How to Pack Your Diaper Bag for an Overnight Trip

Traveling overnight with a baby feels a lot like moving. You generally have a car full of gear to get through the next 24 hours, and it can often be a bit confusing trying to decide what to take and what to leave. Keep your sanity with these tips on how to pack your diaper bag for an overnight trip.

First, Let’s Start with Diaper Bag Essentials

Admittedly, the essentials list is going to look a little bit different depending on the age of the baby. It’s a fact—newborns don’t eat cereal and toddlers don’t need swaddles. Still, there are a few essentials that make the diaper bag checklist for newborn and toddler-aged babies. Here are the diaper bag essentials:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Plastic Bags for Dirty Clothes
  • Diaper Cream
  • Cloths, Spit Rags, Etc.
  • Portable Changing Pad or Towel
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Extra Baby Blanket
  • Spare Bottle
  • Bibs
  • Soothers, Toys, Etc.
  • Sunscreen and/or Hat
  • Sleepers
  • Several Extra Outfits
  • Small First Aid Kit
  • Nursing Supplies: Breast Pump, Cover, Milk Storage, Latch Aids
  • Feeding Supplies: Bottles, Formula, Bibs, Snacks, Water

How Many Diaper Bags Do You Need?

That list certainly looks long—and there is a lot more that can go on the list, depending on personal preference. For parents wondering how much is too much, keep in mind that the diaper bag is for on-hand convenience. If you take a road trip or travel overnight, you’ll need to pack a bag or suitcase for the baby just like everyone else on the trip. You’ll need at least two bags for a new baby. Plus, you’ll need a car seat and somewhere for the baby to sleep. And you might want to grab the stroller too.

Best Tips for Packing a Diaper Bag for Overnight Travel

Once you have gathered the items from the diaper bag essentials for an infant or toddler, it’s time to make the magic happen. Somehow all of this stuff has to genie itself into fitting in your diaper bag!

Keep Essentials Handy

You know that you’ll need to grab the diaper bag for a quick diaper change at least a dozen times. Plan ahead with a compact pull-out bag that contains the changing room essentials like an extra diaper, wipes, diaper cream, a changing pad, and hand sanitizer. You’ll have a stash of more diaper changing supplies in the bigger bag for refills, this compact just provides a convenient grab-and-go option.

Group Similar Things Together

Stick to the fundamentals of sorting and organization—like goes with like. This means that you should keep all your feeding stuff together in one pocket or area and all your hygiene stuff in another. Utilize the smaller pockets for a compact first aid kit and pre-portioned formula in your empty bottles instead of carrying double storage containers.

Have a Plan for All Those Diapers

Infants can use a dozen diapers a day. If you’re going on vacation for a week—that’s well over a case of diapers in most brands. There is hardly room for that in the diaper bag. Instead, plan to buy a case of diapers when you arrive at your destination and pack only what you need during travel.

Or, if you’re flying—consider buying a cover for your stroller, storing extra diapers in the stroller pockets. Many airlines will gate-check strollers and car seats for free so you don’t have to pay luggage fees for diapers.

Final Thoughts on How to Pack a Diaper Bag for Overnight Travel

Packing a diaper bag for overnight travel can be a bit of a challenge for new parents. It often feels like you’re bringing the whole house. Just remember to start with essentials and treat your diaper bag like the on-hand storage that it is and not the primary suitcase. Extra changes of clothes, anything beyond 1 or 2 outfits or layers and your stash of diapers belong in a separate suitcase.