How to Travel with a Baby on a Flight: What You Need to Know Before You Go

Never flown with a baby or toddler before? Not really sure what you’re getting yourself into? Fear not—traveling with a baby doesn’t have to be impossible, and you don’t have to wait until your baby grows up before you can plan your next exciting cross-country or overseas adventure. All you need is some know-how, a sense of adventure, and of course, a handy baby travel checklist.

If you’re curious about family travel, travel packing, and getting around with your infant, we have all the best tips to help you pack, fly, and travel with your baby worry-free. 

You can also download a free printable of our baby packing list, so no matter where you’re headed on your next trip, you won’t leave out the door without any of these essential baby items packed and ready to go with you.

Table of Contents

When Can You Travel with a Baby?

Before you can make any plans to take off on your next flight, there’s something you’re going to need to know: how soon after birth can a baby travel? And the answer is sooner than you might think.

Right off the bat, most airlines don’t permit any infant under seven days (newborns) to travel, except in some cases where your baby’s physician provides permission. So, hold on to your baby travel checklist, because you likely won’t need it right away.

Outside of the newborn category, airlines will typically allow you to fly with a baby of any age. Keep in mind, though, babies’ immune systems generally take 2-3 months to mature, so factor this in when planning your next trip. 

You may want to wait a few months before taking your baby on their first journey through the skies!

Does a Baby Need a Passport to Travel?

The answer differs for domestic and international travel, and depending on which airline you fly with, you may need to bring other documents with you to verify your baby’s information.

Don’t worry, no matter what records your destination requires, our baby travel checklist will make sure you’re covered.

Domestic Travel

If you’re planning a getaway trip with your baby that doesn’t include a destination or a connecting flight outside of the US, then you won’t need a passport for your baby to travel. 

Some airlines, like American, do require proof of age (such as a birth certificate) for travelers under 18, so be sure to check with your airline before you fly out to see if you’ll need to present this documentation for your little one.

International Travel

Before you head out for that next international voyage, you’ll need to make sure you submit your baby’s passport application.

Federal requirements state that all children under 16 must have a passport to travel internationally. While prepping for your next foreign trip, make sure you submit your in-person application for your baby to get their passport as early as possible. 

Pro-Tip: If you’re planning an international vacation with your baby, it’s essential to apply for their passport early! The process can take 4-6 weeks via regular service, or with expedited, you can get it quicker in about 2-3 weeks.

Passports for minors are valid for five years, so they can accompany you on all your international adventures!

Must-Have Items for Traveling with Baby

Traveling can be stressful at the best of times, and adding a baby into the mix can seem daunting at first, especially as it’ll be one of their first extended trips away from home. 

But with a bit of planning, you can take most, if not all, of the stress out of flying with your baby and make some amazing first memories that your family will remember for years to come!

To that end, we’ve put together this comprehensive baby packing list of all the must-have items that are essential for traveling with a baby. 

Based on your family’s needs, you can customize this packing checklist to ensure you have everything you need to make this a happy trip for everyone in your family and especially for your baby!

Baby Packing List – Toiletries

Diapers and Swim Diapers

Diapers are essential for your little one, and having extras on hand is always a good idea for any messes you might have on the flight or during your trip. 

If you’re going the cloth diaper route, make sure you have enough to get you through the day and can leave the washing for at night when you return to your accommodations. 

Heading somewhere with a pool or planning a beach getaway? In that case, make sure you have swim diapers included on your baby travel checklist. A few conveniently reusable and disposable swim diapers will ensure your baby doesn’t miss out on any water-related fun!

Changing Pad/Mat 

Your baby will need a change of diaper, so don’t forget to bring a changing pad/mat you can easily fold up and store in your diaper bag to whip out wherever—at a restaurant, on your flight, in the park. 

You never know when messes will occur. Changing mats keep your baby’s exposed bum off unclean or harsh surfaces and are easy to wipe down after use. 

Wet Wipes

Wet wipes aren’t just for cleaning your baby’s bum, although you’ll definitely need them for that. 

They’re a multifunctional item you can use for cleaning sticky hands, wiping down dirty surfaces, and even a quick way to freshen up after a long flight.

That kind of multi-use makes them a staple on any baby travel checklist.

Diaper Cream

During your travels, your baby may develop a rash, which is never fun to deal with for you or your baby. Keeping a travel-size diaper cream on hand is a must so that you can avoid disaster by addressing any rashes or sore bums immediately.

Wet Bag

Instead of using single-use plastics, a wet bag is a reusable, multi-functional item that you can use to store a variety of things, mostly your damp and dirty items like cloth diapers, dirty clothes, and wet swimsuits. 

