Looking for a checklist for baby’s first holiday? Even if you’ve been abroad with a baby before, it’s easy to forget everything you need, we’ve all done it! And at the it’s not hard to over pack and burden you with the extra weight of a superbly bulging suitcase either. If you’re wondering what you really should be packing for a holiday with a baby and want to know which things to leave out of your suitcase, which items you can and can’t take in your hand luggage and things you might be better off picking up at the airport or in resort, this is the baby travel checklist for you.
The baby travel checklist summary
This is a long post, so one to read when baby is asleep and you’ve got a brew to hand. We hope to make a downloadable travel checklist for you in the future. Meanwhile, we’ve split the baby holiday checklist into sections so you can prepare your list under headings at a glance. You should pack:
- Things for the airport and aeroplane – documents, food, spare clothes, changing kit, feeding stuff and food, entertainment, comforters, travel equipment
- Holiday clothes
- Changing, bathing and babycare essentials
- Milk, food, and feeding equipment
- Baby essentials for the beach and poolside (suncare and swim stuff)
- Baby health items
When can babies fly abroad?
First things first, if you booked a holiday before you found out you were pregnant, you may be wondering whether to cancel or if you might still be able to pull it off. It can be hard to predict when you and baby may feel up to jetting off on your first family holiday. If you do plan to travel with a newborn, perhaps to visit relatives or on a pre-organised trip, you’ll need a letter from your GP if the baby is less than one week old. It’s also worth bearing in mind that airlines have different minimum age restrictions for flights, so you’ll need to check in with your flight provider to see what their rules are.
How to pack for baby’s holiday
Remember when you had all that free time to leisurely pack before a trip? Packing when you have a baby is something that may need to be done in fits and spurts, either as clothes become clean or when baby obliges you with time to organise by taking a nap. One thing that can make the whole process a lot easier is to segment your packing checklist as we have here. This makes it easier to spot anything that you’ve missed off your list and means you can concentrate on packing one section at a time if you wish. What you need to pack for a 3 month old baby for a holiday is likely to be quite different to what you’ll need for a toddler. However, items will fall under the same categories, which means you can update the list accordingly as your little one grows.
What to pack for baby for the airport and flight
You’ll usually be expected to share a seat with your baby if they’re under the age of two unless you want to book a separate seat for an older baby. It’s worth bearing in mind that budget airlines often require you to pay for baby flights, so it can often work out cheaper going with more expensive airlines. Don’t forget to pack:
- Baby’s passport and your flight documents
- Something for transporting baby – baby carriers can be useful at airports as they allow you to free up your hands but you can usually take your pushchair right up to the plane if you choose and staff will then put it in the hold
- You will usually be allowed two free items to be put in the hold for baby e.g. a lightweight pushchair and car seat if you plan to travel by taxi – as not all taxis abroad have these
- Baby bag essentials – milk, food and snacks for older babies (as below), a couple of changes of clothes, nappy changing kit
- Dummies if your baby usually has them
- You could take a familiar toy or blanket to help calm baby if they get upset, a new toy may also help to distract them
Baby holiday and travel clothes
The type of clothes you pack will of course depend on the type of holiday you’re going on. If you’re packing for a baby sun holiday, their wardrobe choices are likely to be lightweight with layering options for cooler evenings. As a general rule you won’t need more than two outfits per day. Some mummies in our group told us they didn’t need nearly as many outfits as they’d packed, so try and let your activity plans guide you. If you have washing facilities available you’ll be able to take fewer clothing items. It’s a good idea to pack assembled outfits and to spread baby’s clothes and other essentials throughout the suitcases you are taking. This way you don’t risk being left with no clothes for baby if ‘their suitcase’ goes missing. You’ll need:
- A comfortable outfit for the flight, with layering options, plus one or two changes in your carry on in case of flight delays
- Allow two outfits per day for the duration of your holiday spread across suitcases. Cover daytime, evening and sleep outfits as well as sun and swim essentials such as hats and sunsafe suits. Loose cotton clothes will help baby to stay cool
- It’s worthwhile packing some lightweight baby hangers for any outfits you want to hang up when you get there – these aren’t usually provided in resort
Breastfeeding, formula preparation and food
There are some important feeding points to be aware of when travelling with a young baby. If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, babies under six month don’t need additional water even in hot places, this is because your breastmilk adapts to provide baby with everything they need.
Wondering what you can take on the plane for hungry babies? You can take formula or expressed breastmilk for consumption during the flight onto the aeroplane in your cabin bag but be aware you may be asked to taste it to prove it’s milk. For formula feeding, you can take powdered formula to make bottles on the flight or readymade formula cartons. It’s worth packing extra into your flight bag in case of delays.
