28 Baby Travel Essentials Every Parent Should Have on Hand

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Packing is never an easy endeavor—you have to account for all kinds of variables, from the duration of your trip to the current weather at your destination. Add a baby to the mix? Now, that’s a tall order. Just think about how much baby gear you use on a daily basis. 

Whether your family travel plans have you jetting to warmer climates or taking a road trip to grandma’s house, there’s good news: It is possible to travel with a baby, without toting a surplus of heavy suitcases. As long as you have a handful of thoughtfully-designed must-have items and accessories on your packing list. Here are the baby travel essentials every parent should have on hand for a stress-free vacation with kids. 

Table of Contents 

General Baby Travel Essentials 

mom on vacation holding baby in baby carrier

There are a handful of must-have baby items you’ll want to put on your baby packing list, no matter where your travels take you. These are things you can’t get through a single day without—like diapering essentials and safety gear like a car seat, for example. 

1. Umbrella Stroller

  • Retail: $89.99
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $6.52 - $53.00 

Don’t be fooled by the name “travel system.” While these larger strollers may have the word travel in the name, they’re much better suited for everyday use, since they tend to be larger and heavier. 

Instead, an umbrella-style stroller like the Babyzen YOYO2, is better suited for travel, especially if you’ll be flying or using public transportation. These strollers are much lighter, fold up in a flash and are easy to squeeze into a tight trunk or hotel room. 

Key Features

  • Lightweight
  • Quick, one-handed fold

Things to Keep in Mind

  • They don’t take bumps and alternate terrain as well as larger strollers

Shop Umbrella Strollers

2. Travel Crib

  • Retail: $270.71
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $15.47 - $219.99 

If baby is still in a crib, you’ll need a safe and secure place for them to sleep during naps and overnights. While some accommodations, like hotels, often provide cribs upon request, other locales like house rentals or a relative’s house might not. 

What’s more, some parents don’t want their children sharing such an intimate space with an endless cycle of other babies. Baby Bjorn’s Travel Crib Light is an excellent option, because it’s incredibly lightweight, folds easily into an included carry bag, and has a nice, soft mattress that sits on the ground.

Key Features

  • Lightweight
  • Comes with storage bag

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Sheet sold separately

Shop Travel Cribs

3. Fully-Stocked Diaper Bag

  • Retail: $199.99
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $4.75 - $149.99 

Of course, you’ll need a certain amount of diapering essentials to see you through your vacation. The right bag can make it much easier to tote the must-haves, like diapers, wipes, pacifiers, an extra set of clothes and a muslin swaddle blanket

We recommend a backpack-style bag, like this stylish one from Freshly Picked, since they leave your hands free for other luggage and for tending to baby, of course. It also comes with a portable changing pad for your convenience come time for a diaper change. 

Key Features

  • Stylish leather details
  • Fully wipeable and spill-resistant

Things to Keep in Mind

  • May be too small for a long trip

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4. Spill-Proof Snacks

  • Retail: $10.99
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $3.00 - $7.59

You know how hangry you get during a long travel day? Baby is no different, but it can be hard to find age-appropriate snacks at a travel hub like an airport. Not to mention, the prices at those stores are sky-high. Stock some baby food, like puffs or pretzels, in a spill-proof snack catcher, like this one from Munchkin, to make sure you can satisfy a snack craving in a flash. 

Key Features

  • Easy to store
  • Spill-resistant

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Very young babies may need a little help using these containers

Shop Snack Catchers

Plane Travel Essentials 

mom with kid on a plane

You’ll likely find the above baby travel essentials helpful for airplane rides, but there are a few other items you may want to consider investing in if you’re taking to the friendly skies. 

5. Car Seat 

If your infant is sitting on your lap, you can go ahead and check your car seat (a travel bag is a must-have to keep it clean and protected en route) but if you’re buying a seat for a toddler or young child, you’ll need a car seat. 

That said, travel car seats come in all different sizes, so default to what you’re used to and what fits your child. Just note: Not all car seats are approved for use on airplanes, so you’ll need to double-check your own seat first. Approved seats will have the following printed on them: "This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft."

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6. Baby Carrier

  • Retail: $148.94
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $4.75 - $139.99 

You can bring your stroller through security, but you’ll have to check it once you get to the gate. A baby carrier is a convenient alternative, since it contains baby, keeps your hands free and eliminates the need to transfer baby prior to boarding—a process that can be very stressful while there’s a whole line of people behind you. 

Simply check your stroller with the rest of your luggage. Parents love this one from Baby K’Tan, because unlike options like the Ergo, there are no straps and buckles to contend with. 

Key Features

  • Folds compactly for storage
  • No wrapping required

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Weight capacity caps at 35 pounds

Shop Carriers

7. Stroller Bag

  • Retail: $210
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $39.99 - $118.75

Whether you’re checking your stroller with the rest of your luggage or taking it to the gate and checking it there, a travel stroller bag is a must. These bags, often padded, keep your travel stroller from getting all dinged up while it’s under the airplane’s main cabin. It also keeps its parts—like the wheels—from snagging on other pieces of luggage and potentially breaking off. 

