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Our upcoming trip to Australia and Tokyo had me thinking about how much I plan our packing when I travel. In a lot of areas of my life I’m a procrastinator but not when it comes to traveling. It is still a week and a half before we leave, but I’m already suggesting that we get out our suitcases and start packing. I’m especially concerned with making sure I bring everything the kids need. I’ve always felt this way when traveling with my kids from our first trip when my oldest was 3 months old. I had lists upon lists which I’d tick of and check and re-check. My fear was always that we would forget something integral and not know where to find it at our destination.
So today, I thought I’d go through with you my baby packing checklist to help you out on your next trip. It is useful not to overpack because you have to be able to carry everything through the airport. You don’t want a huge carry-on suitcase while juggling a baby and maybe even a toddler as well. But you also don’t want to forget something difficult to find in other countries.
I’m not going to discuss the overall clothing that you’ll have to pack, because that will always depend on the type of destination and the weather there, but will focus on all those other extras that babies need than adults and older kids don’t.
Let’s start with the sort of things you’ll need to carry with you on the plane. You definitely want to be prepared here, because you’ll be stuck if you don’t have what you need. I always made sure that I had the baby carrier with the carry-on. This is useful not only for at the airport but also for nap times. If you have a long haul flight, definitely try to arrange for the bassinette in the bulkhead, but if that isn’t possible the carrier will be a lifesaver if you aren’t paying for an extra seat.
Chances are you’ll need to feed your baby at some stage on the plane. Feeding can be especially useful to help with ear pressure on take-off and landing. Depending on whether your baby is breast or bottle-fed you may require a nursing cover (even just a swaddle sheet can work for this), formula, bottles and perhaps a sippy cup for water.
I always suggest making sure to pack an extra change of clothing for the baby (and you may even want one for yourself in case you need it!) plus A LOT of diapers and diaper bags. You just never know… Disposable changing pads can also be useful too so that you don’t need to worry so much about the cleanliness of the airplane bathroom, Of course along with those diapers, wipes are required. They can also come in handy if your baby is eating some solids. I still pack travel wipes when traveling with my kids’ at 6 and 7 years old. It often helps with getting an extra days wear out of a piece of clothing if we don’t have access to a laundry.
You’ll also want to carry a few of your baby’s most engaging toys as well to keep them occupied during wake times on the plane.
We mentioned some of the feeding supplies in the carry-on, but you’ll likely want to pack extras in your checked-in luggage. More formula and bottles if you are bottle feeding. Some washable bibs come in handy as well. I always bring ones that go over the chest and arms (almost like an extra t-shirt), if I think my kids will need to re-wear the piece of clothing.
You’ll likely find there are quite a few sleeping products you’ll want to bring from home. Babies like consistency, where they can get it, when traveling so bringing a travel sound machine, their swaddle or sleep sack and a crib sheet from home will be useful. It is important to check if the place you are staying has blackout curtains and if not bring your own travel ones. I’ve also been surprised when a hotel didn’t have a crib, despite requesting one online, so always call the hotel to ensure you’ll get one, and if not, bring your own travel crib. If your baby likes to sleep with a pacifier I’d suggest bringing a couple from home, because they are the sort of thing that are easy to lose as well if you take them out and about as well each day. If your baby sleeps with a lovie, bring that as well to help them self-soothe to sleep.
I’m using this section to go over different things you may need as you go out each day. If you are driving you may like to bring your own car seat from home. A travel stroller is also useful to have, along with the baby carrier you took on the plane. A stroller that can recline so that a nap can be taken on the go if needed, is the best type to bring.
You should pack a thermometer when travelling. My kids invariably always get a little sick when traveliing. The environment on planes seems to be a breeding ground for viruses and when you are jet lagged you can get more run down making it harder to fight illnesses. Along with that thermometer over the counter pain killers and fever, reducers are useful too. One year my son got a high fever in Japan and I’d forgotten our medication and had no idea what the Japanese equivalents were! Always bringing your own means you have what you need and likely also know the right dosages as well.
I hope my packing list helps you with your next holiday. If you have any other must-have travel items to add, please let me know! Happy travels!