Baby doll in suitcase

European travel with a baby: Packing for three weeks

European travel with a baby: Packing for three weeks

Packing for a European trip used to be easy for me. Now that I’ve got a small baby to deal with, I’m actually writing my packing list well ahead of time. I’ve travelled overnight with my baby on car trips and was astounded at just how full the car was of stuff he “needed”, and the thought of getting all that organised for a plane trip is pretty scary.

European travel with a baby: Packing for three weeks

[Pic of how not to pack with children from danorth1 via Flickr CC]

As I’ve said in recent weeks when I’ve talked about car hire and hotel booking, I may be an experienced budget traveller but I’m a novice when it comes to European travel with a baby – so I welcome your advice on packing for travel with a baby. So far, my research and contemplation on packing for my baby’s needs during our three week stay in Germany and Switzerland has led me to these tips:

  • Make a list. For a start, babies and children need a lot of stuff. Secondly, if you arrive somewhere and don’t have it, that could be much more of a problem than when an adult, say, forgets their toothbrush.
  • Make said list ahead of time. I started my list a couple of months before my trip, keeping a piece of paper handy to add items to when they came to mind – I’ve been surprised how many baby travel needs I forgot when I first made the list.
  • Find out what you must take and what you can get there. For example, I’m taking enough nappies (diapers) for the first couple of days, but will buy more there – they’re far too bulky to pack. However, if you need particular medications, formula or other baby items that may be different or difficult to find, pack them. Obviously most places in Europe will have nearly every baby requirement – things could be different if I were travelling elsewhere.
  • Focus on keeping the baby comfortable and happy, because if they are, you will be too. I’m especially concerned about the long flights from Australia to Europe so I’m being careful about what I’ll pack in our carry-on luggage to make sure the baby is as comfortable as possible. No doubt the passengers around me will be grateful if that works, too!
  • Try to minimise. This sounds like a contradictory piece of advice, but while you must make sure you have everything you need with you, you also don’t want a huge load of luggage to lug around while you’re also carrying a baby, right? For example, just take a small number of favourite toys rather than half the toy box.

They’re my thoughts on Europe travel planning for a  trip with a baby or small child so far – please let me know in the comments what else I should think about. Thanks in advance!

European travel with a baby: Packing for three weeks

3 thoughts on “European travel with a baby: Packing for three weeks

  1. Alice

    Hello

    We recently travelled to Bavaria by train with our (then) 8 month old baby.

    We have had a list for what to pack for ourselves and Sam since our first overnight trip away. We found that we did not actually take that much more luggage then we used to take with just the two of us on the train trip. It especially helped that we prioritised our packing space for baby things not least because Sam is in cloth nappies and we were not going to change that just because we were going away.

    A lot of what you actually need to take will depend on how your baby is fed at the time and what the weather is going to be like. At 8 months Sam was well into weaning and was still be breast fed so no need for lots of bottles etc. Because Sam is being Baby Led Weaned (that is a whole other blog subject entirely!) we did not need to take lots of jars of mush. Instead Sam could have some of our food. But we did take some rice cakes and the Ella’s pouches of mushed fruit just in case. Sam is quite happy to suck the pouches so there is no need for spoons etc.

    Clothes of course are easier if the weather is going to be nice. But you only need a few thicker things if it is not. If you have a sicky baby then a few changes would be handy but you can always hand wash clothes while away.

    Finally there is the entertainment problem. We were lucky in that the place where we were staying provided baby toys so we just took a few bits for the train including a small new toy as a treat. When we travel to places that don’t have baby toys obviously we take a bit more. But remember that depending on the age of your baby you may be able to entertain them with things at the place where you are staying especially if it is self-catering (giving you access to wooden spoons, saucepans etc).

    Ooooops – must go – Sam is after a nap. Hope that helps!

    Alice

  2. Karen Bryan

    Alice – thanks very much for your very detailed comment which I’m sure will be very useful to other travelling parents. I know when our twin sons were young travelling anywhere without the car was virtually impossible.

  3. Alice

    You are very welcome.

    I can imagine that with twins travelling by anything other than car would be less fun.

    I also just wanted to add that the luggage we ended up taking with us consisted of a 35 litre back pack, a 65 litre back pack, a small wheely case (the sort you used to be able to take on planes as hand luggage but I think might be to big now) and a small ish cloth bag. The two ruck sacks were carried by my husband and I took the case, bag and carried Sam in a Mei Tei.

    We’re palnning to do this again at Christmas… I wonder if travelling with a 15 month old on a long train trip will be more or less fun!

    Alice

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