Traveling with a baby requires a lot of planning and many supplies. While it may seem like a lot to remember, being prepared while away from home can help you and baby have a more relaxing and fun trip.
Any Outing Basics
No matter your destination or the length of your stay, these items are typical must-haves to pack in a diaper bag for every baby when leaving the house.
Apparel and Accessories
It's always a good idea to have options and extras as babies can get messy and temperatures vary by location.
- Two additional outfits - Include socks, short-sleeve and long-sleeve options, pants and hats. To keep outfits together and easy to find, try putting each one in a separate zip-top bag.
- Extra blanket - Pack one that is opposite the one you use during travel. For example, if you use a heavy blanket in the car, pack a lighter option.
- Two to four toys or soft books - Keep these packed in the diaper bag, so they will be novel enough to keep your baby's interest, and you won't risk losing favorites.
- Extra pacifier - Attach the spare to a pacifier clip and secure in a zip-top baggie to keep it clean.
- Extra shirt for you
While you want to have enough to get you through a couple hours, it's not necessary to pack tons of diapers, as these supplies are readily available in most stores.
- Disposable diapers - If you'll be around other infant parents or near stores, just pack four to five. If you'll be in a remote area, pack as many as your baby typically uses in one day.
- Baby wipes - A travel pack will do, but it never hurts to have extras you can use for cleaning up unexpected messes.
- Diaper changing pad - Choose one that is long enough to fit your baby's whole body and that folds up.
- Disposable diaper bags - You can also use freezer size zip-top baggies or used plastic shopping bags to store dirty diapers if there isn't a trash can available.
- Cloth diaper inserts and shells (if you use cloth diapers) - Follow the same rule of thumb for disposable diapers; bring four to five.
Feeding supplies vary based on the age of your baby and your chosen method. Protect other items in the diaper bag from spills and leaks by packing food items in a separate container like an insulated lunch bag.
- Liquid feeding supplies - Bottles, nipples, formula, and bottled water or nursing pads and nursing cover
- Solid feeding supplies - Baby cereal, bottled water, jar of baby food, baby spoon, small bowl, sippy cup
- Burp cloths - Two should be enough
- Bibs - Pack two so you have one extra if the first one is soiled
- Nonperishable baby snacks in sealed containers - one option is usually enough
- Nonperishable snack for you in a sealed container
In addition to everyday things, you'll want to pack supplies in case of an emergency. You can purchase an infant first aid kit or make your own in a small, sealable bag. Include an informational paper with emergency contacts and allergy information along with:
- Bulb syringe
- Infant fever reducer in original packaging
- Petroleum jelly
- Baby nail clippers
- Infant rash cream
- Infant sunscreen
- Antibacterial wipes or gel (for adult, not baby)
Day Trip List
For day trips, you'll likely be gone for only a few hours. It's always a good idea to pack as if you'd be away longer just in case something happens to keep you from getting home on time. To start, you'll want to pack the diaper bag basics earlier. The more organized your packing job, the better it will help you while you're out.
You'll want to pack enough stuff to get you through the day so you don't have to make extraneous trips that interrupt your short time frame.
- Extra diapers - If you plan to be gone for a whole day, pack the number of diapers your baby typically goes through in one day, from morning to bedtime.
- Extra snacks/food - Pack as much as your baby eats in one day from morning to bedtime.
- Outfits - Bring two extra pairs of clothing for baby.
With the right gear, your trip will be comfortable and safe for you and baby.
- Infant car seat - You'll need it in the car and might want it indoors as a place for baby to rest safely.
- Baby carrier - Choose whichever is most comfortable: sling, wrap, front carrier or back carrier. Since you won't be active long, a stroller probably isn't necessary.
Every parent, child, and destination is unique. Pack items you know your family needs.
- Play mat - Babies won't want to be confined to the car seat or the baby carrier all day. You might want to bring along a play mat that features fun toys and pictures and folds up for easy packing.
- Swim diapers - If you're headed for the water, especially indoor pools, swim diapers are often required.
- Sun hat - If you plan to be outdoors all day you'll want to protect baby with a wide-brimmed hat.
Weekend Trip List
A quick weekend trip means you'll be away from home for just one or two days. You'll want a basic diaper bag full of your typical day trip supplies. Then, add these items based on your destination and accommodations.
Since you'll be gone for a few days, pack everything you'd use during that time frame. On short trips you won't want to spend a lot of time washing clothes or shopping, so pack accordingly to maximize your time.
- Extra diapers - Count how many diapers your baby goes through in a typical day from waking one day to waking the next day. Multiply this number by the number of days you'll be gone to get the number of diapers you should pack.
