It’s no big revelation to say that traveling with kiddos can be stressful (but also, don’t try to wait until
it’s not). There’s just so much stuff — like the snack cup, the favorite lovey, and the paci — not to mention the constant threat of meltdowns, delayed flights or holiday traffic, and leaving something behind. There isn’t much to do in preparation for the unknowns but when it comes to handling all the stuff, the best travel diaper bags make it easy. Okay, fine. Easier.
To help you find the right travel bag — and to know what exactly to put in it — keep reading (there’s even a handy packing checklist).
What Are The Carry-On Restrictions?
With most airlines, every passenger with a ticket is allowed to bring one carry-on bag. It’s important to check with your airline for specific sizing, but your
carry-on bag should easily fit underneath the seat in front of you, and the max dimensions are 22 inches long, 14 inches wide and 9 inches high (on most major airlines). Ticketed passengers are also allowed a single personal item — a purse, laptop bag, backpack, or diaper bag. When traveling as a family, the less you have to carry the better. So, when your diaper bag can double as a carry-on? Well, let’s just call that a travel-savvy parent hack. What Makes A Great Travel Diaper Bag?
First of all, you’ll want a bag that’s easy to carry. Backpacks and cross-body bags are winners because they keep your hands free for, you know, strollers and car seats, and actual children. It’s also important to look for bags that open wide so you can see everything at a moment’s notice without rifling around into the abyss. Lots of pockets, especially zippered ones on the exterior, for organizing the chaos (and all those
travel toys) is key. And you’ll appreciate extras, such as a trolley sleeve, pacifier holder, or multiple handles when you’re trekking through an airport.
Finally, aesthetics matter. Whether you prefer a minimalist diaper bag, a leather tote, or a modern look, there are a number of styles to choose from, and some are even waterproof (aka wipeable) because, well, sh*t happens.
What Goes In A Diaper Bag On A Plane?
All the normal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) restrictions, including the
3-1-1- rule, apply to carry-on bags. This means you are only permitted to bring liquid or gels containing 3 ounces or less and that they must all fit in one single quart clear plastic bag. However, parents traveling with infants are allowed to break the 3-ounce rule when packing breast milk, formula, and baby food. Just give the agent a head’s up and remove them from your bag before going through security. Other than that, most typical diaper bag items can be packed as usual. Air Travel With a Baby: Packing Checklist
Here are a few items to consider when you're packing your travel diaper bag for a trip with kids:
Diapers Wipes Plastic bags/wet bags for dirty diapers or soiled clothes Multiple changes of clothes Blankets Baby food, snacks, formula, milk, etc. Bottles or sippy cups Bibs Breast pads Diaper cream Changing pad Hand sanitizer Tissues Pacifiers and/or loveys Toys Medication, pain relievers, first aid kit
Below, we’ve gathered the best diaper bags for jet-setting or
hitting the road with a toddler. May the naps be long and the meltdowns be minimal — either way, you’ve got this. 01 A Fan-Fave Travel Backpack With A Pocket For Everything
diaper bag backpack — with an impressive overall 4.8-star rating on Amazon after 27,000 reviews — comes with a changing pad, diaper organizer, two insulated pockets, and two large zipper closure compartments. You can wear it or carry it by the top handles, and it has a total of 16 pockets, including one hidden security pocket for travel documents. There’s even a padded laptop compartment because who knows? Your baby could just sleep the entire way and let you catch up on a few things. And you’ll love knowing that this roomy yet lightweight pick is waterproof, too. Helpful review: “This is genius and makes traveling so much easier. Unlike a standard backpack where you put things into a big dark hole, this one has a place for everything. We have recommended this to all of our friends for their personal traveling. Using this as an airline carry-on solves a lot of problems, and holds a LOT of things in an organized and easily accessible manner.” Available Colors: 8 | Dimensions: 11.8 x 7.8 x 16.5 inches (L x W x H) | Trolley Sleeve: No | Insulated Compartment: Yes 02 A Vegan Leather Multi-Use Diaper Bag That’s Way Chic
vegan leather bag is so chic — and practical — that you’ll likely use it well beyond the baby years. The waterproof bag has 14 pockets, including four insulated ones for bottles and elasticized diaper-sized ones, and it can be worn as a backpack, shoulder bag, or a crossbody. The bag comes with a fold-out changing pad, padded laptop pocket, and fixed keychain, plus a trolley sleeve to slide easily over your luggage. It’s functional, it’s stylish, it’s your new go-to. Helpful review: “I absolutely love this diaper bag! It’s so stylish and looks more like a purse. It’s huge! It holds everything you could possibly need and more! I love that it has insulated pockets as well. My other favorite feature is how it has zipper openings on the backside that allow you to secure it over a suitcase handle making it amazing for traveling moms! It’s also very affordable for the quality bag you are getting! I wish I could give it more than 5 stars!” Available Colors: 2 | Dimensions: 15.5 x 5.5 x 14 inches (L x W x H) | Trolley Sleeve: Yes | Insulated Compartment: Yes 03 A Quilted Tote That’s Also A Crossbody Bag
