Tips to Traveling With an Infant

Posted at 3:49 PM on Mar 5, 2024

Northwest Family Clinic –  Traveling With an Infant.jpg

Traveling with an infant can be a daunting task for many parents. Caring for a new baby can be challenging enough, but now throw in traveling with your new little bundle of joy and all of the unexpected things that can occur, yikes! The good news is you are not alone, and many of us travel with babies with little to no stress.

We have compiled a list of tips to help parents navigate the challenges of traveling with their little ones. Whether you're planning a short road trip or a long-haul flight, these tips are designed to ensure the health and safety of your infant, while also making the journey as smooth as possible for the entire family.

Tips to Traveling With an Infant


When it comes to packing it can be tempting to pack everything, but the kitchen sink. Yes, babies do require a lot of stuff, but let us break down some packing tips that will help you travel lighter and ensure you have everything you need when you need it.

  • Have an essentials bag and keep it close by. This should include diapers, wipes, a changing pad, plastic bags for dirty diapers, a bottle or breast pump, formula (if used), snacks, pacifier, toys, and a change of clothes (or two) for the infant. Do your best to keep this bag organized so you can quickly and easily grab what you need when you need it. If you are flying this should be included in your carry on bag.
  • Baby carrier or sling, depending on your baby’s age. This can help simplify transportation and to keep your hands free.
  • Include a health kit in your bag. Pack a kit that includes a thermometer, infant pain reliever (consult your doctor for recommendations and dosages), nail clipper, suction bulb, saline nasal drops, and any prescription medications your infant may need.
  • Additional feeding essentials that include enough formula (if needed) for the duration of your trip, enough bottles and nipples (if needed) with a bottle brush and a small amount of dish soap for cleaning.
  • Enough bibs and burp cloths for the duration of your trip.
  • Diapers, bring more than you think you'll need. A good rule is about 1 diaper per hour of travel, plus extras for delays.
  • Wipes for diaper changes and general cleanups.
  • Diaper rash/barrier cream, to prevent and treat diaper rash.
  • Clothing, pack enough outfits for each day of travel, plus a few extras for accidents or spills. Include layers to adapt to changing temperatures and appropriate sleepwear for the destination's climate.
  • Socks and shoes even if your baby isn’t walking yet, socks and shoes are essential for warmth and protection.
  • Hats, either for protection against the sun and a warm hat for colder climates.
  • Portable crib or travel bassinet, depending on where you are staying you may or may not need this. Be sure to call ahead and determine if you will need to provide your own crib.
  • Baby blankets for comfort, warmth, and swaddling.
  • Baby-specific sunscreen if your infant is over six months and you'll be in sunny locations.
  • Baby-safe repellent for trips to areas with mosquitoes or other insects.
  • Favorite Toys/Books: A few of their favorite small toys or books to keep them entertained.
  • A lightweight, collapsible stroller is ideal for travel.
  • Car seat which is necessary for travel by car and often required on planes.

Plan Your Travel Times Wisely

Traveling With an Infant - Travel Times

Anyone with a baby knows that they dictate our schedules and a little careful planning can help ensure the smoothest travel possible. This planning includes:

  • Avoid rush hours, if traveling by car, try to schedule your driving times around your baby's sleep schedule and avoid peak traffic times to reduce the time spent in the car.
  • Choose flights carefully. For air travel, consider booking flights during your infant's usual sleep times. Overnight flights can be particularly effective if you're crossing time zones.

Feeding and Comfort

When a baby is comfortable everyone is more comfortable. Ensure their comfort by:

  • Ensuring they are hydrated, especially during flights as cabin air can be very dry.
  • Feed during takeoff and landing. To help ease ear pressure during takeoff and landing on flights, feed your baby or offer a pacifier. This encourages swallowing and helps equalize ear pressure.
  • Offer them comfort items like a blanket, toy, pacifier.
  • Hold, cuddle, rock and offer them a lot of love to put them at ease.
  • Dress your baby in layers that can be easily added or removed to keep them comfortable in changing temperatures, both inside the vehicle/plane and outside.

Be Flexible

Remember that the unexpected happens, and there is simply no avoiding it. However, the best thing you can do is plan for the inevitable hiccups and stay calm. Your baby can sense when you are upset, and it may affect their comfort level. Keep a flexible mindset and schedule to accommodate these unforeseen events.

Take Care of Yourself

Mom and dad don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. We are far too familiar of the need to take care of our baby and then forget about ourselves, but in order to be a good parent you need to make yourself a priority as well. Don’t forget to pack your own essentials, dress in layers, stay hydrated, etc.

Practice Good Hygiene

Traveling can open us up to all kinds of new germs, and it’s a good idea to keep hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes handy to clean surfaces before letting your infant touch them, especially in public areas.  Older infants often have runny noses, so keeping tissues close at hand is also a good idea.

Seek Medical Advice

Before traveling consider having a check-up with your family doctor to discuss any travel-related health concerns and ensure your infant is up-to-date on vaccinations.
Safe and happy travels!