5 Things NOT to Pack When Traveling With a Baby

Apr, 05, 2022
happy 3 month old baby in blue pajamas sitting in airplane seat

Depending on how you look at things, you might either think traveling with a baby sounds like a nightmare or a dream come true. Frankly, the experience of traveling with a baby is just as great, if not better, than the experience of traveling without one! The key is just planning ahead of time and knowing what you’re doing before you walk out the door.

One thing that we have seen time and time again are parents who feel the need to pack up their entire home into one suitcase because of all of the “what-ifs” that may arise while traveling with their baby. We are not here to judge; if that is what you want to do, then you should do it! However, parents often pack up the whole house because they think they will need everything. This is not true. Here are the top 5 things NOT to pack next time you travel with your baby.

5. A Travel Crib or a Playpen

I need to start this out by saying that there are some circumstances where bringing a travel crib or a playpen is warranted. However, more often than not, this is one of the biggest, heaviest items that parents bring along with them for no reason. Most hotels have cribs available free of charge for parents to use, and you can even request one to be in your room before you arrive! Many Airbnb’s have caught on to this trend, too, making the need for a playpen or travel crib even less.

If you are not staying in a traditional hotel, the chances that you will need to bring a place for your baby to sleep do go up. Also, if you are staying in a hotel or an Airbnb (or anywhere else, really), I fully advise calling ahead and asking if they have a playpen or crib on hand. If they do, then you know you don’t need to bring one!

4. A Baby Bathtub

Many parents feel the need to bring a baby bathtub along with them when they travel, because they can’t imagine any other way to bathe their baby. As parents, it is easy to get stuck in routines and to lose sight of other options that exist. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right? Wrong! There is absolutely nothing wrong with baby bathtubs, but taking them along with you on a trip is extremely impractical…especially if you’re flying.

Instead of a baby bathtub, consider showering or bathing directly with your baby! These are two very safe ways to keep your baby squeaky clean without needing an entire suitcase to pack a baby bathtub in. If showering with your baby sounds scary, consider using the shower head to bathe them on the floor of the shower, where there is no risk of dropping your little one. You’d be surprised how easy it is! We recommend practicing showering with your baby before you leave for your trip that way you’re fully comfortable.

3. A Sound Machine

Some parents use sound machines to help their baby calm down and sleep, both at night and at nap time. This has been shown to be a very effective tactic for a lot of babies! Unfortunately, sound machines can easily add 5 or more pounds to your baggage, which won’t cut it when you have a 50 pound limit. If you feel like you will need a sound machine for your baby on your trip, there are much simpler solutions that add literally no weight to your checked bag.

Specifically, we are talking about using your phone! Nowadays there are many great smartphone apps that can replicate all of the noises of a sound machine, and downloading one can save you a good amount of weight in your checked bag. We recommend finding one that you like and trying it out before you leave, that way you know it is effective for you and your baby. If you can’t seem to find one that works (trust me, though…you should be able to!), consider packing it in your backpack or carry-on, which normally won’t be weighed at the counter.

2. The Entire Toy Box

Okay, come on. There’s no way you can leave all 13 stuffed animals, 3 sets of blocks, 5 teething rings, 4 blankies, and 6 rattles at home, right? Your baby would be lost without all of those things! Again, wrong. Your baby does not need all of these things, and frankly, your baby does not need his or her own entire suitcase! We travel with all of our things and our baby’s things together in one checked bag (if we take a checked bag) and manage just fine.

Pick one rattle, one blankie, and maybe one or two more toys and call it a day. Your baby doesn’t need more, especially considering the whole point of traveling is focusing on the things you want to do at your destination! Hanging out in the hotel or resort all day defeats the point of most traveling, and unless you’re planning on hanging in the hotel or resort all day, you won’t need all the toys to distract your baby. Distract them with the sights, sounds, and smells of the new place that you are visiting!

1. Diapers

The number one thing to avoid packing when traveling with a baby is excess diapers. There is simply no need for them, and they take up way more space than their relatively low weight merits. These days, just about every city in the world sells Pampers, and packing them in your suitcase takes up totally unnecessary space. Pack the diapers you need for the traveling day, and pick up a box when you arrive at your destination.

Not only do you not need diapers in your suitcase, but parents also tend to pack significantly more diapers than they will need for the duration of the trip, fearing that they will run out at some point while they’re gone. Unless you are going camping in a remote forest, you will likely be able to pop out and grab a pack of diapers without too much trouble, so don’t worry about this!

Thanks for reading my post on the 5 things NOT to pack when traveling with a baby. Hopefully this post helps you to pack a little more lightly for your next trip with your little loved one!

If you have any questions about traveling with a baby, don’t hesitate to reach out by commenting below – we’ve got you covered.


Hi! I’m Greg, a Pittsburgh-based dad who juggles a 9-5 with a passion for traveling the world. I've spent time living in Mexico, Italy, and China, have traveled to nearly 50 countries, and make a habit of scratching epic experiences off of my bucket list.

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Meet The Family!

We're a family who seeks adventure both in our backyard and also around the world. We've spent time living in Mexico, Italy, and China, have traveled to nearly 50 countries. Life is short! All we have is this present moment to fulfill the dreams God has given us.