tote diaper bag has a luxe look thanks to its quilted texture and faux leather details, and you’ll love it for its practical features, too. It comes with a changing pad, matching pacifier carrying case, and studded feet to keep the bag cleaner on the bottom. The easy-tote top handle can be comfortable slung over your shoulder, or wear it crossbody with the longer strap. You’ll love that the main compartment has stretchy pockets [total number of pockets?] all along the lining for organizing all those tiny baby things. Bonus: Due to the sheer amount of space, this bag is great for toting around a breast pump and/or cloth diapers. Helpful review: “I brought this bag to take as a carry-on so that I could bring my breast milk with me on the plane and let me tell you…this bag was a God send! It fit all of my essentials plus my breast pump, breast milk I pumped while away from my baby and freezer gel to keep the breast milk frozen! It’s super durable and now the bag that I take to work to do the same. I would recommend this for all mamas!” Available Colors: 3 | Dimensions: 17 x 8 x 12 inches (L x W x H) | Trolley Sleeve: Yes | Insulated Compartment: Yes 04 A Diaper Backpack With A Foldable Crib & Changing Station To Save You When There’s A Blowout
Believe your eyes because this
magical bag comes complete with its own structured yet foldable crib. It brings a whole new meaning to a versatile bag. The changing pad serves as a play mat in the crib, which means you never have to search for a bathroom with a changing table and you’ve got a built-in playpen while you’re enjoying a picnic in the middle of your lovely vacation. But truly, the unique addition is icing on the cake to all the pockets (including insulated ones) and compartments (16 total) that essentially allow you to comfortably carry everything you need on your back. Helpful review: “As a single father, you come across several places that just ignore the fact that men can change their kids too. This bag has made it so that I’m not dependent on changing rooms or tables to be available. I am very happy with this purchase. And the bag has a lot of room and compartments. Excellent buy!” Available Colors: 4 | Dimensions: 11.8 x 9 x 15.7 inches (L x W x H); crib measures 11.8 x 27.5 W inches | Trolley Sleeve: No | Insulated Compartment: Yes 05 A Stylish Diaper Bag That Doesn’t Look Like A Diaper Bag
leather diaper bag won’t cramp your style because, let's be honest, it’s super stylish. But as chic as it is on the outside, it’s definitely designed with smart features for a diaper bag, starting with a wide zippered opening for easy access to everything. With 12 pockets, four of them insulated, everything stays organized and easy to grab. This pick also has convenient stroller hooks, a crossbody strap, a laptop sleeve, and a portable changing mat. Helpful review: “I’ve had a few diaper bags [...] but haven’t really been satisfied until now. I needed a bigger option for travel and came across this one. It’s HUGE and GORGEOUS. It’s so nice looking that I had a lady stop me in the airport to compliment it and ask for the link. She wanted to know if it was marketed as a diaper bag because it doesn’t scream ‘diaper bag’ by simply looking at it. [...] It’s also COMFORTABLE. The padded, adjustable straps make it super easy to wear, even when it’s heavy from being packed to the brim. [...] All in all I highly recommend!!” Available Colors: 4 | Dimensions: 14.2 x 6.3 x 11.8 inches (L x W x H) | Trolley Sleeve: No | Insulated Compartment: Yes 06 This Pretty Floral Backpack With Lots Of Room
Give your look a splash of color with this pretty
floral diaper backpack that’ll be your trusty travel companion. The wide main compartment with a zippered closure reveals a roomy interior, and it comes with a changing pad and insulated bottle pouch. With 15 pockets, including one for storing wet clothes an anti-theft back pocket, there’s a spot for everything. Plus, there are three ways to carry it: over your suitcase with the trolley sleeve, as a backpack, or by the top handles. This one is another fan favorite with an impressive overall 4.8-star rating after 4,000 reviews. Helpful review: “I bought this bag for traveling with my toddler and it proved the best decision. It is extremely roomy, comfortable and ideal for a flight. Great value for money. Also the design is very cute!” Available Colors: 1 | Dimensions: 11.8 x 7.9 x 15.7 inches (L x W x H) | Trolley Sleeve: Yes | Insulated Compartment: Yes 07 A Classic Backpack With A Wet Compartment
