≡ Menu
Vagabond Journey

How to Pack for a Baby to Travel

“5 pairs of pants, 8 little onezi t-shirts, a cold weather hat, a sun hat that fits her right now, a sun hat that is too big for her now but she will grow into, 4 pairs of one piece pajamas, at least 2 jackets or sweaters, maybe I will take a third one, 2 [...]

“5 pairs of pants, 8 little onezi t-shirts, a cold weather hat, a sun hat that fits her right now, a sun hat that is too big for her now but she will grow into, 4 pairs of one piece pajamas, at least 2 jackets or sweaters, maybe I will take a third one, 2 long sleeve shirts, and maybe 3 little dresses. And socks, as many socks as we can find. A big flannel blanket, and maybe a cotton blanket, I would like to bring a quilt but I don’t think we will be able to, a poncho to lay down on the beach. 3 or 4 toys.”

“Does that sound good to you Wade the daddy? not Wade the vagabond?”

I was thus given the status of Petra’s travel gear.

“It sounds good to Wade who doesn’t like doing laundry,” I replied to my wife in jest.

That’s a lot of clothes. But at least Petra is small and wears small clothes that can be tightly packed into a bag, I relieve myself. I also know that she will be outgrowing many of these outfits in a matter of weeks, and we will be tossing them by the wayside as we travel on.

baby travel supplies

Petra's travel gear

But the list did not end there. We then added an umbrella, a hang cranked food processor, a bag of rice porridge, diapers, butt wipes, a blow up bathtub, a changing mat, medicines, baby sun block, alcohol pads, baby Tylenol, baby vitamins, a first aid kit specially made for babies, a butt thermometer, baby shampoo, emergency packets of formula, emergency electrolyte powder, baby insect repellent, an Ergo baby carrier, and a whole bunch of other necessities.

I could not complain, as I know that many of these supplies are particular to babies, and particular items are often difficult to come by and more expensive to purchase when traveling outside of the first world — we are crazy about our babies — fringe. In my country we think about silly things like the potential hazards of dye used in liquid Tylenol and if the insect repellent that we are spraying on our kid is completely poisonous or only semi-poisonous. I am not sure how much other people think about this.

In fact, I am next to clueless how people of other cultures raise their kids. This is something that I now intend to learn during this new phase of my travels. But from the view from the outside I would say that it is probably done without 50% of the above items — though it is also done within a solid home, usually with access to medical care. Few people travel full time with their babies, and I am not from other cultures — we wanted to be prepared in regards to traveling abroad with Petra for the first time.

I did not wince when my wife would throw another piece of baby travel gear into our bags. I actually smiled as I looked at the pile of supplies that would somehow need to be stuffed into a single backpack, for I knew that I do not want to go running through the streets of some foreign city at 2 AM looking for non-toxic, dye free baby medicine.

Chaya with Petra in Ergo carrier in Puerto Plata Domincan Republic

Our gear transporting system consists of one standard size trekking backpack, my small Kelty bag, a diaper bag, and a water resistant messenger bag for our electronic gear.

I wear Chaya’s big backpack with the baby gear on my back, I wear the messenger bag on my front. Chaya wears my Kelty on her back and Petra in the Ergo on her front. One of us carries the diaper bag in a free hand.

We are mobile, we move well, our load is not too heavy for walking a half dozen miles if we had to, everything fits in public transport without hassle, and we feel comfortable with what we have.

My friend Andy Hobotraveler.com once wrote, “The more gear I carry with me, the cheaper travel will be.”

We took this as our motto when collecting our baby travel gear. Chaya and I can pick up the items that we need fir ourselves easily abroad, but I am not sure how easy it will be to find a hand cranked food grinder in the Dominican Republic — maybe they are everywhere and cheap? Maybe not.

Even battened down with a load of baby supplies, I would have to say that our total volume of gear is about half that of the average female backpacker in Europe.

We are doing alright.

Filed under: Packing, Travel Gear, Travel Preparation, Travel With Family

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3411 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support Wade Shepard’s writing on this blog (please help):

Wade Shepard is currently in: Rochester, New York

4 comments… add one

Leave a Comment

  • Brian P February 11, 2010, 10:58 am

    You guys are good parents! Your list sounds about right to me, although I never traveled with an infant “full time.”

    Pretty soon Petra will be eating more solid food, and at the same time will be less patient about sitting down to eat for extended periods. I’ve found it can be exhausting to have one parent hold the baby while the other does the feeding. Obviously travel with a high chair is out of the question. I found that stacking books (or whatever you have around) on a chair, and then using a towel tied to the chair is a lap restraint works pretty well.

    What do you guys do about sleeping? Does Petra sleep in the bed with you at night? Does she take her naps in the ergo?

    Link Reply
  • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com February 11, 2010, 8:26 pm

    Hello Brian,

    Saying that means a lot to us. Thank you, we really appreciate it. Good suggestion about the chair and the towel. We will probably do that once Petra gets moving around more. It seems as if we are going to need something to tie her up with haha.

    We usually sleep with Petra in between Chaya and I. She usually only naps when we are walking, the motion seems to put her right to sleep.

    Thanks,

    Wade

    Link Reply
  • wandermom March 17, 2010, 1:21 pm

    I bet you’ll find that no-one in the developing world obsesses about dyes, food additives etc like first-world folks. In fact, people living with financial pressures worry about real necessities such as clean water, food and education first – regardless of where they live.
    I’ve tried to keep an even perspective balancing true risks with actual needs for both my kids (now 9 + 14) and they’re both strong + healthy.

    Link Reply
    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com March 17, 2010, 10:36 pm

      Hello Wandermom,

      Great to hear from you, as your site is a well known pillar in the rough for anybody traveling with children. Good advice on balancing the risk/ need ratio when traveling.

      It has been my experience that most cultures have a lot of extreme little nuances when it comes to raising kids, and they all think their particular nuances are absolutely necessary. Can’t say how many people in the Dominican Republic have strongly disapproved of our use of an Ergo carrier or even the fact that we take our daughter outside at all haha. The only thing we can say is, “We are from the USA and this is how we do it in our country.”

      It is interesting to observe the different parenting styles when traveling.

      Thanks for the comment,

      Wade

      Link Reply