Since we are a traveling family, we’ve come up with this Baby travel essentials list that will change your vacations for the better. Because from toddlers to teenagers, us parents ALWAYS need to be ready for anything.
Whenever we are planning a family vacation, we need to find ways to keep our children safe, happy, and amused. Believe it or not, that is not an impossible task.
In this post, we gathered the best baby travel essentials from 11 travel families to help you to create your baby travel essentials checklist.
Baby Travel Essentials To Take On Your Next Trip
Travel Baby Bottle Drying Rack
This drying rack was such a game changer for me while we were traveling in Mexico and Charlie was little. Since he was 3 months we have combi-fed him so from this point baby bottles started becoming a thing we needed to think about. The biggest issue I found was keeping them clean, and then getting them dry. Not an easy task when you have no kitchen.
Things I love about this baby bottle travel drying rack are that it’s compact, the brush comes apart, and first inside it so you don’t need to worry about a wet brush in your luggage, and it’s under $20. Trust me, if you are dealing with bottles and hotel rooms, you need this.
Car Seat Mirror by Leona from Wear, When, What, Why
When you are taking a road trip with a baby, the most important thing is safety. Nowadays, in most countries, you will find regulations when it comes to doing a road trip with babies. There are legal requirements about the type of car seats and their direction.
For instance, in the UK and USA, you will be required to have your baby backward facing in their car seat. This is great for safety, but as a driver or passenger, it can be difficult to see what your baby is doing. Therefore, it is essential that you have a car seat mirror with you.
A car seat mirror will allow you to see when your baby is napping, which at the same time, will not only help you when planning your journey and breaks but will also alert you to issues such as the baby spitting up.
There are lots of different car seat mirrors on the market, and you don’t have to pick anything fancy. However, there are some on the market that are bright and colorful, which could double up as a distraction for your little one.
Teething Toys by Leona from Wanderlust Family
Any parent will tell you that teething is not a fun stage of parenting, and it is even worse when you have to deal with a teething baby while traveling. As you never know when the teething stage will begin, we recommend always traveling with some teething toys for any mode of transport you are going on. And because they are designed for teething babies, they are always quite small, so it is easy to squeeze a couple into your suitcase.
One of our favorite teething toys is made by Lamaze toys. These toys aren’t just teethers but are general sensory toy that always has a teething ring attached. We love this as it is a great multifunctional teether for babies and can be attached to the car seat, which means you don’t have to keep picking up the toy when your baby inevitably drops it.
Ultra-Compact Travel Stroller
I did so much research before I decided on Charlie’s stroller. What I wanted/ needed was something compact enough to travel easily, but robust enough for it to be his everyday stroller. Oh, and I didn’t want to spend more than $300.
The Baby Jogger City Tour 2 is an Ultra-Compact Travel Stroller that folds small enough to be taken on the plane with you so you won’t need to check it at the gate. It also comes with a travel bag, in case you decide to check it. And it’s under $300!
Other things I love about it are that you can take it down and put it up with one hand. A must when you are taking solo trips with your little one. It does take a bit of getting used to the putting it up part, but when you get used to it, it’s very easy. It’s for 6 months, but Charlie has been in it since he was 3 months as it lies flat.
The basket underneath isn’t the best, and it doesn’t come with any accessories. You will need to buy any extras you want like a cup holder or a grab bar. But other than that I love it.
Magnetic Tablet by Una from Wandernity
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the car on a long road trip with a bored, fussy baby. But there’s no need to despair – a magnetic drawing tablet is a perfect solution! This essential travel item will keep your little one entertained for some time, while also helping them to develop their creative skills.
There are several games that you can play with your kid by using this tablet:
- You can draw some shapes, like a star or a house, and tell them what it’s called. Let them clean the tablet after each drawing to have an activity.
- For a toddler who already knows some words, you can ask – what is it that you should draw? After drawing it, you can give the tablet to your kid to continue drawing around the shape.
- And older kids can do the drawing themselves. This tablet can be used for a long time!
The best part is that it’s completely mess-free – no more crayon marks on the upholstery! And the stylus is attached so that it can’t be lost. And this thing doesn’t run out of batteries and doesn’t need any other maintenance.
So next time you plan a road trip or a flight with a baby, pack a magnetic drawing tablet – your sanity will thank you for it!
Baby Snacks by Chelsea from BRB Busy Living Life (with a baby)
Snacks are absolutely essential for traveling with a baby! Do you have a screaming baby who is sick of exploring? Pop a snack in both hands and you’re in the clear!
