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Packing checklist for little ones

Travelling with a baby and/or toddler - have a look at our packing checklist to make sure you have the essentials

Posted: 15 July 2008
by Maria Muennich

It's a fairly good rule of thumb that the younger a baby is, the more gear you need to take with you on your travel: Amazing that something that small could take up so much of your luggage allowance. Packing for your first trips as a family can be something of a headache, so we've got a couple of lists here to help you along the way. Of course, you'll need to tailor the list specifics to your destination and circumstances. If it all seems more trouble than it's worth then take comfort from the assurance of a frequent traveller-with-tot, that it does get easier each time you pack and that you do generally need less as your baby gets older.

Baby essentials

  • Nappies - you should be able to buy these at most destinations but you will need plenty for the trip and extras for if they're not as easy to come by as hoped
  • Nappy rash cream
  • Wipes
  • Nightlight for night-time nappy changes
  • Changing bag with essentials and spare clothes for on the plane or for easy accessibility and use when on the go - an extra top for you is a good idea to include
  • Gentle baby wash
  • Gum / teeth cleaning equipment
  • Roll-up changing mat
  • Several burp cloths - they can double-up as bibs
  • Clothes - bring plenty, you'll probably go through them quickly. You can afford to bring fewer sets if you're heading to a hot climate where things can dry quickly. Include a couple of warmer things even if you're going somewhere warm
  • Car seat if travelling by car
  • Reclining pushchair
  • Bottle / cup and sterilising tablets/travel steriliser if used
  • Sippy cup if used
  • Formula - if used and if usual brand isn't easily available where you're going
  • Baby dish / cutlery (spoons) if on solids
  • A couple of re-sealable containers for snacks if your baby is on solids
  • Enough baby food for the journey
  • Spare dummy if used
  • A couple of baby blankets / baby sleeping bag
  • Soiled laundry bag (waterproof)
  • Preferred snacks
  • A few amusements / books
  • Any regular comforter used, eg. blanket, teddy or book
  • Travel cot if your pushchair doesn't have a suitable carry cot
  • Baby monitor if you're likely to need one

Useful baby extras

  • Baby carrier
  • Inflatable baby bath
  • Portable seat converter to make a high chair out and about

Toddler essentials

  • Changing items if still needed (see baby essentials)
  • Wipes
  • Changing bag with essentials and spare clothes for on the plane or for easy accessibility and use when on the go
  • Travel potty if at potty stage
  • Tooth brush and paste
  • Gentle body wash
  • Sippy cup / preferred drink bottle
  • Bibs / multi-purpose burp cloths
  • A couple of re-sealable containers for snacks
  • Travel cot/bed plus bedding - if unavailable at destination
  • A nightlight if your toddler is used to one
  • Clothes - it's probably best to bring a couple of sets more than you think you will need, particularly if you want / need to avoid laundering. Include a few warmer things even if you're going to a hot climate
  • Long-sleeved sleepwear is a good idea whatever the climate if you're going to be in air-conditioned accommodation - it also helps reduce insect bites
  • Baby monitor if you're likely to need one
  • Soiled laundry bag (waterproof)
  • Waterproofs / special weather gear (eg. snow suit for deep winter trips)
  • Suitable footwear for the destination / planned activities
  • Pushchair
  • Any regular comforter used, eg. blanket, teddy or book
  • Toys/books/colouring things for the trip. Pack dependable favourites and include a few new surprises for the novelty factor
  • A car seat for a toddler will be too bulky to take with you unless you're travelling by car, so arrange a car seat ahead at your destination with any taxi service / relations etc. if you want to travel by car once you arrive

Useful toddler extras

  • A back-pack child carrier can be really useful and can in some circumstances replace the need for a pushchair (though you will have to think about where your toddler has their afternoon sleep)
  • Inflatable toys are good for space-saving and are light


  • Swim wear (preferably 2 per baby / child) - a beachsuit with UV protection is great for cutting down on suncream battles
  • Beach shoes for walking tots - sandals that you can get wet are ideal, or those neoprene shoes that can be worn into the sea
  • Beach towels if not available at destination
  • Sun protection - see next section

Sun protection

  • Long, loose, light-coloured clothing in natural fabrics
  • Sunhat x 2 - the best ones provide protection for the neck
  • Age-appropriate sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • After-sun / moisturiser
Travel first-aid kit
It's wise to take a slimmed-down version of your usual home first-aid kit with you on holiday, wherever it is you're going. Look for multi-taskers such as Calendula cream and infant paracetemol to cover several bases and tailor your choices to your destination. In particular you may want to remember:
  • Insect repellant (suitable for children)
  • Bite treatment
  • Rehydrating salts (in case of diarrhea)
  • Infant paracetemol
  • Plasters
  • Antiseptic hand gel and antiseptic wipes
  • Any prescription medicines you and your family need

Travel documents

  • If you're leaving the country you'll need a passport for every traveller, regardless of how young. Taking at least one photocopy with you is sensible
  • Travel tickets
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Driving license (if planning to drive) - check whether you need an international driving license for your destination
  • Any vaccination documents you may need
  • Essential phone numbers list
  • Any directions (eg. to hotel) that you may need

General items

  • Camera (plus lead/battery charger if digital, spare films / battery if film)
  • Reading material
  • Portable reading light (great for being able to read without disturbing your sleeping baby/toddler)
  • Suitable snacks and drinks for the whole family for the journey

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