Why is it that the smallest members of the family seem to require the most luggage?
I know it can seem daunting when you’ve just finished furnishing your nursery with all the newborn essentials to start thinking about all the items you need to travel with a baby, but I promise you they don’t require quite as much gear as you think.
If you invest in the right baby travel gear from the start you might find yourself using them for adventures close to home as much as abroad.
And while it might be difficult to travel with just hand luggage now you have a baby, it doesn’t mean you can’t travel lightly.
With the right baby travel essentials, you can keep your little one safe and comfy on the go, and hopefully not feel like too much of a pack horse on the journey.
Best Travel Items For Babies
We did several long and short-haul trips with our son before he turned one, so we really got to put our baby travel gear to the test.
As well as travelling within Europe, we relocated to New York for 2 months and flew to Australia for 3 weeks, and while I wanted to have lots of familiar helpful products with me, I didn’t want to travel with bulky items or invest in things we’d never use again.
On that basis, I’ve tried to keep this a fairly short and succinct list of items I genuinely think you need when travelling with a baby and have no regrets about purchasing any of these products personally.
Let’s get stuck in.
(Everything on this list I’ve bought and paid for myself and am under no obligation to recommend. Some of the links are Amazon affiliate links which means I make a small commission if you make a purchase – click here for details.)
Best items for flying with a baby
There are a couple of items I recommend for making your experience of flying with a baby go a bit more smoothly.
Firstly, is a Cozigo airline bassinet cover. If you’re flying long-haul with an infant and have pre-booked or requested a bassinet seat, this is a small portable bassinet cover that will block out any lights in the cabin and hopefully give your little one a more restful sleep. It also doubles up as a stroller sunshade so can be handy for naps on the go in your destination too.
If you’re checking in a car seat I recommend you purchase a car seat cover to help protect it from any damage. This one is particularly handy as it comes with straps for you to wear it as a backpack when lugging the car seat through airports and hotel lobbies.
The best travel stroller for flying, in my opinion, is the Silver Cross Jet Travel Stroller. We took 8 flights in 1 year with the Jet and it’s a super agile, compact pushchair, which has the added benefit of folding to the size of a small cabin bag that you can wheel onto the plane and store in an overhead locker.
I never underestimate the value of an extra large muslin, especially when travelling. We packed one of these for all our travel with the baby as it can be used as a swaddle, blanket, cover, bedsheet, burp cloth and emergency changing mat if need be!
Read also: Tips for flying long-haul with a baby
Best travel cot for newborns
When we spent 2 months in New York we ended up buying a travel cot out there as the one provided by our apartment was too low for bending over and reaching the baby. We went with the Graco Pack ‘n Play Reversible Napper and Changer Playard as it doubles as a playpen and changing table and has a bassinet insert that is better if you have a newborn.
We bought ours in the US but I’ve found this version in the UK.
Best travel cot for toddlers
Now that Miles is a little older we’ve been using a Micralite Sleep&Go Lite travel cot and playpen. (This item was gifted.) Suitable from birth to 3 years, it’s very quick and easy to assemble (you simply shake it open) and it folds neatly into a travel bag that you can wear on your shoulder. With a padded frame and thick foam mattress, I’ve found the Sleep&Go Lite well suited to a toddler that moves about a lot.
Micralite also make a 3 in 1 portable travel cot, the original Sleep&Go, which has a bassinet insert and a fun side zip for the little ones to crawl in and out of once they are a bit older.
As an added bonus, Micralite offer a 100 day money back guarantee for both products if purchased via their website. So you can take the cot for a 100 day test drive and if you’re not completely in love, they’ll give you your money back. (I’m convinced you’ll be happy but it’s nice to have that guarantee!)
Bottle feeding and weaning while travelling
This travel steriliser is small enough to fit in your hand luggage, we stored an empty bottle in it, and takes just 15 minutes to sterilise a bottle using cold water. It fits 1 bottle at a time so you need to get into a bit of a routine of popping them in 1 after each other while you’re away, but it fits most bottle brands and, most importantly, takes up very little room in your suitcase.
If you’ve begun weaning then a great thing to pack is the Mountain buggy clip on high chair. (Suitable from 6 months.) This compact travel seat folds flat & is small enough to fit in the basket of most travel buggies.
The best bit about it though is the way it clips onto most table surfaces, so it’s great for having the baby sit with you while eating out in places that don’t have room for traditional high chairs, like quaint little Greek tavernas for example! It’s also handy in small apartments or hotel rooms as you can attach it to places like the outdoor furniture, as we did in Mykonos.
The handiest thing for travelling while your baby is getting used to solids is the Boon Pulp Feeder. We enjoyed watching Miles try different fruit and vegetables in Greece that he could easily and safely feed himself with no prep thanks to this.
The B.Box Travel Bib is also super handy as you can fold all the mess away in a zipped section until you get back to your apartment to clean it.
Best travel buggy
I’ve touched upon why I love the Silver Cross Jet Stroller for flying but also wanted to share why I love travelling with it. In addition to weighing less than 6kg and folding up small enough to take onboard an airplane, the Silver Cross Jet has a lie flat seat that means it’s suitable from birth with no inserts.
Plus, as it’s compatible with the Silvercross Simplicity car seat you have the additional option of popping the car seat on the pushchair if you already have a Silver Cross travel system like we did.
I recommend you add the Cool Breeze Seat Liner from Nowababy to keep your little one cool, dry and comfy in warmer climates, plus a stroller organiser so you have all your essentials within easy reach.
Best baby carrier for travelling
I tried a couple of different baby carriers and cannot fault the BabyBjorn Mini Carrier, which is a super light and cosy carrier made from jersey, especially for newborn babies under 11kg .
Of all the carriers and slings I tried this is the only one I could put on by myself without needing assistance from other people, which was very important for all the solo explorations I did with Miles in New York. It’s fastened by a couple of poppers and is easy to lift the baby out of too. It’s also machine washable so if you have a sicky baby like me you’ll appreciate that.
I carried Miles through the airport and onto the plane in this and wore it around many places in New York that weren’t very stroller friendly, and it was comfortable for both of us during these adventures.
Here are a few things that make packing for a baby a bit easier.
Skip Hop Wide Open Backpack – This was my everyday changing bag that I also took on our travels as I loved how easy it was to find things in this backpack, even when your arms are full! It has lots of handy pockets and a structured frame that opens wide – and stays open until you close it again. Comes in a range of colours including metal and marble effects.
See my full list of baby items that we actually used.
Clear toiletry bags – I popped all our travel liquids in these clear toiletry bags to make things easier at security. This set of 3 covered me, Justin and the baby!
Packing cubes – You know I love a packing cube, or 6, and I’ve even more of a fan now I’m not only packing for me.
Zip sleepsuits – Miles always sleeps in zippy suits as I’m too lazy for poppers but they are especially handy for the baby to travel in.
Travel Hack Cabin Case – Designer by a fellow blogger, the Travel Hack Cabin Case is a well thought out suitcase you can take on the plane as hand luggage. I love the handy top pocket for easy to reach bits and how generous the main compartment is. We took this and a changing bag on our long-haul flights and had more than enough room for clothes, snacks, drinks etc for us all.
Finally, I recommend you invest in a travel luggage scale just to check you’re not pushing the limits with all the above items!
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First published July 2019, updated May 2020