Traveling with a Baby: Essential Items to Help Families Prepare & Enjoy Their Adventures

Traveling with a baby can be an exciting adventure, but it also requires careful planning and packing to ensure a smooth and stress-free trip for both you and your little one. From the right travel gear to sleep time essentials, plus a few playtime necessities, packing the right ‘support tools’ can make all the difference. Our hope is that this list helps you feel prepared and organized, and gives you a boost of confidence to tackle anything your family adventure may throw at you! You’ve got this! Here are our recommendations for the essential items you'll need when traveling with a baby.


1. Wearable Baby Carrier: A baby carrier is a lifesaver when navigating airports and allows you to keep your hands free for luggage and your other gear. It’s a great option for flying with an infant and we absolutely recommend it! Our favorites are this wrap carrier and this more-structured carrier, but at the end of the day, whatever carrier you and your baby like most is the perfect one!

2. Stroller Travel Bag: A huge benefit of wearing your baby during your flight is that you can check your stroller and car seat as luggage and you don’t have to deal with it through the airport! Woohoo! That means you’ll definitely need to protect your stroller from damage during transit with a durable travel bag. We recommend the J.L. Childress Standard & Dual Stroller Travel Bag for its durable materials and padded carry strap. It fits most single and tandem-style double strollers, and if it doesn’t fit the team at J.L. Childress makes custom-sized stroller bags too! 

3. Car Seat Travel Bag: Ensuring the safety of your baby by protecting their car seat with a durable, PADDED travel bag is super important. A bag that fits both an infant carrier and a convertible car seat is also helpful so you can buy just one bag to last you through the years. We recommend the J.L. Childress Ultimate Padded Backpack Car Seat Travel Bag with its thick padding, comfortable padded backpack straps and Lifetime Warranty as long as the bag is used as intended.

4. The rest of your gear…RENT IT! To lighten your load, consider renting baby gear like a crib, pack 'n play, highchair, swing and other larger toys at your destination. Many rental services offer clean and safe equipment tailored to your needs. BabyQuip is a great option, and there are tons of other local services to choose from if you do a little research beforehand. Many companies will even deliver the gear to your hotel room or rental before you arrive. If you DO want to carry along your travel crib/pack ‘n play, we love the Guava Baby Lotus Travel Crib.

Sleepy Time!

1. Blackout Shades: Changing time zones, early mornings, busy schedules…all can be hard on your baby’s sleep schedule and let’s face it…if your baby isn’t sleeping well, it can really make traveling hard. Create a cozy sleep environment for your baby wherever you go with portable blackout shades (or a SlumberPod if you’re feeling spendy). Consider the sleeping and napping environment your baby will be in during your trip, and choose the product that’s right for you.

2. Portable Sound Machine: Shhhhhhh! It’s sleepy time! Help your baby sleep soundly in unfamiliar surroundings with a portable sound machine. Make sure to get one that attaches everywhere and is compact…we like this one as it's nice and can even buy two! We’ve also been known to bring our Hatch along if we have extra room in a suitcase, because we really like a good night’s (and nap’s!) sleep.

3. Pacifiers and Lovey: Pack your baby's favorite pacifiers (multiple!) and Lovey to provide comfort and familiarity during naptime and bedtime. Make sure they’re readily accessible throughout your entire trip in case your little one needs a bit more comfort than usual. Wubbanubs are fabulous because they’re a pacifier and lovey combo, and these ones can separate the lovey from the pacifier. But if your baby is all about the basic pacifiers without an attached stuffy, keep those pacifiers clean and readable accessible in a Pacifier Pal Pacifier Holder that doubles as a soft toy.  

4. Portable Baby Monitor: Keep an eye (and ear) on your little one while they sleep with a portable baby monitor that's easy to set up and use on the go. Depending on your sleeping arrangements at your destination, a monitor may be really useful so think through if you’ll need one or not. This one is a great, basic noise monitor while this one is more high tech if you’re into it 😉

5. Sleep Sacks or Swaddles: It’s all about recreating your baby’s sleep environment as much as possible, no matter where you go. Sleep sacks and swaddles are great ways to do that…just make sure to pack a few extras especially if you won’t have access to laundry during your travels.

Diapering On-the-Go

1. Reusable Changing Pad PLUS Disposable Changing Pads: A large, padded and easy-to-clean changing pad is essential for on-the-go diaper changes as you never know where you’ll end up when it’s time to change a diaper. One that folds up compactly is key for traveling, which is why we love the J.L. Childress Full Body Changing Pad. Then they went and threw a CURVE BALL and made this changing pad, that has a secret pocket to hold disposable changing pads for when the changing surface is REALLY icky, or you may not be able to properly wipe clean your reusable changing pad. Disposable changing pads like these are a life-saver for traveling families to easily throw away messes.    

