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Baby Travel Checklist: The Essential Packing Checklist for Flying With Baby

I often get asked what to pack when traveling with a baby, especially for the first family holiday or vacation abroad. Whether we are flying long haul to see family in Australia or flying short haul to Europe, most of it has been trial and error; learning on the go what has been useful.

These tips are a culmination of what items were most useful for us when flying with a baby and includes a full printable checklist for traveling with baby and a separate cabin baggage packing list.

TRAVEL CHECKLIST FOR FLYING WITH A BABY OR TODDLER

Plane Travel With Baby - Cabin Luggage Items

Below you will find my specific packing tips for carry-on and checked in baggage. I’ve also included a BUMPER free printable baby packing list as well as carry on baby checklist, for you too, with space for you to add any unique items for your family and tailor it to your needs.

Obviously, you won’t need all of these suggestions, but it will give you some ideas of what to pack which suits your families circumstances, age of your baby, flight time, destination etc.

Do let me know if you find this packing checklist for traveling or flying with a baby  useful or if you would add something? 

PACKING TIPS FOR FLYING WITH A BABY

Below covers packing tips and a printable checklist for travelling abroad with a baby. This includes what you can take as cabin baggage and as hold baggage.

Carry on packing list for baby.
Carry on travel checklist with baby. Click to download.

PLANE TRAVEL WITH BABY-CABIN LUGGAGE ITEMS

  • Try and pack as light as possible for your hand baggage. Many major airlines allow you to bring a small bag for yourself AND a nappy/diaper bag for your baby, but others do not give infants their own allowance, meaning you must have everything in one bag.
  • I now have a Mia Tui Jennie bag which I use all the time as I don’t need as many nappies, but a rucksack is super useful as you can keep your hands free when travelling.

Here are some of the top family-friendly airlines and a quick reference guide to those that do allow carry on for infants.)

A great tip: Have the essentials like a nappy, small packet of wipes etc in several individual bags such as a ziplock bag, and have it in an easily accessible place. Once you have you used them, you can replace with your next ziplock bag of supplies. No more rummaging around or taking the entire bag into a small aircraft loo.

  • Bring food/drink and supplies for your journey and some extra for testing at airport and unforeseen delays. All the rest can go in your checked in baggage or be bought at your destination. See my post on various milk and baby food brands that can be found in different countries.
  • If you are weaning, some large international airlines allow you to pre-order baby meals (BBML) which are usually jars of pureed food. Check the details on your airline’s website. They are either listed on the travelling with an infant section or under special meals requests – you cannot choose the actual content of the jar though.
  • If you are bottle feeding, depending on the length of the flight, you may need to bring some sterilising equipment on board. Here are some tips and ideas on how to sterilise when travelling.
  • Zip-loc bags to fill with ice at the airport and the plane – to keep food and milk cool. (ice packs/cool packs are often not allowed through security as they are considered a liquid. (The UK airports allow gel-packs and USA allows all types)
  • Small cool bag/insulated bag
  • If you need to warm up food or milk on the flight, consider packing a small flask – you may need to empty any hot water before a flight, but you can always ask the crew to fill it up on-board. This way you can heat up baby food whenever you like.
  • If you are flying from the UK, consider ordering from Boots online in advance and collecting airside, once you have cleared security. This is not limited to baby products, so you can pick up your favourite make-up or suntan lotion too. Here’s information on how to order Boots at the airport.
  • With your checklist for travel with baby, don’t forget a change of clothes for you, you partner AND baby. This is an absolute must, especially on those long-haul flights to Oz! It’s also useful to dress you and your baby in layers, so you can remove or add depending on the cabin temperature.
  • Something familiar for your baby, whether a favourite toy or blanket or both. I really like the This Works Baby Pillow Spray to help them sleep on a plane. I was bought it as a gift by a friend, and I’ve stuck with it, although it is on the pricier end.
Checklist for Traveling with Baby, baby sleep spray
  • Some new toys. Please see my best baby and toddler toys post for some great ideas. An option is to wrap some these up in a few layers of different coloured paper. Perfect for tiny, inquisitive little hands, and helps keep boredom at bay.
  • Calpol/tylenol and Ibuprofen sachets are a must to add for your baby checklist for travel. The size makes them perfect for travel with easy 5ml dosage. Available from most supermarkets and chemists. Other essential medicines, larger than 100ml can be brought on board but need a doctor’s letter and prior approval from the airline. This does include inhalers.
  • (In the USA -Tylenol and Motrin, but I don’t think they provide these in handy dosage size sachets yet. Please let me know if/when they do.)
  • A baby carrier or sling. Perfect for walking around the airport, and even better for when you arrive at your destination and it’s a long walk to baggage reclaim. This is one of the most essential items on my baby checklist for traveling. Here are some reviews of tried and tested baby carriers by me and fellow readers of Flying With A Baby.
  • Dummy/Pacifier – if your baby uses one this can help in relieving the pressure in their ears. If not, a  feed from bottle or breast will have the same effect.
  • Smartphone downloaded with their favourite TV show or music/nursery rhymes and apps. Most airlines have a TV channel specifically for children, but it won’t necessarily show age appropriate shows the entire duration of your flight. Here are some ideas for some age appropriate apps
  • A baby sleeping bag. These are great to add to your travelling with baby checklist, as they help keep your baby used to the familiar and also more comfortable when in the bassinet, skycot, or even your lap.
  • An extra wrap or thin blanket and a couple of safety pins. This is handy if you are at a bassinet seat and the overhead monitor is projecting too much light on your sleeping baby, or if your baby is sleeping and the cabin lights are turned on for a meal service. If the bassinet seat is unavailable, you can then make a ‘den’ by using the seat in front of you and your seat, to secure the blanket over the top of the seat, again giving you some respite from the bright cabin lights.
What to pack - flying solo
Using the blanket to make a den on the plane
blanket covering a seat on a plane to sleep.
Blanket covering the plane seats so the girls can sleep
  • There is also a new Australian product out called CoziGo (formerly Fly Babee) which is a bassinet cover and a stroller UV cover too. We found it very useful on holiday and at home too – perfect to shield baby from those cabin lights! It is our ho to recommendation for new parents keen to travel and a must to add on your baby checklist for travelling.
CoziGo on the Etihad bassinet, airline bassinet seat  is a must to add to your travel with baby checklist
The CoziGo bassinet and stroller UV sleep cover is ideal to add to your baby vacation packing list.
  • A product out by Sky Baby UK is a sky mattress which enables a young baby to sleep comfortably on your lap. Especially handy if you don’t have a bassinet seat, or if you prefer baby to sleep on you. It has a loop underneath, which is attached to the infant lap belt, to keep baby secured to you, and also means there is no need to disturb baby when the seat belt sign comes on for turbulence. The ‘wings’ fold over and keep baby secure and snug. It’s light, compact and brand new on to the market. Available from Amazon and directly from SkyBaby who will deliver worldwide. Check out my review of the product too.
SkyBaby sleep mattress
  • Antibacterial wipes. Handy for wiping those tray tables or even parts of the bassinet. Most airlines since Covid-19 are now spraying their aircraft and touch points with a special disinfectant which kills viruses and germs for 24 hours. Listen out for announcements as they may advise you to not wipe areas down if this is the case.
  • Charger – many airlines provide in seat charger sockets-even in economy. These include Etihad, Emirates, British Airways (check on line with your airline as it does depend on aircraft type.) More and more airlines are adding USB ports to their seat backs these days.
  • Battery power pack

