Packing for a trip with a baby or small child. What to take?

Gone are the days when I could throw a few items in a bag and make do at my destination.  Modern parenting involves furnishings, toys and devices which help both to keep our children safe and our days running smoother.  We can’t of course take everything we use at home.  Good packing is therefore one of the most important aspects of preparation when travelling with babies and young children. As well as clothes and toiletries for those travelling with babies there is some essential equipment you will need at your destination.  Most families will need a cot, a stroller and a child car restraint when they arrive.  If staying with family or friends it is worth asking a few weeks before you arrive whether they can access these for you.  Grandparents often want to buy the essentials to encourage frequent visits but will need advice about exactly what you need.  Friends, neighbors and family of the people you are visiting will often have what you need stored away if the right questions are asked.  There are also companies that hire baby equipment to travelling families.  These companies offer the benefit of delivery and set up (including car seat installation) at your destination.  Hire for Baby is one of these.  Even if taking your own essentials, borrowing or hiring a playpen or bouncer may make things easier while you are away from home.  Items such as stair guards are not practical to pack but may be essential safety items and therefore warrant hiring if your accommodation puts your child at risk. If you are going to take your own equipment with you and you are flying, find out how many pieces of baby equipment your airline will allow to check for free (see my list here).  If you have an older baby or toddler consider buying a light weight umbrella stroller rather than taking your regular stroller. Most other baby supplies will be available at your destination (although check this if you are travelling internationally or cruising).  If travelling for more than a couple of days it is worth purchasing what you need when you arrive and only packing nappies etc for your first day or two. The clothing you take will depend on your destination.  As a guide, if you do not have access to laundry facilities pack two outfits a day.  The older your child gets the easier it will be to pack for them. The following list details items which are potentially worth their weight in gold when away from home.  They are also the easiest to forget.

  • Comfort toys/sleep aids.
  • Travel booster seat or high chair.
  • Baby monitor (important if you are staying in two story accommodation).
  • Night light (the plug in variety)
  • A couple of toys, books and puzzles
  • Stroller
  • Portacot
  • Clip-on reading light – important if you are all staying in a hotel room together.
  • Camera
  • First Aid Kit
  • Portable potty
  • Bedding protectors (e.g. “Brolley sheets”) if travelling with a child who is not fully toilet trained
  • Lullaby or white noise CD if your child depends on it for sleep.

Good luck to you all on your travels.  You may also be interested in my carry-on baggage checklist.  I’d love to hear reader suggestions/tips for any items you think I have left off.

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© Copyright 2012 Danielle, All rights Reserved. Written For: Bubs on the Move

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