Checklist for Traveling with a Baby

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Checklist for Traveling with a Baby

Once you book a flight, now what? When traveling with a baby you want to be as prepared as possible, so that everything goes smoothly. However, it’s easy to forget little (or major) details in the stress of it all. Use this list to make sure you don’t forget anything. Enter your email below to instantly get a printable version of the checklist for traveling with a baby.


Trip Planning


Rental Car/Airport Ride Big Enough to Hold All Luggage

Babies require a lot of gear. Between the car seat, stroller and luggage you can easily fill a car.  Make sure you consider how much room you will need when booking a rental car or deciding who is picking you up from the airport.  I’ve found that the smallest rental cars often don’t have enough room for everything.  I’ve also learned to be careful about what size Uber/Lyft I request.  Sometimes the small cars, aren’t big enough if we are going on a long trip. 

I’ve recently found that Supershuttle works well.  They have a lot more room for things like strollers than small cars do, and they are more affordable than getting a large Uber.  We used this when we went to visit family for 2.5 weeks over the holidays.  We knew that airport parking would cost a fortune for that long, but an Uber big enough for our luggage was extremely pricey.  The Supershuttle ended up being a very affordable option.  The only downside is that they want to make sure to get you to the airport on time, which can result in being really early if the airport is small.  For our trip, the latest our Supershuttle would pick us up got us to the airport an entire hour before the ticket counter even opened.

jeep wrangler in a parking garage.

Hotel Reservation

When booking a hotel, consider things like, is there a free breakfast, are suites available, and how close is it to where you will be spending most of your time.  For other tips on staying in a hotel with a baby, check out this article.

Sleeping arrangements confirmed

Once you have your hotel reservation made, call and ask them to add a crib or pack-n-play to the reservation.  There usually isn’t a charge for this, but they can verify that they have one available and add a note to your reservation.  I had an issue on the one trip where I forgot to call ahead.  I saw online that the hotel had pack-n-plays available, so assumed that was sufficient.  However, we got in late and when I asked for the pack-n-play, the only person working didn’t have access to the room where they were stored.  I ended up putting my 4-month-old to sleep on the floor on a play mat.  I learned my lesson and have called ahead ever since.

Fridge availability confirmed

You also want to confirm if the room has a fridge.  This is essential if you will be pumping milk or your child is drinking whole milk.  However, it is really handy in general for keeping snacks cold.  If you need a fridge for milk storage, call the hotel ahead of time (ideally before you book a nonrefundable room) and make sure that the rooms either have a fridge or one can be put in there for you.  I’ve never found a hotel that wasn’t willing to work with me once I explain my situation.


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Pet Care Organized

When planning a family trip with a baby, your first babies (a.k.a. pets) can often get lost in the shuffle.  Good pet care can be hard to come by, so don’t leave this until the last minute.

Maine Coon and domestic shorthair sitting on a cat tree.

Trip Planned to Allow for Nap Times

I have a really bad habit of filling our trips up with as many activities as possible.  However, I’ve learned that it makes for a miserable day for everyone if you don’t plan to allow for your little one to nap.  If you have a very young baby, a nap in the stroller or car seat is probably reasonable to expect.  However, older babies and toddlers often need more ideal napping conditions.  We have figured out how to make a tent for my son in the car, which helps him sleep.  Especially if we stop for lunch where he can fill up and then get milk to drink once we get on the road.  This mimics our nap time and bedtime routines, so it encourages a nap while we are driving.


Airline Baggage Allowances Verified

Most United States flights allow one large carry on and one small personal item for each ticketed passenger.  Most don’t count a diaper bag as a carry on (Southwest is the exception).  For Southwest, you can have 2 free checked bags per ticketed passenger, but other airlines charge for checked baggage.  In general, checked baggage must weigh less than 50 pounds, or the fees increase.  You can usually check a car seat and stroller free of charge.  Be cautious with budget airlines because many charge extra fees for large carry-on bags.  It’s important to check the baggage allowance for the specific airline you will be flying because there is so much variability.  You don’t want to arrive at the airport and find out you have too many bags or your bags weigh too much.  Here is the baggage allowance information for several major airlines:

Delta

United

American

Southwest

Frontier

Spirit

Baby sitting on floor surrounded by luggage.

Location and Hours for Nearest Superstore Determined

When booking your hotel and getting everything organized for your trip, figure out what the nearest superstore is and what their hours are.  You will likely need to pick up milk or snacks and possibly other items that you decided to buy at your destination or forget in the hassle of packing.  Knowing exactly where to go pick up these items can make things a little less stressful.


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Nurse Helpline Phone Number Stored in Phone

Save this in your phone or write it down and bring it along.  Hopefully you won’t need it, but if your baby starts acting sick or has a fever you will want it.  Calling the nurse helpline can provide information about whether you need to find a doctor to take your baby to or if a little Motrin, hydration and some extra snuggles will do the trick.


