No two trips with a baby are the same -- a trip taken with the same baby can be a very different experience at four months, eight months, and one year. No matter where and when you go, however, it's best to keep the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared," in mind. On your next trip with an infant, consider these packing tips and essentials:

Baby sleeping on a road trip in a car seat.

Car Travel:

  • Pack some snacks in small Ziplock bags to avoid unhealthy food at rest stops.
  • Pack light, easily accessible snacks for others, in case you have a light sleeper in the back.
  • Plan extra time for rest stops.
  • Outdoor blanket to stretch out at rest stops
  • A new toy for every hour on the road, including some that attach to the car seat
  • Car mirror for rear-facing babies and toddlers
  • Car seat sun cover
  • Adhesive window shades for the back seat and rear windows
  • DVD player and/or sing-along CD's
  • Snacks for kids and parents

Baby sleeping on a plane after a long day.

Plane Travel:

  • Plan for delays; choose a baby-friendly hotel in any of your stop-over cities.
  • Pay extra for itineraries with as few stops as possible.
  • Pack extra outfits in labeled Ziplock bags.
  • If possible, ship as many items (like diapers and wipes) as possible to your destination. Most hotels will accept same-day packages if asked beforehand.
    Essentials for Carry-On Baggage
  • Several extra changes of clothing for baby
  • At least one change of clothes for parents
  • Labeled Ziplock bags with items for messes, feeding and diaper changes
  • At least one diaper for every hour in transit, plus a few extras
  • Something for baby to suck on during takeoff and landing
    Checked Baggage
  • Car seat and stroller travel bags (even if gate is checking)
  • Baby carrier
  • Applicable rules printed re: car seats, nursing in public and TSA liquids policy

Baby lounging on a lounge chair at the beach.

Beach or Pool Destination:

  • Go to a beach or pool where umbrellas and chairs can be rented for the day.
  • Plan to be inside, perhaps at a nearby restaurant, during the worst of the midday sun.
  • Sun tent
  • Swim diapers
  • UV protective sun suit with sleeves and arms
  • Pediatrician approved sunscreen (ask if your baby is under six months). Some suggestions: California Baby, Badger
  • Sunhat (bonus if it comes with a neck flap)
  • Sunglasses (like Babiators)
  • Stroller fan
  • Baby float
  • Sippy cups if your child is on solid foods
  • Outdoor blanket
  • Beach toys
  • An inflatable baby floatation device

RV Camping:

  • Stay close to home for the first trip, and stay near a town.
  • Bring a playpen for sleeping, downtime and playtime.
  • Bring extra blankets.
  • Bug spray (California Baby and Badger come recommended)
  • Citronella candles
  • Simba mosquito stickers and/or bracelets
  • Bottled water
  • Baby carrier for hikes
  • Loose, cotton clothes that are breathable and long sleeves and pants
  • Snacks outside of mealtimes for children on solid foods
  • First aid kit
  • Outdoor blanket(s)
  • Pack & Play or portable crib


  • Book a hotel and arrive near your port of departure a day early.
  • Choose a cruise line that offers baby amenities so you don't have to lug everything onboard.
  • Check if your cruise line offers a program for infants and if it allows non-potty trained babies into the pool.
  • An inflatable bathtub
  • The smallest stroller you have, and only if necessary
  • A baby carrier
  • Any medication you may need
  • Other medical needs like thermometers, snot suckers, suppositories
  • A sound machine for naps in case the room is noisy
  • Baby food and snacks. The ship's options may be limited, not as advertised or very expensive
  • Swim diapers if your baby is allowed in the pools
  • Disposable bottle liners so you are only washing parts of the bottles daily
  • If your child is on formula, bring the powdered kind and buy bottled water on board

  • More from Family Vacation Critic:
    9 Best Resorts for Toddlers
    6 Best Resorts for Infants (Think Nannies!)
    Traveling with Infants (Ages 0 to 2)

Written by Bethany Mandel

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