I recently went to Hawaii for 5 weeks with a 3-4 month old infant and it went surprisingly well- he even started to sleep through the night by the end of the trip (which is the best thing to happen to me since sliced bread, really). We had two suitcases for the 5 weeks we were there and that included luggage for me and my husband and of course baby GYM. There were a few things that I packed that I didn’t use AT ALL and regretted packing. I got a little overwhelmed with the packing list and packing. After all, it’s quite a lot to pack for 5 weeks!
For example, I brought three pee-pee tee-pees and didn’t use any. I also brought 4 pairs of socks and we rarely used them. I also packed way too many onesies and clothes for him.
Minimalist Packing List for a Beach Vacation with Baby
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We travel hacked Honolulu and stayed in an 1 bedroom condo Airbnb in Waikiki. We also ate on the cheap in Waikiki. This list is provided that you have access to a washer and dryer, if you don’t, I would bring maybe one extra change of clothes per day that you are on your beach vacation for a week or less. One time I was feeding baby in the car at Kailua beach in East Oahu and I heard some pooping while he gave me a smile. Next thing you know it’s all over the muslin blanket and I hold him up, and he’s stepping on his poop, and his poop is tracking all over my legs because he’s stepping on it some more. Thank goodness we had brought an extra change of clothes. It would have been a messy disaster if we didn’t!
Here’s the basics to pack with you for your beach vacation for baby:
For the carry on luggage
- Diapers (disposable)– If you use disposable diapers. 1 diaper/hour of plane ride in diaper bag.
- Baby Wipes– Make sure you have lots of wipes for the plane ride!
- A warm and comfy plane outfit (and another outfit in case this one get soiled with a blow out)- We had a onesie inside and a sweatshirt type top with some fleece pants. We had another onesie just in case packed.
- Stroller and car seat combo- We rented a car only a few days but I prefer having our own car seat rather than rent a car seat because you don’t know if the car seat you rent has been in accidents, or whether it’s the right size for your child. We went on a van ride one time and they provided a forward facing car seat when our child was supposed to be in a rear facing car seat. Thank goodness we had our car seat! We have the Baby Trend “Snap N Go” and it folds up easily. This can be rolled up right to the gate and can be picked up right at the gate when you finish your flight. Put your name and address on it and they will also add baggage tags to it when you check-in for your flight.
- Baby Carrier- This was perfect for our flight because it helped our baby fall asleep and nap (our baby was used to falling asleep in a baby carrier). We used an Ergo.
- Nursing cover– Essential item if you are breastfeeding!
- Pacifier– if your baby uses them.
- Tylenol– We used a bit of Tylenol about 30 minutes before the plane took off to help decrease the pain from change in cabin pressure. For proper dosage, check with your doctor.
- One Muslin Blanket
- Small toy- Of course to use for distraction purposes
- Portable changing station- This thing was a life saver as it had a portable changing ‘pad’ and room to put fresh diapers, wipes etc. I use the one by Skip Hop. We used this as a changing pad too in the Airbnb of course.
- Food and snacks if your baby is not solely breastfed/formula fed
for the checked luggage
- Baby Wipes– one package per week. We went through about 2-3 packages over the 5 weeks we were there. We use about 1-2 wipes per diaper change (average one).
- Diapers- Enough diapers for a few days to one week in checked luggage (depending on if you don’t mind using other brand diapers wherever your sun destination is). If you are there for longer, you can always buy some diapers at your destination.
- Books– We read to our baby every night. We brought about 5 books (small and light weight). By the end of the trip I was sick of reading Dr. Seuss’ ABC but what can you do haha.
- Inflatable baby bathtub– We didn’t get an inflatable baby bathtub, but we bought a baby bath tub at Walmart for $16 instead and left it in the condo at the end of the trip. It was well used!
- 2 Sleep Sacks- In case you need to wash one. If you don’t have access to laundry you may want to bring one more just in case. Make sure they’re not too hot! I brought one that was too thick and it took up space in my luggage and made baby sweat!
- Breast Pump and bottles-I normally don’t use the pump (my baby refuses the bottle), but it was useful because I had a plugged duct (sorry TMI!!!) from the underwire of my swimsuit– (which I got rid of by the way in true minimalist fashion), but if you use it regularly instead of nursing you should put this in carry-on so you can pump on the plane.
- 3-4 onesies– for bedtime.
- Non-onesie baby clothes– because they look so cute! Our son had some collared tops and shorts and he just looked so dapper.
- UV swim outfit- We only brought one and it was sufficient for us as we just rinsed it and washed it/ put it in the washer and used it the next day (it dried quickly). It wasn’t cheap though but we had really good use out of it since our baby swam 6 days in a row one time (and LOOOOVED it!). We used the No Zone brand and it’s made in Canada. Ours wasn’t hooded though but this is what the hooded one looks like.
- Swim diapers (disposable or washable)– Our baby was too small for the disposable swim diapers we brought, but we had him in a pair of cute reusable swim diapers that have a Koi graphic on them. We only brought one pair of washable swim diapers and it was fine.
- Laundry soap– if you use a nonscented brand that may be difficult to find in your destination
- Bottle wash– If you use a special baby bottle wash that is paraben free etc.
- Moisturizing Baby oil– We got a small ‘airplane friendly’ size and it lasted a month of bedtime routine infant massages. It was part of the free stuff we got for baby.
- Moisturizing baby lotion– Our baby had cradle cap so we used lotion sometimes
- Baby wash and shampoo– We had a small size and it lasted a month because we didn’t bathe our baby every day (only if we put sunscreen on or if he went into the ocean or pool).
- Sun hat
- Sunscreen– Sunscreen isn’t really recommended for infants 0-6 months, but we spoke with our doctor who said zinc oxide based sunscreen should be fine, because zinc oxide is the same ingredient used for diaper rash (however you should speak to you doctor!). We wanted to get Thinkbaby as our doctor recommended this one (zinc oxide based, organic ingredients, but couldn’t order it through Amazon in time). We bought a Neutrogena SPF 50 Baby sunscreen and put it on him twice. The smell was terrible (it had a ‘chemical’ smell) and the ingredient list seemed worrisome, so we found another sunscreen that was organic. We ended up getting this one from Promise Organic which went on very smoothly and was purely zinc oxide with organic incgredients.
- One to two pair of socks
- Another swaddle blanket– I like the one by Aden and Anais because they are light. We used it to cover up the sun while he was in the stroller a lot.
- (OPTIONAL) UV sun tent– Now I know this is a bit excessive to bring but it was great to use to nurse baby with some privacy on the beach. Also if it was too sunny baby GYM stayed in here too while his dad suntanned outside. It coils up into a round frisbee shape so it’s pretty packable.
- Crib sheet– You just need one because you can always wash the other one during the day (unless your baby is amazing and naps in the crib during the day, in which case you may want to bring two). Our Airbnb did not provide a crib sheet so we were glad to have packed one for the Pack N’ Play.
- Age appropriate toys- We brought our “Play Gym” and it was great to have even though it was a bit bulky to pack, he used it every day. Of course you can’t be bringing an Exersaucer with you. For the play gym, if it’s packable and will provide you some alone time, I think it’s a good idea to pack it.
Notice how I didn’t put a Pack N’ Play in the list? You don’t want to be lugging one of those things around! They are heavy! Ask your accommodation whether they can provide a Pack N’ Play or a crib, and you’ll be happy you did! Usually it’s free or for a small fee.
Also beach towels should be provided at your accommodation.
There you have it, the ultimate minimalist baby beach vacation packing list. Parents, is there anything else you might add?