Key Features

  • Padded for security
  • Top closure for quick security screening

Things to Keep in Mind

  • These bags are expensive, but well worth it

Shop Stroller Bags

8. Games Without Small Pieces

  • Retail: $40
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $20.58

Babies and toddlers need constant stimulation, so you’d be remiss not to pack something to keep your little one occupied en route. When traveling by plane, leave anything with small parts and pieces at home—if they drop, they’re almost impossible to uncover from between or under seats. 

Instead, opt for something like the Lovevery Anywhere Art Kit, a soft carrier complete with paper and a few mess-free paint pens. Something as simple as an old wallet filled with used gift cards or one of these interactive travel toys will also do the trick for younger babies and toddlers. 

Key Features

  • Ultra-portable
  • Easy to keep track of

Things to Keep in Mind

  • This particular set may be too messy for younger babies

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Road Trip Travel Essentials 

3 kids in a car seat getting ready for a road trip

If your travel destination is only a car ride away, don’t slack on when it comes time to pack. To keep baby comfortable and entertained on the open road, you’ll want to ensure you have these travel must-haves. 

9. Backseat Mirror

  • Retail: $24.97
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $7.73 - $19.99

A backseat mirror straps onto the headrest of the seat that houses baby’s car seat. It serves two important functions—one for you, the other for baby. The mirror allows both the driver and the passenger to see baby to give you peace of mind as you drive. 

But there’s also a more underrated benefit of a car seat mirror: Since baby can see their own reflection in this mirror, their reflection will help keep them entertained. 

Key Features

  • Easy to install
  • Great for baby and parents

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Some question the safety of installing these items in your car, since they can become projectiles in the event of a collision. 

Shop Mirrors

10. Backseat Organizer

  • Retail: $11.99
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $4.75 - $26.00 

Rather than stuff all of baby’s must-haves—diapers, extra clothes and more—into the trunk, place this organizer inside first. This option has two large interior pockets, as well as a variety of side mesh pockets to help you keep all of baby’s travel essentials in order. And when everything is exactly where it should be, you’ll have a much easier time finding things when you need them. 

Key Features

  • Lightweight
  • Keeps everything exactly where it should be

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Sides could be a bit more structured

Shop Organizers

11. Car Trash Can

  • Retail: $9.99
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: N/A

Dirty diapers, snack wrappers, face wipes… there’s a lot you’ll need to dispose of on your road trip. Keep your car tidier by placing a car-friendly trash can inside. This one has an adjustable strap, so you can attach it to both front and back headrests or the center console. It also has a leak-proof design, so you won’t have to worry about dirty diapers or half-empty pouches making a mess. 

Key Features

  • Adjustable strap
  • Leak-proof design

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Doesn’t necessarily trap smells 

12. Teether

  • Retail: $24.99
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $5.00 - $18.99

Most car seat manuals explicitly say that you should never hang toys from the seat or its handle. Instead, consider a soft teether, like Sophie la Giraffe, to keep baby occupied during your road trip. The entire thing is safe for gumming, plus it makes a super soft squeak that’ll keep your kiddo’s attention, without driving you crazy with lights and sounds. 

Key Features

  • Soft
  • Quiet

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Not interactive enough for older babies

Shop Teethers

Travel Gear to Visit Grandparents 

two kids at grandparents house playing

If you know you’ll be heading to the same destination over and over again—like grandma and grandpa’s—you may want to consider buying a few helpful baby essentials and shipping them straight there. This way, you’ll always have the necessities on hand, particularly if you end up having more than one child. 

13. Play Gym

  • Retail: $140
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $4.99 - $113.99

Baby might need a space to lay and play or crawl while staying at their grandparent’s house. But bringing a bunch of toys can take up too much real estate in your luggage or trunk. A play gym is a great option for your little one, since it has a relatively small footprint and folds compactly for transportation. Still, you can hang plenty of stimulating toys from the overhead bar, including balls, baby-safe mirrors, rattles and more.

Key Features

  • Easy to assemble
  • Lots of play potential

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Not stimulating enough for older babies and toddlers

Shop Play Gyms

14. Safety Gates

  • Retail: $179.95
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $4.75 - $97.50 

Worried about that steep set of stairs at grandma’s house? Or maybe it’s the grandparent’s pristine living room you’re trying to protect? Either way, a safety gate can help keep your kiddo safe and out of the rooms they’re not supposed to be in. While you’ll pay a bit more for one-handed gates, it’s worth the added expense—especially since grandparents aren’t used to fiddling with these types of items. Our pick: The Regalo Easy Open Safety Gate.

