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Would you love to travel the world with your baby? Are you wondering what you need to travel with your baby? What baby travel gear do you need? What is the minimum you can take with you? How do you make traveling with your baby enjoyable for all of you? This post will answer all your questions and more!
We will cover:
- Sleep Gear While Traveling With a Baby
- Keeping Your Bedtime Routine While Traveling With Baby
- Feeding Your Baby While Traveling
- Packing Diapers for Your Trip
- Packing Clothes for Your Trip
- Getting Around With Baby
- Giving Your Baby Time to Play While Traveling
The departure date of your first trip with your baby is fast approaching. As you walk through your house you start taking a mental inventory of all the baby gear you use on a daily basis. The swing helps your baby sleep; the bouncy chair lets you watch your baby and cook dinner at the same time; your baby adores her play mat; the change table keeps everything within reach. Does all of this need to come along on your trip?
It may seem like babies need so much gear, but in reality you only need very little. Having all that gear may seem like it will make your vacation easier, but it will actually make trip much more difficult. If you can find a way to pack as lightly as possible, it won’t be such a struggle to get to your destination and you’ll be surprised by how little you really need. Keep in mind, on vacation you may even have more hands to help with the baby – whether it’s’ your partner, a family member or even locals eager to hold a baby.
In some instances, packing lightly may require you to purchase additional gear and this can add up quickly. We recommend only purchasing the gear that you will use on several occasions to get your money’s worth.
Here are our recommendations on how to limit the number of items you carry with you and/or significantly reduce the weight of what you will carry:
Sleep Gear While Traveling With a Baby
One of the biggest baby gear items to haul is a place for your baby to sleep. Here are some ways you can eliminate this heavy item or significantly reduce the size:
- Contact your hotel to see if they can provide a crib or travel cot. You may want to inquire about the type of crib and whether or not they will guarantee its availability.
- If you are renting an apartment, contact your host to see if they can offer a travel cot. They may not mention it in their apartment description, but they may be able to help you get one if they don’t have one available.
- Research baby equipment rental companies in the areas. A reputable baby equipment rental company can even deliver it to your hotel or apartment. Check their reviews first to make sure they provide equipment that is clean and safe.
- If the above options are not feasible, alternatives include:
1) rather than packing your heavy Pack n’ Play, invest in a small, lightweight travel cot. There are a few options that range from a weight of 7lbs to 13 lbs. Some also have backpack portability that will help keep your hands free.
2) If your baby is old enough, a pop-up tent like the KidCo Pea Pod, is another option to consider. It can fold up small enough to fit in your suitcase. (Note that the links in this post are affiliate links which means that purchases through these links helps support this blog at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support! Please see my disclosure page for more info.)
3) If your hotel room is too small for a travel cot and co-sleeping is an option for your family, a Dock-A-Tot is a good option that can also be used as a place to change your baby and give them a safe place for tummy time.
- Calculate the cost of renting vs purchasing at your destination. If you can find a suitable one through Amazon, you could have it delivered to your destination. This is a great option for visits to family that may occur frequently.
You will likely want to replicate your bedtime routine as closely as possible to help your baby sleep well on vacation. Here are some ways to create a similar bedtime routine while on your trip without bringing everything with you:
- If a bath is part of your bedtime routine and your hotel or apartment does not have a bath tub, you can try to use the sink or purchase an inflatable tub. Alternatively, a wipe down with a warm cloth may be sufficient for your baby.
- If you read to your baby as part of your bedtime routine, a couple of kids’ magazines will be lighter to pack than board books and still have colorful pictures.
- If you plan to escape to a balcony in the evening or have a separate room for your baby, avoid packing your baby monitor by using an app on your tablets/smartphones.
- You can also leave your sound machine at home and replace it with an app on your phone. Just be aware, you won’t be able to use your phone as both a monitor and a sound machine. If you use a sleep sheep, just pack the inside and leave the stuffy part at home.
Feeding Your Baby While Traveling
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, then you can probably skip this section. If your baby is formula fed, you exclusively pump or your baby is on solid foods, there are ways to reduce the amount you need to pack:
- Is your baby picky about which formula they eat? If your baby isn’t picky and you aren’t nervous about switching brands, do research into your destination to see what brands of formula are available and where you can buy it. Maybe you can buy it when you get there!
