Traveling with a baby can seem daunting. Will the baby cry on the redeye? What about getting sick in a foreign country? While some things are not fully in your control, you can at least be prepared by packing the right gear.
And, as it turns out, you don't need half the stuff you think you do. Packing up and moving along every few days is way easier with less stuff.
We took our 3 week old baby from Oregon to New England, where we traveled around for a while. When he turned 9 weeks old, we left for Europe and traveled for a month. If we can do 8 countries, 86 restaurants, 5 flights, and over 35 different beds in just 2.5 months, so can you! This list is not mean to be exhaustive or final, just a guide. In the end, you know your baby best.
For our full packing list scroll to the bottom of this article.
A car seat bag is an awkward piece of luggage that is no fun to carry anywhere. It is meant to take your carseat and base and airlines will check it for free. Turns out, they'll also let you fill it with "baby gear" - anything and everything related to the baby. So, pretty much just fill it with as much as you think you can get away with.
Do not travel without one unless you are sure you won't take a taxi or rent a car. You can get away without one for buses, trains, and planes, but most taxi drivers won't even let you in without a car seat.
If you want to do any hiking or city walking, a sturdy carrier is worth the weight and bulk. It's also perfect on long haul flights. Many streets can be too bumpy and irregular for a stroller, and in the mountains on trails you are much more nimble without a stroller.
This is a personal choice, but if you overpack one thing, this should be it. Baby onsies are small & they take up very little space. Given how much babies spit up (or worse), having a stash is not a bad idea. Also, babies grow fast, so have multiple sizes. If traveling to various climates, have an array of outfits from summer lightweight to wintery fleeces.
We recommend a mix of disposables and cloth reusables. The disposables are great for changing on the plane, the trail, at a restaurant. But in general the cloth reusables are more absorbent and nice for nighttime. Easy to clean if baby is exclusively on breast milk. We brought only 5 reusables for 2.5 months, and then purchased disposables 1 packet at a time as we traveled.
SWADDLES & BLANKETS
Swaddles are typically used to wrap your newborn tightly for sleep, to keep them cozy, but they can make excellent travel blankets. Being lightweight, they are good for covering your baby in public (no strangers need to be touching!), laying on a bench or public changing table, keeping the sun or breeze off.
We recommend traveling with 1 blanket for your baby - you never know when you'll need it, for padding, warm, or making a baby nest if a hotel crib is not available.
MEDICINES AND MISC
Regardless of where you are traveling to, there are a few essential we recommend:
Children's tylenol - can keep a fever down as well as help with pain
Aspirator - this is an essential item to clear a clogged nose in case of cold, or throw-up that may get stuck in the baby's throat
Nail clippers - it is incredible how fast those little nails grow, so don't leave at home
Diaper rash cream - always a good idea
Pacifier - If you use one, don't forget to bring it, and a couple spares
Sunhat - they pack small and keep the sun off
Warm hat - again, they pack small.
KEEP IT ALL ORGANIZED
You can choose to pack your baby's gear however you may like, but our 30L SegSac was a great choice for us - we were able to easily get whatever we needed, when we needed it. We put diapers in 1 segment, then onsies in another, swaddles in the next, and leftovers (sunhat, warm hat, medicines) in the last one.
If you are breastfeeding, don't forget your pump. You'll probably need it. Use a scarf to cover yourself if you feed in public, because, as it turns out, traveling means you'll be out and about seeing the sights, you may not always get back to the hotel to feed. Bring a cooler to keep milk cold when transferring between hotels and on flights. Don't forget your bottles with nipple-tops too.
Our Full Baby Gear Packing List for 1 month in Europe:
Baby Bruce was 10-14 weeks old.
Visited: Portugal, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland
Transportation: 5 flights, 4 weeks of car rental, several trains, a few chair lifts
1 car seat
1 Ergo carrier
5 BumGenius Freetimes
1 Fleece blanket
1 cashmere baby blanket
1 warm hat
1 quadrapus, 1 back-up pacifier
1 nail clippers
1 Puracy baby wash
1 breast pump
8 AA batteries for the pump
4 glass milk bottles
1 vitamin D drops
1 home-made diaper rash cream
Good luck on your next travels!