Key Features

  • Easy to install
  • One-handed open

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Make sure you get the tension gates, so you don’t have to drill any holes in the walls

Shop Safety Gates

15. Booster Seat

  • Retail: $26.80
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $14.24 - $22.60

Younger babies and toddlers need a high chair for mealtimes, but the standard variety takes up a ton of floor space and clip-on versions may not fit on grandma’s table. 

This space-saving booster seat is a great option for a travel high chair for babies and toddlers, since it secures onto just about any dining chair, turning it into a safe and secure spot for baby to eat. After your visit, the small seat is easy to store in a closet somewhere. 

Key Features

  • Space-saving
  • Includes a tray

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Can be hard to clean all of the crevices

Shop Booster Seat

16. Feeding Set

  • Retail: $29.99
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $19.99 - $21.99 

Another mealtime must-have? A feeding set. Chances are grandparents won’t have a host of plastic plates and utensils, but you certainly don’t want your tot to break their nice dinnerware. A silicone feeding set is easy to pack and makes serving meals and snacks so much easier. A nice bonus: They also suction to tabletops, so your little one is less likely to toss their meal onto grandma’s fancy carpet. Don’t forget sippy cups, too. 

Key Features

  • Sticks to tabletops
  • Dishwasher-safe

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Silverware is very small

Shop Feeding Set

17. SlumberPod

  • Retail: $148.23
  • GoodBuy Gear Price: $119.99

Grandparents may have an extra room, but there’s no guarantee that space is as primed for sleep as baby’s nursery is. With a SlumberPod, you can create the perfect environment for a nap—no redecorating required. The pop-up tent stretches over bassinets, standard cribs, travel playards and even toddler cots for the same dark, quiet setting blackout shades provide. 

Key Features

  • Works with cribs and playards
  • Easy to set up

Things to Keep in Mind

  • It can get hot inside

Shop SlumberPod

Diaper Bag Essentials 

For quick outings—like an afternoon at the park or a morning full of errands—you can get away with the basics, namely diapers and wipes. But if you’re traveling for a longer period of time, you’ll want to make sure you stock some other must-haves: 

  • Diapers: It should come as no surprise that you need diapers. You can always save on space by buying diapers at your destination, but it’s a good idea to pack somewhere between 5 and 10 diapers for a travel day. Toddlers will need fewer than infants. 
  • Baby Wipes: Likewise, you can buy wipes once you reach your destination. For the journey, pop one full pack in your bag
  • Snacks: Make sure you can satisfy hunger the moment it arises. Pack temperature-stable food like baby puffs, pretzels or fruit and vegetable pouches. It’s helpful to pre-portion them into snack catchers or zippered baggies, so you can grab and go. 
  • Extra pacifiers: If there’s one thing that tends to go missing the second you buy it, it’s a pacifier. Make sure you have a couple of extras in your diaper bag. It’s also a good idea to get a pacifier clip that you can attach to your tot, so the binkie won’t fall to the floor if they drop it. 
  • An extra set of clothes: When it comes to babies, it’s vital to expect the unexpected. Stash an extra set of clean clothes in your diaper bag, so your kiddo will have a fresh outfit in case they spill water or have a blowout. 
  • Muslin swaddle blanket: These baby blankets are super easy to scrunch up into a little ball, but they serve a whole host of purposes. Use the muslin blanket to swaddle an infant, as a stroller blanket, a burp cloth or a nursing cover if you’re breastfeeding. 
  • Rash ointment: On the plane or in the car, baby may sit in their diaper for a little longer than usual. Ointment—a small 2.5-ounce travel-sized tube will do—is a real lifesaver in the event they get an angry, red rash. 


Nice-to-Have Baby Travel Essentials 

You may not need these products, but the following items will make baby happy, plus make your life easier while traveling—a real win-win in our eyes. 

  • Sound machine: Hotels and relative's homes can be noisy. Ensure your little one gets as much rest and relaxation as they need by bringing a white noise machine with you. 
  • First aid kit: Buy a pre-made first aid kit or stock some of your most-used medicine cabinet essentials in a soft-sided bag. We suggest bandages, a thermometer and fever reducers, in particular. 
  • Baby monitor: If your monitor is easy to transport, it can be a great help at your destination, especially at the grandparent’s house, where you might want to venture to another floor while baby sleeps. 
  • Toiletries: When it comes to self-care products, you don’t have to use the baby versions. Regular lotion, shampoo or sunscreen will do just fine. That said, baby will undoubtedly be more comfortable using their own products, like tear-free shampoo, if you have the space in your luggage. 

Packing for family travel can undoubtedly be overwhelming—especially if it’s the first time you’re leaving home with a baby in tow. To ensure you pack what you need and not much excess, first make a list of must-haves—the items you couldn’t live without. 

Then, consider your destination. Is there anything else that would help keep you and your tiny tot comfortable while traveling? Add those items to the list. Then, if you have room, you can add a few additional items, like a sound machine or even some additional toys for entertainment. 



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