Have I missed anything that has been essential for you in your hand luggage? Please do comment below. Now for your suitcase items and additional items allowed checklist …

PLANE TRAVEL WITH BABY -WHAT CHECKED IN BAGGAGE AM I ALLOWED? 
What to pack

I’ve found since the arrival of Miss A, my suitcase is no longer my own and taken up by all her and now her sister’s essentials. However, the arrival of baby means that you do have extra baggage allowances which can be put in the aircraft hold.  Check my airline list on ‘What are the best seats on a plane and info on baby bassinets’ to find out your individual airline requirement. These are the basics.

 You can take usually take 2 extra items:-

1. A collapsible pram/stroller/buggy. Think about using a stroller travel bag to keep all parts of the pram together, and to sneak in a few extra items for free (I’ve put nappies in before!)

2. A car seat. For more information on using a car seat on the airplane see here.

(3. And on some airlines a collapsible travel cot as well. Qantas is one of these, if it is an international flight.)
The allowances do vary so much from airline to airline, so do check or tweet me @flyingwithbaby  and I’ll be happy to help.

4. If your airline only permits one additional item, check if they provide a separate allowance (often 10kg) of hold luggage. If this is the case, you can use that allowance to bring the other item, and put babies clothes in your suitcase.

THE ESSENTIAL BABY PACKING LIST FOR TRAVEL WITH BABIES AND TODDLERS

Hello Jolie packing cubes can help with organising  traveling checklist for baby
Hello Jolie Packing cubes will help keep you organised when using your traveling with baby checklist

Before you pack have you thought about packing cubes? 

Packing Cubes

Seriously, where have packing cubes been all my life? I had heard about them and then my husband bought some for himself. Needless to say, we have since bought more. It makes organising a suitcase so much easier. We always split our clothes between 2 or 3 cases, in case one goes missing, so this helps keep us all organised. You can check and compare latest prices here. I really like these ones from Hello Jolie as they have labels which makes sorting SO much quicker!