2. Wet Bags and Disposable Bags: Keep soiled diapers, wet clothing and more contained with Reusable Wet Bags OR disposable bags designed to easily toss away ickiness. We recommend carrying both, as the disposable bags are an on-the-go diapering essential for containing poopy diapers when a trash can isn’t nearby, and the reusable bags are needed for soiled/wet clothing, wet bathing suits, an extra pair of clothing…we could go on.  

3. Wipes Wipes Wipes: Stock up on baby wipes for quick and efficient cleanups, whether it's diaper changes or messy meal times. We also recommend a stash of antibacterial wipes when you’re on-the-go to help keep germs away when you may not be able to immediately wash your hands.

Milk is Good & Snacks are Life: Eating On-the-Go

1. Nursing Cover: For breastfeeding moms, a nursing cover provides privacy and comfort while nursing in public and is an absolute essential. We recommend a cover like this because it doubles as an infant car seat cover to help with car seat naps during your adventures. When packing, consider multi-use items to make sure everything fits in your suitcase 😉

2. Baby Bottles: Whatever bottle is your baby’s favorite…pack a bunch in case you aren’t able to clean them in a timely manner. If you can, opt for lightweight and shatterproof options. Even if you’re an exclusively breastfeeding mom, having a bottle available might come in handy so make sure a few are packed. Check TSA’s rules for bringing breastmilk on the flight, as some agents don’t understand the rules and trust us…you’re in the right to bring your breastmilk with you.

3. Insulated Bottle Bag with Ice Pack: Keep breastmilk or formula fresh and at the right temperature with an insulated bottle bag equipped with a going-to-stay-frozen-all-day ice pack. Again, check TSA’s regulations on what you can and can’t bring on your flight. The J.L. Childress TwoCOOL Double Bottle Bag is a nice, compact option with the best ice pack you can get. Once you reach your destination, this bag will come in handy for carrying around milk, healthy snacks and more.

4. Food Pouches and Snack Container: Pack convenient and mess-free baby food pouches as they’re a life-saver when on-the-go. These are our favorites. And of course a refillable snack container filled with your baby's favorite snacks, as snacks are life when you’re traveling. We’d also recommend one of these no-throw straps to keep that snack container close, keeping your little one nice and happy.

5. Portable Bottle Warmer: If your baby likes the high-maintenance route 😉 and only drinks warm milk, invest in a portable bottle warmer to ensure your milk or formula is warmed to the perfect temperature every time. We like this one.

6. Portable Bottle Drying Rack: Keep bottles clean and dry with a compact and portable bottle drying rack that fits easily into your luggage. It’s amazing how nice it is to have this creature-comfort with you, especially for week-long adventures where you want to settle-in as much as possible. 


1. Spinner Toys with Suction Cup Attachments: Keep your baby entertained on your flight with spinner toys that attach securely to surfaces such as plane windows and trays. These are fun AND quiet, which is important when you’re in a crowded, close-quarters airplane. There are lots of available, like these ones, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.

2. Sensory Book: This felt activity book has become one of our favorites, and is great to stimulate your baby’s senses and encourage early learning. It’s relatively compact and has a wide variety of activities for your little one that will help take up time while you’re in flight. Again, there are a TON of options so pick whichever works for you!  

3. Soft Activity Books: Soft activity books are practically designed for travel. They squish into your bag and offer not only a story book for bedtime but engaging activities for your baby. We recommend this onethis one, and this one because of the number of engaging features, and they’re super cute.

4. Travel Play Mat: Create a safe and comfortable play area for your baby with a travel play mat that's easy to fold and transport. Whether on the floor in the airport or hotel, or a park at your destination, having a clean space for your baby to stretch out, roll around, sit up and play is essential when you travel. We like this one because it’s easy to wipe clean and folds up relatively compactly. If you're in the market for a less expensive option, this one will do the trick! 

Traveling with a baby can be a joyful, inspiring experience, but there are also ups and downs that you will have to navigate. The more you prepare, the better! You’ll feel ready to tackle anything and everything and your positive, confident attitude will absolutely influence the outcome of your adventure. However, the most important thing to pack is a DEEP BREATH, so make sure not to leave that off your list 😉 So, pack smart, stay organized, and get ready to make unforgettable memories with your little one on your next adventure!

Travel Happy!