After 13.5 years and 6 kids over literally hundreds of flights, I’ve really streamlined what I take on board when flying with an infant. Here are all the mom travel essentials I take for myself when flying with a baby to feel prepared and comfortable while also not feeling overburdened!
I have a couple of baby carriers that I use regularly and really love. I’ve had this version of the traditional Boba carrier for 8 or 9 years, and I had the original Boba for several years before that, since my now-13-year-old was a baby. I’ve found it fits my short torso and narrow shoulders better than an Ergo and is really comfortable.
Maybe even better is the Boba Air carrier. I love how lightweight it is (less than a pound!) and how small it folds (the whole thing tucks into a pocket about the size of two softballs and can clip onto a backpack when not in use). It also washes and dries super quickly, so it’s especially great for hot or wet weather. It’s seriously SO convenient for travel. After about a decade of use, the sternum strap buckle finally slipped off. After trying unsuccessfully to fix it, I immediately ordered a new Boba Air. Turns out the new version is even better than the original! Comfier straps, much more supportive, better hood coverage. Love it.
Carry On Luggage
When traveling with a baby, I like to streamline my luggage as much as possible. I personally prefer carrying on luggage when possible, and always use either this carry-on sized rolling suitcase or this 40L backpacking backpack. I tend to use the suitcase when it’s free to bring on a carry on item and when I won’t have lots of uneven streets and such at my destination (those tend to make wheeling a suitcase more difficult).
I also prefer a suitcase when bringing a car seat as I can either hook the handle of an infant car seat over the suitcase handle, or I can strap a larger car seat to the suitcase with this handy strap.
If I’ll be somewhere with a lot of steps, uneven streets, small transit options, or if there’s a charge for carry on baggage, I tend to bring this backpack that I adore. It’s very roomy and has plenty of room for both my stuff and baby’s stuff. The top zipper pocket is easy to detach if needed, and it’s worked as a personal item on dozens of flights even on budget airlines in Europe and Asia. (Technically the height dimensions are too big for most personal item size limits, but if you detach the top part, it works, especially if you smush it down a bit, and I’ve never had anyone ever flag it regardless.) The backpack also means I have both hands free while walking through the airport, which is great if I have another little kiddo with me, too.
I also really adore this little belt bag and have taken it on every flight since I got it. It’s roomy enough for a couple diapers, little snacks, a small toy, my phone, & AirPods. I’ve even fit a small water bottle in it! The front zipper has credit card slots and easily fits a couple pens and lip balm, and there’s even a built in wet wipes zipper and a fold out changing pad. It’s really compact but holds so much and is really functional. I love having it at my seat for easy access to those baby items, especially while the seat belt light is on. It still leaves plenty of legroom, too!
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I wear earrings pretty much every day but I can’t stand when they poke me when sleeping or resting, especially on a plane. But the second I tried on these earrings, I knew they were winners and would be my new go-tos for travel.
First of all, they’re soooo comfortable – absolutely zero poking, super lightweight, and look pretty but you can’t feel them at all (I kept on touching mine for the first week to make sure they were there since I couldn’t tell from wearing them). When my 11 year old put on a pair of studs from them, she immediately commented on how comfortable they are, and they’re the only earrings my 3 year old can sleep in without complaining her ears hurt. This is super important both on a plane and while traveling in general because I’m way more likely to lose ones I have to take in and out!
They’ve also never bothered my sensitive ears and have so many pretty styles. I seriously love them so much. I especially love the huggies for travel since they feel even more secure, but the studs are great, too (and are what my girls wear).
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This might seem like a funny thing to share, but I hate when my hair gets stuck everywhere when flying! These hair ties are amazing for my thick hair (I’ve used them exclusively for probably 6 or 7 years), and I also super love these small gold hair claws.
I feel like it’s always a toss up whether a plane is going to be freezing or roasting – there’s almost never any in between! I really like this packable lightweight but warm parka; it’s super lightweight and packs into a bag about the size of a wide water bottle. That way, I can easily pack it up to clip onto my backpack when not in use, so there’s one less thing to carry when managing a baby. It also works as a pillow!
Note that the outer fabric of this coat tends to snag much more easily than some others, so be careful around rough surfaces.
These are my very favorite travel pants. I’ve shared them before because they’re so awesome – the stretchy and soft/wide waistband that doesn’t roll is perfect for going to the toilet while wearing a baby without dealing with buttons and zippers, and the fabric is whisper thin and dries quickly. The best.
I’ve mentioned carabiners a couple times because they’re so dang useful! I always keep a couple on my pack to clip on my coat, baby carrier, water bottle, or anything else. I like these locking carabiners as well as these awesome S-biners (I get size #5) (also on Amazon).
My lips always get super dry when flying so I always keep lip balm in my bag. This is the best of any I’ve tried in decades. So so smooth and hydrating. When I mentioned it on Instagram, I was amazed how many of you responded to say you love this lip balm, too! (Also on Amazon)