We recently embarked on a mini road-trip around Florida. It's hard enough packing for a baby when staying in one place, but when you're travelling around, it's even harder.
Suffice to say we did it and survived! So I thought I'd compile a list of how exactly to pack, the order in which to do it, and everything you need.
Take into account that I am allowing for two adults and one baby. If there are more of you, add more bags accordingly.
1. Organise your hand luggage. Most airlines allow a carry-on bag for each adult, and a change bag for a baby. These should be packed first. I would advise that you take your usual baby change bag, a small hand-luggage wheelie suitcase, and a backpack.
In the change bag you need:
- Enough nappies for any eventuality (i.e. delays) and nappy sacks
- A full pack of wipes (you'll need these to clean the plane change table, your baby's hands and face, spillages (of which there may be a few!) and a range of other things as well as for nappy changes.
- Fold-up changing mat. Trust me, you won't want to put your baby directly onto the plane changing tables without a barrier!
- Three clothes changes including trousers, shorts, tshirts, long sleeves, vests and socks, and a spare zip-up or cardigan.
- Muslins or comforters. Some babies need them for comfort - you may need them when feeding if baby is still young, and large muslins are good for covering up if you are breastfeeding.
- Bottles, formula or other milk. You can take more than 100ml of liquid only if it is for baby's milk and they check it at security. We use almond milk and we poured it ready into each of our four bottles before we left so it was ready. If taking formula, make sure you have enough portions measured out.
- Plasters, arnica and anything else you usually use for 'first aid'. (I take a homeopathic first aid kit with me everywhere). This should include nappy creams or any other creams or oils you may need.
- Snooze Shade. Great for putting over the buggy if baby needs to sleep but the airport is too distracting.
- Baby carrier. We take our Ergobaby 360 everywhere. You especially need it when you land and you have to wait until the conveyor belt to get your pushchair. It frees up hands to help carry bags.
- Blankets. Put these and the baby carrier in the basket underneath your pushchair until you're just about to board the plane.
2. I would advise buying a travel pushchair instead of taking a big bulky one unless your every-day one is relatively light and easy to fold. They do get bashed about a lot on the plane so having one just for travel is quite a good idea.
3. Now organise your rucksack. This should be stuff for you and your partner:
- Change of clothes. We always pack light, easy to fold changes including underwear in case of delays
- iPads, books or Kindles (anything for your own entertainment - not that you'll get time!)
- Phone charger, along with an adapter for the country you are visiting
- Passports, tickets, money
- Any toiletries you may need for the airport or plane. I take a few creams and some essential make-up bits
4. Now you can pack the wheelie. This should be for food and toys. Of course, this all depends on the age of your child / children. If they are younger than 6 months you won't need this bag but if they are, you need to arm yourself with home-cooked food options you know they like, making sure this makes up enough meals for the time you will be travelling, snacks galore and some fresh fruit and veg, all in little containers. Add some of your child's favourite toys to keep them occupied on the plane and in the airport, and for when you reach your destination.
5. Lay out the clothes you will all be wearing on the day of travelling, including getting coats, shoes and any other outer-wear ready.
6. Now for the actual packing.
- Baby's case first. Start with clothes and shoes. If you know what the weather will be like, great, easy. If you don't, pack for all eventualities. Most places you go to will probably sell anything you don't have, but pack enough to last until you can find these places
- Swim wear (including swim nappies and sun hats)
- Toiletry bag: bath wash, creams and balms, sun cream, toothbrush and toothpaste, nail scissors, thermometer, teething granules, hair brush and hair accessories, arnica cream (for bruises), calendula cream (for cuts and grazes), plasters
- Extra muslins
7. Your case and your partner's case:
- Start with clothes
- Beach bag or any other bags you may need such as evening bags
- Toiletries - 2 bags; 1 for shampoos, creams, sun cream etc and one for make-up
- Electricals including adapters, hair styling devices, phone chargers etc
- Any necessary medications
8. Once your cases are packed, tie identical ribbons around each one so you can recognise your cases when they come off the conveyor belt.
You're all set and ready to go! As long as you've followed everything on this list, I doubt you would have forgotten anything.
It may seem like a lot of stuff, but it works out to one hand luggage and one hold bag for each person travelling. If there is a delay, you'll be really happy that you have packed for every eventuality!
I hope this helps and wishing you safe travels.
Her autobiography, 'My Enemy, My Friend', can be found here