BABY ITEMS TO PACK IN YOUR SUITCASE – MY BABY TRAVEL CHECKLIST (PDF AVAILABLE ON LINK AFTER LIST)

Top Tip

Pack a few of your child’s items into your suitcase and vice versa that way should a suitcase go missing, all of you have some basic necessities…

  • Short sleeved vest and long sleeved vests
  • Sleep suits and baby sleeping bags
  • Trousers/tops/dresses/cardigans
  • Swimming costume & swim floats
  • Swimming nappies/diapers (Fab tip: You can wash and re-use the disposable ones e.g Huggies little swimmers, if there is no number 2- saves space in suitcase and money!)
  • Mini baby toiletries/hairbrush/dummies if you use.
  • Extra Medicines ( Always have essential medicine with you in your hand luggage though.) A few nappies/wipes etc for the first day or two.
  • SnoozeShade or CoziGo for your pram to help baby sleep and protect them from UV rays. I find this invaluable at home and abroad and they work much better than a blanket or muslin flung over the pram.
  • A couple of small toys/books/pictures or shapes printed out
  • Travel high chair (depending on where you are travelling to) Totseat, Polar Gear or a fabric one are good depending on your suitcase space.
  • Baby milk/food for a day or two of your stay, to save you hunting for it in the middle of the night or through a haze of jet-lag.
  • A clip on stroller fan. Really handy for hot countries and light weight too. The foam ‘blades’ mean it is safe too.
  • Ice block coolers to freeze and keep items cool on holiday day trips.
  • Travel car blinds/shades
  • Tin foil for blacking out hotel windows
  • Night light
  • Baby monitor
  • Mosquito net and insect repellant
  • More adaptor plugs
  • Hand wash detergent for clothes
  • Pop up UV beach tent which you can put in the shade while you sunbathe.
  • Small paddling pool – can put in the shade while you sunbathe or squish into your shower to make a portable baby bath in your hotel room!
Inflatable Play Nest – great for non crawlers on holiday or vacation. Easy to deflate and perfect to add to your baby packing list.

Download my printable baby travel essentials with EVERYTHING you need for a trip – PACKING CHECKLIST FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL WITH BABY

You may find the below tips for flying with a baby useful before you start packing too!

  • Most major international airlines will have a very limited supply of baby milk formula, baby jars and nappies/diapers on board, but as you can never guarantee what is available, it is best to pack your own. (N.B American airlines do not seem to provide any of the above). Remember to also allow for flight delays or unexpected stopovers...Babies will also drink more in-flight, just like adults as the cabin air is dehydrating.
baby food on a plane
  • You are allowed to take baby milk and food on board, if it is for your babies use for the duration of the flight, and it CAN be over 100ml. Baby food and milk are exempt from the 100 ml/3-1-1 liquid rules. This includes; sterilised water, breast/powdered/ cartoned milk of all kinds, and baby food of all consistencies and packaging. It is, however, advisable to have the sterilised water already in a baby bottle if possible.
  • Boots the Chemist, at UK airports allow you to pre-order baby milk, so if you want to avoid testing at the airport, you can arrange to pick up once you’ve passed through security. See my post on the Boots pre-order service detailing how to do this and which airports you can do this from. (Remember, it doesn’t just have to be baby food or milk, it can be suntan lotion, make-up, toiletries etc)
  • It’s also worth asking the local airport Starbucks or restaurant to warm milk for you and some even provide milk for free, (at each branches discretion).
  • Parents are no longer required to taste the baby milk at UK airport security, although the milk is likely to be subject to additional screening. Pack extra just in case it is opened and no longer sterile.

Skiing with Kids

If you are skiing with kids this additional family ski packing list should help you too!

Have I missed anything that should be on this travelling with a baby checklist? Please do comment below and help other parents too!


Don’t forget to pin this travelling checklist for baby for later

Checklist for Traveling with Baby, I often get asked what to pack when traveling with a baby. Most of it has been trial and error; learning on the go what has been useful. Below you will find my specific packing tips for carry-on and checked in baggage. I've also included a printable baby packing list for you too, with space for you to add any unique items for your family. The essential guide for what to pack when going on holiday with a baby and older kids. Full of practical ideas, airline allowance info, packing tips plus a FREE printable checklist. #familytravel #packinglist #checklist #flyingwithbaby
PIN THIS CHECKLIST FOR BABY TRAVEL

Pin these for later!

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How To Order Baby Milk And Baby Supplies From Boots At UK Airports
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What to Pack When Traveling with a Baby – Eyeventures

Saturday 2nd of November 2019

[…] https://www.flyingwithababy.com/what-should-i-pack-the-essential-guide/ […]

Eve

Monday 1st of October 2018

Hello, thanks for the site - do you know if a Moses basket counts as free luggage when they say you can bring a portable cot for free? And if so how should it be transported if it doesn’t come with a bag? Finally, if not bringing a car seat, do most countries have taxis who provide car seats if requested? Thanks!

Julia

Friday 8th of June 2018

Hi Carrie,

Thanks for your amazing site! I’m wondering about home cooked food allowance on the flight. I’m sure I’ll come to the conclusion that it’s just more sensible to take packet baby food on the plane but I wonder what the rules are for home cooked food? Can you exceed 100mL? Or carry in a thermos which has >100ml capacity? Just don’t want to get there and have it all confiscated!

Thanks for your help,

Julia

Memeandharri

Sunday 11th of June 2017

Great post - I am going on holiday in couple of months and with 3 little ones I need all the help I can get. I am now off to read your post about buying baby milk at the airport! #myfamilytips

CarrieB

Tuesday 13th of June 2017

Oooh enjoy!

plutoniumsox

Saturday 3rd of June 2017

Wow, such a comprehensive list. I wish I'd read it when mine were tiny! Especially love all the tips about things that help baby to sleep on the plane. Nat.x