Packing Checklist for Flying with Baby
Most parents are well aware of the fact that when traveling with baby, even to a local park or museum, they are definitely not traveling light. Babies require a LOT of gear!
Between diapers, wipes, pacifiers and changing pads (to name a few), most diaper bags are already bursting at the seams. You definitely want to be well prepared when flying with baby, however, with weight and size restrictions, the key is to pack only the essentials. You don’t want to get stuck paying added baggage fees, or trying to juggle baby and all of their gear while making your way through a crowded airport.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive packing checklist for flying with baby that will ensure that you have everything you need for a seamless flight!
Pack these items in your carry-on, diaper bag or personal item bag:
Passports or Tickets
If you’re traveling internationally, be sure to pack a passport for yourself as well as baby. Have them handy because you will be required to present them at various checkpoints as you progress through security and customs. If you’re on a domestic flight you’ll need a ticket for baby if she/he isn’t sitting on your lap.
Be sure you’re flying with a pack of baby wipes to handle every sticky situation. The multiple uses for baby wipes extend far beyond their intended function for diaper changes. Use them to clean sticky hands and faces, as well as any other messes. Consider packing disinfecting wipes as well to wipe down surfaces, like airplane tray tables and armrests. These areas are prone to germs, which are typically rampant on airplanes!
Pack enough diapers in your carry-on bag to get you through the entire flight. Don’t forget the time you’ll spend at the airport prior to the flight as well. A common rule of thumb is to pack one diaper per hour of travel time. It doesn’t hurt to pack a few extra ones beyond the ones allotted for flight time. After all, delays, cancellations or other unforeseen circumstances can happen when flying. Better to be safe than sorry in this instance!
Disposable Changing Pads
Disposable pads are great for airport and airplane changing tables. They are slim and lightweight so they don’t take up much room in your bag. For the amount of traffic that a changing table sees on a flight and at the airport, you don’t want to be putting down a non-disposable pad, and then just folding it back up and sticking it in your bag. The disposable option is much more sanitary. They often fold out quite large, so you can cut them in advance to get more bang for your buck!
Change of Clothes
Pack a few changes of clothes for baby so if they have a dreaded diaper blowout or any other messy mess, they won’t be stuck in soiled, wet clothing for the duration of the flight. Dress baby in clothes that are easy to take off. Make sure the additional sets are ones that are easy to get on without too much struggle. Changing a baby while flying needs to be quick and simple. In other words, avoid clothing with tons of snaps or buttons! It’s not a bad idea to pack yourself a quick change of clothes also. Who knows what might happen with a baby in tow!
It’s always useful to pack resealable plastic bags, as they can serve multiple purposes. Store soiled baby clothes in them, or use them for general messes such as used tissues or baby food packaging. You can also use them to dispose of dirty diapers. Since they don’t take up much room, pack a good amount of them to keep things tidy and sanitary. Their uses are endless!
Pacifiers & Loveys
If your baby uses a pacifier, be sure to pack a few extra. Store them in multiple easy-to-access places such as your purse, carry on bag, pocket or anywhere else that you can easily access. Pacifiers are great for baby to suck on during takeoff and landing to help combat ear pressure. A favorite lovey or stuffy is also helpful in keeping baby comforted and calm throughout the flight.
Formula, Breastmilk and Baby Foods
Whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding you’ll want to get familiar with TSA regulations regarding flying with these liquids. Reasonable quantities of these liquids are permitted in your carry-on bag, however they are subject to screening. Items such as gel packs or frozen ice packs to cool these liquids are also permitted, as are canned, jarred or processed baby foods.
Toys & Entertainment Devices
If traveling with toddlers, be sure to pack small toys or puzzles that can be played with at the airport and on the flight. Tablets or phones pre-loaded with age appropriate shows, movies and games are a lifesaver. Couple the tablet with a pair of noise canceling headphones and your little traveler is good to go!
A small cozy blanket is great to drape over baby in the stroller when traveling through the airport. In addition, you can keep your little one warm in flight since it often gets fairly chilly on planes. Plus a familiar blanket will give them the comforts of home and hopefully keep them soothed while flying
Larger items that can make all the difference when navigating through the airport and on the flight:
Go hands-free and ease your way through the airport by wearing your little one. Baby carriers such as an ergobaby or BabyBjorn are great options that keep your hands free. From digging through your bag to find travel documents, to checking in your luggage, you will be thankful for the added freedom of having baby safe and sound in a carrier.
If baby is too big for a carrier, or you prefer to use a stroller, your best bet is a lightweight umbrella stroller. It will get you through the airport and can easily fold up and gate checked just before you board. Some super lightweight and compact strollers, like the GB Pockit stroller, can even be stored in the overhead bin on your flight. This reduces any chance of it getting banged up, which can often happen when items are checked. If navigating through the airport with a bulky stroller gives you anxiety, consider renting one at your destination instead. BabyQuip can help! Locate the nearest provider before your flight and have it delivered to your destination.
Babies under the age of two are not required to have their own seat on flights and can lap travel. However, from a safety perspective, purchasing an airline seat for your little one and securing them in an FAA approved car seat is often encouraged. This means that you aren’t holding a wriggling baby on your lap throughout a long flight. Babies may even sleep better in the comfort of their own car seat.
Now that you’re equipped with two handy checklists of all of the crucial items needed for flight travel with baby, it’s time to start planning your next adventure! What travel items for baby can you not live without?
Jennifer O’Neill is an Independent Quality Provider with BabyQuip, helping families travel lighter and happier. She is a mother of two boys and enjoys working out, spending time with family and friends and of course, traveling.