Planning your first family trip with a baby? The most adventurous family travelers started practicing when their kid was a wee nugget. Traveling with a baby seems daunting, but it can be even more fun than your pre-baby traveling days. It helps to have the right baby travel gear.
Let’s face it: you have to pack every time you leave the house with a baby anyway, even if it’s just for a small errand. Why not go somewhere interesting?
Here are five pieces of baby travel gear that are really worth it. You can skip the rest. Before you rush into a posh baby store, check out the online classifieds to see if you can get a better deal on used baby items.
You’re going to be carrying luggage and squeezing into cabs and airplanes. Many airlines require you to check standard strollers. Not only does this mean a high risk of damaging your fancy stroller, you’ll also be stuck juggling your carry-ons and your baby as you make your way through the chaotic airport security.
Skip the hassle by investing in a light, easy to fold travel stroller. Not only can you bring it to the airplane gate, it’s small size ensures that you can use it for other tricky scenarios such as folding it up before getting onto Paris metro, squeezing into petite European shops, and even rolling it up to the table in lieu of a high chair at nice restaurants that allow kids, but don’t cater to them.
Sometimes hotels, vacation rentals, or relatives have a crib you can use when you arrive. If you trust the source, go for it. But if you travel a lot, it’s worth investing in a travel crib such as the Baby Bjorn travel crib or Lotus everywhere travel crib.
Babies sleep better in a familiar environment and when they always get the same cozy nest and bedding on a trip, they can feel at home when traveling. Both of these beds work 0-3, have a 15-second set up time, and can double as a playpen.
Baby carriers are great for keeping your hands free and getting extra cuddle time your tyke. They’re especially useful in urban experiences with cobblestones or stairs, like Marseille, Prague, Lisbon, and many of the other gorgeous historic European destinations. For urban experiences, soft baby carriers like Ergo work fine.
When you start hiking with your baby, you’ll probably want to invest in a hiking baby carrier with more storage, more support, and a kickstand. It also helps to have a frame so that if you stumble, the baby has protection. Trusted baby carrier hiking brands include MEC, Deuter, and Kelty.
Travel high chair
If you want to enjoy a meal with a baby at a restaurant that allows kids, but doesn’t cater to them, you’ll need to find a way to seat your little one. If you want your little one to do table play at your borrowed flat, while you prep for your day, you’ll also need a high chair. An easy solution is a lightweight travel high chair.
Sturdy travel “diaper” bag
Diaper bags are often impractical tote bags with cringe-worthy design. They slip off your shoulder every time you attempt to lift bag and baby. In addition to being awkward to carry, they will topple a light travel stroller if you hook them onto the handle bars.
Instead, invest in a sturdy, good-looking backpack such as a Herschel or a Sandqvist. You can wear these with a front baby carrier. Bonus: you can keep using it when you no longer need a “diaper” bag.
Note: “Should I bring a car seat?” is a common baby travel question. Car seats are bulky and difficult to get through an airport. Other options include advance booking a cab with a car seat, using UberFamily, booking a rental car with a car seat, renting baby gear on arrival, or sticking to public transport.