Packing List for Road Tripping with a Baby

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a loooooong time. I searched and searched for a similar post before our first road trip with Ella and couldn’t really find one that addressed what I was looking for, so I knew I needed to write it myself.

We have been taking our baby on the road with us since she was pretty young. It requires a LOT of preparation and a full car (we always take the minivan, so that extra space definitely helps), but we’ve finally gotten it down to a science. I know everyone’s list will be slightly different, dependent on routines and baby needs, so my number one tip is to start thinking about packing one week in advance and making a list each day/night of all the items you use with your baby. That way you’ll be sure not to leave anything out! Here are some of the items that made our lives a lot easier. I’ve omitted suggestions like diapers, wipes and clothes, because I’m going to assume you’re not completely clueless.

  1. A separate bag for the car. We pack books, car seat-appropriate toys, a sippy cup and an iPad in Ella’s “travel bag.” The best toys we’ve found for the road include crunchy books, Sophie the Giraffe, finger puppets and of course, her all time favorite bottle toy. We load the iPad up with Baby Einstein and Curious George and use it in case of boredom/meltdown emergency ONLY. I am definitely not a believer of sticking a screen in front of my kid for the whole trip if I can avoid it. Fisher Price also has some pretty great (free!) apps for animals, colors, shapes and numbers.


2. A soothing device of some kind. In our case, it was a portable swing. We obviously couldn’t pack up our Mamaroo and take it with us every time we hit the road, so this $50 mini-replacement job that folds up flat was just the ticket.


3. A sound machine. SO. KEY.

4. A place for the babe to sleep. I am absolutely in love with her Baby Bjorn Travel Crib. She plays in it, sleeps in it, and we haven’t had any problems with it at all (yet). It’s lightweight, comes with a convenient handle and easily pops up and folds up.

5. Portable highchair. We are in LOVE with this screw on to any table high chair from Iglesina. It works in restaurants, other people’s houses … pretty much anywhere!


6. Burp cloths, blankets, towels and bathtime sponge. We just recently transitioned Ella into a sitting bath (with a great little chair that keeps her from having any terrifying face plants into the water), but before that, we just brought this giant sponge with us everywhere for her to lie on. It keeps her from getting cold, it’s nonstick AND it’s comfy!

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