How to Pack for a Month Overseas with a Baby

After our very first visit to Europe almost 15 years ago, when we took way too much with us, we decided we would never do that again. Every subsequent trip abroad has involved only carry-ons – we learned to pack only what we for sure need vs what we thought we may need, to wear the same thing a few times, to do laundry while on the trip, and to “survive” without dress attire. It has made travel more fun and more freeing.

But then, we had a baby … and with him came lots of stuff! We knew that we would be able to continue our tradition of only carrying our stuff in small bags, but also that we would still need to accommodate Zachary’s needs of clothes, bottles, diapers and supplies, a travel cot, stroller, etc.

We researched, purchased, researched more, packed, unpacked, purged, repacked, until we got to the point where we were able to take only:


    a convertible backpack for Jody and for me (more on why that vs roller bags later)

  • a diaper bag
  • a lightweight urban stroller
  • a travel cot


We also took two stuffable “keychain bags” which we bring with us on every trip in case we have extra stuff for the trip home. We did have one of these fully made into another backpack for our trip home (small, daypack size), due to bringing back some extra purchases.

Before you read our post “Ultimate Packing List for a Trip to Europe with Baby,” here are some tips and photos about our packing and carrying experience …

This photo was taken right before we left home on day one. Zachary is sitting here in front of everything we took with us, which for the first three days, did include an extra roller bag packed only for the England wedding (and which we sent home with family before the “real” trip began). The large black bag is the stroller, in its carrying case so we could check it (and carry Zachary through the airport in our Boba).



Next, here is Jody sitting with Zachary at the Central Train Station in Amsterdam. You can see why we insisted on backpacks and light packing – because with all the train travel (stairs, escalators, on/off train platforms, down small aisles, etc.), having one thing (a stroller) to push was more than enough; we wanted to be able to hold/carry everything else.



Here we are after landing back home, in front of everything we took with us. The red wrapped thing is the stroller – we had sent its carrying case back home with family after the UK portion of the trip because we didn’t want to carry it around 5 more countries. So, in Nice, we had it professionally wrapped (by a company at the airport called “Safe Wrap” – 10 euro) so we could check it, then we just carried Zachary through the airports in our Boba.



And, here is our stuff back home and unpacked to show just how much we were able to take in a small amount of space.



To pack like this requires:

  • willingness to wear the same shirt a few times and do laundry a few times
  • ability to mix and match all of your clothes with each other to make you feel like you have way more outfits than you do, and so you don’t only have one thing that only goes with one other thing
  • layering a lot of clothes when it’s cold vs bringing big fluffy stuff that takes up lots of room
  • good packing skills and great accessories, like packing cubes (we are big fans of these)


Now, read our Ultimate Packing List for a Trip to Europe with Baby

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