classic backpack appears totally minimal on the outside, but it gets the job done on the inside. With over 12 pockets, including a laptop sleeve and anti-theft compartments plus zipper access through the back, you’re looking at a highly functional bag. One of our favorite features? The wet/dry pocket so you can keep soiled clothes/wipes/bibs etc. separate without asking the flight attendant for a baggie and then stuffing it in there with everything else — not that that would ever happen to you. Helpful review: “Love this backpack! Was looking for a diaper bag for traveling and this one is perfect! Very comfortable to wear and has plenty of room for everything baby needs while traveling.” Available Colors: 4 | Dimensions: 11 x 7.1 x 15.6 inches (L x W x H) | Trolley Sleeve: No | Insulated Compartment: Yes 08 A Diaper Bag That’s Also A Weekender Bag
weekender bag is made specifically for traveling with baby in tow. There’s a trolley sleeve and it has a wide, zippered opening with elasticized pockets around the interior for easy organization. You’ll also love the convenience of stroller straps, an included changing pad, metal feet to keep it off the ground, and a keychain so you can always find those keys. The roomy design and classic shape will have you using this as a carry-on bag long after your baby outgrows diapers — the 14 pockets are too good for organizing everything. Helpful review: “Very spacious bag! I was looking for a bag that fit all of my twins Items when traveling. This bag is a perfect size for that! Lots of compartments and not too bulky. Great for a weekender bag and as a regular everyday diaper bag.” Available Colors: 1 | Dimensions: 16 x 7.5 x 11.8 inches (L x W x H) | Trolley Sleeve: Yes | Insulated Compartment: Yes 09 A Travel Diaper Bag Backpack That’s A Total Workhorse
Sometimes you just need a solid workhorse of a bag and
diaper backpack is it. It’s insanely roomy with one large compartment for diapers, extra clothes, and all the gear you need to keep a small child alive and relatively happy. Plus, you’ve got two insulated pockets, a place for easy access to wipes, extra side storage, a dedicated spot for your phone and wallet, plus five more pockets just for good measure. The cushioned straps make it comfortable (you can also attach it to a stroller) and there’s a changing mat, too. Helpful review: “I bought this as a bag to travel to Minnesota with my 11 month old twins with. It had plenty of space for all of the gear I needed for a 3 hour plane ride with 2 babies. Very durable and plenty of space. Also easy to reach everything you need inside of it due to a large opening in the top.” Available Colors: 1 | Dimensions: 11.8 x 6 x 15.5 inches (L x W x H) | Trolley Sleeve: No | Insulated Compartment: Yes 10 Also Great: These Disposable Diaper Bags
If there’s one thing to add to your Amazon cart list last-minute before you jet (or drive) off, it’s these
disposable bags. Handy for more than just diapers, you’ll be thankful you snagged them when spills and accidents occur. They seal in liquid and odor so your entire bag (or plane or car) isn’t subjected to any lingering effects. From one mother to another, just grab ‘em. Helpful review: “These mask the smell of whatever it is you need to put inside. I have used these with all three of my kids’ dirty diapers, at the dog park, in the car, and in the bathroom! SO many come in one bag so you don’t have to purchase too often. These are a staple in my household.” 11 Nice To Have: Pouches For Ultimate Bag Organization
Yep, even though your diaper bag already has hella pockets, this
pouch set is so nice to have for organizing the main compartment. These three clear bags in TSA-approved sizes make it easy to see what’s inside, and they’ll give you the ability to grab and go with what you need. Here’s what you do: fill one with toys, another with snacks, and another with backup clothes — or in whatever groupings make sense to you — and then with one swift move, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for. Helpful review: “These have been a game changer for me. I’m a new mom and I felt really frazzled trying to find stuff in the diaper bag and stuff in the pool bag. So many bags. Now I have a little sunscreen pouch and a snack pouch and a little on the go toy pouch and life got easier. If you’re going to a baby shower, throw these in as an extra little gift because they will get so much use!” Available Colors/Variations: 40 | Dimensions: 7.5 x 2.2 x 5.5 inches (L x W x H) 12 A Dishwasher-Safe Paci Holder That Fits Any Bag
pacifier holder around the strap of your travel diaper bag, and you can keep two clean binkies ready to go. It’s made of soft, food-grade silicone, and when it’s time to wash it, just turn it inside out and place it on the top rack of your dishwasher. Helpful review: “These easily holds 3 pacifiers, which is super awesome. I love how easy it is to attach it to whatever I need. I have it attached to my diaper caddy by my bed but have used it on my diaper bag as well when traveling. I was worried fuzz and dust might stick to it but it really doesn’t. When it does get dirty though it’s super easy to clean.” Available Colors/Variations: 11 Hey Ready for more? Sign up for Scary Mommy's daily newsletter for more stories from the trenches.