Tips for Traveling Light with Baby

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Remember, the less you bring, the easier it will be to pack each time you move, and you’ll be less likely to lose things. Be creative about eliminating items, using things in more than one way, and getting what you need at your destination.

What Not To Bring
Don’t pack a travel bed. If you are worried about what kind of crib your hotel will have, call ahead and ask! In most large US cities there is a service that will deliver baby and child items directly to your hotel room

Try not to bring a car seat. If possible, use public transportation at your destination or find a family friend to borrow a car seat from. If you must bring a car seat along, try to borrow or buy a Travel Car Seat (Product Reviews).

Don’t bring a baby bathtub, not even an inflatable. You can spot wash your baby in a sink with a washcloth, wash in a full size bathtub with just a few inches of water in the bottom, or take a bath with your baby in the full sized bath tub.

They Have Babies There Too...
For trips longer than five days, bring just a few days worth of supplies and plan to buy more on the road (Exception is if your child has allergies and needs a specific brand that is difficult to find). In Europe, pharmacies sell diapers and formula while food can be found in the supermarket & sometimes in a pharmacy.

As long as you’re looking at baby supplies, check out the infant and toddler soaps and other hygiene products. You never know what you’ll find. Our favorite find in France is saline nose drops used to clear out baby’s stuffy nose. The French are clever enough to package them in individual serving sizes. In Italy, we found toddler-safe raspberry flavored toothpaste that my son absolutely loves.

Shipping Items To Your Hotel
Items like diapers, wipes, and other baby necessities can be shipped ahead to your hotel and stock most baby items at reasonable prices and deliver almost anywhere in the US. Most hotels will hold a box shipped to you at the hotel even if it arrives a few days before you do.

Albertsons and Safeway have local delivery in most areas and will deliver the fresh items you need (milk, fruit, baby food) in addition to staples like diapers and wipes. You'll pay local prices (which might be high in places like Hawaii) but it's certainly convenient to unload milk directly into your hotel room mini-bar

Related Links in our Family Travel Blog:
Top Tips for Packing Light With Kids

Airplanes and Car Seats Series
Part I: Which Babies, Toddlers and Kids Need a Car Seat Onboard A Plane
Part II: Checking, Renting and Carrying on a Car Seat When Flying
Part III: Airport Car Seat Carriers (Product Reviews)
Part IV: Travel Car Seat (Product Reviews)


  1. Annabelle on April 3, 2008 at 7:08 p.m.

    There are companies nationwide that rent baby equipment. Take time to find the local company in your area - they all have web sites, and order all your gear ahead of time. Then when you arrive, your crib, strollers, car seats, toys, and all will be waiting for you. No need to transport any of it.

    Check out sites like: for a list of companies across the USA, or just use google to search for the rental company.

  2. michelle on March 21, 2009 at 7:03 a.m.

    I'm traveling to SF with my 10 week old. Can I take him on a public bus using my Baby Bjorn to carry him? Can I bring a car seat with a stroller on a public bus?

  3. Debbie on March 21, 2009 at 9:56 a.m.

    You should be able to keep the baby in the Bjorn on the bus.

    There is no reason you cannot bring a car seat on the bus, but there will not be any way to install it. Strollers too can be brought onboard, but most drivers will require that you collapse it as soon as you board.

  4. Nikki T-S on May 31, 2009 at 6:01 p.m.

    My daughter was having a hard time sleeping when we traveled. She was distracted by other noises and lights in the hotel room. (Didn't sleep well in the bed with us.) I started traveling with a small, collapsable tent--packs smaller than a couple of diapers. It's perfect--shuts out enough light that she can sleep. And keeps her from rolling around. If co-sleeping is not an option, perhaps this might help. Target, other stores carry them.

  5. Jennifer Saranow Schultz on October 4, 2013 at 7:33 a.m.

    I'm also an advocate of shopping online ahead of time and shipping the gear so it's there at your destination when you arrive. It saves on the cost of luggage and helps me avoid lots of luggage logistical hassles. I tend to use for this, and there also are sites that specialize in doing just this. I covered this topic today on my blog of daily hints to make parenting easier and cheaper.