Baby and travel. They’re not two words that new parents would think can be put together, but guess what. They can! You can totally travel with a baby, it just needs some extra planning. And to help you out, I’ve put together a list of the best baby travel gear so you don’t forget anything. This is a comprehensive list of the best baby travel products to ensure your first trip with baby goes as smoothly as possible.
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Our son started travelling when he was four months old when I drove and took the ferry from Wales to Ireland to visit our family. The journey, in total, was 7 hours each way and was a baptism of fire. A few months later we were jetting back to Ireland for weekends with family before heading to Gran Canaria for our first family holiday.
Since then he’s covered over 70,000 nautical miles, as well as having many miles of road tripping under his belt. But, when travelling with him as a baby, things were a lot different to how they are now he’s older. We learned along the way, found out what we absolutely needed and some things we didn’t, and there were even some mistakes made and items we wished we had known about to make travelling with a baby even easier.
So, with all of that in mind, I’ve put together this list of the best baby travel gear, which includes some of our all-time favourite baby travel items, and some we didn’t know about at the time but have since realised would have made those days much easier.
Best Baby Travel Gear
When you are a new parent embarking on your first trip as a family, one question that is probably going around and around in your head is
What to pack when traveling with a baby.
There are certain items of baby gear travel that are a necessity and some that are “nice to have”. When traveling with a baby, portable baby stuff is also a must and small baby travel items are too. To help you prepare and learn exactly what you might need to bring for your first family trip, I’ve listed out my top picks for the best baby gear for travelling. These are divided into sections for generally getting around, travelling by airplane, eating, sleeping and other great accessories to consider.
Best Baby Gear for Travel – Getting there and around
Let’s start with how you are getting to the destination for your first vacation away with your baby and how to safely get around while you are there. And safety is key when it comes to transporting our babies while travelling.
Baby Travel Car Seat
A must-have for baby car travel is a baby car seat. In most countries around the world it is illegal to travel in a car with a baby without them being in a child restraint seat or baby seat. No matter where you are travelling with your baby in a car, a baby safety seat is a must. If you are going to be taking a road trip with a baby, for added security ensure your baby car seat is an Isofix one.
Our choice of baby car seat for our son was a Maxi Cosi seat with an Isofix base. It was super easy to lift the baby seat in and out of the car, which meant if he was asleep, we were highly unlikely to wake him up. Lifting him from the car seat to his crib was another matter!
Once your baby grows out of their baby car seat, you need to invest in a child safety seat in the next group up. These safety car seats can be easier to move between vehicles and our child safety seat of choice was a Klippan Triofix for my car, the one we used the most. This is a group 1-3 model which comes with an Isofix base and can be used rear facing until your child is 18kg. Our son was rear facing until almost 5 years of age when his legs started becoming too squashed.
For my husband’s car which we used occasionally with our son, our choice of car seat was a Graco Slimfit.
Baby Travel Stroller
To ensure you have the best baby gear for travel and can get around easily to enjoy some exploring on your family vacation, you are going to need to think about a stroller. Now, I am not talking about your travel system you have for when you are home and out and about. I am talking about a lightweight, versatile stroller that can go all the way to the airplane door with you. Note that for most airlines, any stroller over 20lbs or 9kgs must be checked in.
We realised we would need one after I had to haul our travel system stroller with me, in the car, all the way to Ireland and back. It took up a lot of room in the trunk and I soon realised it wasn’t going to be easy to use while taking a plane. So, we went in search of something better and landed on a Maclaren stroller that was umbrella-style. Maclaren is a brand that has been used in my family for decades and I knew it would be well-made and durable. Which is what you need if baggage-handlers are going to be hauling it from terminal to plane and back again.
Whether you go for an umbrella-style, lightweight travel stroller, or a folding one, it needs to be lightweight. Friends of ours went with an UPPAbaby MINU Stroller which weighs just 15.2lbs or 6.9kgs and has one-hand folding.
