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Flying with a baby? The ultimate baby travel checklist for your holiday

What do you need when you’re flying with a baby? Find out in our guide on preparing for a family holiday.


clothes recycling

Key steps

When you’re travelling with an infant:

  1. Remember the basics like food, nappies, and wipes.

  2. Check if you have passports and documentation handy.

  3. Don’t forget that entertainment is important.

  4. Enjoy your time together! 

Travelling with a newborn baby can be a daunting prospect, especially if it’s your first holiday together. Travelling with toddlers isn’t much better either. But don’t fret - if you make sure you’ve got the baby travel essentials ready in advance then you’ll still be able to enjoy your holiday in (relative) peace. Here are some tips for travelling with a baby.

Always pack slightly more of the essentials that you think you’ll need. Travel delays are always stressful, especially if you’re flying with a baby, but they’re easier to cope with if you don’t have to worry about where to get more nappies.

Baby travel checklist for the journey

This checklist is designed for those flying with a baby but it’s also relevant if you’re making a long journey by ship, train, road etc. Make sure you cross-off these points as you prepare for travelling with an infant.

  • Choose the best time to fly. When travelling with toddlers, you might want to put their sleep habits first to avoid surprises/bad moods along the way. If they need a full night of sleep, then a 6pm flight might be a good option. 

  • Keep documentation up-to-date. If you’re crossing borders, make sure you and your baby have valid passports and any other travel documentation you need (visas, for example).

  • Bring food – and lots of it! Although flights usually restrict the amount of liquid you can bring on board, these restrictions don’t apply to travel food for babies. You should be able to bring as much baby milk or baby food as you need for the journey. You can’t bring ice packs through security but if you bring a cooler bag then you can ask the crew to fill it with ice once on the plane so you can keep the milk cold.

  • Pack spare clothes. This applies to both you and your baby. Keep them in your carry-on luggage in case you need to change hastily on the flight.

  • Bring nappies and baby wipes. Plastic bags to dispose of used nappies and wipes is also recommended.

  • Protect your baby’s ears. Remember to bring your baby’s pacifier, if they use one, as this can be comforting for them and also prevent the uncomfortable ‘popping’ sensation in your baby’s ears when the plane rises or descends.

  • Plan some entertainment. Don’t forget the fun! Long flights can be challenging for both you and your kid, so bring some things you can do together. If you have apps or videos your child might enjoy on your phone, great! There will be points during the flight when you won’t be allowed to use electronic devices, though, so bring low-technology distractions as well: colouring books, for example. Ask yourself what your child enjoys doing and which of those things could you feasibly do on the journey?

If you run out of food or other baby travel essentials on the flight, ask the cabin crew whether they can help. Some airlines will stock baby food on board.

Baby travel checklist for the holiday itself

Now you’ve got the travel out of the way it’s time to consider what you need for the holiday itself.

  • Bring enough baby basics like food, nappies, wipes etc. You want enough to see you through at least the first few days.

  • Pack sterilising equipment. This is a must if you’re bottle feeding.

  • Bring spare clothes – or laundry detergent to wash clothes with. If you haven’t travelled with a baby before, be aware that you’re going to get through clothes a lot faster than on your child-free holidays! With this in mind, it's always a good idea to bring plenty of spare clothes for both you and the baby. To ensure your little one's garments are clean and good to pack, pre-wash your baby’s garment with an appropriate detergent such as OMO Sensitive detergent and Comfort Baby fabric conditioner.

  • Pack familiar toys, clothes and blankets. These can help to soothe your child when they first arrive in an unfamiliar place.

  • Buy a few new toys. These are a great distraction for youngsters.

  • Consider if you need a travel crib. Think about where your child is going to sleep. If your baby isn’t old enough to use a regular bed, check whether the place where you’re staying can provide a cot or crib. Bring a travel crib only if you need one.

If you have all of these baby travel essentials, you’ll be able to feed, clean and entertain your baby during your family holiday. Have a great time and don’t forget about the journey back!

If your child is old enough for solid food, bring snacks that won’t cause too much of a mess when they’re inevitably dropped all over the place. Carrot sticks are a good choice.

Originally published