Family Travel Travel

Best Tips For How to Pack Light with a Baby

Before Maximus joined us, Steven and I just couldn’t believe just how many baby items existed in the world. For the travel lover in us, one thought that kept crossing our minds was “how to pack light with a baby”.

We are typically the type of travelers to bring a carry-on and backpack, but here we were facing a new travel challenge.  How on earth were we going to bring all the things we use at home to our destination?  We were wracking our brains and turned to some family travel forums we belong to. After scouring for some relevant tips, and thinking of some ourselves, we tested them out.

Here are our tried-and-true tips for making your initial baby adventures a little bit lighter!

Best Tips For How to Pack Light with a Baby
A supermarket we stopped by in Fiumicino, Italy

1. Buy essentials when you get to your destination

This was a common one that I found during my research.  And it absolutely makes sense! For example, if you have formula drinking baby, you will likely be able to find the same product if you are visiting a domestic destination.  International travel may make this a bit different, and we would recommend checking in advance or follow tip #7.

Other essentials to consider buying at your destination are diapers, baby food, and baby wipes.  These items can easily weigh down your luggage and take up so much traveling real estate!  Leave these to be purchased at your destination.

Best Tips For How to Pack Light with a Baby
Maximus playing with beach toys that our Aruba AirBnB provided

2. Re-think the number of toys to bring

The great thing with babies is that their toys are much smaller at this age.  But you really don’t need a whole ton of toys to keep them entertained.  Being in a new environment helps keep babies engaged with what is going on around them.  Pretty exciting stuff for them!

During the baby stage, we made sure to bring rattles that doubled as a teether toy, cloth books, and hanging toys. All these items fit in his diaper bag easily!

Check out this post to see the toys we recommend!

Best Tips For How to Pack Light with a Baby
Photo by Timur Weber from Pexels

3. Roll baby’s clothing

Much like how we pack light, we rolled Max’s clothing.  Baby clothing is a lot smaller but rolled, they are even smaller! We ensured to do this for the clothing we put in his diaper bag as well, creating more space.

The less baggage, the lighter the trip!

READ THIS: Top 10 Toddler Travel Essentials

4. Use a compression bag for clothing

After rolling clothing, keep them together in a compression bag. Then place it in the bottom of your baby’s bag or in your carry-on.  If you decide to check luggage, you can do this for most of your baby’s clothing to save additional space.

Compression bags are great for a lovey or stuffed animal that must come along too!

Best Tips For How to Pack Light with a Baby
Welcome to Maui, Baby Max

5. Only bring enough diapers to get you to your destination

This tip is key to saving space in both diaper bags and carry-on!  Diapers are a baby staple everywhere. Only bring enough to get you where you’re going and then restock there.

We are a cloth diaper family when we are at our home base, but when we travel, we purchase disposables.  We really don’t have a loyalty to any certain brand, so this has made this easier for us. However, if you must use a particular brand you may want to consider tip#7.

Best Tips For How to Pack Light with a Baby
Maximus already wants to do laundry

6. Check with your accommodation

This tip has the most impact on keeping your travel lighter. Luckily, many resorts or AirBnB’s we have been to have been able to help us out with some or all of these amenities.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Will they have a pack n play for a baby?
  • Do they lend or rent baby items?
  • Can you do laundry there?

Not having to haul a pack n play is wonderful!  From experience, we have found all family-friendly resorts or vacation rentals typically carry this item for their guests.

If an accommodation does not lend baby items, you may be able to rent them for an extra charge.  I have also heard of services like Paradise Baby Co. that will rent baby equipment to you while you’re on holiday.

Another way to pack light is by staying at an accommodation that has laundry service or a washer/dryer in the unit. We prefer to stay at vacation rentals that have these amenities, as it allows us to pack less clothing!

7. Ship must-have items ahead

We understand that our children can be particular, even at a very young age.  Every child is different, and you know your little one the best! This is where you can distinguish what is a must-have item, when away from your everyday setting.

We have shipped must-have items, such as a bassinet to our destination.  This is not always the most cost-effective, but it was well worth it for putting our son to sleep in an unfamiliar environment.

Best Tips For How to Pack Light with a Baby
Steven and Max at San Francisco International Airport

8. Use lighter luggage

Although obvious, it took us some time to upgrade our luggage to lighter ones.  Lighter suitcases and carryons allow for you to pack more of what you need, without exceeding weight limits at check-in.  On top of this, it just weighs less.  Whether you’re on a road trip or using a different mode of transportation, it will be easier to maneuver something light, in addition to a baby, diaper bag, car seat, and stroller. (We honestly hate spending money on luggage carts)

Here are some options we use today:

We hope these tips on how to pack light with a baby help you on your next adventure. Wishing you and yours the best family trip with your babes! Some of the most memorable moments happen during travel. 

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Best Tips for How To Pack Light with a Baby