If your baby has moved onto solid foods plus milk, you can also take baby food on the plane. Other feeding items to pack or to check are available for use at your destination are:
- Breast pump, storage bags if you plan to express
- Check there will be small fridge for food storage and a microwave for sterilising
- Food and snack tubs, pouches, baby cutlery etc
- 1-2 sippy cups for older babies drinking water (in different bags)
- Sterilising equipment – taking sterilising bags can help to lighten your luggage
- Some familiar baby food and snacks if you wish – if you’re wondering what food to take for baby on holiday, it can be good to pack some pouches of familiar foods, though restaurants are often willing to accommodate requests for food to be cooked without salt etc
Formula feeding on holiday
If you’re formula feeding, you may find that you’re able to buy the same formula in resort It could also be an option to reserve and collect your usual formula at the departure lounge of the airport you’re travelling from. You’ll want to plan for how you’ll safely prepare the formula – most bottled water should not be used for formula preparation or should it be given to babies and toddlers – this is because it has high levels of sodium added to it. Look for low sodium options or you may be able to purchase distilled water at your destination from pharmacies.
Emma: “We took a change of clothes for every day and night, we didn’t even use half of them! So glad we took food pouches with a 10 month old because we knew what she was having and when.”
Sophie: “Another sippy cup! I only took one (because why would you need more?!) And he chucked it over the side of the boat into the canal.”
Changing and bathing/babycare essentials
It’s easy to be caught out and forget things you wouldn’t ever need to pack on a couple’s holiday. I mean, who would have thought that a universal bath plug was a handy holiday item? These are the changing and babycare items you need to pack or pick up en route:
- Usual bath products
- Soft baby towel and flannel (if baby is sensitive to detergents it can be advisable to take your own)
- Enough nappies, wipes, cotton pads, sacks and barrier cream to see you through the initial flight plus any delays
- You might choose to order nappies and wipes to pick up at the airport or to purchase supplies when you land or order to your room through your holiday package provider
- A baby bath or you can take a bath mat for making it safer to bathe with you or a plug to transform the sink
Baby holiday sleep essentials
While many hotels provide travel cots and linen, it can be wise to take familiar things with you to help make baby feel more at home. In the case of babies with sensitive skin, taking bedding from home can help to prevent skin irritation too. Here’s what you need to plan for:
- Check if a travel cot or cot will be provided
- You may wish to take a cotton sheet, a few baby blankets or sleeping bag in a suitable tog
- Suitable sleep clothes – remember this needs to be adjusted to the temperature, so be sure to check whether you will have air con in your room and take a room thermometer with you. You may want to check out our guide Helping your baby to sleep safely in hot weather
- Baby monitor if baby is over 6 months and will be sleeping while you’re in another room
- A night light may be useful if not built in to your monitor
- A travel black out blind can often be useful
Baby beach necessities
Planning a beach holiday or trip to a sunny spot? Babies shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight in the heat, so you’ll want to ensure they stay shaded and protected from the sun. It’s wise to keep babies indoors during the hottest part of the day. Here’s what to pack for trips to the beach or poolside
- Suitable SPF – this should have a good UVA and UVB rating – and be applied regularly and reapplied after contact with water. Many parents opt for factor 30 or 50 products in hot climates and choose products designed specially for baby skin. See the official NHS advice here
- UV swimwear
- Reusable or disposable swim nappies
- A wide brimmed hat – neck cover is a bonus
- A pop up UV tent or travel cot with an outdoor sun shade can provide valuable cover and a playpen for babies
- Baby sunglasses
- An umbrella or shade for the pushchair or pram – remember that covering with a muslin or blanket dangerously traps the heat inside.
Baby health products
Don’t forget to pack any medications your baby is taking. For example, if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll want to pack baby’s usual vitamin D drops. It can be a good idea to pack instant infant pain relief alongside your family first aid kit. Depending on your destination, your infant many need an EHIC card too. Don’t forget:
- To check you have adequate health insurance that covers you and baby and relevant contact details
- Teething gel or powders for teething babies
- A teether
- Infant pain relief (this can usually be bought in a pharmacy but many parents travel with this for peace of mind)
And here you have it, the Bump, Baby and You checklist for a baby going on holiday! Don’t forget to pack your own camera or smartphone and charger to record baby’s best holiday moments. Holiday baby spam is the best kind of baby spam, don’t you think?