In a wet bag, that damp and dirt won’t spread elsewhere, and you can keep messes contained.

Plastic Bags

The alternative to wet bags is plastic bags, which you can use to hold your babies dirty items or use as extra protection to prevent food, snacks, and liquids from spilling.


For babies that like them, pacifiers are a great way to keep them calm between feedings or even help lull them to sleep. But of course, they don’t always stay in babies’ mouths, so packing several is always a good idea as you’re bound to lose one here or there. 

Another option is to add a clip to your pacifier so it remains attached to your baby’s clothes even when it’s not in their mouth. That way, it never goes far.

Baby Shampoo/Soap

Your baby’s skin is generally more sensitive than your own, and if you don’t usually pack your own because your lodgings provide it, keep in mind they don’t typically supply baby brands. 

So, you’ll want to pack small travel bottles of your baby’s usual shampoo and soap for your trip.

Baby Sunscreen/Lotion

Even if you don’t use sunscreen/lotion, your baby will need it to keep their skin from feeling irritated or drying out. 

If you think sunburn is awful as an adult, you’re not even going to want to think about your baby with one. Do yourself and your little one a favor and triple-check you mark this off on your baby travel checklist.


Keeping a thermometer on hand is helpful during your trip as it’s not always easy to locate one when you need it. On the upside, they take up very little room!


For cuts, scrapes, or sore spots on your baby’s skin, a few bandaids packed away in your kit can help prevent irritation when it rubs against their clothes or other materials.

Medicines (Cold/Fever/Tummy)

Rather than getting caught without your baby’s medicine and having to rush out to the nearest pharmacy, make sure you pack your first aid kit with your baby’s preferred cold and tummy medication. 

Include items like nasal drops/sprays for congestion and infant Tylenol or other fever relief in case they catch a bug. 

As they say, it’s always better to be safe than to be covered in baby spit-up. Or something like that anyway.

Hand Sanitizer

When traveling, soap and water aren’t always available to clean up messes or kill germs, so be sure to include hand sanitizer on your list of needed items. 

Before packing, double-check it’s at least 60% alcohol so you can be sure it’ll do its job correctly—wiping out germs and keeping you and your loved ones happy and healthy!

Baby Blankets

Baby blankets are a must-have item on your baby packing list because you’ll find yourself using them for everything. A shade on your stroller to protect your baby from the sun, an extra layer to keep them warm on a chilly plane, a convenient spot to lay them down, or a handy spit-up rag. 

Just name the job, and a baby blanket will likely get it done. 

Baby Packing List – Feeding

Baby Food/Formula (And a Little Extra)

If you’re packing baby formula, you can measure out the amount your baby will need for your trip beforehand—just be sure to measure out a little extra in case of accidents/emergencies/you name it—and pack it in a plastic bag. 

This will help you save on much-needed space. 

Baby Cereal

Depending on how much cereal factors into your baby’s diet at this point, you can also measure out how much you’ll need and pack it up in plastic bags or smaller containers to save on space.

Bibs/Burp Cloths

Babies are messy and perhaps never messier than when they’re eating, so you’ll want to include a few bibs and burp cloths on your baby travel checklist. Catching all that drool, food, and anything else they feel like spitting up will be infinitely easier.

Bottles/Sippy Cups

Pack only the number of bottles you’ll need in a day. Rather than stuffing your luggage full of bottles, if you’ve got your baby into a feeding rhythm, then you should be able to plan having enough bottles for the number of feeding times per day. 

You can also pack a sippy cup for water to keep your baby hydrated during your trip.

Bottle Brush

Bringing this item along can help speed up your bottle cleaning process after a long day of sightseeing and make sure you have enough clean ones to get through the next day.


Baby spoons, forks, bowls. Your baby may have already ventured into the land of semi-solid foods. In that case, you don’t want to forget to pack up their familiar dishes, so even if they’re dining in a completely foreign country, they haven’t completely left normalcy behind.

Breast Pump

If you’re still breastfeeding and traveling with your baby, you likely won’t need to bring this item as you’ll be together throughout the trip, but if not, you can bring along a portable or hands-free breast pump. It’s also useful if you need a break or won’t always have the opportunity to breastfeed in the middle of traveling.

Storage Bottles/Breast Milk Storage Bags

Bringing along the pump? If so, you’ll need storage bottles or bags—the latter will likely give you more room—to properly store your milk and make sure it keeps until you’re ready to use it.

Nursing Cover

Nursing covers are perfect for giving you a bit of privacy when breastfeeding while out and about. Simply find a quiet corner to settle down, pull it over your shoulders, and you can take a quick time-out before continuing with your travel schedule.

