The Ultimate Baby Holiday Checklist

Making the decision to go on a family holiday with your little baby is so exciting, knowing there’s so much to start looking forward to. At the same time, the idea might seem a little daunting too, but I can assure you it doesn’t have to be. We do our best to think of everything we can that’ll help make the whole experience a super easy and enjoyable one for you.

Our Club Med resorts have excellent facilities for families , especially those with a Baby Club Med programme. Find activities and meals especially designed for 4- to 23-month olds alongside changing rooms, bottles, cribs and babysitting services. But I want to help you out before you go on holiday too. So I’ve roped in my fellow Thomas Cook blogger, Lucy (who’s actually on maternity leave), and together we’ve come up with the ultimate checklist for going on holiday with a baby.

When travelling

Baby in a pushchair at the airport Sside

1) Passport – First thing’s first, it might seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people forget or don’t realise that babies need passports too! Don’t leave it too late to sort it out.

2) Nappies – Now, I know you won’t forget to pack these, but you might put the majority in your hold luggage. However many you’re planning on packing in your hand luggage, pack extra in case of delays.

3) Pushchair – You can easily take a pushchair with you on holiday and can wheel it right up to the plane door too, before it’s taken to be put in the hold. It’s one of the FREE items you can take on a holiday booked through us, if you’re travelling with a child under the age of two*.

4) Sling – Even if you use a pushchair, it’s still worth packing one of these as they can be a lifesaver when having to carry little ones and all your bags around on holiday.

5) Car seat – Laws about transporting children are different when abroad. But if you feel safer, these are another one of the FREE items you can take with you on a holiday booked with us*.

6) Travel cot – You can always request that a cot be added to your room when booking a holiday, but they don’t always meet the same requirements as the UK. For peace of mind, travel cots are another item you can check into the hold for FREE*.

Meal time

Dad feeding his baby in a restaurant

1) Baby food – Pack all your usual baby food, formulas or juice that you need to feed your baby. And don’t forget, the usual hand luggage liquid restrictions don’t apply to baby food (you just might have to taste it in front of airport security).

2) Plastic cutlery – Make eating out easy wherever you go on holiday and carry some small, plastic cutlery in your bag with you.

3) Wipeable bibs – You want to avoid having to do much, if any, laundry while you’re on holiday, so pack some wipeable bibs to manage any spills at meal time.

4) Non-spill cup – These are great for weaning babies and mums-on-the-go on holiday. They can be dropped, knocked and tossed in a bag with no fear of causing a mess.

5) Teething necklace – One of these is a fun addition to your holiday jewellery, and surprisingly stylish too! Made from silicon, your baby can chew on the necklace if they’re teething or play with it while they’re feeding.

6) Breast pump – If you use a breast pump, it’s handy to have on holiday if you’re planning on being out and about a lot.

Day time

Baby at the beach

1) Sun hat – Your little one’s sensitive skin won’t be used to the hot and sunny weather that you’ll experience on holiday, so make sure they’re suitably protected with a sun hat that can fasten around their chin, to keep it in place.

2) Lightweight toys and books – Don’t forget to pack baby’s favourite toy, but in order to keep them entertained on long flights or days out, you’re going to need a few. Make sure they’re lightweight so you can easily carry them around in your hand luggage or beach bag.

3) Cool clothes – The weather is likely to be hotter than you and your baby are used to on holiday, so don’t necessarily pack their usual outfits. Pack lightweight clothes to keep them cool and not weigh your case down too much either.

4) Spare clothes – Holidays are fun times, with lots of fun and exciting things going on, which can get messy. Allow for a couple of outfits a day, in case of any accidents.

5) Bigger clothes – If your baby is very young, you’ll be amazed at how fast they grow. Take a few items of clothes in the next size up, so as not to get caught out.

6) Swim nappies – You might not forget to pack nappies, but did you think about swim ones? Chances are you’re planning on spending some quality time together in and around the pool, so make sure you’re prepared.

7) High factor sun cream – Make sure you use a really strong sun cream on your tots; preferably at least SPF50 and one that’s designed especially for children’s skin.

Night time

Couple on holiday with their baby

1) Baby wash and lotion – Pack some small bottles of whatever it is that you use on your baby at bath time. If you run out, you can always buy some more when you’re out there.

2) Universal bath plug – These are so handy when it comes to bath time on holiday. A universal bath plug can turn even a hotel sink into the perfect tub for your little splasher.

3) Pyjamas – Pack something breathable and comfortable for your little one to sleep in, to help them nod-off easily in their different environment.

4) Travel black-out blind – It can sometimes be hard to keep your baby’s normal sleep routine when on holiday, especially if it stays light for longer. If room allows, it’s well worth investing in a travel black-out blind.

5) Nightlight – Make feeding time and nappy changes easier at night by not having to turn on your bright hotel room light.

6) Reading light – This is handy if you’ve got stuck into a great book and can’t bear to put it down once your little one is settled in bed for the night.

Everything else

A travel bag filled with baby items

1) Nappy cream – With warm weather and lots of time spent playing in the pool, make sure you pack plenty of nappy cream to help your baby’s sensitive skin adjust to the changes.

2) Plastic bags – A variety of sizes will come in so handy for dirty nappies, wet clothes, wet wipes etc.

3) Wipes – For everything. You can’t go anywhere without baby wipes. They’re beyond useful at home and beyond useful on holiday too; at meal time, ice cream time, travel time, any time.

4) Hand sanitizer – When you’re visiting lots of new and exciting places, you’ll be feeding and changing your baby in a number of different environments, so this’ll come in very ‘handy’.

5) A small play mat – If you’re going to be on the move a lot, or by the pool, or even in your room, it’s great to pop down for your little one to lay or play on. It could also double-up as a changing mat too.

6) Blankets – If you don’t take a mat with you, a blanket will work just as well. It’ll be useful, too, if you breastfeed and would like a little privacy on the plane or by the pool.

7) Extra dummies – These are so easy to lose, especially when you’re on the move a lot, so pack plenty of spares if your baby uses one.

8) First aid kit – This is a no-brainer, really. Just take the essentials with you, as there’ll be plenty of pharmacies in main resorts for everything else.

9) Your own entertainment – And finally, don’t forget to pack some things for you too! Make sure you’ve got a deck of cards or (my personal favourite) UNO, plus plenty of shows or films downloaded on your devices for when baby’s fast asleep.

Of course, don’t forget that wherever you go on your family holiday, there are bound to be shops selling all the essentials. So if you forget anything, or simply can’t fit it in your suitcase, you can always pick it up when you reach your destination. You never know, it might be cheaper there too.

And if you've found this checklist useful, you're going to love our holiday packing list as well.

Written 2017. Revised and republished 2021

Sadie Geoghegan

About the author

Sadie Geoghegan is a freelance travel writer who, when she’s not exploring the world, can be found writing at home with her dog in Cambridge.