Lauren’s ABC’s of Baby Travel Essentials

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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Lauren’s ABC's of Baby Travel Essentials

“Big A, little a, what begins with A? Aunt Annie’s Alligator a…a…a. Big B little B…” Oh, wait – that’s Dr. Seuss. But the alphabet concept is catchy, so we’ll stick with that.

Here’s my A to Z list of Baby Travel Essentials to help simplify the confusion. Make sure to bring along everything on this list. Also, enter your email below to grab my complete packing list for flying with a baby!

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    Animal (stuffed)

    Every kid has a collection of stuffed animals, but most have one or two obvious favorites.  These favorite stuffed animals can provide comfort for a tired baby or toddler that is having an overwhelming travel day with a lot of non-routine experiences.  Just make sure that the favorite stuffed animal is always accounted for. The last thing you want is to leave it on an airplane.


    Blanket

    A swaddling blanket is perfect for creating a car seat cover to provide some quiet and darkness to help your little one sleep.  A blanket is also great for putting on the airport floor to put your baby on (until he’s old enough to crawl away at least).  Swaddling blankets are also thin, so they can easily be rolled to not take up a lot of space.

    A blanket baby travel essential covering a baby in a car seat on an airplane.

    Car Seat Cart

    Unless you have an infant car seat and stroller travel system, you will want this amazing cart!  You just strap on a convertible car seat and it pulls behind you like a suitcase.  The cart the folds down to a small square that easily fits in a large carry-on.

    A pull along cart is definitely a baby travel essential because it turns the car seat into a roller suitcase.

    Diaper Bag

    You never want to leave the house without a fully stocked diaper bag.  When flying it’s critical that you have more diapers, wipes and baby food/milk than you will need just in case you get stuck with a delay.  For most airlines (except Southwest) a diaper bag doesn’t count towards your carry-on allowance when traveling with a lap child. Make sure you pack all of these items into your diaper bag!

    An open diaper bag and boarding pass.

    Earmuffs

    These noise-canceling baby earmuffs are amazing.  They block out a lot of noise to help calm down an overstimulated baby or to protect baby’s hearing from loud noises.  We got them for taking our son to a wedding reception.  However, they have come in handy in airports and airplanes many times.

    Baby noise-canceling earmuffs on a baby that's sleeping on an airplane.

    Fan

    I have this amazing travel fan that is rechargeable.  I got it for labor and delivery, but now it goes on every trip.  Having a fan is super helpful when you end up on a plane that is way too hot.  The fan can help keep your baby from getting cranky due to the heat.  In my experience, it doesn’t matter what the outside weather is like, airplanes can still get hot.  Therefore, I never fly with my son without this fan.

    A fan is a baby travel essential because it keeps everyone cool and comfortable.

    Gate Check Bags

    You can gate check your car seat and stroller free of charge.  However, they will be spending the flight underneath the plane with all the luggage.  You have no idea what dirt and grease they will come into contact with, so gate check bags are a must to make sure baby’s ride stays in great shape.  They make a variety of stroller and car seat bags that fold down into their own small pouches when not in use. 

    Pro Tip: If you have a large jogging stroller, make sure you get one large enough.

    A stroller gate check bag that functions as a backpack makes flying with a baby easier.

    Headphones

    Movies are a great source of quiet entertainment for toddlers and older babies.  Setting your child in front of a screen may not be ideal at home, but when you are on a plane, it’s a perfectly acceptable option.  These headphones have maximum volume that is lower than adult headphones and they are soft and flexible for little heads.  An additional benefit is that the cord is chew-proof.

    A collection of baby airplane travel essentials

    ID for Baby

    You obviously need you ID to go through security.  However, if your baby is traveling as a lap child, they will need proof of age.  You could use a birth certificate for this purpose.  However, carrying around a piece of paper always scared me.  Therefore, we got Paxton a passport card which lives in my wallet.  That way I can just provide that for his proof of age.


    Jacket

    Above I talked about airplanes being too hot.  However, it can also go the other direction with airports and airplanes being too cold.  It’s always a good idea to bring a light jacket for everyone in case it gets chilly.  This is also regardless of the outside weather.