Baby Packing List – Clothing

Babies will get dirty no matter what. Take your eyes away for a second, and you’ll see some new spot or mess when you look around again. So, you’ll want to pack extra clothes—at least two outfits per day to account for any accidents your baby might have while you’re out exploring or even at your accommodations.


Onesies are a cute and simple style choice for your baby, as they don’t ride up and help keep your baby’s diaper firmly on. They’re also easy to put on and take off when they get messy and come in various styles for different weathers, from summer to winter and everything in between.

The result is a lightweight and convenient option for your baby travel checklist!


You’ll want to keep an extra T-shirt stuffed in your baby bag when you’re out and about for the day in case you need a quick change of clothes.


The same goes for pants. Diaper leaks and spilled food make an extra pair of bottoms for your baby a necessity.


Based on your destination, you can decide whether this will be a simple long-sleeved onesie to keep your little one warm or something a little cooler to keep their temperature down in hotter weather.


Even if you’re not big on hats, you’ll want to pack one to keep your baby shaded and protect their sensitive parts, like their eyes and ears, from the hot, glaring sun.


Shoes may have a hard time staying on, but socks will keep your baby’s feet shielded from the elements as you’re making your way around.

Shoes or Booties

If your baby manages to keep them on, shoes and booties will keep their feet protected from any rough terrain.

Bathing Suit

We mentioned wet diapers earlier, and if you’re planning on traveling somewhere with a pool or the ocean nearby, then don’t forget to pack your baby a bathing suit so they can dip those little toes in the water and work on that doggy paddle.

Jacket/Warm Layers

It’s never a bad idea to pack a few warm layers. Even if you’re not traveling somewhere in the dead of winter, you don’t want to be caught off guard at how chilly the plane is or how cold your destination gets at night. 

Having a sweater or jacket for your baby will ensure they don’t catch a cold on their trip and stay nice and toasty, even when it’s nippy out.

Baby Packing List – Baby Gear

Travel Stroller

It’s doubtful you’re going to carry your baby for the entirety of your trip. Consequently, a travel stroller for infants is a must on your baby travel checklist, and one that folds up into a compact size so you can easily transport it is even better. 

Trust us. Your arms and your baby will thank you.

Baby Carrier/Sling

Odds are your baby is going to want to be held during your trip, and of course, you’re going to want to hold them! 

A baby carrier will help you keep your hands free while still keeping your baby close and giving them a better view of the sights to see on your trip.

If you’re traveling with a partner, be sure to get a baby carrier or sling that’s comfortable for both of you to wear so you can switch up who holds the baby.

Portable High Chair/Baby Seat

Traveling, your baby will likely be eating at all kinds of places, and not all of them might offer the high chairs or boosters you need for your baby to sit comfortably. In that case, a portable high chair you can attach to your table or a baby seat will ensure you and your baby can enjoy your meals together.

Car Seat

Going on a road trip? Then your baby’s preferred car seat is likely already strapped in. And if you’re flying, you can use your car seat on the plane and at your destination to safely strap in your child and prepare them for the road ahead.

Travel Crib

A portable travel crib is convenient for several reasons, number one, of course, being sleeping, but another being that with the addition of a few toys, it can also act as a playpen for your baby. 

It’s also easy to set up and take down if you happen to need more space and want to put it away when not in use.

Portable Mat/Playpen

A portable mat can help keep your baby entertained on days you stay in or if you’re laying out somewhere like the park, by giving them lots of fun things to pull, spin, and stuff in their mouth, as babies do.

Once your baby starts crawling, you’ll likely have your hands full trying to keep them in one room, let alone one place, so in that case, an enclosed playpen might be the answer. All the same fun as a mat, but with the added benefit of keeping your sanity intact.

Portable Bathtub

Sure, you can try bathing your baby in the sink, but in some places, the sink just isn’t going to cut it. 

Having a portable bathtub on hand means you can bypass this worry and quickly and easily pop this out to bathe your baby no matter the size or state of the sink at your lodging.

Diaper Bag

The diaper bag is any and every parent’s best friend. If your best friend comes with pockets and compartments galore and one of those compartments is insulated.

When shopping for your new best friend, make sure you look for a diaper bag that has enough space to fit your baby’s everyday items and yours, so you can pack it with the daily necessities from your baby travel checklist and more. This way, you don’t have to worry about hauling around multiple bags while out and about!

Baby Packing List – Technology 

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Planes are loud. 

Between the engine noise, cabin announcements, and other passengers and kids flying, the din can sometimes be overwhelming. Bringing along a pair of noise-canceling headphones can help give your baby a quiet oasis among all the noise. 

