Traveling with a baby or young child for the first or 100th time requires extra time overall. From packing, to getting ready, and actually getting to the airport all take a little more time and effort than traveling sans kids.
One area that needs to be addressed when traveling with that third (or fourth) wheel, I mean cute little one is what baby-specific gear you now need to bring on your adventures. At the beginning, you’re going to most likely over-do it but odds are that you won’t need most of that extra bulk!
When our second son Theo was born, Kim and I started to think about gear that we would need for travel, some of which is also used when we’re not out exploring the world.
Here are Kim and my Top 10 picks for essential gear for traveling with a baby/ toddler.
Before Lucas was born, we purchased an Uppa Baby Vista on sale. This still is not a cheap stroller and also one I would not recommend to bring on a trip. For starters, it’s bulky & heavy. It’s also is a bit of a pain to collapse since you need to take it apart.
We decided to look into getting a light-weight travel stroller to use specifically for our trips. It might sound like a bit of a waste to own two strollers but if you plan to travel a lot, it might just be one of the best purchases you make.
After narrowing down our choices, we went with a stroller from Baby Jogger.
Baby Jogger makes some strollers that are lightweight and more importantly, they can fold/ collapse easily. By pulling a strap in the middle of the seat with one hand, the stroller essentially folds itself. This is great for checking it on the plane, putting it in your car and if you need to carry it for a short distance up/ down stairs.
A baby carrier is an essential product for being hands free. It is also a great way to put your baby to sleep. When we put Lucas in a carrier, we could walk around and get him to fall asleep relatively fast. Theo usually falls asleep this way as well. It’s really useful around the airport, while wandering around and sightseeing and for many other purposes.
We originally had a Britax carrier which seemed a bit bulky so we switched to an Ergobaby. While Ergo makes a bunch of different models now, we got the original model. As long as you set up the carrier properly, your baby’s weight will be distributed evenly making it quite comfortable to wear.
1. Diapers and wipes are a given for all babies. How do you best keep all of your baby changing gear (diapers, wipe, cream) in one easy to carry place?
Our pick was the Skip Hop Pronto! changing station. This easy to carry bag has a wrist strap and it’s all you need to grab to change your baby. It features a mesh area that holds 4 diapers, a wipe case which fits into a zipper pocket with room to spare for your favorite rash cream. There is also a fold-open changing pad for your baby to lay on which can also zip away from the bag.
2. Don’t forget to bring along plastic bags like the one’s you might get at a grocery store to put soiled clothes into. They are also useful if you have nowhere to place a dirty diaper. If you’re on a flight and don’t have a bag for your dirty clothes, barf bags work just as well, if not better!
When it comes to staying clean, Kim did a good job of finding a trio of products that are natural, organic and harmless (we hope) to a baby.
- Dr. Bronners Pure Castille Soap comes in a 2oz size which is great for carrying on. It’s a multi-use soap, great for cleaning bottles, utensils, clothes and many other items. It can also be used for face, body & hair if needed.
- Clean Well Hand Sanitizer– We just about always have a bottle of this hand sanitizer and have also used their wipes. It’s alcohol free, kid safe and good for liquids bag as its only 1oz and doesn’t burn if you have a cut. Another benefit is that it dries easily when you rub your hands opposed to runny gels like Purell.
- Your baby is bound to stain things so you’ll need a good stain remover. We usually went with Babyganics Stain Remover. Since it comes in a big spray bottle, we transfer some into travel spray bottle.
Warmth & Comfort:
Our choice for lightweight, comfy blankets are the Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets. The blankets are 100% cotton muslin. The blankets are so great that I really wanted an adult sized one. The only problem is that when they did come out, it was quite pricey! The blankets are great to keep your baby warm during a flight, while in the stroller or just about anywhere. They can also be used to block the sun while pushing the stroller.
Travel Chair/ Hands Free In-Flight Tool:
When visiting foreign countries, Kim and I found that it could be hard to find a high chair to put Lucas in. We used the Snazzy Baby, My Baby’s Own Deluxe Travel Chair to help with this problem.
The Snazzy Baby is not really a chair, it’s a harness that attaches to most chairs. This was quite useful during quite a few trips. It made things much easier for us to enjoy meals without having to worry about holding a baby turning just about any chair into a high chair! We also used it a couple of times during flights to free our hands when Lucas flew as a lap baby. The Snazzy Baby is lightweight and rolls up so it won’t take up much space which is great since we are limited on how much our bags can weigh.
Traveling With A Car Seat:
This item is more useful for toddler-size car seats. Car seats can be cumbersome and quite a pain to carry. If you’re bringing a car seat with you, the Go-Go Babyz Travelmate can be a major help. Rather than carry or rest it on your stroller, attach the Go-Go Babyz and turn your car seat into a wheelable seat. I wouldn’t really consider it being a stroller alternative by any means, but we did use the Go-Go Babyz with our car seat to push Lucas around many airports. If you’re gate-checking your car seat, you can just leave the Go-Go Babyz attached.
One negative about the product was that the Travelmate came apart from our car seat and needed to be adjusted at times. However, the company offers great customer service. When a part of our unit broker, they promptly sent out a replacement part.
These are some of the most important products that we found have helped to make family travel much easier and more comfortable while traveling with our older son Lucas over the past 5 years.. There are many other items that could be added so this is just the tip of the iceberg…
Did you find any products to be essential gear for traveling with an infant? If so, feel free to share them in the comments below.
(Product links in this post are affiliate links. If you click on a link and buy a product, I may earn a commission from Amazon.com.)