Baby Travel Essentials

March 5, 2024

Baby travel essentials for your little one's first flight and hotel stay!

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Baby travel essentials for your little one's first flight and hotel stay!

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Baby travel essentials for your little one's first flight and hotel stay!

Baby travel essentials for your little one's first flight and hotel stay!

I am so happy to write this post after getting so many questions about our recent trip to Florida with baby Chloe! (I get it…baby travel is a little nerve-wracking!)

Chloe is about 7.5 months old as I’m writing this so keep that in mind with this post. If your baby is older or younger, your packing list and experience may vary. This was Chloe’s 3rd and 4th flight. Her 1st/2nd were when she was 3.5 months old for Thanksgiving.

There is so much information to share about baby travel, so I'm trying to keep it as short, sweet, and informative as possible. DM me @rhondajenkins with any specific questions :) 

Travel Day

I'm a total Karen about the airport and like to get there early, and my husband is super relaxed, BUT with a baby everything takes longer so give yourself more time than you think you need. Here's the gear we used on our travel days along with some notes about each item.

At the Airport


We love our Doona and it's so convenient for travel. It's a car seat and stroller! As a car seat, it has a base that it clips into in the car, but it's also compatible with a just a seatbelt so you don't have to bring the base for travel.

Gate check the stroller right before boarding. When you arrive at your gate, talk to the gate agent for a gate check tag etc to avoid holding up the line during actual boarding.

Some people ask the gate agent if it’s a full flight and if they can have an extra plane seat for their car seat to sit in. We haven’t done that because she doesn’t want to chill in her car seat anyway so it would just be an extra hassle for us. So far, we haven’t had anyone sit with us on any of our flights. (I think people are always a little nervous to sit by a baby) ;)

So far, we've only flown Southwest with her. We have the companion pass so I fly for free and babies under 2 are free, so it's a steal for us.

  • Southwest allows families with small children to board after the A group which is so helpful. We are usually A group but somehow forgot to check-in on the way home during this trip and were extra thankful for family boarding.

We have a diaper bag that attaches to the back of the Doona and it is MONEY. It's not the most accessible but I used it for true diaper bag supplies and kept other more easily accessible items in my backpack carryon.

Baby Carrier

We use the Ergobaby carrier and love it. When she was smaller, I loved the Solly Baby wrap.

I wore her in the airport once we got to security. They didn't make me take her off, but did a swab test on my hands. I wore her facing out so she could see everything (and so everyone could see her and oooh and ahhh over her!). For younger babies, consider facing them inward so they don't get overwhelmed. It really is fun to travel with a cute baby because everyone wants to say hi to her and all the grandparents want to tell you about their grandkids, which is so precious.

Breast Milk + Security

Here's the deal: frozen milk is easy. Not frozen milk: they have to open it up. I bought a small soft cooler for milk and kept bottles and milk in it with a few ice packs. On the way there, I brought a few frozen bags because I didn't want my milk supply to dip during a travel day. We didn't have a freezer in our hotel room, only a fridge, so I didn't pump much and traveled back with one bag of refrigerated milk.

To check your milk, security asks you to open each individual bag and holds a little strip of paper above it to test the vapors (???). Then they let you reseal the bag. You can refuse this but then they have to pull you aside and do something else. Personally, I thought that was fine and reasonable, so I opened the bag for them. Moral of the story: if traveling with milk, try to freeze it!


I felt like I was carrying so much stuff. I hate that feeling at an airport PLUS I was wearing Chloe, so I felt like a pack mule! Ha! Try to check anything you can! For example, I was nervous that I might need my pump while traveling (Karen alert!), but I put it in a checked bag and I'm so glad I wasn't lugging it around with me. YOU know your baby... if they don't go through 5 outfits a day at home, they're not going to need 5 outfits while traveling. ;) I've seen a lot of people say that they buy diapers/wipes when they arrive at their destination, but going to a store is the last thing I want to do on vacation, so I packed mine and was fine. I overpacked diapers, but better safe than sorry, I guess! If you're going for over a week, then it might make sense to purchase upon arrival at your destination. To each their own!

My husband and I each checked two bags (for free, thanks to Southwest!). He had golf clubs and a suitcase and I had one suitcase for myself and one for Chloe. I wayyy overpacked, but that's another story.

In-Flight Tips

  • Try to time a nap with takeoff time. Chloe slept on the way there, but on the way back she only had a little catnap.
  • Breastfeed or bottle feed on takeoff and landing. Tricky depending on flight length. If not able to feed again on landing, have pacifier or toy that they like to suck on if possible. Chloe didn’t seem bothered at all by her ears so I’m thankful because my ears always bother me! Lol
  • Pack. Your. Snacks. If you're like me and get hangry and/or if you're breastfeeding, be sure to pack extra snacks for yourself! 
  • Nobody counted our carryon bags - just saying.
  • My husband sat on the aisle and I sat in the middle seat with Chloe. He was able to shield me during breastfeeding, so I wasn't too careful with a blanket, etc.
  • I would say "wipe down the seat" etc., but turns out...I'm not that mom. Chloe had her hands on everything, so definitely wipe things down if you're concerned. We went with a good old fashioned hand wash after landing.


This trip was our first time to stay with Chloe in a hotel. I should preface this section by telling you that Chloe was teething during this trip. She didn’t sleep *the best* but overall did ok. I think she would have done better but I personally felt a lot of pressure to keep her from crying to not disturb other guests in the middle of the night. She most likely would have self-soothed but I felt like I needed to grab her and soothe her quickly to stop her crying if she woke up. I think most of her night wakings were due to teething, unusual nap schedule, and the hotel crib being metal and smaller/different than her crib at home.


The hotel we stayed at did provide a crib for us. I had my husband call multiple times to confirm (lol). I strongly recommend packing your own crib sheet. When the hotel delivered the crib, they had wrapped a full size bed sheet around the crib mattress as the crib sheet. (not great, in my opinion) If you bring your own sheet, added bonus that it smells/feels like home for your baby.

We borrowed a Slumber pod from a friend and I think it worked really well! Essentially it’s a black out tent that you put around the crib. We were able to put her to bed using the slumber pod then turn lights back on, watch a show, do whatever until we were ready for bed. Amazing!

All of her bedtimes were smooth and she went to sleep well each night but the problem was when she would wake up in the middle of the night and I would try to put her back down…she knew she was in a different place, so a little more difficult. (again, also difficult because of teething)

I definitely think a Slumber Pod is a good investment, especially if you do a lot of travel. It will also be good for toddler sleep in the future!

It's helpful to have a baby monitor if you're using the Slumber Pod because you can't see anything! I normally use our Owlet monitor, but love his one for travel that doesn't use wifi.

Last tip here: bring your sleep sack! Chloe sleeps in a Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and it helps her so much! 

Play Time/Awake Time at Hotel

Think about bringing a bouncer or "container" for your baby if they are not sitting up. Chloe is able to sit up well on her own, so I opted to not bring anything like that. Instead, I used the extra blanket at the hotel and built her a little play area surrounded by pillows just outside of the bathroom door so I could see her while I showered, etc. (This was a business trip for my husband so during the day it was just me!)

Here's a little packing checklist for you!





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