Whenever we go anywhere with our baby, we pack a variety of snacks to save us in desperate times. We always make sure to pack lots of different options as, like most babies, one day our baby loves a certain food, and the next day she hates it!
I also always make sure that the food is healthy and will keep her fuller for longer… aka: happier and not screaming for hours on end!
As a side note, I also always pack changes of clothes for both our daughter and us as we learned VERY quickly on our recent flight to Bali with our baby that baby chip crumbs do not come off and will make you smell like stale baby vegetables for hours on end!
Ergonomic Baby Carrier
As a semi-nomadic family, a baby carrier was our number 1 most important buy for Charlie. And we did not get it right the first time. We also found that we actually needed several different ones as our needs and Charlies changed over time.
As a newborn, it was all about this Boba Baby Wrap Carrier it was cool in the Mexican heat has a lot of stretch for comfort, and was easy to pack. But Carlos hated using it and it took time to get it on and off. I also found it a bit much in the heat sometimes.
So once he got a little bigger we moved over to the BABYBJÖRN mini mesh carrier. We both liked this one, it was much cooler in the heat and we felt it really supported Charlie as a newborn. Then when he grew out of that one we got this Infantino Flip carrier, which we like. It was affordable as it cost less than $40. But it’s not the most comfortable one. If we had to choose again I would invest in an ergo baby carrier which would have seen us through from newborn to toddler.
Now Charlie is bigger and we are going on more hikes, the material baby carriers just aren’t cutting it so we have invested in the Osprey Poco Child Carrier Backpack. It cost more than our stroller, but it has saved our backs on hikes. Plus Charlie is comfortable and safe, and it has plenty of storage space so we don’t need to take an extra backpack. We can take turns carrying Charlie while the other gets to rest.
Black-out Curtain by Barbara from Moms on Flipflops
When you go on a road trip with your baby to the beach or the mountains, it’s a good idea to bring a black-out curtain.
It can be hard for babies to fall asleep in new environments, especially if there’s a lot of light coming in. The black-out curtain will help make the car or hotel room dark, which will make it easier for the baby to sleep. It also works well if the baby gets easily distracted during feedings – a dark room/car works wonders in this case too.
You can attach the black-out curtain to the glass with suction cups, it’s really easy! You can buy them in different sizes, so we recommend bringing one that’s large enough to cover most windows.
Our first kid fell asleep at the breast at any place. We never needed an item like the black-out curtain when she was a baby. However, our youngest has been an easily distracted baby from the start. We’ve needed to feed and put him to sleep in a dark room ever since he was two months old! With him, we really discovered the joys of travel black-out curtains, and we can’t imagine traveling without them anymore.
All in all, it’s top of our must-have baby travel essentials to bring on any road trip with your baby!
Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System by Ossama from Awesome Traveler
The Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel system is a baby road trip essential that can make your travel more comfortable and less troubling. It has several features that can help you carry the baby anywhere and everywhere. It is safe and organized.
This multi-functional baby travel system comes with a stroller and a car seat. It is built to ensure your child’s safety inside and outside the car. With the stroller, you can keep the baby’s belongings in the storage basket and not worry about them getting lost.
It is easily adjustable and folds without effort. You can switch to the baby-facing mode to watch them closely. In other words, you can have the baby facing you or facing the road without any effort.
Breast Pump by Aimee from Babies and Beaches
While on a road trip with a baby, a breast pump is essential for breastfeeding moms. It’s at the top of my baby road trip essentials for sure. Even if you are exclusively nursing, traveling can disrupt your baby’s schedule, and they may need to nurse more or less. Bringing your electric breast pump, or even a hand pump, will keep you prepared for any situation.
If you have a long stretch of driving, it can be easier to pump milk for your baby and offer a bottle. I find it very easy to use an electric breast pump while driving – just make sure it is rechargeable, and you have the proper power supply in your car!
You may find that your baby is nursing less during your travels. You’ll want to have a breast pump on hand to relieve any discomfort and maintain your supply from any missed nursing sessions. Having to pump while traveling can be an extra job while on vacation, but being prepared for everything on your road trip with a baby pays off in the end!
BOETRI Travel Diaper Bag
When choosing our first diaper bag I honestly didn’t give too much thought to choose something that would be good for traveling. But after our first time traveling by plane, I knew I’d made a BIG mistake by not considering this.
