Last week I excitedly unwrapped my daughter’s brand new, very first passport. Staring back at me was her mug shot (quite literally. She does this great “We are not amused” look where she raises one eyebrow and scrunches the other) and the field stating that the applicant is not required to sign…Umm. Correct. That’s because she was 5 weeks old at the time of the application and physically incapable of gripping anything except my hair, necklace or earrings; a writing implement would have been a stretch.

But I can’t wait to take her away for the first time and start showing her the world. 

I like to be prepared at the best of times, and I’ve been saved from many a potential baby-nightmare by being organised, so with this in mind I’ve compiled a list of things that I need to pack or remember. The one thing I’ve left off is an ink pad so we can send postcards signed with her hand or footprint.

Don’t forget to always check the latest security restrictions before you fly, as well as the airline’s policies on luggage, carry-on baggage and liquids. I’m flying EasyJet for our first trip and I’m allowed to take a second piece of hand luggage for my infant – which needs to measure 45cm x 36cm x 20cm.

Packing (hand luggage items)

  • Paperwork
  • Passports
  • Copy of baby’s birth certificate

I’m not sure whether we need this, but I’ve been advised to take it just in case. If you’re the only parent travelling, you may be asked to provide proof of consent from your other half for your child to travel. Whilst we will be travelling with her father, my daughter has my surname, so if asked, we’ll be able to prove that he’s her daddy, and that, of course, he’s happy for us all to go on holiday.

Apparently you’re far more likely to be asked for proof of ownership of your offspring if you’re in countries where adoption or child trafficking are common, if your child’s surname differs to yours or if they bear very little resemblance to you.

If you have adopted a child, you must take their adoption papers.

  • Bottled water (can be picked up past security)
  • Toys
  • Snacks for the adults
  • Sling or baby carrier for hands-free time, keeping baby close in crowded areas, as well as going off piste & exploring while you’re at your destination (such as the mountain trails my other half is desperate to show her)
  • Nappies & nappy sacks

Tip: take one for each hour you’re travelling. Plus a couple of extra just in case you’re delayed.

Note for changing: A great tip I received was to pack nappy sacks with a nappy and the requisite number of wipes (for whichever…ahem, possibility) and pop these into your changing bag (tied of course, so the wipes don’t dry out.) Toilets on airplanes are notoriously tiny, so not having to find the right number of wipes and a nappy plus nappy sack while you’re balancing your baby on your hip/knee can be sanity-saving.

Tip: as you know, there are strict rules regarding liquids, creams and gels in hand luggage. Only containers of 100ml or less are allowed in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag (20 cm square). The total amount of liquid allowed is 1 litre.

For milk (formula or expressed), or sterilised water, the 100 ml per container restriction does not apply – it’s up to 400ml – provided, again, that your total is less than a litre. They must be decanted into your own bottles as you won’t be allowed to take the original packaging through security.

Be aware that you may be asked to taste it(!) for security reasons.

Tip: if you can, try and get baby used to drinking room temperature milk as this will mean you have no hassle heating it en route.

  • Sterilising tablets (if relevant) for small items on the move. You’ll also need a waterproof, screw-top container. 
  • Muslins / burp cloths. These can be used for the usual spit up, vomit and general emergency, as well as covering the stroller or pram against very strong sunlight or bright light if your little one is fast asleep and sensitive to the light.
  • Change of clothes – at least one, possibly two. In case of accidents and / or emergencies. I’m also taking another top for me. 

Tip: if you pack each of your baby’s outfits in a ziplock bag then you won’t have to hunt around for tiny bits & pieces like socks, shirts etc.

  • Dummy (if relevant) - A dummy can help with the baby's ears as can breast feeding
  • Bottles (if relevant & if formula isn’t already in one)
  • Camera (or make sure you have sufficient memory on your phone)
  • Sunglasses 
  • Swimsuit
  • Swim nappies
  • Suntan lotion
  • Sunhat
  • Car seat (or make sure you’ve arranged one with your car rental). Can also be used on the plane if you prefer.
  • Pram or stroller (ours doubles as her bed. Though not for much longer at the rate she’s growing!)
  • Travel cot or somewhere safe to sleep
  • Portable steam steriliser if you have to sterilise things regularly. There are also steam clean bags that you can pop into the microwave for smaller items (like breast pump equipment)
  • Clothes

Tip: if your baby is old enough to have started sweating and you’re visiting somewhere unfamiliarly hot (i.e. if you live in the UK and you’re travelling anywhere overseas!) you can expect to change your baby up to 3 times a day. As a minimum you should consider 2 sets of clothes a day.

Final tips: if you can, try and keep your baby sucking during take-off and landing, whether by bottle, nursing or a dummy, in order to ease the pressure and discomfort in their ears. You can also try massaging behind their ears and gently tugging on their earlobes every so often.

And…apparently, if baby gets a streaming nose (a side effect of the low humidity of the cabin air) you can try wetting the inside of their nostrils with a wet finger(!) Let me know if you try this before I do (& whether it works!)

Do you have any tips on travelling with babies? I’d love to hear them in the comments.