mum carrying infant on the beach

Travelling with a baby can be stressful, but with proper preparation, it can be a smooth and enjoyable experience, even if you are doing it solo. In the first weeks of baby’s life, you are probably thinking that surely going on holiday can’t be worth the hassle – all the items you will need to pack for baby, when you barely manage to go to the corner shop without forgetting a crucial item! Well, the good news is, over time things get easier, and you and your little one develop a routine.

All the travel essentials for your holiday with baby:

 To make sure that you remember to pack all the must-have baby travel items for your first single parent holiday, we have made a list for you:

Baby travel gear

These items are usually the heaviest and will take up the most space, yet some of them are essential. Your baby’s age will dictate which ones you will need to take and which ones you can do without. You will need to check if your airline will let you carry them and if so, if there is a cost associated with it. Prams and car seats are usually checked in for free but do check with your airline. You will usually also have to book the item in as bulk luggage. Here is the baby gear you should consider taking on holiday:

  • compact pram or pushchair
  • car seat
  • soft baby carrier/sling (essential if you need to give up your pram at check in)

If you are still using a large pram, consider buying a pushchair for the journey. Don’t forget, you can use this later when your little one is bigger. Don’t get tempted to borrow one if you are flying as such items often get damaged in transit. A pram or pushchair in which the baby can sit up can also double up as a high chair and an rear facing car seat can be used as an infant carrier/baby bouncer on holiday.mum feeding infant food pouch in pushchair

Baby mealtimes

Always make sure to pack enough formula for the trip if your baby is bottle-fed, as you do not want to run out abroad! Changing the formula of your infant on holiday is not something you want to risk in case baby does not like other brands or develops a reaction to them. Buy sterilising tablets as you won’t have your steriliser with you and consider buying a bottle warmer/cooler. Don’t forget to pack bottles, a bottle brush, and any other feeding equipment your child may require. Here is a list of essentials you need to take for baby’s mealtimes:

  • formula (plenty!)
  • bottles
  • bottle brush
  • sterilising tablets
  • botte warmer/cooler
  • muslin squares
  • bibs
  • dummies if you use them

if your child already has solids / drinks from a cup:

  • travel spoon and bowl
  • baby food pouches for the journey plus some as snacks (better than fragile/heavy jars)
  • baby snacks (lots to keep her entertained)
  • baby sippy cup if used

if you are breastfeeding:

If you are considering buying formula abroad, be sure to do your research before you leave, so that you know which brands are safe, and which products might have potential risks associated with them, such as those highlighted in a baby formula lawsuit recently brought against a major formula company. The lawsuit alleged that the company’s formula caused severe gastroenteritis in infants.

If you are still breastfeeding, then you are saving on luggage here: Just pack a cover-up and nipple cream if needed.mum feeding baby bottle

Baby changing essentials

If you want to save yourself the hassle of locating a supermarket on arrival and trying to find nappies the right size (considering the language barrier and the different brands offered abroad), pack enough nappies to last the entire holiday. Make sure to put plenty of them into your hand luggage. Needless to say, you will need a nappy-changing pad and plastic bags for soiled nappies in your hand luggage. All in all, you should pack:

  • nappies for the journey and the holiday
  • wipes
  • nappy bags
  • changing bag with changing mat
  • nappy rash cream
  • hand sanitiser

mum changing nappy

Change of clothes for the journey

Don’t forget to pack at least two sets of baby grows and/or other spare baby clothes in your hand luggage in case of spills or accidents while travelling. And as silly as it sounds, pack some easy-to-change clothes for yourself, in case an accident spills onto your clothes – not that unlikely if you are flying long haul with kids and baby travels on your lap. Also remember that she might get chilly passing through train stations or airports. Make sure your little one is wrapped up warm when it gets draughty and bring a spare blanket along.

Weather specific items on holiday

For the holiday itself, it is important to keep baby protected from the elements, be that the sun, the wind, or the cold. To protect your little one’s skin from the strong sun in the mountains or at the beach, for example, you should consider taking the following:

  • several sun hats that shade the eyes and cover the neck
  • a beach tent for extra shade
  • a sun cover for your pushchair
  • long sleeved UV clothes
  • sun lotion

parent putting sun lotion on baby

Baby travel toys

Even if baby is still little, chances are you will need to entertain her for a good few hours whether you are driving, taking the train, a coach, or are flying. Whilst car journeys can sooth and send young children to sleep, plane journeys often cause tears due to the change in cabin pressure. Bring some toys and books with you that you know will keep your baby’s attention for a little while. There are some great holiday travel toys on the market, including many portable ones that can be clipped onto your baby’s pushchair to ensure it can’t get lost.

Bedtime essentials

We all know that babies like routine, so if you want a good night’s sleep on holiday, bring those items that are part of your baby’s bedtime routine and try to follow the same bedtime routine, for example having a bath, bottle whilst reading a story, before putting her to bed to the same music as at home. You will need to pack:

  • books
  • baby’s night light
  • favourite comforter or cuddly toy
  • musical soft toy
  • baths accessories if needed

Most of these items are small but can make all the difference if you want your baby to sleep well, so these should be essential baby travel items.

dad reading book to baby on holiday

Emergency contact information

Even if your baby is healthy, it may be advisable to check where the nearest doctor, pharmacy and hospital are and carry emergency contact information with you in case your little one becomes unwell. If your child has any allergies or medical concerns, it will be worth bringing a copy of your baby’s medical records and of course an EpiPen.

Travel first aid kit

It’s absolutely worth putting together a basic travel first aid kit for baby so that you do not have to stress about finding a pharmacy or doctor at the first signs of your child sniffling. Unfortunately there is a good chance of baby catching a cold from the changes in temperature/climate you will experience travelling as well as the air conditioning blasting on planes and in many hotels. First aid kit items for baby should include:

  • thermometer
  • basal aspirator
  • saline nasal spray
  • infant paracetamol
  • nail clippers
  • tweezers
  • disinfecting wipes or spray
  • zinc-based nappy cream
  • antihistamines if baby is over 6 months old

thermometer for baby travel first aid kit

Paperwork

Naturally, your baby needs its own passport. If you are planning to take your little one on holiday, you have probably already applied for a child passport. Remember however that if you are a single parent travelling solo, or even if you have a partner not accompanying you, you will need permission from the other parent to travel abroad. Ideally you should take the baby’s birth certificate as proof of your relationship with your child and the consent of your partner or ex-partner. Going on holiday without these documents is a risk as both your airline and border control might prevent you from continuing your journey.

Last but not least, never travel without insurance. You should take out a policy at the latest after you have booked your holiday to protect you in the case of one of you falling sick and being unable to travel, medical expenses or theft whilst away, flight cancellations, and more.

baby bedtime travel essentials

Summary

In conclusion, the more you pack, the more comfortable and ‘at home’ baby will feel, meaning a more relaxing holiday for you. Yet packing everything and the kitchen sink is not practical. Which items you will be able to do without depends on your destination and the age and personality of your baby. Don’t forget to check if your accommodation  has essential travel items, such as a pushchair, bottle warmer, etc. that you can borrow or rent for your holiday – many hotels and cottages now provide more than just cots and high chairs for parents’ convenience. You could also hire some baby travel items, such as a car seat if you don’t have one but need it for your journey. In addition, you can buy many baby travel items in a more compact travel size, so they don’t take up as much space. We hope our list of baby travel essentials has helped you with planning your first holiday with baby!

About the author:

Single Parents on Holiday provide fully-organised single parent group holidays for single mums and dads and their children. In addition, we also organise single holidays for single parent empty nesters and anyone else travelling solo without kids.