moms can never be too prepared.

  11. My friend just had a baby and i could not BELIEVE the amount of stuff one person needed. She’s tiny! How does she need all that stuff?!?! Will show her this article when she gets brave enough to take baby away for her first holiday!!

    • NatalieTanner says:

      It was a shock to us, too! When you are preparing for baby to arrive and you see these HUGE diaper bags…and wonder…really? Though long before I had kids I saw a family with a small little girl who was just learning to toddle. She was so cute that I paused to watch her. The entire place was hot and dry but there was a small puddle of water…no larger than about 12″ wide. She made a bee line to it – the only water ANYWHERE around and before her mom could grab her she was soaked head to toe. In an instant she needed an entire new set of clothes. LOL! And that…is why moms need so much stuff for baby. LOL

  12. Neha Verma says:

    These are really useful tips and everyone should have this list noted down. I traveled a lot with my own infant past few years. And once we forgot her hot water thermos at home and we were so tense all the time about managing to prepare her meals…

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Oh, forgetting something is the worst!! Usually I’m so focused on getting all the details for the kids that if I forget something it is mine!! LOL! More than once I’ve had to shop for something for myself that I forgot. LOL!

  13. I have so many problems just packing for myself that I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to pack for a little one too!

    Great post 🙂

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Ok – it doesn’t always go smoothly. Once, when I was new to the packing for kids, too, game….I had all of their stuff perfectly organized and realized I had not packed ANY pants for myself. NONE. LOL! I wore the same pair of pants I arrived in for a few days till I could get another pair. LOL! That is just one example of why moms need to be extremely organized! LOL! Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Maria Jesus says:

    I’ve never thought about all these tips to consider when travelling with a kid – so useful! Thanks a lot! You got it all under control, well done!

  15. I laughed when I read that the smaller they are the more stuff they need – this is so true! I don’t have any kids but every time I see families traveling with babies or toddlers, I wonder how they do it! There’s so much to think about and so much stuff to bring – I admire anyone traveling with kids! I can see how clothes made with sunscreen material is so much more practical than sunscreen (which most kids hate)!

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Oh, I’m pretty sure that when you become a mom you also become part sherpa!! Just yesterday we were flying back from NYC and we saw a mom boarding with her three children. They were probably in the neighborhood of 3-7 years old. Each child had an item they were clinging too and then the mom was almost completely covered with stuff!! As they were flying from NYC that also included everyone’s puffy coat. She had the biggest smile and I chuckled at her mountain of stuff strapped to her…she was a ROCKSTAR!!

  16. What a great list of packing tips for travelers with infants! I don’t have kids of my own but this seems like a useful list for later on. I’ve never heard of swim diapers until now!!

  17. TabassumTrails says:

    Travelling with kids always looks like a challenge to me. I wonder how people manage to look after a baby when I struggle to even look after myself. But I guess parenthood brings a lot of sensibilities and responsibilities with it. If someday I have kids I would love to take them with me everywhere I go, not because I don’t have an option to leave them home, but because I would want them to be my travel companion.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      It is a new and fascinating adventure and you learn a lot really fast. It is so great to share your traveling ‘bug’ with them! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  18. When you are traveling with an infant, the experience comes with its own set of challenges and of course packing right is half the battle won. You have provided some really practical and useful tips in that direction. I am sure they will help a lot in smoothening the travel experience with an infant.

  19. Wow I’m forwarding this to my friends who want to travel with their babies but are too afraid to start packing! 🙂 I didn’t know there are swim diapers – brilliant idea! 🙂

  20. Wow! Thanks for the tips! I will forward this to my friends who wants to travel with their babies. For sure these tips will help them a lot to pack for their trips.

  21. Some parents get harrased while traveling far with their kids. Some doesn’t want to travel with their little babies. This blog is very useful for those parents. Just follow the tips they have included and your journey with babies will be fun.

  22. Anne says:

    Have definitely seen that when I travel with babies their packing list is way longer than mine! And as they get older, don’t forget that favorite stuffed animal or blanket!
    Love the iplay suit, we have their swimsuits and hats!

  1. March 5, 2017

    […] Read about What to Pack when you Travel with an Infant! […]

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    […] Packing for Infants – The Ultimate List […]

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