- Extra snacks/food - Make sure you have enough formula, cereal, and bottled water to get baby through the trip in case these items aren't readily available.
- Additional outfits - Plan for Two complete outfits for each day of your trip, you'll have the ones in the diaper bag as spares. If you'll be able to do laundry, you won't need as many outfits.
- Extra blankets - Pack one heavier blanket and one lighter one.
- Baby toiletries - While babies don't always bathe every day, bring along the basics like shampoo/wash, washcloth, towel, and a brush in case she needs a bath.
A weekend trip will be packed with activities, make sure you have everything to keep you and baby comfortable.
- Play mat - Look for a washable mat that folds out into a large area so baby has plenty of room to play safely.
- Travel bed or playpen - You'll need a safe place for baby to sleep, look for something portable and small that meets current safety standards.
- Infant car seat - Be sure you are familiar with how to install in different types of vehicles especially if you won't be in your own car.
- Baby Carrier - You'll want carrying options depending on the day and the activities. Choose a type that works best for your planned activities.
- Umbrella Stroller - Only for older babies who can sit up on their own, this will make active trips more comfortable for you and folds up for easy packing.
Depending on your destination and baby, you may want some of these items for your trip.
- Baby dish soap - If you have access to a sink you'll save room in your luggage by bringing your usual dish soap so you can wash bottles and feeding items instead of packing tons of extras.
- Bottle brush - A must-have for cleaning bottles and sippy cups.
- Favorite toys/books - Pack just one or two so baby has a comfort item, but you're not overloaded.
- Baby bathtub - If you think baby will need a bath and there won't be a suitable alternative you can find a portable option.
- Breast pump and accessories - Nursing moms may want these if they have plans for some adult fun time.
- Baby monitor - If baby will be sleeping in a separate room you may want this to feel more secure.
- Swim diapers, swimwear, and infant flotation device - Only necessary for trips with a lot of swimming.
- Car seat pillow - Bring an infant size pillow if baby will spend a lot of time in the car seat.
- Nightlight - Night time feedings will be a little easier if you ensure you have some dim light.
- Baby snowsuit - For cold weather trips make sure to pack good outerwear for baby.
Long Trip List
If you're planning a trip for a week or longer, start with the basics. In addition, you'll want to consider the following items for baby based on your destination. If you have children of different ages, a family packing checklist is helpful to ensure you don't forget anything important for anyone.
On longer trips where you have access to stores, you can pack fewer items and either wash clothes and utensils or head to the store for supplies like baby food.
- Baby toiletries - Shampoo/baby wash, brush, infant toothbrush
- Baby towel and washcloth
- Baby laundry soap and dish soap
- Bottle brush
Long trips can be hard for babies and caregivers because of the many changes in routine. Packing the right gear can make transitions easier for everyone.
- Play mat - Since you'll be away from home for a long time, a play mat gives baby a safe place for tummy time and playing.
- Travel crib - These portable cribs are similar to a playpen, but fold up smaller for easier transport and packing.
- Infant car seat - If you're traveling by airplane, you'll want an option that is easy to transport and has contact information attached to it.
- Baby carrier - Having carrying options on a long trip helps you and baby be more comfortable.
- Stroller - A standard stroller is ideal so baby has a place to sit while waiting in the airport or moving from point A to point B.
Since you'll be away from home longer, it might help baby stay on her routine and feel comforted to have familiar items like:
- Baby swing or vibrating chair - Look for a portable option you can take to help calm your baby when you need a break.
- Exersaucer - If you have room, a larger toy like this is great to keep older babies occupied.
- Baby bathtub - Baby will definitely need to bathe while you're gone. Consider an inflatable tub for easy packing.
- Breast pump - Since you'll likely be busy and maybe have some adult time planned, nursing moms will benefit from bringing a pump.
- Baby monitor - If you won't be sleeping in the same room with baby a monitor can help you feel more secure.
- Swim diapers, swimwear, and infant flotation device - You only need these if your trip involves lots of swimming.
- Baby snowsuit - If you're headed to the snow, make sure to pack appropriate outerwear for baby.
- Bath toys - A couple familiar bath toys can help baby feel comfortable taking a bath anywhere.
- Car seat pillow - If baby will spend a lot of time in the car seat, an infant travel pillow can help with positioning.
- Night light - Depending on your accommodations, a night light can be helpful for night time waking.
Travel Made Easier
Leaving home with a baby for any length of time can be a challenge. When you plan ahead and follow a travel list for baby packing, it helps the outing run smoothly for everyone.