Travel & Packing Essentials

Few things can provoke as much anxiety for parents as taking a plane ride or road trip with your little ones. Here are our must-have travel essentials to prevent mid-transit meltdowns, prepare for longer trips, and of course, keep your child safe, wherever you’re headed.

Travel & Packing Essentials

Few things can provoke as much anxiety for parents as taking a plane ride or road trip with your little ones. Here are our must-have travel essentials to prevent mid-transit meltdowns, prepare for longer trips, and of course, keep your child safe, wherever you’re headed.  Most of these links are affiliate links to support Meaning Full Living as well as the charity, Baby2Baby.

Make a list, pack early, and don’t procrastinate! You’ll be less likely to forget something and will feel calmer heading into the trip.

And if you haven’t listened to our How to Travel with Kids podcast yet, take a listen. It will walk you through what you actually need to know about traveling with babies and kids. It’s a super helpful episode that you won’t want to miss!


We know that schlepping is a huge part of travel, so we’ve pared it down to the absolute must-haves.

Car Seat These two options are light, portable, and perfect for travel.  

  1. Britax with Dolly– The dolly is absolutely worth the extra money which makes it easy to carry the carseat around the airport. Hayley never travels without this one!
  2. Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat- We recommend purchasing the accompanying backpack for even easier storage and transport.


  1. UPPABaby Vista Stroller– Heavy duty, reliable, and perfect for multiple kids.
  2. Babyzen YOYO– Extra light, fits in the overhead bin, and sturdy enough for everyday use or travel.
  3. Doona Infant Car Seat & Stroller– Our pick for babies 12 months and younger.


  1. Ergobaby– Our hands down favorite for hands-free carrying. We love to bring this on the plane to have them strapped on while in our seat.

Travel Diaper Bags: shop all our favorite diaper bags here

  1. Paperclip – Easy to wipe down, tons of storage, and comes with a built-in changing table!
  2. This bag, this bag, and this bag – Are other great options that are easy to clean, features a lot of storage room, and includes a changing pad.
  3. The minimal diaper bag – This is a small, amazing diaper bag to throw in your suitcase to have to essentials when you are out and about and don’t want to lug a big bag. Can be worn as a fanny pack or crossbody.


  • Baby Monitor– We don’t travel without this. It allows us to keep an eye on our kids when they are napping or asleep. 

Pack’n Play Travel Crib

  • Baby Bjorn – It’s a pricey one, but worth the investment for its lightweight design and easy set-up. We never travel without it– plus, it grows with your baby and toddler!

Sound Machine – Drown out distracting noises and help your little one sleep wherever they are!

  • Hatch Light: This works as a sound machine, nightlight, and wake up light all in one. We bring this to keep our kids’ routines consistent while traveling. 
  • Portable Sound Machine: A smaller option if you don’t want to lug the Hatch light. 

Fan – It may sound silly, but having a battery operated fan that you can throw into your bag is an absolute game changer for keeping babies and kids cool and content.

  • Fan – Clip this on to your stroller, car seat, or travel crib to keep them cool and comfortable. 

TIPS! For younger babies who need a dark room:

  • Sleep in bathroom or closet
  • Use a Slumber Pod Black Out Tent that fits over a travel crib for seamless shared room sleep
  • Trash bags and tape to cover windows


Snacks On the Go – Unexpected delays and missed meals mean you can never have too many snacks on hand. Seriously, you can’t. 

  • Skout Bars – These are amazing; they are organic, plant based, and without any refined sugar.
  • Cerebelly pouches– The perfect time to reach for pouches for convenient, mess-free eating. (Check out our article on food pouches to learn why we recommend using the mess-free spout for travel and special situations.) Use code HUBBARD40 for 40% off!
  • Easiest Oat Bites
  • Dates rolled in coconut 
  • Raisins – They’re packed with fiber and will keep your kiddo feeling fuller for longer! 


  • Tablets with preloaded content- You don’t want to be dependent on WiFi on the road or on the airline’s options for in-flight entertainment.
  • Headphones!
  • Prep your kids for travel by reading books about your destination, travel, and transit (like The Night Before Summer Vacation, Going on a Plane, or Road Trip) and then include them in the packing process.


In Case of Emergency- If things go haywire, preparation is key! Be sure to pack:

  • Medications like Acetaminophen, Motrin, Nasal Saline spray, and Allergy Relief Diphenhydramine HCl (be careful with Allergy Meds & Benadryl: it can make some kids hyperactive and agitated) 
  • Emergency supplies like Bandaids (we love these bravery bandages), a thermometer, and cooling stickers for the forehead in case of a fever. 
  • Gum for ear pain if your child is over 3 years old and knows how to chew it or lollipops, like Yum Earth, for younger kids. 
    • You can also nurse, give a bottle, or provide a snack during takeoff and landing so they’re ears don’t pop! 
  • An emergency card that has your child’s name, your number, any allergies and other pertinent things. 
    • Give your child the emergency card and tell them if they get lost, to find someone in a uniform and give them the card. 
    • You can also write your phone number on your child’s arm (using safe ink like these SportSafe pens) and tell them to show the number to someone in a uniform if they get lost.  

And Don’t Forget These!

You many not think of these as “essentials,” but they will change the game if things don’t go as planned:

  1. Multiple loveys to avoid mid-trip meltdowns
  2. A change of clothes for any accidents or if your luggage gets lost
  3. Disposable pads for unexpected diaper changes and to cover the changing table in the bathroom
  4. Poop bags for dirty diapers
  5. Formula and clean bottles that have already been portioned out
  6. Wet wipes or single-use placemats for meals and snacks to clean and cover the tray table.
  7. Multiple pacifiers in case any drop on the ground
  8. Suds2Go Portable Hand Washing System for on the go handwashing.
  9. Hand sanitizer – which we’re all used to by now!