Another addition to the market since our son was a baby is the Pockit+. This super lightweight stroller can be folded in two easy steps and actually taken on board as hand luggage. It’s small enough to fit into most overhead compartments. The weight of this stroller is just 10.4lbs or 4.7kgs. It is recommended only for babies that can hold their own head up. Had this been available when our son was a baby, we would have bought this for flying.
Travel Baby Carrier
One of the best baby travel items I had was a baby carrier. While my son took some time to adjust to it, our baby carrier was a lifeline, both at home and while travelling. I could get my housework done while he slept as he hated being put down in the early days. And it made flying solo with him so much easier. There is nothing worse than landing and having to struggle to cart the diaper bag, other bag and baby from the plane to the carousel while you wait for your stroller to arrive.
Having a baby carrier frees up your two hands and make life easier. We were gifted a Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier and it was just brilliant. It was super comfortable to wear and made travelling with a baby easier.
Stroller and Car Seat Cover
If you are going to be heading somewhere warm and sunny, you may want to think about investing in a stroller and car seat cover.
A car seat cover will help shade your baby, keep bright lights off them and help them to sleep while on the go. The Snoozeshade Car Seat Canopy Lite is a universal car seat shade that will create a dark space for your baby to sleep in while also shading them from harmful UV rays.
We didn’t have a car seat shade but we did invest in the Snoozeshade Stroller Sun Cover which helped keep the bright sun of the Canaries off our son. It also worked at home in Wales on sunny days.
One word of warning though. Use this only when your baby is due a nap and try to keep them out of the sun during the heat of the day if you are in a hot country.
We found that it got quite warm inside the stroller, even with the shade, when we were in the Canaries, so use it sparingly with your baby and monitor the heat inside if you are in a hot environment.
When I discovered stroller clips for my diaper bag, they changed my life. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but they did make travelling with my son super easy.
Not only can they be used to attach your diaper bag to your stroller and keep it secure, they can use used to attach other items to your stroller like a blanket for shade or your baby’s favourite toys. They can even be used for grocery bags. There are various types available on the market but my personal favourite were the ones shown in the image.
Best Baby Airplane Travel Gear
This section is dedicated to the best baby airplane travel gear. Flying with a baby can be nerve-racking for the first time but these items can help make you a bit less nervous and hopefully steer you towards a great flight with your little one.
Something we don’t get on an airplane without these days are sanitizing wipes. Our son picked up what we were told was flu, on a set of flights from Portugal to Thailand in December 2019, and he became seriously ill. So much so, he needed to see a doctor as his fever was not going down.
Now, we take sanitizing wipes in our hand luggage and clean all surfaces on and around our seats before we do anything else. It is a precaution and some passengers may look at us like we are crazy, but if it prevents one of us from becoming ill, then we’re happy to do it.
Make sure to sanitize all surfaces including belt buckles, arm rests, tray tables, the whole surface around it and any plastic/metal surfaces you or your baby may touch. We also, always, carry hand sanitizer too.
Stroller Protector Bag
One of the baby air travel essentials that you might not have considered is a stroller protector bag. I’m sure you have had a suitcase come out on the carousel looking like it’s gone twelve rounds with Mike Tyson.
Now imagine your stroller coming out in that state and discovering it has been damaged beyond repair. Or you arrive at your destination to pouring rain and your stroller arrives soaking wet.
Enter the stroller protector bag. Not only can these help keep your stroller dry, they can add a bit of protection to them and encourage baggage handlers to take a little more care with them. If you have an umbrella-type stroller for travelling, then we recommend this stroller protector bag.
Car Seat Protector
Just as above, you need to protect your child’s car seat if you are bringing it on the flight and it is going in the hold.
A car Seat Protector bag will help keep your baby’s seat dry and free of germs, and if you pack it with towels and blankets, you can add further protection to it as well. If your car seat manufacturer does not do custom-made bags, consider purchasing this car seat protector bag for your next flight.
Planes can get pretty chilly, especially long-haul. So, to ensure your baby has an as comfortable flight as possible, bring along a few lightweight blankets. They need to be light so as not to take up too much weight or room, but should be sufficient enough to help keep your baby warm.