- If you don’t want to switch brands of formula, pack powder formula instead of liquid formula. It will be lighter and take up less room.
- Check if your hotel or apartment has a kettle available for hot water. If it’s not immediately obvious contact the hotel or your host to ensure one will be available.
- If you are staying at a hotel, inquire with the hotel about kitchen facilities that you can make use of. Having access to a microwave allows you to use microwaveable steam bags for sanitizing bottles, nipples and breast pump equipment.
- Prior to your trip, see if you can get your baby to use a bottle that uses disposable bottle liners. This will reduce the number of bottles you need to bring with you and will require less cleaning.
- If no kettle is available, look into purchasing a very small travel kettle.
If your baby is on solid foods, you will need a place to feed your baby. There are a few scenarios to consider:
- Do you plan on eating at restaurants for the majority of your meals? If so, do the restaurants typically have high-chairs or do you need to consider another option? Strollers with snack trays can work as a high chair if the restaurant can accommodate a stroller; otherwise consider purchasing a travel high chair.
- A fabric high chair will take up the least amount of room, but won’t work on all chairs or at all tables. A lobster claw high chair is bigger to carry around, but may work better in more instances. For example, restaurants in Japan often have small stools rather than chairs that do not work with a fabric high chair.
- If you plan to have some meals in your apartment rental, contact your host to see if they can make a high chair available or look into renting one from a baby equipment rental company.
- You may end up having to hold your baby during meals, so having laundry facilities available will be key to reduce the amount of clothes you need to pack for both you and your baby.
Packing Diapers for Your Trip
Diapers and wipes take up a lot of room. Conserve space by packing enough diapers and wipes to get you through your travel day plus an extra day. When you arrive you can purchase enough diapers and wipes for the remainder of your trip.
Packing Clothes for Your Trip
If your baby throws up a lot, you might be wondering how you can pack enough clothes.
- The easiest way will be to rent an apartment that has laundry. This will allow you to pack a lot less clothes for you and your baby.
- If you prefer to stay in a hotel, look for a hotel that have washers and dryers available to hotel guests.
Getting Around With Baby
A car seat is another large item that you can consider leaving at home, depending on your destination and how much time you will spend driving:
- Are you going to a city that has sufficient public transportation to get from the airport to your hotel and to get around? Research your destination to determine if it’s possible to get from the airport to your hotel by using public transportation or by hiring a taxi/Uber with a car seat. If you plan to get around by walking or public transportation during your trip, you’ll be glad to leave your car seat at home.
- Rather than buying your baby a seat on the plane and bringing a car seat, look into booking seats that will give you an opportunity to have a bassinet for the flight.
- If you are renting a car, rent a car seat from a reputable baby equipment rental company and have it delivered to the rental car kiosk.
- If you are visiting family, look into the cost of purchasing one at your destination rather than renting one.
Some babies do great being carried all the time and some prefer a stroller. Either way, you’ll need a way to get your baby around.
- A baby carrier* will take up the least amount of room and may be used exclusively depending on the stroller accessibility of your destination. In some cities you’ll end up carrying your stroller more than pushing it…
- Again, if you can get through your travel day without a stroller, you can rent one at your destination and have it delivered to your hotel or apartment rental.
- If a stroller is a must for your travel day, consider purchasing a compact travel stroller.
* To read about The Analytical Mommy’s favorite baby carrier, click here!
Depending on your baby’s age, it’s important to still give them time to play, but you don’t need to pack all their toys from home. This is a great time to improvise and let them enjoy their new surroundings:
- You don’t need a lot of toys for the flight. Babies and even toddlers enjoy playing with new items like plastic cups, spoons or straws. They also really enjoy interacting with the other passengers.
- Rather than pack a lot of toys for your baby, get creative or let them explore around them. For example, you can bring your baby to a park and let them explore on the grass.
- Look for multi-purpose items: Dock-A-Tot can be used for co-sleeping and tummy time.
In the end, you can’t bring everything with you and even if you forget something you will find a way to make it work. Try to just bring the essentials for your baby, your sense of adventure, your sense of humour and then as little else as possible. The wonderful thing about travelling is that it is a break from your ‘normal’ life, so why bring it along with you?
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