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    Kitchen Items (for Baby)

    You will want to bring whatever you need to feed baby.  This could include bottles, forks and spoons, bowls, sippy cups, and food pouch attachments like this or this.  We decide pouches are too messy at Paxton’s current age to travel with.  We also can usually make do without bowls.  For forks and spoons, I like the Take -n -Toss ones.


    Laundry Detergent

    If you have a long trip, it can be easier to wash clothes part way through versus taking enough for the entire trip.  Also, babies are messy, so you never know when you will need to do an unexpected load of baby laundry.  Taking a travel-sized bottle or packet of laundry detergent allows you to select one that will work for baby’s sensitive skin.


    Medicine Bag

    Hopefully, you won’t need this, but if you do, you’ll be glad to have it.  I keep one stocked with baby Motrin, baby Benadryl, nasal bulb, thermometer, medication syringe, and baby nail clippers.  The first time Paxton got sick was while we were traveling, and I was glad to have this little pack.

    A collection of baby travel essentials

    Noise Machine

    White noise can be a helpful sleep aid for everyone in the family.  I have a travel one that is small and lightweight and can hang on a stroller, car seat or Pack-n-Play.  This is great for trying to get baby to nap during a layover and to block out the noise from other people in a hotel room. 

    For more tips on staying in a hotel with a baby or toddler, check out this post.


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    Options

    Telling a toddler or older baby no often doesn’t go well.  Providing options works well when you have a child that wants to cruise the plane despite the fasten seat belt sign being on.  Instead of saying ‘no’ offer two options like a movie or toy, or toy A versus toy B, or snack A versus snack B – you get the idea.  Having plenty of options allows your child to feel like they are still getting a say and you have a variety of things to choose from when one thing becomes boring.


    Pack-n-Play Sheet

    I don’t travel with a Pack-n-Play because I just use one hotel provides.  However, I don’t like using the sheets/blankets they provide.  I bring my own sheet and have found that a traditional Pack-n-Play sheet fits most hotel baby sleeping options.


    Lauren’s ABC's of Baby Travel Essentials

    Q-Tips

    You should never stick a Q-tip into your baby’s ears. However, they have plenty of other uses for cleaning things like charging ports.  Also, my husband gets really cranky when he can’t clean out his ears, so they help keep him happy to which is a win.


    Reading Material

    Bring a couple of baby’s favorite books.  If they are interactive ones, that’s even better.  Books make a good airplane activity.  You may also want to bring reading material for yourself that you can juggle while holding a sleeping baby.  This may be a little optimistic, but you will be glad to have something to do if your baby passes out from the drone of the airplane.

    A bookshelf with lots of books which are essential when traveling with a baby.

    Snacks

    Everyone is less cranky when snacks are readily available.  You can purchase many items in the airport and on the plane.  However, the cost can add up fast.  Snack packs and bars work well for adults, and many baby-friendly snacks can be packed into snack containers and added to the diaper bag.  The last thing a traveling parent needs is a hangry baby and no snacks.


    Toys

    Entertaining a baby or toddler for a long flight can be challenging.  Before your trip, start considering what toys would work well on an airplane.  I find it’s a good idea to bring a couple of favorites and a couple of new toys or ones that haven’t been pulled out in a while.  Just try to select toys that don’t make noise and don’t have a bunch of pieces.

    Baby sitting in a car seat with baby travel essentials of a bottle and toys.

    Umbrella Stroller

    If you are using the car seat cart I mentioned above, you don’t really need a stroller in the airport.  However, you may want a stroller at your destination.  In that case, I find an umbrella stroller is usually sufficient and it’s lightweight and small which are perks for traveling.  You can put this into a gate check bag, but then check it for free with your other luggage.


    View Window Formula Bottles

    Liquid formula is helpful for traveling because it’s ready to drink.  However, some bottles are completely opaque while others have view windows.  When going through security, you can bring liquid formula, but they are often particular about being able to view the contents.  If the formula bottle has a spot where the bottle is cleared, you are good to go.  However, if it doesn’t (i.e. certain Similac ones), TSA often requires that the cap be removed or they give you a full pat down.


