The Best Baby Travel Essentials for 2020

When we first wrote this post, we only included our top 8 baby travel essentials. We always tried to bring as few baby travel items with us as possible because we wanted to travel lightly (well, as much as you can travel lightly with a baby).

We still consider those 8 items to be essentials for traveling with a baby and they are still part of this list, but over time there have been a couple of new baby travel products to hit the market that we wished we had.

This post contains compensated links.

This post was updated on September 26, 2019

travel with baby essentials

Over time and after several trips that include flying with a baby, we’ve really narrowed it down to what baby gear is essential for travel with a baby. In this list you’ll find what we consider to be the best travel products for babies.

We also make note of those that are true travel essentials for baby and those that are a nice to have if you have the space. You’ll also notice that this post mostly covers the best travel gear for babies, you can find all our best toddler travel essentials here.

Before we get to the list of essentials for traveling with baby, let’s talk about what options you have if you’d rather avoid purchasing one of these essential travel items for baby:

  • For the bigger travel essentials for babies, like a portable crib or a high chair, first check with your hotel or Airbnb host. If neither of those options work out, you can still avoid bringing all that baby gear and rent these baby items at your destination. In larger centers, you can often find a reputable baby equipment rental company that can deliver directly to your hotel or Airbnb.

  • For other items, you may be able to use an alternative item – like many parents did in our post about the best travel hacks for babies and toddlers.

  • If you plan to travel frequently, then we do recommend buying the must have baby travel items. It’s much more convenient if you have your own, plus it will be something that your baby is familiar with.

Baby Travel Essentials for Sleeping

It’s no surprise that this is the section with the most essential baby gear items. Sleep is always on every parents mind (who doesn’t want more of it!?). If you’ve read our post on getting your baby to sleep on vacation, then you know that creating a familiar sleep environment is key.

We always felt that we had a better trip when everyone was getting a good nights sleep, so we made sure we brought any essential baby items that might help with sleep.

We used the HALO Swaddle SleepSack for both our kids at home so we would bring the HALO Swaddle SleepSack every time we traveled with our baby. This sleepsack was a major component of our baby’s sleep routine and we found it helped our baby get a good night’s sleep while on the road. We used the Swaddle SleepSack until about 6 months then switched to the HALO SleepSack without the swaddle.

travel essentials with baby - sleepsack

In the early days of traveling with a baby, we stayed predominantly in hotels which had cribs available which meant we didn’t need to bring our own portable travel crib.

One item that we wished had been available at the time is the SlumberPod. It will create a dark environment for your baby and would be so useful when sharing a hotel room with a baby. Even for day time naps at the hotel or in an Airbnb without blackout blinds, this would be such a useful baby travel product.

The SlumberPod is one of those new products that’s come on the market and we now consider to be one of the top baby items for travel!

Use code BABYCANTRAVEL10 to get $10USD off the SlumberPod when you buy direct from Slumberpod!

Still not sure? Read our full review of the SlumberPod here

On a trip to Japan with a baby, A friend recommended the KidCo Peapod Plus Travel Bed to us and was kind enough to lend it to us. The KidCo Peapod Plus is a lightweight, sturdy travel bed which collapses to fit in a typical suitcase. What’s not to love?!?

Our little guy slept great while using it and it allowed us to sleep easy knowing he was safe and well contained. We were hooked! We got one for ourselves and used it on all our trips until he was too big for it.

travel essentials baby - kidco peapod tent

We have a full review of the KidCo Peapod Plus toddler travel bed where we also share all our tips for getting your baby or toddler to sleep in it.

One thing you won’t want to travel with is a bulky pack n’ play, so if you are in the market for a portable travel crib, see all our recommendations for best baby beds for travel and best toddler travel beds!

Now that you’ve gotten your baby to sleep, you’ll want to keep an eye on them. We love the Baby Monitor 3G app for when we stay somewhere where the baby is in a separate room (family, friends or an apartment rental).

The great thing about this app is it lets you leave your bulky baby monitor equipment at home.  Note that you need to have two Apple devices (i.e. one with baby and one with you) and Wi-Fi for it to work. Over 1,000,000 parents now use this app.

Baby Travel Essentials for Getting Around

Do you need a car seat for travel with a baby? Here are things to consider before traveling with car seats on airplanes, which might help your decision on purchasing a travel car seat. We have not personally purchased one.

If this is one of your essentials for traveling with a baby, then the Cosco Scenera Next is the lightweight travel car seat that you’ll see recommended time and time again. You can find all our recommendations in this lightweight travel car seat list on Amazon.

If this is one of your essentials for traveling with a baby, then the Cosco Scenera Next is the lightweight travel car seat that you’ll see recommended time and time again. You can find all our recommendations in this lightweight travel car seat list on Amazon.

However, when it comes to getting around with a baby we wouldn’t travel without a baby carrier. This falls more under the category of infant travel essentials, but we absolutely love the Baby K’tan Wrap and would recommend it to anyone.

must have baby travel items - baby carrier

The wonderful things about this wrap are how easy it is to use and how many different ways you can wear your baby in it. We love that the fabric gives it that cozy feeling keeping your baby close, while it also gives support with the band you use. It’s like using a wrap or ring sling without the learning curve! 

We used ours until the kids were about 9 months old, and we have certainly got our money’s worth! The one downside is that you order it depending on your size. Unfortunately, that means that it didn’t work for both my husband and I.

After the Baby K’tan, we moved to the Ergo Baby Carrier. The Ergo Baby Carrier is size adjustable, which means either my husband or I can carry the baby. It was our go-to carrier for the days we were out sightseeing with a baby.