Airport Arrival Plan in Place

When you head to the airport, is someone that isn’t going on the trip dropping you off?  Is the entire family taking the bus from long term parking to the terminal with all the baggage?  These are important things to consider, so that you can make the best plan for your situation.  When my husband, son and I travel, my husband drops Paxton and me off at the terminal with all the luggage I can manage.  He goes and parks while I check the baggage.  I then wait for him before going through security.  With the amount of stuff that we pack, this is much easier than trying to navigate the shuttle bus with everything.



Before You Leave the House


Packing List Completely Checked Off

Lists are a mom’s best friend!  You can see my travel essentials here and grab my ultimate packing list here.  Make sure to check everything off before you leave.  I have had instances where I forgot to grab the sippy cup of milk from the fridge or other last-minute items.  They were on the list, but I didn’t want to pack them until right before leaving and I didn’t check the list.

Packing list image.

Carry-On Bags Packed to Facilitate TSA

My packing list breaks down the items that go in the carry-on versus in a checked bag.  However, you still want to make sure that your carry-on organization works for TSA.  The biggest thing is with regards to liquids.  You can view all the details about liquids here, but in short, if it’s more than 3oz bottles in a quart-sized Ziploc, it needs to come out.  Therefore, I suggest putting all things that meet that criteria into a gallon Ziploc at the top of a bag.  That way it’s quick to pull everything out.


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Suitcases Weigh Less than Airline Maximum (usually 50 pounds)

If you completed everything on the trip planning part of the checklist, you know what the maximum weight for checked bags is on your airline.  Once you have your bags completely packed, pull out the bathroom scale and get an idea of the weight.  Weigh yourself and then pick up the suitcase and weigh yourself while holding it.  The difference is the weight of the suitcase.  Make sure you have a couple pounds to spare because your scale may not align exactly with the airport’s scale.


Flight Still On Time

You don’t need to wait until you get to the airport to check your flight status.  I suggest double checking it prior to leaving the house using this app.  If there is a major delay, you can stay home a bit longer.  I also suggest signing up for your airline’s alerts.  You can usually set these up using the app for your airline.  This way you get text, email or phone call notifications of changes to your flight.  Get all my app recommendations here and here.

Screenshot from the in flight app.

Boarding Passes Printed

Printing your boarding passes at home can take away a bit of stress once you get to the airport.  Many airlines also have the option to have your boarding pass on your phone.  The pro of this is that you don’t have to worry about losing a piece of paper.  However, if your phone battery is constantly on the verge of running out, then a paper copy may be a better option.  If you are traveling with a lap child, you will need to complete your check-in and get a boarding pass at the airport.  They will verify the child’s age and connect their boarding pass to yours.

Hand holding a boarding pass by a diaper bag.

Thermostat Adjusted

If you are going on a long trip, adjust your thermostat so that you aren’t constantly running the heat or air.  This is a quick way to save a little bit of money on your electric bill.

Thermostat with purple background.

Use this quick checklist as you plan your trip and before walking out the door to make sure you don’t forget anything!  Enter your email address below to get instant access to my printable list!


Despite this list, are you…

  • Still overwhelmed at the thought of all the details of planning a trip with a baby or toddler?
  • Afraid that you will forget a detail that makes your trip much more difficult?
  • nsure about what extra considerations are needed when traveling with kids?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need my family travel planner!

Checklist for Traveling with a Baby

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.

4 thoughts on “Checklist for Traveling with a Baby

  • March 15, 2019 at 1:06 am
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    So many great tips Lauren! I love that you shared the checked bag allowance. We usually fly Southwest and it came as a shock to me when I went to fly another airline and ended up having to pay for a bag. Definitely not something I was prepared for. And we always forget to adjust the thermostat – so helpful you put it on the list!

    Reply
    • March 22, 2019 at 5:30 pm
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      Thanks! It does get easy to assume bags fly free with all airlines when you have been flying Southwest for a while.

      Reply
  • March 23, 2019 at 11:24 am
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    I love this! So much valuable information in one location. We will be traveling on Spirit and they charge for carry-on items. One personal item per ticketed customer is free and diaper bag counts as a personal item. It is definitely more complicated traveling with a toddler and a baby than it is when it was only my husband and I, but each time gets easier and I will be referencing your travel posts quite frequently to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I think the best thing you can do when traveling with children is to plan well, make lists and keep everything as easy to get and organized as possible. Great tips!

    Reply
    • March 27, 2019 at 11:14 pm
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      I’ve never flown Spirit because of all the extra charges for baggage fees (and I pack a lot). It’s definitely important to check things like that though because every airline is different. It definitely gets easier traveling with kids the more you do it!

      Reply

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