    Wipes

    Wipes are good for everything when you have a baby.  Bring lots.  That is all.


    X-ray Friendly Clothing

    When you go through security, you will either need to go through a metal detector or the scanner machine.  Clothing with embellishments, and thick heals on boots can be problematic.  When trying to go through security with a baby, the last thing you want is the added stress of setting off a detector.  Play it safe and go with plain clothing and shoes.


    Yes Attitude

    You want another snack? – Yes; You want to watch Frozen again? – Yes

    Limits are a good thing at home, but when traveling you will need to say Yes to a lot more.  It’s important to choose your battles because traveling tends to make everyone more on edge and cranky.


    Zinc Oxide

    Diaper rash is painful and it can come on quickly. Babies seem to be extra prone to it when you are traveling because diaper changes are often rushed and baths may be less frequent. Therefore, you want to make sure you are prepared with diaper rash cream when you need it.


    For more baby travel essentials, check out the YouTube video below!

    MUST-HAVE ITEMS FOR FLYING WITH A BABY

    There you have my A to Z list of baby travel essentials. For more travel tips, make sure to check out these posts!

    What travel items do you think are helpful? Let me know in the comments.

    Lauren’s ABC's of Baby Travel Essentials

    Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    39 thoughts on “Lauren’s ABC’s of Baby Travel Essentials

    • March 22, 2019 at 5:16 pm
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      The car seat cart is one of the most ingenious inventions for parents that I have seen in the last bunch of years. The ease of this device when you need to navigate the Airport and then head to a rental car is a god send. I love the idea of a fan and headphones. Two things I would have never thought of. We always travel with a sound machine or use the iPhone as a back up.

      Reply
      • March 22, 2019 at 5:24 pm
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        It is seriously amazing! It makes it so much easier, and my son loves getting pulled along behind us because he can see everything.

        Reply
    • March 22, 2019 at 6:10 pm
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      I personally think that ear muffs are extremely helpful! But if one doesn’t want to buy one then they can use earphones instead too! Prevents ears from going numb. 😊

      Reply
      • March 22, 2019 at 8:50 pm
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        That’s a great idea!

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    • March 22, 2019 at 6:29 pm
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      It’s a complete guide for a thoughtful mother. The only difference is that they need not think any more. Just blindly follow.

      Reply
    • March 22, 2019 at 6:42 pm
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      What a fantastic list. Keeping a baby ‘busy’ is really important on a flight, so having a few books or toys is essential. And wipes – yes, bring lots. Even if you’re not travelling with a baby. What did we do before wipes were invented?

      Reply
      • March 22, 2019 at 8:51 pm
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        I have no idea what we did before wipes! Keeping a baby busy is an art form no matter where you are lol.

        Reply
    • March 22, 2019 at 7:27 pm
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      Great list and if I may add another for “E” — extra outfits. Especially, if you have a messy, accident-prone toddler.

      Reply
      • March 22, 2019 at 8:51 pm
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        Extra outfits are definitely a great idea!

        Reply
    • March 22, 2019 at 10:46 pm
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      I don’t have kids, so I’ve never thought about these things much. But the car seat cart is just genius! I think that would help so many people in making things much easier.

      Reply
      • March 27, 2019 at 11:17 pm
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        Whoever designed that cart is definitely a genius because it’s brilliant!

        Reply
    • March 23, 2019 at 1:08 am
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      We haven’t yet flown with our kids. We normally drive. But I’m curious. Can you check both a car seat and stroller? Are there typically extra costs with bringing them?

      Reply
      • March 27, 2019 at 11:16 pm
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        On most airlines you can check the car seat and stroller free of charge. They can either be checked with the regular luggage or tagged at the gate so you can use them up until boarding and then get them back as soon as you get off.

        Reply
    • March 23, 2019 at 9:56 am
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      I’d have loved that cart for the child-seat when my daughter was a baby! Great invention

      Reply
      • March 27, 2019 at 11:15 pm
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        It’s awesome!

