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“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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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!
There you have my A to Z list of baby travel essentials. For more travel tips, make sure to check out these posts!
- Checklist for Flying with a Baby
- Flying with a Baby | The Ultimate Guide
- How to Survive Long Layovers with a Baby
- Must-Have Apps for Flying with Kids
What travel items do you think are helpful? Let me know in the comments.
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.
Mom, wife, veterinary pharmacist, equestrian, ice cream lover and occasional hot mess