Hi all, I’m Nikki, and my husband and I are the proud parents of two daughters, aged 14 months and 4. We’ve traveled lots with the girls both in the UK and abroad.
Our most successful trip to date has to be our week in Spain. Travel with the little ones went without a hitch (touch wood!) and I think it’s down to packing the right gear and being prepared for every eventuality – within reason!
The thought of travelling abroad with a baby can fill even the most seasoned travelers with fear, especially first time parents. So we’ve compiled a list of baby travel gear items to make your next trip away smooth sailing (or flying…!)
It’s so easy to over-pack (speaking from experience!) when heading on holiday with your bundle of joy! I often think… how can someone so small, need so many essentials!
But I think the most important thing to remember is…. you’re not going to a desert island (unless that’s your idea of fun!?), so most family friendly hotels and locations will have places to pick up more nappies, baby food, swimming costumes – so it’s not the end of the world if you forget something.
With that in mind… here’s a list of things you won’t want to forget when going abroad with a baby >
You’ll want to take a stroller which is light-weight, compact and easy to fold and unfold. We strongly advise against taking away bulky, expensive travel systems you’d use at home.
If these were to get lost or damaged you’d be massively out-of-pocket and hugely inconvenienced. Why not choose something super innovative and handy like the GB Pockit stroller. It folds so compact it’s classed as hand luggage, and it even fits neatly under the plane seat! Check out our Best Travel Strollers review >
If you’re travelling to a family-friendly resort, the chances are they’re going to provide all the essentials such as highchairs and travel cots. But if you’re ventured off the beaten track, or travelling with a baby (rather than older toddler), and can still get away with enjoying more ‘grown-up’ holidays for the time being – then you’ll want to make sure you take one with you.
Lightweight car seat for plane
Since parents are not required to purchase a separate infant airplane seat or toddler airplane seat for a child under 2 years of age, many people choose to have their baby on their lap throughout a flight because it is free (or very discounted). However, securing your baby into a travel car seat for a long haul flight, might be something you wish to consider… it is rare for families to choose this option if they’re only flying short haul.
The decision is mainly based on the age of your child I feel… as a baby is a lot easy to have on your lap than a wriggling, active toddler (and yes… I speak from experience!).
Car seats approved for air travel are a lot lighter than your average car seat, you’ll want to aim for one which is no more than 10lbs.
FAA approved infant car seats, and FAA approved toddler car seats must have a sticker affixed to them that reads “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft”.
A flight attendant may check for this when you are boarding.
Width – the narrower the better in this case. Although don’t fret too much, airlines are obliged to accommodate regardless as long as it’s an airline approved, you’ll be fine.
Stroller travel cover
Once you’ve decided which travel stroller you’re taking with you, it’s advisable to purchase a cover to protect it from getting scuffed or damaged during transit. Take a look at this Stroller Travel Bag for umbrella strollers with a handy carry strap.
Car Seat Travel Cover
If you’re taking an airline approved car seat away with you, as per above, it’s a good idea to get a cover for it so it doesn’t get ruined during your travels. Check out this no.1 best selling Car Seat Bag – also featuring a handy carry handle.
White Noise Machine
This has to be my all time baby gear essential for any new parent! I wouldn’t be without mine, and I’ve had various versions with both my girls.
For me, it’s a vital piece of kit both at home and when travelling. Babies… newborns especially, aren’t fans of silence – they love ambient background noise, especially white noise similar to a fan or extractor hood in your kitchen (yes, i’ve tried them all in times of desperation!).
It’s unlikely you’ll need to use it mid flight, as planes provide the ideal white noise, mine are usually snoring not long after take-off! However, noisy hotels, especially in the evenings with people talking or loud music, it’ll be a lifesaver.
You can get really nifty little compact ones now, take a look at this SnuzCloud Sleep Aid we’ve spotted for approx £20, perfect for your travels.
You can attach them to your stroller for afternoon naps in noisy holiday restaurants, or hang in your little one’s cot of an evening to distract from unfamiliar hotel noises.
A great tip when travelling abroad with little ones is to take their familiar cot bedding with you. Not only will it feel home from home for them, but the familiar smell and feel should help them sleep better when staying away in a new environment.
If you’re staying somewhere which provides it’s own travel cot, then having familiar bedding may help ease the transition for your little one, or if you’re taking your own cot, then it’s essential to remember to pack the appropriate bedding.
Nothing puts your mind at ease than a video baby monitor. I certainly wouldn’t be without mine at home or when travelling abroad.
I love being able to see (and hear) my little one snoozing away whilst I’m enjoying a nice glass of Sangria and a spot of al fresco dinner on the villa terrace.
Granted, if you’re staying in one room at a hotel, you may have little need for one, however if you’re enjoying a family break in a villa, it’s a must-have piece of kit to take away with you.
There’s so many new products being launched all the time, but as long as it holds good charge, allows you to see and hear your baby, you can’t go wrong. How about this best selling camera which works alongside your smart phone.
The Victure 1080p is £29.99 and has had rave reviews from parents.
Bath mat / seat
This is something so easily forgotten when you’re packing for a family holiday with a million and one things to remember. Let me tell you… trying to bath a baby without your usual mat or seat is quite a mission… imagine lining the bath with hotel towels to try and make it non-slip!
If you have a bath mat with integrated seat, this is the best thing to take as it should roll up quite neat – similar to this Mothercare Aqua Pod which I always take away with me. It’s ideal if your little one is able to sit upright, or perhaps you could get away with just the mat if they’re a little older…
If you’re travelling with a little one under six months, or a newborn, it’s probably easier to just jump in the bath with them or bath them in the sink!