        Reply
    • March 23, 2019 at 2:30 pm
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      It sounds really funny when you say ID for the baby. It’s good to learn this tips most of them applies to the adult traveling essentials too. http://www.thecozyme.com

      Reply
      • March 27, 2019 at 11:13 pm
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        Yes it was a strange experience getting my son his passport card, but it has been well worth it.

        Reply
    • March 23, 2019 at 7:56 pm
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      Very cool!! I didn’t know that car seat cart even existed! What an awesome idea! And great tip about bringing your own pack n play sheet. I’ve been disappointed before as well with what the hotel offers.

      Reply
      • March 27, 2019 at 11:13 pm
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        The cart is absolutely amazing!

        Reply
    • March 24, 2019 at 6:33 am
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      This article should have come into my life 33 years ago! However, thinking back, I don’t think I did a bad job of trying to pack stuff for 3 kids, twins and their elder brother, so more like triplets. Back then trips were limited to where the train went. I found traveling by train so much easier and the kids could move about without being constricted to their seats. My heart goes out to mums whose babies don’t want to sit at all during landing and take off.

      Reply
      • March 27, 2019 at 11:12 pm
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        I can only imagine how much more difficult traveling with twins would be! One is enough for me to juggle 🙂

        Reply
    • March 25, 2019 at 12:37 am
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      Woah! That car seat cart looks amazing, this is the first time I’ve ever seen or heard of one, I wish I had one when my kids were babies.

      Reply
      • March 27, 2019 at 11:11 pm
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        Best thing ever!

        Reply
    • March 25, 2019 at 12:18 pm
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      I totally love how much thought went into this amazing list! Excellent product placement with the Amazon links make it easy for parents to get ready for travel fast!

      Reply
      • March 27, 2019 at 11:11 pm
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        Thanks! Hopefully it’s quick and easy for parents to click through and toss something in their cart. I know how quickly a thought can go into your head and right back out 🙂

        Reply
    • March 25, 2019 at 3:23 pm
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      Great tips simplified in a very easy order. Thank you for the effort.

      Reply
      • March 27, 2019 at 11:10 pm
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        I know how busy moms are, so I wanted to provide helpful info in a way that was as easy to sort through as possible!

        Reply
    • March 25, 2019 at 11:47 pm
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      Those simple stuff can be a life saver for parents who travel with their babies! What a great post to help the parents make traveling with babies a little bit easier.

      Reply
      • March 27, 2019 at 11:09 pm
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        Yes the simplest things can sometimes make the biggest difference!

        Reply
    • March 26, 2019 at 10:52 am
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      So many important things to think about when traveling with a baby! I didn’t know such a thing existed when my daughter was born, but we didn’t need to travel with her car seat. This is a very helpful post and I’ve pulled a few ideas to add to my packing list for Disney.

      Reply
      • March 27, 2019 at 11:08 pm
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        Yay I’m glad it gave you some helpful info for your trip!

        Reply
    • March 28, 2019 at 2:57 am
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      Wow, That car seat cart is crazy amazing!! These are great tips!

      Reply
      • April 4, 2019 at 9:20 pm
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        Thanks! Yes I love the cart.

        Reply
    • March 29, 2019 at 5:26 pm
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      This is an excellent list. As a Grammy, it’s actually given me a few ideas for Christmas gifts for my kids (stroller bag and car seat cart are definitely on the list). I’ll be sharing this post.

      Reply
      • April 4, 2019 at 9:17 pm
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        Getting your Christmas ideas in place early – I like it! Glad the post gave you some ideas!

        Reply
    • April 1, 2019 at 12:50 pm
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      Cute A to Z list! We leaned to pack things that create a feeling of home and that allow us to maintain our routine even if we are away

      Reply
      • April 4, 2019 at 9:15 pm
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        Yes it’s always nice to have the comforts of home. I’ve also found it works well to rent some baby items that are too big to bring like a jumperoo if that’s a home comfort.

        Reply
    • April 3, 2019 at 1:31 pm
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      Wonderful tips and tricks for traveling with little ones. That cart to put the car-seat on is the best invention ever! I wish they had those when mine were little. Happy Travels, Kippi #kippiathome

      Reply
      • April 4, 2019 at 9:14 pm
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        Thanks! Everyone needs one of those carts!

        Reply

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