And if you can play some favorite songs, lullabies, or white noise to help them wind down while you’re at it, all the better!

White Noise Machine

Speaking of white noise, if you use this machine at home or will be staying somewhere with distinctly different background noises than your baby is used to, you’ll want to bring a white noise machine to block out those sounds and help your baby get a peaceful rest.

Baby Monitor/Tablet

Just like at home, you’ll want to bring your baby monitor/tablet to keep tabs on your baby when you’re not in the room and keep yourself up-to-date on what your little one’s getting up to.


We’ve all been in this situation, just settling into our seats when we realize we forgot our phone charger at home. At least in this mobile age, it’s not hard to find a charger at your destination, but you might not find it so easy to find a charger that works for your monitor, headphones, etc. 

So, make sure to check off all your cords and chargers on your baby travel checklist before you finish packing.

Adapter (International Travel)

This only applies to international travel, but you won’t want to forget that most countries use a different outlet to the US, which means the wall plugs won’t fit most of your items. If that’s the case, it makes investing in an adapter crucial, so you can still charge and use your electronics overseas!

Baby Packing List – Toys/Entertainment

Teething Toys

Is your baby currently biting and drooling their way to some shiny new teeth? If so, be sure to add teething toys to your bag and check them off your packing list. 

They’ll provide much-needed relief both for your baby and you while their gummy smile gets a bit more toothy.

Stuffed Animals

Familiar toys are a comfort. 

Your baby will appreciate having a buddy along on the journey with them, whether to cuddle close during sleep or in the stroller while they take in the sights and sounds of a new place. Baby isn’t in Kansas anymore (unless your next trip involves Dorothy’s hometown).

Books/Coloring Books

Stories your baby loves and coloring books are a great way to lull them to sleep or keep them entertained in transit.

Baby Packing List – Documents

Passport (International Travel)

If you’re traveling internationally, don’t forget to pack your baby’s passport along with your own, so you have no problems breezing through airport security.

Birth Certificate or Immunization Records (If Required)

If you’re traveling domestically, you can check with the airline before your departure date whether they require you to provide proof of your baby’s age. You can usually do so in the form of their birth certificate or immunization records. 

If it’s not required to fly, you can leave these documents at home. 

Baby Packing List – Must-Have Items for Flying with a Baby

While the other sections are a handy guide to making sure you’re all packed for your destination, this mini version of our baby travel checklist will ensure you don’t forget anything for your baby’s first flight (or their second, or their third, or … you get the idea).

If your baby is flying in your lap, try packing the essentials for you and your baby in one diaper bag you can fit in the seat in front of you or overhead, as most airlines don’t provide extra space for lap babies. 

But, if your baby has their own seat, you can utilize the extra space to pack their necessities separately! 

Here are our must-haves for keeping you and your baby comfortable (and sane) while you’re in the sky:

  • Passport (international travel) or birth certificate (domestic travel)
  • Diaper bag
  • Changing mat
  • Diapers
  • Wet wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pacifier
  • Baby blanket
  • Nursing cover
  • Baby food/formula
  • Extra set of clothes 
    • (onesie or extra top & bottom layer)
  • Jacket/warm layers
  • Socks 
  • Car seat
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Toys/stuffed animals
  • Books

FREE Baby Travel Checklist PDF

Afraid you’re going to forget something off our baby packing list?

Don’t worry. After coming this far, we’d never leave you hanging like that. 

You can find a simplified version of our baby travel checklist below. Download this convenient PDF, and you won’t have to worry about forgetting anything for your baby on your next trip. (You might still forget your phone charger, though.)

Next Vacay Makes Travel Easy and Not Just for Babies

Now that you know how to pack for your baby, your next trip will be a breeze. The only thing left for you now is to find your next dream vacation.

Well, we can take care of that for you, too. Just like you want to take the guesswork out of traveling with a baby, you can also take the guesswork out of where to get a killer flight deal.

Signing up with Next Vacay brings all of the best deals to your inbox so you can view them at a glance, check out deals that interest you, and easily book your next trip. The best part—other than having it all done for you, of course—is that you can save hundreds of dollars on flights, whether your next trip takes you to Disney World in Orlando or to the Eiffel Tower in France. 

(That also means you can easily book another seat for your baby and make the trip more comfortable for you both!)

Signing up for our free trial takes less than five minutes and is so easy your baby could do it … though maybe hold off on leaving them in charge of your family travel plans. At least until after their first flight.

It’s time to stop hesitating. Get your baby ready for take-off … with Next Vacay.

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