Traveling with babies and kids is easier and much more fun than most people would expect. But you need good planning and proper baby travel gear to make things work well. You know how they say, “happy baby=happy parents”, so if the little traveler feels good “on the road”, we all can enjoy our time.
I’m listing here our biggest helpers during our travels with Eric, since he was just a few weeks old and until now, when he is almost 2 years and a half. Some items seem a “no-brainer”, but I know nothing is obvious for a first time parent. Not to mention all the emotions when you travel with your little bundle for the first time!
1. An ergonomic baby carrier
No need to reinforce here the value of baby-wearing, there are enough praises on the internet, and for a good reason. What I’m trying to point is that, even if you are not a big supporter on your day-to-day life, a baby carrier will prove its value when you are “on the move”. We had a Manduca and now switched to an Isara, but most important is to be an ergonomic model. I can’t imagine how we would have survived the stairs in Cinque Terre or sail to see the whales in Tenerife without a baby carrier!
2. A compact stroller
I was never a fan of World Records, but when I found out there is a “Guinness World Records most compact stroller”, I had to see it… and it’s great that I did! It was purchased in a few minutes and heavily used ever since. The GB Pockit stroller is light, user-friendly and practically fits anywhere. It is much more convenient to use when you travel by plane compared with the classical umbrella stroller and uses less space when you travel by car. For us, it was the only option we could store on the boat on our one week sail trip in Greece. Still, the downside here is that the GB Pockit Stroller is suitable only for older babies and toddlers and does not have a sleeping position.
3. A good car-seat
Safety is our number one rule when it comes to driving! But comfort is also key, as we try to organise our road-trips around nap/sleep times. We chose Cybex Sirona with no second thoughts and never regretted it. Trust me, the 360 rotation system is pure gold, especially if you have a “complicated” car shape. The adjustable impact shield not only secures the child, but it is also very comfortable for him. It takes a few days and some protests until he gets used with the system (like with any other new stuff), but after that he will love it!
4. A travel crib
Not needed if you are co-sleeping or if your little one can sleep well anywhere. Otherwise, this is a good investment if you want to avoid extra taxes that some hotels charge for baby-cots or use accommodation that don’t always offer so many choices (apartments, short-term rentals or friends houses). Not to mention all the cleaning and health concerns that I always have with baby equipment offered by hotels!
5. A travel chair
Again, not necessarily a must-have, but definitely makes your life easier in a self-catering setup. It also limits the baby’s exposure to all the germs you have on a restaurant high-chair… we want to develop the immune system naturally, but there are some limits to that. We had a Chicco 360 Hook-on seat successfully used from 7 months until 2 years old. A table booster seat should work as well, especially for an older baby and would save you some space and money.
6. Baby monitors
Let’s face it, travel with a baby becomes purely leisure only after the baby is asleep. But you won’t be able to relax unless you know the little one is safe. With a good baby monitor the happy parents can enjoy some time for themselves, maybe even a glass of wine on the terrace if the setup allows, reassured that the baby is sleeping peacefully. Our option was for simple Motorola audio devices, but I wished we had for the video version a few times.
7. Paper towels and hand sanitiser
Lots of them and in each bag! No explanation needed if you already have kids! If not yet… you’ll find out later :).
8. Funny books and quiet toys
We have to admit we all hated musical infant toys in the plane before we had children. And it was even worse with bored, cranky toddlers! Now we understand things better and know how this can be (sometimes) avoided.
9. Healthy snacks
Everybody is grumpy when hungry and I rarely find something appropriate for a toddler in a gas station or airport shop. Now that he is over two years old and has a plane ticket of his own, a flight meal as well, I’m trying to offer him something healthier.
10. A phone/tablet
Sometimes we have to make the “technology compromise”. A fully charged device with white noise/lullabies for very young babies or age appropriate cartoons/apps/games later on is the last option in some cases. One friend’s 4-years old was very frankly explaining me “I eat junk food and use the tablet only when we are on holiday.”
Did you need anything else during your trips with the little ones, any other accessories or baby travel gear to be considered? Please share if you have any suggestions for traveling with older kids, I will need them soon!