Although on most flights you are allowed a diaper bag, plus a personal item and your full-size carry-on suitcase. The reality is when you are trying to navigate air travel with a baby you are not going to want to have to carry your baby, plus 2 backpacks and a suitcase. Trust me!
So what ended up happening is that my personal item became the baby diaper bag. So I had to carry just one bag, plus the baby and my suitcase. But the diaper bag we chose was on the small side and just not a good travel choice.
So of course, I did some research and found the Boetri travel diaper bag. I already have one of their amazing travel pillows so I already know and trust the brand. The number 1 thing that I love about this travel diaper bag is that it has a luggage strap so I can slip it onto my carry-on luggage or onto the stroller so I don’t need to carry it on my back. It’s also large enough for me to share it with the baby and it just has so many features that make traveling with a baby so much easier!
Baby Spotify Playlist by Marisa from The Daydream Diaries
My absolute must-have when traveling with my baby on a road trip is a good Spotify playlist!
We normally add a range of songs depending on the baby’s mood. If we want our baby to sleep, we do white noise or classic, and soft lullaby songs. We try making a noise that replicates our baby’s sound machine that we use every night so it’s familiar!
Once our baby is up and needs to be entertained a bit more, we normally play The Wiggles or Coco Melon ( if you know, you know). I’m not sure what it is about these characters, but they really do grab the baby’s attention in a way that mom and dad cannot!
If you do not have a Spotify account, you can play a YouTube Playlist which is free. You would just need to connect your phone to your car.
A Collapsible Wagon by JJ Haglund from The Minivan Bucket List
Whenever we go on road trips with our four kids, our must-have item is a collapsible wagon. They’re so versatile that we never know when they’ll come in handy. If you’re staying at an Airbnb instead of a hotel or the hotel doesn’t have a luggage dolly handy, they’re perfect for hauling everyone’s bags inside.
On a recent road trip through Utah & Arizona, we made an impromptu stop at Lone Rock Beach at Lake Powell. With the low water levels, the sandy beach was a lot farther from the parking lot than normal. Our trusty wagon came to the rescue, and was ideal for carrying a mountain of sand toys and inflatables to and from the beach (and kids who were too tired to walk in the sand, too)!
Travel Booster Seat with Tray
This is a bit of a luxury item depending on where you are traveling to and for how long. We normally take this travel booster seat with tray on longer trips where we are staying in Airbnb’s or apartments that are unlikely to have highchairs available. It’s also a must when we are visiting family.
You can attach it to a chair and use it as a booster seat, with or without the tray. Or you can just use it on its own on the floor with or without the tray. We keep ours in the car when we are at home and it comes in so handy whether we’re at a restaurant without a highchair, or we are at the beach and need a little chair to strap him in.
Waterproof Picnic Mat by Alya from Algarve Family
A waterproof picnic mat is our must-pack item for a road trip with our baby daughter. Since she was 6 months old we’ve always been taking it with us even if it’s just a day trip to one of the nearby beaches. The mat packs small so it doesn’t take up any space in the car.
Every time we stop we take out the mat and let our daughter crawl and play on it. Even if the wet ground is not a problem because the mat is waterproof. She loves it and gets very excited every time we take it out. We use it everywhere: grass, tiles, sand, and ground. It’s easy to wash and dry and it doesn’t cost much. A picnic map is a great item to have if you’re planning a road trip with a baby.
Foldable Baby Bed by Victoria from Guide Your Travel
Traveling with a baby doesn’t have to be a hassle. A good night’s sleep might just be the most important part of a successful trip and will help you enjoy any activities you have planned during the day. If you’re moving around a lot on a road trip you’ll be faced with a slim or non-existent selection of baby beds or cots available in different accommodations.
To save you the effort of having to ask at every single hotel or Airbnb whether they have a baby bed, why not bring your own? Shop for a lightweight, foldable option that won’t take up too much space in the trunk of your car. This is an essential travel item on any road trip with a little one and is very much worth the investment. Give your baby, and yourself, a good night’s sleep and plenty of energy for the day.
This is another of my luxury items. Although this baby bouncer was absolutely essential when Charlie was under 6 months and it was 100% worth the extra space it took up. He used it from birth until he was able to sit up alone. It’s great for travel as it folds completely flat so if your suitcase is large enough you can fit it in. We actually packed it in with his travel cot to save space.
He loved it and would sit happily in it for hours, even napping in it during the daytime so we could work, shower, watch TV, you get the idea!