What to pack when you go on holiday with your baby or toddler

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Holidays are a great time to bond as a family, but packing lightly is a thing of the past now you have a little one in tow! Your baby’s first holiday with you is a very exciting time but it’s also easy to forget something vital.

Whether you’ve planned a staycation in the UK or a trip further afield, read our checklist below to take the stress out of your pre-holiday prep.

Getting around

  • If your baby is small, a complete travel system buggy makes it easier to get in and out of cars and airplanes. A lightweight buggy you can lift easily into your car boot makes sense if your baby is old enough to sit up. Don’t forget to pack a rain cover – just in case!
  • If you’re travelling somewhere hot, make sure your pushchair has a sun umbrella or UV screen 
  • A car seat – if you’re driving in the UK you’ll already have one of these set up, but if you’re hiring a vehicle abroad make sure you bring a car seat along with you so your little one is still safe
  • A front carrier or baby sling can make life a lot easier when your baby is tiny. Then you can keep your baby close, leaving your hands free as you trundle around the airport pulling your suitcase. Depending on the country and airport, you may need to remove your baby from the sling and carry them through, or (if your sling has no metal attachments) you may be able to walk straight through

Travel essentials

  • Remember passports if you’re travelling abroad – even your baby will need a passport, so make sure the paperwork is completed well before you leave
  • If your baby sleeps in a cot, make sure you ask if one is available when you book your trip – discovering there’s no cot available when you arrive is not a good start to a holiday! Alternatively, take along your own travel cot – there are some great soft pop-up options for little babies. You will need cot sheets and bedclothes, or a sleeping bag, too 
  • Your plug-in baby monitor or night-light can be useful for settling her back to sleep in an unfamiliar room. You’ll need a plug adaptor too if you’re going abroad 
  • A good first aid kit
  • Baby-safe sunscreen is also important, this may be a much higher factor than the kind you’ve packed for yourselves
  • Potty-training essentials like a travel potty, if you have a toddler at that stage
  • If you’re travelling to Europe, don’t forget your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles the holder to state-provided medical treatments in cases of accidents or illnesses

Food and drink

  • If you’re formula feeding, pack enough formula powder to last the trip – unless you know for certain you can buy the same brand there If you’re going for a long time and need to change brands, make the swap slowly
  • Also if you’re bottle-feeding or using dummies, don’t forget a travel steriliser kit or sterilising tablets
  • One-day supply of baby bottles and teats if bottle feeding
  • Breast pump and breastmilk storing bags (if you need to express on holiday)
  • Remember the usual baggage restrictions don’t apply to baby food and milk and you’re allowed to take enough breast or formula milk and sterilised water for the journey
  • Baby food (in jars and tubs) and snacks
  • If your baby is weaning or eating food, you’ll need something for them to sit in while they’re eating, like a compact feeding seat or high chair

Clothing

  • Aim to pack two outfits for your little one for each day you’re away
  • Sleepsuits or pyjamas
  • For cooler temperatures, pack clothes that can be layered easily
  • Hats – a sun hat for warmer climes, and a warmer hat if you’re travelling somewhere cool. 
  • Bibs

Usual baby and toddler essentials

  • Any medicines she might need, and preferred skin creams etc
  • Take along a couple of sturdy toys and books, including any soft toy comforters
  • A blanket for when it gets chilly
  • Nappies, wipes and cream (you may also need a smaller tube of nappy cream for your hand luggage to meet with airport regulations).
  • Travel changing mat
  • Swim nappies, as these can be difficult to source abroad
  • Baby toiletries – hairbrush, toothbrush and no tears shampoo

Remember, the packing of all creams and liquids need to comply with airport security regulations.

Bon voyage!