Baby Road Trip Essentials: Packing List & Travel Tips

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Are you wondering what baby road trip essentials you need for your next driving adventure? Embarking on a family road trip is an adventure in its own right, but add a baby into the mix, and suddenly, the journey takes on a whole new level of complexity.

If you’re planning for a road trip, the idea of an extended car journey with a baby in tow can evoke a mix of excitement and trepidation, even for seasoned travel enthusiasts.

Trust us, we’ve been there too!

Any travel with a baby comes with extra considerations, planning, extra diapers and yes, extra stuff—lots of it.

These baby road trip essentials will help you ensure your baby’s comfort and safety and have you ready for those poorly timed diaper changes that have a knack for happening between pit stops.

We have put together the ultimate baby road trip packing list to help you prepare when travelling with a baby.

woman packing baby essentials into a grey diaper bag

Baby Road Trip Essentials: How To Prepare For A Long Car Ride With Your Baby

Preparing for a long car ride with your baby requires meticulous planning and consideration. Your best starting point is putting together a packing list of essential items for a road trip with an infant.

Preparing for a road trip also means planning your stops and having realistic expectations of how far you can travel each day.

Some of this will come down to how well your baby travels in the car normally.

If your baby isn’t a great car traveller, it might mean only being able to drive shorter distances each day compared to what you might have done before having kids or with older kids on a road trip.

With those considerations in mind, let’s get to the important bit – all the baby essentials for road trips.

Essential Baby Road Trip Packing List

Preparing a comprehensive baby road trip packing list ensures that you’re fully equipped to handle any situation that may arise during your long drives with your baby.

Here is the essential packing list for a road trip with a baby:

Diaper Changing Essentials

baby nappy bag sitting on a table with nappies poking out and toy car in front

Diaper changes are inevitable during a road trip, and having a well-equipped diaper changing station on hand is essential.

Pack an ample supply of diapers, baby wipes, and a portable wipe dispenser for quick and hygienic diaper changes and clean-ups.

Don’t forget diaper rash cream to address any discomfort – A change in routine can often trigger such things.

A changing pad or mat provides a clean surface for diaper changes, and plastic bags are indispensable for containing soiled clothes and diapers, preventing odours from spreading until you can drop them into a public bin.

Keep these essential items in a diaper bag that is packed near your infant, so you can do a quick diaper change at rest stops or handle diaper leaks quickly!

Feeding Essentials

Feeding your baby on the go requires careful preparation. What you pack for a road trip with a baby will depend on the feeding stage they are at.

If you are still nursing your baby or mix feeding with milk and solids, you need to ensure you have an adequate supply of baby bottles, formula, or breast milk, depending on your baby’s needs.

You can find tips for travelling with breast milk and while breastfeeding.

Don’t forget to pack baby food, snacks, and finger foods to keep hunger at bay.

Burp cloths and bibs are handy for managing spills, a spit up and other messes, while a cooler bag and portable breast pump might be needed if you plan to express milk and store it.

  • Nursing cover – This poncho style is my favourite and I’ve tried a few but this one is just easy to use and comfortable
  • Baby bottles
  • Formula & formula dispenser
  • Expressed breast milk
  • Breast pump – You can get a manual breast pump for travel
  • Burp cloths
  • Bibs
  • Baby food/snacks
  • Cooler bag with ice packs if needed to keep breast milk chilled
  • Baby spoons
  • Sippy cup – For older babies who have their own water cup

Sleeping Essentials

A well-rested baby is a happy traveller.

You also want to make sure your baby is able to sleep safely in the car seat or baby capsule when you are driving. This means ensuring you don’t leave anything with your baby that might put them at risk.

Additionally, sunshades or window covers can help darken the sleeping area and encourage naps.

Depending on the length of your road trip with a baby, you might also need to bring along items for their actual sleeping arrangements in your hotel room or if staying with friends or family, such as a portable cot.


Dressing your baby appropriately for the journey is crucial. Opt for comfortable outfits that suit the weather conditions.

Pack extra clothing to account for spills and accidents, and don’t forget to include a sun hat or beanie and mittens to shield your baby from the elements when you get out at a rest stop.

Consider layering clothing for easy adjustments to changing temperatures along the route.

  • 2-3 outfits a day – Rompers and bodysuits are easy options for very young babies
  • Leggings – Bring extras if you are road tripping in winter
  • Sweaters /jumpers – For cooler weather trips that require extra layers, otherwise just a light cardigan for summer months
  • Socks – Pack several as they have a habit of going missing
  • Hat – Sun hat in warmer seasons or a beanie for the cooler months
  • Swimming gear – Disposable or reusable swim nappies and swimsuit if swimming is on your itinerary

Extra Baby Gear

Having the right baby gear simplifies the journey for both you and your little one.

A properly installed car seat is a non-negotiable safety essential.

But there are a few other useful items that are worth considering, depending on where you are going, how long you are road-tripping for and what needs you might have.