Although babies don’t need a huge amount of entertaining, not compared to toddlers or older kids, it is still wise to pack a few toys in case they start to get a bit bored. Try not to pack too much (weight) and try to avoid noisy toys that may annoy your fellow passengers.
Change of clothes
Make sure you pack at least one change of clothes for your baby in your carry-on luggage, more if you are flying long-haul. Travel sickness could hit or your baby might spit up their feed and you don’t want your baby to be uncomfortable along the flight. It is also a good idea to at least pack a change of tops for you and your partner in case they get you in the process.
This was one of those tips for flying with a baby that I heeded from the very start. You can find lots more tips in that post including making sure you have more than enough diapers and food for your baby for the trip and anymore unforeseen delays.
Travel Baby Gear – For sleeping
You are also going to want the best travel baby gear to ensure they nap and sleep comfortably. Their sleep patterns may be disrupted somewhat, but there are some things you can use to ensure this disruption is minimal.
Baby Travel Sleep Bags
In my opinion, the best gear for traveling with baby has to be baby travel sleep bags. We were gifted a Grobag for our son after he was born and they literally transformed our lives. From then, and until our son was about one and a half years of age, we used Grobags both at home and when we were travelling. We never experienced any significant disruption to his sleep because they were part of his nap and bedtime routine.
Now, you don’t have to just go with Grobags. Any baby travel sleep bags will do just as well. Make sure to assess the tog rating as you don’t want a 2.5 tog in a very hot country, and vice versa.
If you are looking for an all-seasons baby sleep bag, then I highly recommend the Woolino Merino Wool Sleep Bag. This optimal weight merino wool bag can be used in four seasons, negating the need for different baby sleep bags in different togs, meaning you only need one for home and away!
In our travel gear for baby items we had for our son, one of the best investments we made was in a sleep pod. Originally called the Sleepyhead, the Dockatot is a versatile, lightweight and portable baby lounger that we used mainly for safe co-sleeping and as a place for our son to sleep while travelling.
It came with me on that first ferry trip home to Ireland and not only did my son stick to his sleep routine, he slept soundly because his sleep pod smelled like home. He didn’t really realise we were in strange surroundings. Combined with his Grobag baby sleep bag, his sleep was not disrupted, then or on future travel trips.
White noise machine
Another great baby item in our arsenal was his white noise machine. We bought a Ewan the Dreamsheep that has four different white noise sounds and both he and I regularly fell asleep listening to the harp song. It was seriously that relaxing. Putting Ewan on when our son was in his sleep bag and placed into his sleep pod let him know that it was time to sleep. And although the song played for 22 minutes, he never got to the end of it.
Any white noise machine that is lightweight and portable could be your secret weapon to ensuring your baby sticks to their sleep patterns and routine, even when traveling. I prefer the ones that are incorporated into a cuddly toy so that it can even be brought onto the plane to help with nap-time.
If you cannot get Ewan, this rabbit white noise machine from Amazon looks super cute. It has 10 lullabies, a night light and doubles up as a sleep comforter.
Another one of those must-have items for traveling with baby are blackout curtains. Unless you are going to the Arctic Circle in the depths of winter where there is very little daylight, you are probably going to struggle with creating a dark enough environment for your baby to nap in. That is where portable, travel blackout curtains come into play.
We purchased the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind and even used it at home during the bright days of summer. It meant daytime naps were easy thanks to the dark room they helped create.
They fold up small and come with their own storage/carry bag. So, if you are going to be travelling somewhere that is likely to be bright and sunny during the day, invest in some travel blackout blinds.
If you don’t like the idea of a sleep pod, another option is a travel crib. Also known as travel play pens, these can double up as somewhere for your baby to play safely while also being your own sleeping crib in hotel rooms or other vacation accommodations.
Pro tip: Get them used to the space at home before you travel so it is a familiar place for them.
The LuckyDove Portable Travel Crib and Pack ‘n’ Play is a perfect travel crib. This travel crib provides a safe place for your baby to play and sleep in, and it has a side zipper door for easy access for parents. It weighs just less than 14lbs or just over 6kgs and comes with its own bag for easy transport, even on planes. Don’t forget your crib sheets!