The Ergo enables you to carry your baby on your front, back or hip which gives you plenty of ways to keep your baby (and your back) happy. We also had an infant insert which allowed us to use this baby carrier with a newborn.

baby travel essentials - baby carrier

See all the Best Baby Carriers for Travel here.

Another product we wished we had when traveling with a baby is the CoziGo Bassinet & Stroller Cover. This innovative product works as both a cover for airline bassinets and a sun shade for strollers.

CoziGo Sleep & Sun Cover

We made the mistake of using a blanket over the stroller and it never worked all that well. Our baby was too hot and the wind wasn’t any help! Getting your baby to sleep on-the-go will be so much easier by blocking out light and distractions!

This is the number 1 product we wish we had while traveling with our kids when they were babies! 

See our full review of the CoziGo Stroller Cover for travel with a baby.

We often rented a stroller when we arrived at our destination, because we used our baby carriers so much. We found it easier to have one less item to deal with at the airport, but if you are looking for a travel stroller, we have all the best lightweight travel strollers here.

Again, whether renting or bringing your own travel stroller, the CoziGo is a must have travel item! Not only for getting your baby to nap on the go, but not having to worry about them being in the sun for too long!

For strollers find the best lightweight travel strollers here & find the best travel system here.

Baby Travel Essentials for Eating

If you are traveling in a country where you can safely expect every restaurant to high chair, like in North America, then you may not need a portable high chair. However, a travel high chair can be very convenient for feeding a baby in hotel rooms or if your Airbnb doesn’t have one.

Once our baby was eating solid foods, we always traveled with the MyLittleSeat Travel High Chair. This is a must-have when travelling to countries where restaurants don’t typically have high chairs!

essentials for traveling with baby - portable high chair

We love that it has a 5-point harness, it attaches to the back of most chairs and feels quite safe.  As a bonus, it packs down really small, which makes it easy to bring with you while sightseeing with your baby!

If you are looking for a clip on travel high chair option, our post on The Best Travel High Chairs Compared has our other recommendations.

Aside from bibs that are easy to clean, you can also pack a portable baby food masher. Read all about travel with baby food here (coming soon).

If your baby is formula fed, then there would be more to add to this list! Know anyone who might be interested in writing a post on traveling with a formula fed baby? Send us an email at info[at]babycantravel[dot]com.

Baby Travel Essentials for Flying

Flying with a baby can be intimidating, especially for the first time. If there’s one place that packing lightly is important, then this is it. You’ll have enough to deal with, rather than worrying about a bunch of bags.

The number one item we recommend for flying with a baby is a good baby carrier. You’ll find our top two recommendations in the Baby Travel Essentials for Getting Around section above, or all the best baby carriers for travel here.

Though this might seem like an odd item to have under baby gear. Blankets are one of the top traveling essentials for baby. We highly recommend the Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets. The reason we love them so much is for their size and how light they are.

best baby gear for travel

They are perfect for giving your baby a place to play on the floor in that airport, obviously they work well to swaddle or keep your baby warm, and they even work as a nursing cover in a pinch. They are one of those wonderful multi-tasking items for travel with a baby! We love them so much, we even wrote an entire blog post on how useful these swaddle blankets are for travel with a baby!

The best part is that you’ll keep using these even when you are traveling with a toddler! They are worth every penny!

We have several baby travel toys to entertain your baby on the plane listed here. And for breastfeeding and pumping moms, read our post on flying with a baby and breastfeeding.

Other Travel Essentials for Baby

One more that we would definitely include in our list of essentials for travelling with a baby is a diaper change pad. You won’t need to worry about finding places to change your baby if you have one or laying your baby on a dirty change table. We used ours so frequently that it definitely falls under the category of best baby gear!

So what are essential things to pack when traveling with a baby?

At a minimum, these are our recommended essentials for traveling with baby:

  • Baby carrier
  • Large swaddle blankets
  • SlumperPod
  • Baby travel bed (if not provided by a hotel)
  • CoziGo stroller cover (if traveling with a stroller)
  • Fabric high chair (if baby is eating solid foods)
  • Diaper change pad

You can definitely get by with leaving all the other baby travel stuff at home or buying lighter and more portable baby gear. This would depend on how much room you have and how much you’ll be moving around! You don’t want to be lugging extra heavy bags around for your entire trip!

Other travel gear for baby, you could consider is a white noise machine and an inflatable bathtub to help replicate your sleep routine at home. You could also pack a travel baby monitor if you can’t get the app to work.

What about your diaper bag? Our only recommendation here is to make sure you use something that will allow you to be hands free, like this backpack diaper bag! We’ve even used our backpack as a diaper bag / carry-on for traveling with a baby.

If you plan to fly with a car seat and not bring it on the plane, make sure to keep it safe in a car seat travel bag. You can get them for strollers too, though you’ll probably be gate checking your stroller and they aren’t quite as necessary.

Checklist for What to Bring When Traveling with a Baby

It can seem overwhelming when you start thinking about everything you need to bring when traveling with a baby and that’s why we’ve created this handy baby packing list so you don’t forget anything!

We’ve also created a list on Amazon with all the products mentioned above, so you can see them all in one place!

We purchased all of the gear above with our own money, with the exception of the KidCo PeaPod Plus & CoziGo which were provided to us for the purpose of a review. All opinions are our own.

Pin It For Later!

Best Baby Travel Essentials

7 Best Baby-Friendly All-Inclusive Resorts for 2020

Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park with a Baby