Did all the years of traveling with a carry-on luggage prepare me to pack for myself and a baby? People talk about how much there is to pack for a tiny human, and it is true. Gone are the days for grabbing my travel toiletries and wardrobe into the carry-on one hour before departing for the airport. However, with some preparation and strategy, the good news is that it’s possible to travel relatively light and still feel prepared with options in hand. While I know there are different parenting styles, here are some things I learned about packing for an international trip after becoming a parent.
- Research: Does the accommodation have a laundry facility available? Will you have a kitchen? Will you be mainly driving or walking around in your destination? We have opted for staying at Airbnb homes with kitchens so that we could easily prep meals (for eating in or on the go), clean up, do laundry, and have a bit more space so we don’t have to hang out in the bathroom while the baby is napping or sleeping as we would in a hotel room.
- Essentials: Plan for a supermarket trip as soon as you arrive in your destination to pick up the essentials. This is for diapers, wipes, fruits, and veggies. More on food later, but this will save you from trying to fit days or even weeks of diapers and wipes in your luggage, which really can add up. If you are visiting family, consider ordering online and shipping diapers and wipes to the family house. Bring diapers and wipes for the traveling days.
- Baby toiletry kit: Our has a 3-oz travel bottle for the baby shampoo, first aid kit, toothbrush, tooth paste, hair brush, a handful of facial cotton pads and q-tips, and a couple of wash cloths.
- Clothes: If a laundry facility is available, I usually pack 5 baby undershirts (white onesies), 4 sets of outfits and socks, 1 sun hat, and 1 jacket (thickness depends on the season). Layering is key.
- Food: This can vary depending on the family lifestyle and the baby age. For us, our daughter was exclusively breastfed, so we didn’t bring the pump or bottles on the road when she was younger. Since she began eating solids, we have served her various foods cooked without salt (but seasoned with natural herbs and spices). We also opted for not giving her any artificial sugar as a family choice. When we are on the road, some fruits and veggies we have brought with us include: avocados, bananas, washed blueberries, apples, fresh mozzarella string cheese, and edamame. I have brought some homemade meats that I chop up and freeze in Tupperware and then let it thaw with hot water. Airport securities have been very friendly about baby foods items in our experience. When we arrive in the destination, we stop by the grocery store for eggs, yogurt, milk, grains/bread, meat and veggies so that it’s possible to cook up some simple bento boxes. Along with the actual food, I usually pack her travel utensils, bibs that can be rolled up and wiped clean, straw cups, and water bottle in my bag.
What about a stroller or car seat? This can look different depending on your choice of airline seating, how walkable your destination is, and how you feel about rental car seats. For us, we use a travel stroller, which can fit in the inflight overhead bin and we love, and we haven’t brought a car seat with us. I use our own seat strap covers when we rent a car with a car seat, but otherwise I wear my daughter in a carrier through airports and in taxis/Ubers rides. We’ve enjoyed not having to lug a car seat around unless it is a road trip with our own car.
Shop some of our beloved travel gears:
TeamFar Toddler Utensil Flatware
Soft Silicone Feeding Bib
THERMOS FOOGO Insulated Stainless Steel Straw Bottle
Mountain Buggy Nano Stroller
What does packing for a family look like to you? If you have any tips, share with us in the comments below.