Baby Travel Tent
Another sleeping option is a baby travel tent, such as the KidCo PeaPod Plus Travel Tent. Baby travel tents can be used for sleeping, playing in and many can be used at the beach, making them multi-purpose.
The KidCo Travel Bed Tent is lightweight, portable and comes with its own carry bag. It weighs just 3.5lbs or just over 1.5kg and packs down small enough to fit into standard carry-on bags. The built-in UV protection makes it ideal for using outdoors as well as indoors and it can even be used camping. This is recommended as a travel bed for children between the ages of 1 and 5.
Our first family holiday abroad to the Canary Islands saw us leave our baby monitor at home. Big mistake. Although we had a terrace directly off our room, the door could not be left open if we needed the air con on. And it needed to be on. The heavy patio doors also meant hearing our son wake from naps was quite difficult.
Next time, we didn’t make that mistake and brought our baby monitor with us. This made us more comfortable staying in hotels and accommodation and sitting on the balcony and terrace in the evenings while still being able to keep a close eye on our son in the bedroom beside us. And more importantly, that we could leave the air con on if necessary. We could close the door so no insects or mosquitos entered the room, keep the rom cool, all while still chatting or reading our books while our son slept.
Whatever type of monitor you have will suffice but we went with a Motorola video baby monitor with two-way audio. It has sufficient range to work wherever we were and lasted until we retired it when our son was three years old.
Best Travel with Baby Gear – For feeding
One thing your baby won’t let you forget is to feed them. So, in this section you’ll find my recommendations for some of the best travel gear for baby for feeding. Whether your baby is still milk fed or they have moved onto solids, you’ll find ideas for some of the best travel items for baby feeding on the go here.
Muslins were a godsend when our son was a baby. Burp cloths, nursing cover-ups, ideal for placing on surfaces when you’ve forgotten a blanket or towel. They have a multitude of uses. We had regular, small sized ones and I also had a few large ones. These I used as a cover for nursing but they also came in handy as a stroller shade if I forgot our Snoozeshade.
The Aden and Anais essentials swaddle blankets are lightweight muslin blankets that fit the bill. Plus they are such a pretty design. Do not head off on your travels as a family without muslins!
Portable high chair
One of the best travel baby items we were gifted when our son approached 1 years old was a portable high chair. It meant that if we were dining anywhere as a family that either did not have any baby high chairs, or all the available ones were taken, we could still sit and enjoy a family meal.
We had one of the Totseat portable travel high chairs that is made to fit almost any seat or chair. It was also washable too which is always handy with a weaning baby and is suitable from the age of 6 months old when your baby can hold their own head AND sit independently.
However, even better was the portable high chair our friends had for their baby 12 months later. The Chicco Quickseat hooks onto dining tables and comes with a tray table for babies and toddlers.
It folds up quite flat for easy transport and storage and was a nifty looking baby travel gadget. Part of me wished we’d known about that when our son was a baby.
Portable UV sterilizer
If your baby uses a pacifier or dummy, then having a portable UV sterilizer to clean it after they drop it is a must when traveling. And the Munchkin Portable UV Sterilizer is the idea travel item for the job.
With 99.99% efficacy against bacteria and viruses, it is battery or USB powered and can be used for pacifiers, mouth guards, teething toys, bottle nipples, anything that will fit comfortably inside.
One baby travel item that made traveling with our son easier was our Tommee Tippee thermos flask. It made preparing our son’s bottles on a plane or ferry very easy.
For flying, we passed security with it empty. Then, once we were in the departures area of the terminal, we got boiling water from one of the food retailers and the thermos flask kept the water hot until we needed to use it. We topped it up with bottled cold water to ensure our son’s bottle was the right temperature. For long-haul the cabin crew were more than happy to give us some boiling water in the flask so we could make our son’s feeds when necessary.
It was also very handy on road trips too if we were going to need to stop to feed our son. Any thermos flask will do but I can highly recommend the Tommee Tippee one from personal experience.