If you haven’t heard of BabyDam – it’s a fab invention! It basically acts as a barrier, cutting your bath in half so as not to waste an entire bath of water on your little one when they only need a little section! Plus, it’s flat and flexible to should sit neatly at the bottom of your suitcase!
Baby Medical Essentials
It’s always a good idea to travel with a little first aid kit for all those inevitable situations where you need to put your hand on a trusted remedy for your little one. Here’s my personal list of things I always take with me:
Calpol, teething gel/powder, nasal suckers, plasters, gas or colic remedy, baby safe sunscreen lotion, baby safe insect repellent, baby shampoo/wash, nappy rash cream, digital ear thermometer, calamine lotion.
Baby carriers are a great alternative to strollers when you’re abroad. There’s a beautiful, quaint village in Spain we visit every year, and I don’t know where we’d be without our baby carrier!
The village is full of narrow streets and cobbled roads, which would be a nightmare with the pram. Having a baby carrier allows you to not only be hands-free but also explore off the beaten track!
I love my Baby Bjorn carrier and wouldn’t be without it on any trip away. If you baby is smaller or newborn even, perhaps you’d rather consider the fabric, wrap-style slings.
I used the Baby K-Tan wrap when my two were babies, and I can honestly say it’s the easiest wrap to fit yourself. I lot of the slings seem to require a degree in engineering, but this one makes it so simply to do yourself!
Silicone roll-up bibs
If there’s one thing we can be sure of… it’s that kids are messy! I don’t go anywhere without a bib (or two) stashed in my baby bag! And I certainly wouldn’t dream of travelling without one!
I love the Tommee Tippee Roll’n’Go bibs which are easy to wipe clean and roll neatly in your changing bag. I’m also a big fan of the brand B.Box Travel Bib & Spoon which allows you to cleverly zip up a spoon in the crumb catcher section!
Baby Bowl and Spoon
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve travelled somewhere… only to discover there’s no appropriate cutlery either in the villa or at restaurants for little fingers.
It really has baffled me for years that restaurants all have a ‘kids menu’ but 99% of them don’t supply kids cutlery… so we’ve learnt to always carry them with us.
If you’re heading on a self catering holiday, unless they’re really geared up for kids, it’s unlikely they’ll supply plastic (or bamboo) kids bowls, cups and cutlery etc.
I love this eco-friendly, bamboo dinner set, perfect for taking away with you on your next adventure!
Bottle Brush and Washing Up liquid
We’ve often been stumped when travelling to self-catering accommodation with nothing appropriate to wash up bottles with. So now I always travel with my Munchkin bottle brush and NUK washing up liquid.
Sleep Sack Grow Bag
If your little one is anything like mine… then they won’t be able to sleep without some sort of cover/blanket/sleeping bag on them…
However, most of us go abroad to seek the sun, so you don’t want too many heavy covers on your little one and risk over-heating… or perhaps your hotel has air con and your little one is kicking the covers off and getting cold!?
A great solution to maintaining a consistent temperature for your little one is to put them to bed in a sleeping bag/grow bag. This also hinders their ability to be able to climb the bars!
I love the brand Aden + Anais as they do lovely light, cotton muslin grow bags (between 0.5 – 1 tog) – perfect for sunny holidays!
If like me, you end up packing for the whole family, then you’ll find these handy packing cubes a god send for organisation! Not only do they keep clothes tidy and clean but you can easily separate things like shoes from the rest of your items, keeping everything hygienic and in order.
They generally come in packs of 6, including a range of different sizes and also allow you to keep dirty laundry separate for on your way home… making the dreaded holiday washing pile, that much easier to sort and organise!
Nappy Changing Mat
It’s inevitable that you’re going to have to change your little one’s nappy in some less desirable places during your travels abroad… so it’s essential you carry a clean baby changing mat with you at all times.
A lot of places i’ve used have not been the cleanest so i’ve been eternally grateful for my hygienic mat to place just about anywhere.
It allows you to be really versatile with where you can change little one’s nappy on the go, think…. on your lap, airport floor, car seat… you get the idea!
Give the mat a quick once over with an anti bac wipe when you’re finished, and then you’re all set for next time!
Insulated Food Jar
If your little one is a fuss pot like mine… then they won’t want to eat cold baby food on the go! I always carry one of these insulated food jars with me when travelling as it keeps food lovely and warm ready for when your little one get hungry.
Most insulated food jars keep food cool for up to 7 hours or warm for 5 hours!
Anti bac wipes
I can’t live without these! I would not leave home without them… especially when travelling abroad. Little one’s pick up tummy bugs and sniffles so easily, I always want to make sure i’m doing my best to keep things clean, especially when using hotel cots and highchairs.
I pop a packet in my baby changing bag, and when we’re enjoying dinner out on holiday, I always give the highchair a quick once over before little one sits down to eat.
The same goes for hotel cots… I like to give the bars a little wipe over, you never know what sticky fingers have been all over them!
They have endless uses and really are a must-have travel companion.
Whether you’re heading out on a road trip with the kids, or simply travelling up to the airport… you’ll want to make sure you take lots of snacks, drinks, kids tablet, wipes, activities etc in the car with you.
And, what better way to keep them all organised, than with one of these handy car seat organisers.
These allow you little one to pop things in and out as they need them, and saves you keep bending back to pass them things every 5 minutes!