Evie was only eight weeks old when we took our first international trip together as a family. I’ll admit, I was more than a little overwhelmed at the thought of packing for us all. I hate packing at the best of times but having to pack for another teeny tiny person who needs ALL OF THE THINGS is quite the feat. Before we left, I was madly googling ‘what to pack when travelling with a baby’, paranoid I’d forget something crucial. If you’re planning your first trip away with bubs, here’s a list of travel essentials that we found super useful.
Note: this packing list was for our week-long trip to the Cook Islands (a hot, tropical destination). You’ll need to adjust your packing according to your destination and length of stay of course!
What to pack when travelling with a baby: 28 travel essentials
Evie is formula fed which requires a little more planning. Here’s how we managed:
Formula: Baby’s gotta eat! Depending on where you’re travelling to, you might want to consider bringing enough formula to last you the entire trip. While you can probably buy formula in a lot of places around the world, it’s not always possible in remote destinations and you wouldn’t want to run out!
Also, even if formula is available for purchase, there are a heap of different brands and you might not be able to get the one your baby is on. If you know your baby is happy on one particular brand, it’s best to try and keep them on the same one. We were away 8 nights and packed two tins of formula. She only really needed one but if something happened to that tin (e.g. we spilt it or ants got into it, etc), we thought it was a good idea to have a backup.
Bottles: We packed six to cover travel days and not being able to properly wash them in between feeds.
Burp cloths: Let me tell you, you can never have enough burp cloths on hand! I packed heaps (probably 8 or 10) and I’m so glad I did. They get dirty VERY quickly. Luckily, we had a washing machine in our accommodation so were able to keep on top of the spit up situation thankfully. I just use cloth nappies for burp cloths. They’re cheap and super absorbent.
Microwave sterilising bags: We have an electric steriliser at home but used the Medela microwave sterilising bags while away. Each bag is good for 20 uses and it only takes a couple of minutes.
Sterilising wipes: We also brought a pack of sterilising wipes with us for emergency sterilising on the go. We didn’t have to use them but it was a good idea to have them with us.
Hand sanitiser: Whenever we prepare Evie’s bottle, we are sure to sanitise our hands first. We also use it after we change her nappy. I just packed a small, travel-sized bottle.
Swaddles: At home, Evie sleeps in the SNOO and we use the accompanying swaddles. I wanted to replicate the same sleeping environment as much as possible to try to minimise any sleep disruption for her. I packed her regular swaddles and she went to sleep in those like normal.
Portacot: If you can’t hire one at your hotel, consider bringing your own. We were able to hire one with no issues.
Travel cot sheets: I wasn’t sure what kind of bedding the hotel would provide in the cot so I decided to bring my own. I purchased this padded travel cot sheet that easily slips over the base of the cot. I’m so glad I did because I didn’t like the way the hotel staff made up the cot. They had put a big, thick, foam mattress in the bottom and had layered heavy blankets over the top, under the sheet. I knew that this could potentially be a SIDS risk because of the likelihood of overheating. I stripped everything off and slipped my travel cot sheet on instead. It kept the base firm and cool while still being comfortable. Evie slept with no issues at all.
DockATot: Evie has loved her DockATot ever since she was born. It helps her feel safe and secure. We knew that packing it was a must for our trip. It’s so easily transportable and it fitted easily in a suitcase (Evie had her own suitcase full of all her necessities). It’s such a good place for her to nap in because it limits her startle reflex. It keeps her so snug and helps keep those flailing arms at bay! She loved sleeping in in while we were away.
Cot mosquito net: I knew there were mosquito nets over the beds at the hotels we’d be staying at but what about our baby’s cot? I didn’t want the mozzies to feast on her in the night so I brought along a cot-size mosquito net. I just felt better knowing that Evie wasn’t going to be bitten.