Baby food jar thermos
If your baby is anything like my son was and does not like cold food and you are going to be traveling when they are due a meal, then invest in a baby food jar that keeps food hot.
The Thermos Foogo insulated stainless steel food jar is perfect for keeping your baby’s food warm. It keeps food hot for up to 5 hours and food cold for up to 7.
Silicone baby bibs
Instead of packing a million cloth bibs, or worse, disposable ones which add to landfill, why not pack some easy-to-clean, waterproof silicone bibs.
The best ones are those with a catcher at the end to try and keep restaurant floors as clean as possible. These soft, silicone washable bibs are the perfect baby travel item to have in your bag. Ideal for babies over 6 months old.
Snacks and drinks are a must when traveling with kids of any age, and babies have simple needs when it comes to these. You will need a sippy cup for them to drink water from and we found the best ones for our son were those with handles. Any other kind were just too difficult for him to handle.
And these Nuby sippy cups were the best we found for preventing spills when he let the cup drop too. They can be used from 4 months to encourage self-feeding and drinking.
Spill-free snack pots
As your baby gets a bit older and is looking to feed themselves more, spill-free snack pots will ensure minimal spills and mess, especially important for plane or car journeys.
Munchkin snack catchers are the pots we used with our son for snacks such as strawberries, baby rice cakes and even smaller things like rice krispies! Even if your baby holds it up-side-down, the snacks stay inside.
Best Baby Travel Accessories – Other Essentials
There are lots more items that need to be considered and in this section I list out the other best baby travel accessories and essentials you may need for journeys, both at home and abroad.
You cannot travel anywhere with a baby without one essential baby travel item, your diaper bag. Whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, the fact is, babies go through a lot of them and you don’t ever want to get caught short.
So, you need a bag to carry it all in. Your choice of diaper bag is a personal one but I recommend going for a diaper backpack.
A diaper backpack can leave both your two hands free to carry your baby from their stroller to the plane and will mean that the bag isn’t constantly slipping off your shoulder. Make sure it has plenty of compartments for everything you will need for a road trip or flight.
Diaper changing pad
An item that often comes with diaper bags these days are changing pads. However, if your bag of choice doesn’t come with one to place your baby on, invest in one to ensure you always have somewhere clean to place your baby to change their diaper.
This portable diaper changing pad is an ideal one as it comes with a detachable pad, insert for wipes, mesh compartment and can even hold things like your phone and car keys. It can be popped onto your stroller handle or off one of the bars and is padded and wipe able.
This is also ideal for taking into airplane toilets where space is at a premium. Just load it with diapers and wipes before going in and use it to keep your baby out of direct contact of the changing table.
Inflatable Baby Bath
When putting together your baby travel list, an inflatable baby bath is something to consider. If you are traveling with a baby that cannot sit independently, you are going to need some sort of aid for bathing them in hotel rooms or in your vacation accommodation. Enter an inflatable baby bath.
This inflatable baby bath (as shown) comes with a middle column to help prevent your baby from slipping down into the bath. It weighs just 2.24lbs or just over 1kg, has an anti-slip base and is perfect for traveling, especially road trips or when visiting friends.
If your baby is not sitting independently then a baby bather like the Boon Puff Inflatable Baby Bather is another option for you.
One thing we try to never forget when travelling with our son is a thermometer. You just never know when you might need it. Our thermometer of choice is a Braun No-touch Forehead Thermometer.
This thermometer doesn’t need to touch a baby’s forehead, meaning you can monitor their temperature, even while they sleep. While it does have audio, you can turn it off, making it silent at the same time. Perfect. When making your baby travel essentials list, make sure one of these is on it.
Wet and dry bag
Your baby travel stuff should also include a wet and dry bag. These can be super handy if you are using cloth diapers to store them until you reach your destination.
They can also be used for wet clothes after leaks or spit-ups. And you can even use them for your swimming costumes if you decide to start swimming lessons with your baby at home!
First aid kit and medication
You should never leave home without a basic first aid kit that includes baby pain relief, teething relief and nappy cream. These are essential items to have with you whether you are traveling out for the day or heading off to a far-flung destination for a family vacation.
