Preparing for a trip is both exciting and stressful. On one hand, you’re just days (or possibly even hours) away from a vacation that’s sure to be filled with smiles, laughter, and time with your loved ones. On the other hand, you’ve got a hundred and one things to pack and you’re worried you’ll be halfway to your destination and realize you forgot something. Haven’t we all been there?
With the help of the team over at ProductAdvisor, we’ve put together a complete baby travel checklist to keep you organized and ready for a successful trip with your little one.
The Main Checklist
• Diapers: This is probably the first thing on your mind, and for good reason. The general rule of thumb is to bring one diaper per hour of travel, plus one or two extras just as a safety precaution. As any parent knows, you can never have too many diapers.
• Cleaning wipes: Wipes aren’t just great to have for diaper changing, but they’re also useful for any sort of cleanup from drinks or snacks.
• Changing pads: The last thing you want is to get your baby’s mess all over the car during the changing process, so along with diapers, it’s always smart to bring a few fresh, sanitary changing pads. Again, you should bring one for each diaper.
• Disposable used diaper bags: Last but not least, the final things to pack for the changing process are disposable trash bags for used diapers. Ideally these would be small plastic bags so they don’t take up much space and can be easily tossed. In addition, be sure that these are also leakproof to prevent messes spilling in the car.
• Blankets: Now that you’ve got the potty process out of the way, make sure you’ve got blankets – several of them. Depending on how long you’ll be traveling, you’ll want a blanket for keeping your baby warm, for coverage if you have to nurse in public, and for a variety of other reasons.
• Tissues or small towels: While the wipes usually do a pretty good job at cleanup, tissues and small towels can also come in handy for the less-messy situations.
• Clothes – tops, bottoms, socks, and booties/shoes: Most babies can get away with one outfit per day, but it’s always a smart idea to bring a couple extra just in case of unexpected messes. Also, make sure you’ve got outfits suited for whatever weather conditions you’re expecting at your destination.
• Hat and sunscreen: If you plan to be spending time in the sun, a hat and bottle of sunscreen will seriously come in handy.
• Pacifier: We don’t really need to go into detail on why pacifiers are good to have. Bring one or more.
• Baby food, drinks, and snacks (if appropriate): Depending on how often your baby eats, make sure you have enough food for each meal period, as well as extra just in case your little boy or girl is unusually hungry. Also, be sure you have enough water to last too (although water is one of the few things you can always pick up on the go if you forget).
• Bottles: You’ll need something to actually deliver that food and formula with. We recommend bringing multiple bottles (or nipples/sippy cups depending on which method your baby prefers) so that you don’t have to worry about using the same one over and over if you’ll be traveling for an extended period of time.
• Feeding set and utensils: If your baby is old enough to use utensils on their own, these will be nice to have. Nothing fancy here, just a few plastic plates and child-approved spoons or forks for easier feeding times. As with the baby bottles, make sure to bring a few of each.
• Wall-outlet nightlight: If your baby is like most, he or she will want a little bit of light for sleeping at night. It’s never a guarantee that your destination will have a dimmer or their own nightlight, so bringing a small light that plugs into a wall outlet will be the perfect brightness while not taking up much space in your luggage.
• Stroller (preferably a collapsible one): Now that we’ve covered all of the smaller necessities, we’re on to the final few bigger items. A stroller is always something you’ll want to have around, but they can be bulky for traveling, which is why we recommend a collapsible stroller. They’ll be much more compact to store in your car and/or hotel room, but still give you the same features and benefits.
• Portable crib: This isn’t an absolute necessity, but if want and have the room for one, a portable crib is also a great thing to have while traveling. This not only makes your baby feel at home while on your vacation, but also keeps him or her safe during sleep. Just like collapsible strollers, there are cribs designed specifically for compact portability and traveling, so if you don’t have one yet, check them out.
• Toys: As any parent knows, toys are the ultimate entertainment item (aka the ultimate keeper of happiness). Bringing a few of your baby’s favorite toys or dolls will keep their mind on something they know and love, rather than unknown places and people. You’ll want your baby as comfortable as possible on both the ride and at your destination.
• First aid kit: Last but certainly not least, a first aid kit is an absolute must while traveling with a baby. We always pray that our health and safety are at their peak, but no one knows when an accident might occur. If one does, you’ll want to be prepared. Make sure your first aid kit is stocked with everything from band-aids and gauze to ointments and medicines. Most of all, if an accident does occur, do not hesitate to contact emergency services to ensure safety of your baby.
• Start packing several days before departure. You don’t want to be the person who waits till the last minute (trust me, I speak from experience here). Packing several days in advance won’t just make the experience easier, but it will also lower your odds of forgetting something. It’s okay to forget one or two things when you’re traveling with friends, but traveling with a baby requires much more attention to detail.
• Store all food items in resealable plastic bags or compact Tupperware (preferably larger ones). At home, you can just throw leftovers in the fridge and call it a day, but on the road, you’ll want something that’s easily storable and leakproof.
• If any part of your destination requires tickets, make sure you have them easily accessible on your phone or physically print them out. Most providers these days have tickets that can be accessed on mobile, but you don’t want to count on that and be stuck. Sometimes, it’s worth it to print them out just as a safety in case you have no service or the ticket provider’s website is down.
• If you are flying, ensure that all items are sorted appropriately for carry-on and regular luggage storage. Also, make sure all bottles are of appropriate size, and that you follow the regulations enforced by your specific airline.
Traveling with a baby can get a little hectic trying to remember every little thing that needs to be packed. Using a checklist will ease the headache and also keep you organized and prepared for a safe and successful trip. We’ve highlighted all the necessities for your baby, as well as a few extras to keep your trip smooth. Here’s to a vacation filled with smiles and fun!