Travelling with infants and toddlers – what NOT to pack 

There is a multitude of what you need to pack for baby. As a mother, I’m guessing you pack everyday for you baby or toddler. Trips to the park require sunscreen, water, snacks and potentially a change of clothes. You’ve got the memo and you’ve been applying it since they were born. I cannot for the life of me work out why then there are so many lists of ‘what to pack when travelling with a baby’. Suddenly because you have left your house you can no longer work out what your child will need? I, on the other hand am going to assume you are not an idiot despite your sleep deprived state. 

What do you need to pack? How about we start with what NOT to pack? Babies and toddlers need everything a baby shop sells at some stage in their life right?  Take the answer to that and apply when travelling with bub. 

What not to pack

Where are you staying? Call them and make sure of these two things. 

  • Do they have a porta cot available for hire? Does it come with linen? I say this as hotel rooms airconditioned img can be quiet cold for babies. Bring a cotton blanket at least. I’m yet to find a baby blanket that meets my level of cleanliness. Sleeping bags of course elminate the need for too many covers. 
  • If you put a porta cot in the room, does your room type enable you to then get around the bed? I say this as we have had to put the porta cot in the shower at night to allow for us to get up in the night and visit the toilet, in preference to climbing over each other! Learn from my mistakes people! 

You absolutely do not want to lug a porta cot anywhere unless absolutely necessary. It may be prudent to ask for a photo of their cot. I have arrived somewhere and the cot was a wrought iron contraption – very sweet but the mattress did not meet the edge and I had to use a rolled towel to fill in the hole – and then spend the night panicking about SIDS! Another place we’ve been didn’t have a mattress over the base of the bed. Towels under the sheet might be fine for a night or two, but beyond that this is not very comfy. If you have to pack a mattress at least it is not heavy luggage. 

Next. Is your child eating solids? Ask if the hotel or accommodation have a high chair you could use/ hire. You absolutely don’t want to pack even a folding high chair. If they don’t have a chair for hire/ use you can find several booster seats on the market that sit on top of a regular chair. 

Toys? Take a handful of smaller toys and books. Lego is great as it can be used in the bath as well. Small cars are also good as they are transportable. iPads provide some entertainment for older children but younger ones bore easily. The other great invention is a A4 size whiteboard. Find a handbag size one – I got one from Daiso. Ask whether the hotel/ accomodation has toys. The Swishotel in Sydney has family rooms complete with toys and tents. For accomodation that doesn’t? Are you truely trying to encourage families? 

Bath? My boys only have baths at home so how will they cope without one? For babies pack muslin wraps and wrap the baby in one before you put in shower with you. It helps hold there slippery little bodies. For older kids use that Lego you packed for the floor of the shower. They’ll get used to it! No need to pack a bath! 

Steriliser – Add some Milton Anti-bacterial tablets for sterilising bottles. You just use a tub or bucket. There isn’t a travel steriliser on the market so they are cumbersome to travel with. 

Pram. My 3 wheel pram with shock absorbers and all the necessary active parent requirements is huge. It comes with a travel bag. I bought one and have taken my pram on a trip with me in this amazing travel bag. All because I wanted the extra space of my larger pram in transporting the entire families luggage. School girl error! The pram in its bag took up the boot of the taxi! Before we’d put luggage in! I spent the next week playing Tetris with the hire car and trying to get everything in! So, no matter how much walking you are doing – take a stroller. I recommend a Quinny Yezz Stroller. It’s light weight and folds down to a point you could almost throw it in your carry on! If your walking along cobblestoned European paths – get a Maclaren Techno XT. Actually tell everyone this is the one pram you need! Just one! Who’d of thought? I will point out the Quinny doesn’t allow for storage – just bags over the handles. 

Carry pouches and backpacks – My first kid wouldn’t use a pouch for longer than 10 minutes he got too hot. He then got too heavy and I wasn’t putting him in a back. There’s 6 years between my kids and the changes made to both these products in that time was expansive. Both are now lighter, made of breathable fabrics and a range of designs and colours. A pouch is super handy for tiny ones getting in and out of the airport and up to the gate. You have to take them out to go through security and you can’t leave them in here on the plane (some airline executive has decided their silly seatbelts are far safer. Go figure.) If you’re not going somewhere hot, they are handy. I wouldn’t take this and not a pram. You’ve carried the kid for 9 months to get it here- give your body a rest. Older kids – I love my backpack. I have a super light one which is essential when your kids are large. I do need help getting the tots up and down now that he is 2, but earlier I was okay. I have climbed up and down a set of 453 stairs with him on my back – all to see a waterfall. For me it’s essential travelling equipment. But I want to get out for a walk. I will make this comment – a few hours is all I can cope with. He’s wriggling weight is too much for any longer than that. For a toddler you could definitely consider no pram and just packing this. In many Asian countries (depending on location of course) pushing a pram is not possible – this would be the preference.  

 You might think I’m going to say don’t pack nappies, formula and baby food? Unless you know all these things are available where you are going. Pack them.  You don’t want to arrive and not get them veto eat anything because there is no food they are used to. I get they get to try new things, but we know what babies are like, mix that with some comfort food. 

We arrived in Fiji with a solid stock of supplies but we’re running out towards the end of our holiday. Nappies, sunscreen and anything tourists are bound to ‘have’ to buy had an extrodinary  mark up. I usually take the attitude – do I really care when I look at what I have and what they have? 4 boxes at home to 1 packet away? I recommend packing it! 

Does that help you eliminate a few things you were going to pack? Does that clarify what is needed? Your standard nappy bag that you hoist around everywhere still applies. If you haven’t added a change mat to your bag before – do so. The same general first aid you have in your bag for home applies when away. In fact make sure you have larger bottles if possible. 

You’re ready to go now. Enjoy your holiday. Remember it’s a few weeks – you will survive slightly out of your routine. Holidays are for enjoying – so try to do nothing but that! 

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