White noise: Evie’s bassinet at home plays low-level white noise at night. It really helps to keep her calm. I downloaded the same tracks on my phone in case she needed it. She did the very first night on our layover but after that could sleep soundly without it. If you have a white noise machine for your baby, it might be worth packing it. I think it’s good to try and replicate your baby’s regular sleeping environment when you travel, as much as you can.
Gro Egg: I’m quite conscious about the temperature of the room Evie sleeps in so we packed our Gro Egg. I love this thing. It’s a digital nursery thermometer with an easy-to-understand, colour-coded system that indicates the room temperature (e.g. orange is good, red is too hot, etc). I know that the optimal room temperature for babies to sleep in is between 16 - 22 degrees celsius and overheating has been linked to SIDS. This way, we could monitor the AC was and adjust if we needed to.
Baby monitor: We didn’t feel comfortable leaving Evie with a babysitter yet but having the monitor with us meant that we didn’t have to be in the same room as her while she was napping. We often lounged on our beautiful terrace or took a dip in our private plunge pool while she was inside sleeping.
Nappy bag: I packed all the baby essentials in my nappy bag and brought that on the plane as my carry-on. Inside was everything we needed for the journey.
Nappies: For a nine-day holiday, we brought two packs of nappies with us. We use Huggies. We could have just brought one pack and purchased more when we needed them but I just thought it was so much easier to have it all with us. At that stage, Evie was going through about seven per day, or one per feed. Sometimes though, there were accidents and you always go through more nappies than you think!
Nappy bags: I don’t use these at home as our nappy bin locks in odours itself, but they were essential for travel.
Disposable change mats: I have a reusable change mat that lives inside my nappy bag but for changing in airports and on the plane, I liked to also put a disposable change mat down over the top, for added protection.
Wipes: We brought two packs. We use WaterWipes.
Nappy cream: We packed a barrier cream in case of nappy rash as well as a tube of orabase for broken skin (luckily we didn’t need it but it’s good to be prepared).
Day to day
Pram: We’d hired a compact travel pram prior to our trip and were all set to go but at the last minute discovered it didn’t fit in our car with the rest of our luggage! We had to leave it behind. Honestly, even if we were able to bring it with us, we barely would have used it. The baby carrier was all we needed for a tropical island holiday. If Evie was a little older or if we’d planned a trip to a more urban area, I’d definitely bring a pram.
Baby carrier: This was our go-to for getting around with Evie. She loves being close to us and immediately falls asleep as soon as we put her in. We brought the Baby Bjorn with us to the Cook Islands.
Toys: At eight weeks old, Evie wasn’t at the stage of needing toys just yet. We did pack one rattle though to give her a bit of extra stimulation at play time.
Dummies: She loves to suck and a dummy really soothes her. We packed a bunch so we had backups. Having a dummy on the plane was also really useful as sucking helped her ears to equalise.
Hat: Tropical islands are generally hot and sunny so we made sure to pack a hat for Evie. We avoided placing her in direct sunlight whenever possible (that newborn skin is so delicate) but if it was unavoidable, we made sure she at least had a hat on.
Clothing: I definitely over-packed in this category! I packed long-sleeve onesies, bodysuits and cute summer rompers but to be honest, Evie didn’t wear half of it. It was so hot and humid that she just hung out in a singlet most days.
Skincare: We packed her regular ChamonixRain Organics coconut baby wash and moisturiser, which her skin loves.
Medication: The baby Panadol and digital thermometer came with us.
If you were worrying about what to pack when travelling with a baby, I hope this little list might give you a few ideas. It’s really not as overwhelming as you think and you don’t need as much as you think you will!
Looking for more posts on family travel? You might like these:
- 8 Important Tips for Travelling Safely with Kids
- Guatemala with Kids: The Perfect Eco-Friendly Itinerary
Read our other packing tips here:
- The 10 Biggest Packing Mistakes You’re Making
- What I Packed for my Tropical Honeymoon
- 9 Carry-on Essentials You Should Pack for Every Flight
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What would you add to this list on what to pack when travelling with a baby?
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