I love to travel and when I had kids, I knew I wanted to bring them along on my adventures. We’ve road-tripped, camped, RV’d, cruised, ferried, traveled by air, and even took a train ride. Our travels have involved lots of driving in the contiguous United States, international travel by car, ferry, and plane, and have grown from one child to three. I’ve travelled as a family, with grandparents, with cousins, and solo with kids. While it does add challenges to your travels, it is so worth it to be sharing your love of travel, exposing little ones to other places, and creating amazing family memories.
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In the past decade since I started traveling with babies, a lot of great new products have come on the market to make travel with babies easier and more enjoyable. You could get by without some of the products below, but if you plan on traveling much, these items will really help to improve your experience and make your journey much easier. I consider them to be the top 7 must-have baby travel items.
1. Travel Bed
This bed folds in half and fits easily inside a suitcase. It is great for infants who are not yet rolling over. This bassinet is great for travel, but also works well for everyday use if you are away from home during naptime.
If you plan on doing a lot of traveling with your baby, this bed is amazing! It is the only portable frame-style crib that packs down small enough to fit inside a suitcase- with room to spare! I have taken this bed with me on almost every trip when I’ve had kids in cribs including car trips, plane travel, and on a cruise. Sure, many hotels offer cribs, but they may charge per night and sometimes they aren’t the best/cleanest option. And there was that one time I didn’t take a travel bed and guess what – no crib available! So I like to always bring my own and know that it’s clean, it’s familiar to my baby, and rest assured that we’re good to go. My favorite places to set up beds for sleeping babies on trips: showers and closets. Boom, instant nursery!
2. Travel Highchair
When we RV’d to Yellowstone, we had enough storage space that we just brought our high chair with us since it folded down nicely. However, in most cases when you’re traveling, storage and packing space is prime! Just before our trip to Mexico this past winter, I found a great travel high chair option. It is perfect because it straps onto a regular chair to be at table-height, has it’s own tray, and collapses down small enough to fit inside a large diaper bag. I would especially recommend this if you are doing any international travel where highchair availability is unknown and/or if you are traveling with multiple babies. At many of the restaurants we visited in Mexico, they had one very old, wooden high chair. Since we had two babies in our group, this high chair was a perfect solution. Additionally, it was great to take to the beach to keep my crawling baby contained in the shade for awhile! I just store this in my car so even when I’m not traveling, I can use it regularly at friend’s houses, restaurants, and other outings.
3. Baby Carrier
I have a full-size Ergo baby carrier with padded straps for everyday use that I love, but it’s pretty bulky for travel. The Boba Air Baby Carrier is great because it packs up really small and easily fits inside a diaper bag. It’s comfortable to wear for shorter durations and offers a great carrying solution for baby on the go.
If you plan on bringing your infant car seat and you have a frame-stroller or car seat compatible stroller, I recommend that combination for small babies (since you already own it). I recently travelled with a Britax B-Safe infant car seat and Britax B-Agile stroller that worked well. Although the stroller is bigger than I normally travel with, it easily folds up one-handed, is lightweight, has ample storage space, and easily allows my car seat to attach. It helped me get through the airport with ease and I simply gate-checked both the stroller and car seat when it was time to board the plane. Since I was flying solo with baby, this combination worked great. But if you’re looking for the ultimate, small travel stroller…
GB Pockit PLUS Stroller / multi-adjustable backrest / Light Traveler / from 6 Mo.-4Y. Capri Blue-turquoise
If space is an issue, this stroller is a must-have! (And when you have 3 kids, space is always an issue!) When open, it’s similar in size to a simple umbrella stroller. But with a quick push of a button, this thing collapses down into the smallest stroller ever (literally, Guinness World Book 2014)! The closing mechanism takes a little getting used to, but this is an amazing lightweight stroller! If you plan on traveling much, if storage space at home or in your car is limited, or if you take mass transit often, the GB Pockit Stroller is the perfect fit. The GB Pockit is a great stroller option that won’t eat up a bunch of your space, but allows a comfortable ride for your 6 month and older baby.
Once your baby starts rolling around, crawling, or walking, you need to make sure he/she has a safe place to play, especially if you need to leave the room for a minute. When traveling, this playyard is great, because it is unlikely that you will be babyproofing your entire vacation home/hotel/condo/campground/etc. Even if your home is baby-proofed, this playard is a good option to use because it provides ample play space, but folds up compactly if you want it out of the way. With an optional sunshade, you can even take this to the beach or pool! It really does fold up small, sets up in a flash, and provides a large playing area for baby. It’s versatile, lightweight, and easy to use. It packs down to about the size of a pack n play, but slightly longer. In other words, it won’t fit inside a suitcase, but it does fit inside a travel golf bag (speaking from experience)! It comes with a travel bag with strap that makes it easy to carry. The Summer Infant Playard is a great addition to your travel list and works well at home, too.
6. Collapsible Bouncy Chair
While prepping for a trip with my 4 month old, I came across this fantastic thing recently- a foldable bouncy chair! I had never even heard of such a thing, but for younger babies, this is great. My kids all loved bouncy chairs and they provide a great soothing option for fussy babies and give you some hands-free time. But traditional bouncy chairs are definitely not travel friendly! This one folds down small and fits nicely inside a suitcase. This is more of a splurge travel item, because you can get by without it, but if you have the space, it is really nice to have on a trip with younger babies.
7. Collapsible Exersaucer
Most babies love exersaucers, but those things are huge and obviously not good for travel. Insert the KidCo GoPod Activity Seat and you have a travel-friendly exersaucer option to keep babies happy and entertained. The KidCo GoPod collapses like a camp chair and fits inside a travel bag. It’s quick and easy to set up, has an adjustable height seat, a floor pad, and gives baby an upright, safe place to play. It also has drink and snack holders and loops to attach toys. This is a great option for infants (with good head control up to 26 pounds) for travel, camping, outdoor time, beach trips, or even works as an everyday alternative to the huge exersaucers you might not want in your home.
When traveling with your baby, safety is key, portability is important, hands-free time is great, and enjoying your adventures together is the goal. These products will help to reduce some common challenges (and stresses) when traveling with a baby and provide a safe place for baby to sleep, play, snuggle and ride.
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Have you come across other great travel items for baby? I’d love to hear about it! Let me know in the comments below. And if you’re wanting to capture some pics of you and baby on your adventures, check out the cell phone clip on lens set and camera stand with bluetooth remote. Happy travels!
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