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How To Sterilise Bottles Whilst Travelling Abroad

5 Tips to Help

I’ve had several people ask me how I’ve managed to sterilise bottles on a 24-hour flight with a baby. Here are some useful tips on sterilising bottles when travelling (I’ve both breastfed and bottle fed with formula, so for breastfeeding tips on a plane, you may find this post useful.)

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How to sterilize baby bottles when traveling

  • For sterilised baby bottles for travelling consider bringing some disposable sterilising bags. Bring a sterilising tablet, and then just add water (ask the crew if on a flight for the water) – any resealable bag will work or use microwave disposable sterilising bags.. These are ready for use within 15 minutes when cold water sterilizing. When cold water sterilizing you can use with water abroad which lasts for 24 hours. They can get a little heavy so either put them in a safe place on the plane or use at your destination.
breast milk
  • If your flight is fairly short, bring plenty of bottles (allow for delays) which have been pre-sterilised. I opted this for a 12-hour flight with my then 11 week old. I put each bottle into a Ziploc bag with and labelled each one with the time her feed was due. (If you are travelling over 12 hours, then bringing this many bottles may not be possible so you will need to look at another option for sterilising bottles on a long haul flight.)
How To Sterilise Bottles Whilst Travelling I've had several people ask me how I've managed to sterilise bottles on a 24-hour flight. Here are some useful tips and products that have helped me.
  • Another option is to consider using bottle liners, which cut down the number of bottles you need to bring. These are pre-sterilised and you simply replace for the next feed. Several brands liners double up as milk storage bags too but check all bottle liners to see if they fit your bottle type first!

What is the best best bottle steriliser you have found for travelling? How do you sterilize bottles on holiday or vacation? Please let me know in the comments!

Breastfeeding on a plane

Can I use the water abroad to make up bottles?

Always check to see if drinking the local water is recommended or advised against. If it is allowed, then always boil it first and don’t use previously boiled water.

Is it OK to use bottled water for formula?

Generally, bottled water is not recommended because it may contain too many minerals- namely sodium or sulphate and it is not sterile.

However, when you are travelling or visiting some countries using drinkable tap water and boiling it may not be possible. If you do need to make up a feed with bottled water make sure it has;

  • Less than 200 milligrams (mg) a litre of sodium (Na)
  • No more than 250mg a litre of sulphate (SO4)
  • Boil water to make up formula feeds
  • Seek advice from your nurse or your doctor before you travel if you are unsure or think you may have to do this.

What else should I pack?

Packing for a baby or toddler can seem rather daunting at first. I think for me, it was the ‘what if’ scenarios which had me pack for all eventualities!

However, it obviously depends how you are travelling; by plane, train etc, domestic or international and several other things. To help you decide what is relevant for you, I’ve compiled a useful packing list for babies and toddlers here.

baby travel toys

Baby and Toddler Travel Toys

Entertainment for little ones can vary depending on airline and mode of transport. Here are some useful options including non screen time and cheap travel toy options to help entertain them.

bassinet on a virgin flight with a sleeping baby

Sleeping on a Plane

You’ve fed your baby, sterilised the bottles, they have played for a bit and now you hope they go to sleep? I have a fully detailed section here on baby bassinets and how to help get your baby or toddler to sleep on a plane too! Hope it helps!

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I've had several people ask me how I've managed to sterilise bottles on a 24-hour flight. Here are some useful tips and products that have helped me.


Tuesday 28th of June 2022

I sterilize bottles in a hotel by filling the bottle with boiling water from a kettle that’s just been booked. I then place the teat in upside down so that the tip sits in the boiling water. Then I fill the teat with more boiling water and placing the lid on top to create a steam bath. Leave to cool, discard the water and it’s perfectly sterile and ready to be used.

Carrie Bradley

Monday 4th of July 2022

great tip!


Tuesday 15th of February 2022

I am combo feeding my child. Yo make up bottles on the plane what do you recommend?

Carrie Bradley

Monday 21st of February 2022

Ready made liquid formula is super easy, but formula powder doesn't take a lot more effort either. :-)


Wednesday 16th of October 2019


You could instead just buy some Disposable Steri Bottles, just use and throw them away.

Carrie Bradley

Thursday 24th of October 2019

Absolutely, you could, but i think that would be best as a last resort as that would mean even more plastic waste?


Wednesday 3rd of October 2018

I live in the US so this might not be available in the UK, but we’ve had luck with bottle wipes by Medela. Comes in a little package and you simply wipe down the bottle and let it air dry. No strange smell or residue. Worth looking into if anyone’s interested.

Baby Mom HQ

Tuesday 23rd of January 2018

Hi there,

Thanks for your great advice. I like and try it when on traveling.

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