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.

[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!