Basic pain relief would include infant paracetamol (Calpol in the UK). Ensure that the pain relief is suitable for your baby’s age and seek medical advice beforehand if necessary. Teething relief to include in your first aid kit is Camilia Teething Relief. And for diaper rash and healing, add a tube or two of Aquaphor to your baby first aid kit.
Other teething relief you may want to consider putting on your list of baby travel gear are teething toys. This Haakaa Teether is suitable from 3 months and can be sterilized even in steam sterilizers.
This completes my list of the best baby travel gear. Many of these items we used when our son was a baby and some came onto the market or were used by friends after our son was a baby and were items we would have purchased had they been available or had known about them at the time.
What not to add to your baby travel list
Here are a few items I would suggest NOT packing when traveling with a baby (unless in your own car)
- Bulky jogging strollers – they are just too cumbersome for travel and are often impossible to get into the trunk of small rental cars.
- Your expensive, bulky car seat. Unless you really need your own car seat and have a bag protector for it, leave it at home and rent one if you really need to.
- Heavy, bulky toys. Leave them at home. Your baby won’t miss them and you won’t miss the extra luggage space and weight!
- Cloth diapers. I touched on this already and unless you have access to laundry, just go with disposable ones for the duration of your trip. It will just make things that little bit easier. And while we are on the subject, don’t take too many diapers unless you are traveling somewhere that is unlikely to have disposables readily available. Bring enough for the first day or two and stock up once you land.
- Don’t pack too many blankets, especially if you are bringing your baby’s sleep bag. One lightweight blanket and some large muslins are enough.
- Don’t bring full-sized toiletries. Save space by bringing travel toiletries and stock up once you land. It will free up weight. This is one of my top tips for packing for a family vacation. And only bring enough baby wipes too. You can buy them when you land unless you know they are not readily available like disposable diapers.
- Heavy baby books. You just don’t need the added weight.
Top tip: Make sure you bring enough baby clothes, especially if you don’t have access to laundry. No-one wants to spend half their time handwashing stained baby clothes!
FAQ’s for traveling with a baby
Yes. There was a time that babies could be added to their parent’s passports but now, for most countries, your baby requires one of their own. You should organise this as soon as you can and well before any travel you have planned with your baby.
Most airlines allow a baby or child under the age of two to travel “free” on their parents lap. You may need to pay an admin fee. But, you will need to keep them on your lap for the entire flight.
You could purchase a seat for your baby but you may need to call the airline if this option is not available through online booking. Be aware, there will be a fee for the seat.
Personally, we found hotels hard with our son. Kettles were not always readily available to make his bottle when we switched to bottle feeding, nor was there any easy way to heat his foods or sterilize his bottles. Private accommodation with kitchen facilities are much easier. Hotels do not always provide a bath in rooms too.
You can bring as much as you need for the flight and these are exempt from the liquids restrictions. Some airports may ask you to taste it but most have move to non-invasive testing at the security desks. You need to remember to declare it at the desk when you approach it so have it ready.
Remember that, even for babies, water is not allowed over 100ml so wait until you are through and buy bottled water to put into your baby’s sippy cup.
This depends on the age of your baby. Infants can be held on your lap but older babies will need to be secured with an extra seatbelt which the airline will provide. If you purchase a seat for your baby, you could use an airline-approved car seat.
If you are lucky you can get a seat where the bassinet is located. These are limited so either pre-book it or get to the check-in desk early and request one. Use any of your baby’s favourite items for sleep to help them drop off. Bring their baby sleep bag, white noise machine, pacifier if they use it, comforter and try block out light with a cover or dark muslin.
There are two options. Either feed your baby on take-off or landing, or use a pacifier. Our son never had any problems with his ears as we gave him his pacifier. Even when we got rid of it, we made him drink some water at these times. Even now that he’s older, we still make him drink to help equalize his ears.
This list is comprehensive and contains the best baby travel gear we personally used, or travel gear for babies that we have since learned about and wish we had known about or wish was available when our son was a baby. You don’t have to purchase everything on this list, but the majority will make traveling with a baby easier and smoother.
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