  • Umbrella stroller – More compact than a regular stroller if you need more space in your car for all your road trip gear
  • Baby carrier or sling – Provides a hands-free way to carry your baby and compact to pack
  • Portable high chair – We like the fabric over chair travel high chair options but you can also get travel high chair booster seats or pack a Bumbo for babies who are eating solids.
  • Toys – Keep your baby entertained by adding a few baby travel toys to your packing list, such as the type that clips onto the car seat or stroller
  • Pacifier – If your baby uses a pacifier (or dummy as we say here in Australia), make sure you bring a spare in case it gets lost during one of your stops
  • Baby toiletries – Baby shampoo, baby bath and any other baby care items that you use regularly
  • Sealed bucket – If you are using reusable nappies for your baby, having a sealed bucket for your dirty diaper will help avoid stinking out the car until you can rinse them out at a hotel sink or washing machine. Extra large zip lock bags are a more compact alternative.
  • Play mat – For tummy time so your baby can have a comfortable place to play and roll when you reach your accommodation

Other Must-Haves For A Road Trip With A Baby

In addition to the essentials mentioned above, there are a few more items that can enhance your baby’s comfort and safety on the road.

  • First Aid Kit – A first aid kit for the whole family is always essential for any family road trip, with basic items like band-aids and sting cream, but also tailored to your baby’s needs too.
  • Ziplock bags – You never know when you might need these for putting half-chewed baby rusks or a pacifier that got dropped in the dirt and needs sanitising.
  • Baby-safe sunscreen
  • Prescription medications
  • Passport – If you are driving across borders, make sure you have the proper identification documents for your baby.

Tips For Car Travel With A Baby

family on a road trip sitting on the back of the open car with dad holding a baby

Make your road trip with a baby much smoother with a few tips that will help save your own sanity and keep everyone more comfortable when driving long distances:

Frequent Stops:

When taking a long car journey with a young baby (or with kids of any age), incorporating frequent stops into your travel plan is a must.

Babies have their own schedule of feeding, diaper changes, and stretches, and these breaks allow you to attend to their needs comfortably.

Use rest areas, gas stations, or designated pit stops to ensure your baby is well-fed, changed, and given the chance to move around.

Keep Frequent Use Items Within Reach

Efficiency is key when travelling with a baby.

Pack a travel diaper bag, with essentials like diapers, wipes, snacks, and toys within easy reach. This way, you can access what you need without having to open the back boot and sift through all your luggage each time you need something.

Keeping these items within arm’s reach minimises disruption and helps you attend to your baby’s needs promptly.

Utilise seat-back organisers or designated compartments in the front seat to stay organised and avoid unnecessary stops.

Time Driving With Naps

close up of baby feet and hands in a reverse facing baby capsule

Strategically planning your travel schedule around your baby’s nap times can make a significant difference in your journey. When your little one is napping, you can cover more ground with minimal interruptions.

Take advantage of your baby’s natural sleep patterns to log in some driving time.

Car Travel Safety

Prioritising your baby’s safety during car travel is non-negotiable.

Ensure your baby’s car seat is properly installed and adjusted according to their age and height. Use rear-facing car seats for infants and follow manufacturer guidelines.

Double-check the seat’s secure installation at the beginning of your journey and at every stop.

Keep sharp objects and potential choking hazards out of your baby’s reach, and ensure that all car windows and doors are childproofed.

Be Flexible

While meticulous planning is essential, it’s equally important to embrace flexibility when travelling with a baby. Unexpected situations can arise, from traffic delays to unscheduled stops.

Maintain a positive attitude and be prepared to adapt your plans as needed. Babies can be unpredictable, and having a flexible mindset helps you navigate challenges with less stress.

Remember, the journey is as much about the experience as the destination, and a bit of flexibility can turn unforeseen situations into memorable moments.

Road Trip Accommodation

Unless you are towing your own van or camper trailer for your road-tripping accommodation, you’re going to need hotels.

One way to reduce the amount of stuff you need to pack is to choose family-friendly hotels that include some of those essentials.

This includes places that have cots available and larger rooms to accommodate a family.

Keeping It Stress-Free

While it’s important to have a plan in place, remember that road trips with babies might not always go exactly as planned.

Allow room for spontaneity and unexpected detours.

It’s natural for babies to experience fussiness or restlessness during the journey since being confined to a car seat for hours on end is very different from sleeping in their bed or being held.

While you hope your baby sleeps for much of the journey, it won’t always go that way!

Conclusion: Road Trip With An Infant

Taking a road trip with a baby can feel daunting, especially if your baby is not a great car traveller at the best of times. Making sure you’ve packed the baby road trip essentials for your trip will help make your experience go much smoother and hopefully result in an exciting and memorable trip for the whole family. For more baby travel tips, check out our road trips with kids guide.

Road Trip Planning Resources

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