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If you’re a parent of a little one, you know babies come with a lot of stuff. Little things like pacifiers and burp rags, and large items like bassinets and strollers. So, often the idea of traveling with a baby can be daunting, but I want you to know…
traveling with a baby or toddler doesn’t have to be difficult.
However, it does require some strategic thinking, the use of multi-purpose items and a good deal of preparation. Before we travel, I always write a list of things that are an absolute necessity for Amelia’s trip versus things that are optional.
During my first trip with Amelia, I brought 16 (yes, SIXTEEN!) burp rags for a 3 day trip to San Luis Obispo. In our defense, Amelia was a “happy spitter” at a mere 3 months old, but 16 burp rags was a bit excessive. But after many trips and flights, I got quite good at figuring out what I needed. Like when I flew my first time solo with Amelia, I learned the many uses of a swaddle.
So, where does minimalism come in?
In an effort to “spark joy (the words of famous minimalist Marie Kondo),” I’ve been making an effort to be more minimal in my day to day life. To create less clutter and find joy in less “stuff.” Therefore, when it comes to packing, you don’t need to pack every pacifier (or burp rag…) your child owns.
What matters on your trip are the memories you make. Adventures are always greater than material goods.
So, at the end of the day, when you’re finished packing, you’ll certainly be bringing more things than if you were going solo, but try to bring the things that are only necessary.
My BIGGEST tip
As you embark on your trip, my biggest tip for you is to find out what is available at your destination. If you’re visiting family, I urge you to find what you can borrow. Several times, I was able to borrow car seats, Pack ‘n Plays and toys, so I didn’t have to lug those on a plane and risk them being broken. I was also able to maximize the space in our suitcase for other items that may take up space, but are necessary.
If you’re traveling somewhere you don’t know anyone, there are often places you can rent baby gear from. Top rentals in the USA include Baby’s Away and BabyQuip. If you’re searching for just a Pack ‘N Play, hotels often provide them, or you could search for an Airbnb that carries one.
Now, many flights and trips later, we finally feel ready to unveil the perfect minimalist packing list for traveling with babies and toddlers. We’ve taken great care into curating a list that will suit your child’s everyday needs while traveling.
P.S. And remember, just because it isn’t necessary for us doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary for you. If you need 16 burp rags (!!!) like I did on our first trip, do it, and don’t look back! No parent judgement here.
Minimalist Packing List for Babies & Toddlers
- Car Seat
- Baby carrier | Our favorite is the LilleBaby!
- Optional: Umbrella Stroller | We love our umbrella stroller because it’s cheap and super easy to fold when we gate check it. However, not very sturdy if you’re envisioning long walks on cobblestones in Roma…
- Pack ‘N Play | Check with a friend, Baby’s Away or BabyQuip. Unfortunately, you have to pay to bring these on an airplane.
- Pack ‘N Play fitted sheet
- Sound machine | We love the Yogasleep Rohm White Noise Machine!
- Camera monitor
- Sleep sack or swaddle
- Optional: Black trash bags for windows| We take our sleep very seriously.
- Breast pump
- Bottle brush or sanitizing bags
- Burp rags
- Pacifiers, several
For my kiddos who are eating solids:
- 1 straw cup
- 1 snack catcher
- a bib | seriously, the Messy Monster might be the greatest invention!
- fork and spoon
Bathtime & Diapering
For bathtime, we don’t bring anything but the soap or lotion. We use whatever towels and washcloths are available. Towels take up a lot of space in the suitcase! He or she will be okay without the cute hooded towels for a few days.
- Travel-size baby shampoo and body wash
- Travel-size baby lotion
- Diapers | If you can, don’t bring a ton of diapers. Buy some at your destination.
- Baby wipes
- Butt paste *essential to all babies, everywhere, always*
- Optional: swim diapers
Mom tip: If you don’t have trial size shampoos/lotions/butt paste, try putting some in a small baby food jar.
This clothing list is based off a week-long trip of a one year old. Needs obviously differ from baby to toddler, and also with the seasons, so I encourage you to use a washer or have your baby rewear an outfit that’s not dirty.
- 2 pairs of pajamas
- 4 outfits (AKA we love one-piece outfits that cover both the legs and arms)
- 3 onesies
- 2 pairs of pants
- 1 pair of sweatpants
- 4 pairs of socks
- 1 pair of shoes
- Optional: winter jacket, snowsuit, booties, hat, mittens, swimsuit, sun hat
Even though it takes up some room, I always bring the following:
- Infant Tylenol
- Infant Ibuprofen (not for infants under 6 months old)
- Nose Frida Snot Sucker
- vitamins for child, such as Vitamin D
- any necessary medications
- Optional: sunscreen, gripe water
Don’t go overboard on the toys. If you’re visiting a family with kids, perfect, you’re covered. Bring maybe 4 or 5 favorite small toys, 1 or 2 books. You know your child best! I suggest you keep 3 or 4 of these small toys in your diaper bag for the airplane, as well.
You may not even need to bring many toys because if your toddler is like ours, they’ll just want to explore all the cabinets and drawers.
- Baby-proofing items | Unfortunately, our daughter loves outlets, so we bring a bag of outlet covers everywhere we go!
But, what about the diaper bag?
We got you.
When traveling, we always bring our Ruvalino diaper bag. The inside of it looks something like this:
- a changing pad with wipes and 4-5 diapers
- small baby food jar of butt paste
- 2 or 3 pouches for snacks on the go
- Happy Baby Organic puffs for snacks on the go
- a straw cup
- a few toys
- one change of clothes
- a few pacifiers
- a muslin swaddle | A MUST-HAVE for your diaper bag because of its versatility. Perfect to use as a nursing cover-up, a blanket, a burp rag, a changing pad. It will be very dirty by the end of your trip!
And that’s it!
This is a great packing list for kids, but if you’re unsure what to pack for yourself, be sure to browse our recommended travel gear!