Traveling with kids can get overwhelming, especially during the seasonal holidays. Even if you think you’ve mastered the art of packing light, traveling with just one child will make you rethink every little thing that goes into your luggage. Thankfully there are innovative brands making the process a bit easier with new baby gear, travel bags, tech gadgets and more.
While it will take some trial and error before you get it right, the key is to consolidate and compartmentalize—and somehow keep it simple. Here is a guide to travel essentials and baby gear for when you hit the road, or take flight.
The right travel bag system will keep you organized from the start. Consolidate all the items you definitely will not need during the journey into a single suitcase. (Remember, you’ll be pushing a stroller through the airport so the less the better.) If it’s a long trip, think big with a single Checked suitcase from Away and use their Packing Cubes to keep the family’s clothing organized, including those little onesies, mittens and socks.
More important than the large suitcase are the bags you will need access to during the flight or road trip. For short getaways or a cute carry on, the BÉIS Weekender Bag is perfect for moms who want style and substance. The laptop-friendly large tote also has a separate bottom section for shoes, toiletries and more. Again, think of consolidation and compartmentalization.
For diaper bags, Los Angeles-based Luli Bebé uses premium quilted vegan leather that is 100% stain resistant, resulting in a classic and clean look. Its Monaco Diaper Bag (which looks lovely in latte) can be worn as a backpack or over-the-shoulder, with nine pockets and a large main compartment. In addition to stashing a reasonable supply of quality diapers and wipes (new favorites include Coterie and Ecoriginals), you want to pack at least two complete outfit changes for each child in your diaper bag.
Think big and think small. You need the best toiletry bags to carry your beauty products along with your child’s own ointments and diaper rash creams.
Last, teach your child the importance of carrying and monitoring their own travel bags. Away’s Minis are great for smaller items like kid’s coloring materials, toiletries, and other mini essentials.
Baby Bed & Seat
Where will the baby eat, rest and sleep during the trip?
You can’t bring a booster chair everywhere. Bombol Pop-Up Booster is a work of art. Its origami design opens to a booster when you need it and folds flat as an iPad when you don’t. Brings kids ages 6 months and up to any table.
The thought of disassembling then packing a traditional playpen can cause major panic. AeroMoov’s Instant Travel Cot is a lightweight, yet sturdy playard and sleep cot for on-the-go. No assembly required. It folds and unfolds for the easiest setup, and packs thinly into a 4.6 inch carry bag that will leave plenty of room in your car trunk (or an easy check-in).
DockATot is also easy to stash in the trunk. Its snuggly borders provide a soft, safe space to station your baby, and come in a variety of cute shades and prints, like La Vie En Rose and Lush & Fern. The lightweight item can be easily transported from one spot to the next using a Getaway Tote.
If you’re staying at a hotel, look to Newton Baby, developers of the only 100% breathable and washable crib mattress also created a lighter mattress pad. Place it in your hotel’s crib for instant breathability to help guard against accidents or diaper messes.
You’re not just packing baby clothes. From bibs and burp cloths to swaddles and sleepsacks, checking off all the cloth essentials can get overwhelming.
If you want to dress your baby up in something convenient and cozy, Baby Brezza created a 3-in-1 Transition Sleepsuit with multiple ways to comfortably transition your baby from the swaddle, in tight places like airplanes and cars.
With grandparents and relatives meeting your little one for the first time, you want to dress them up in something precious. Pip Pea Pop has a simple white Babysuit that can be personalized. More important, it is made with 100% GOTS-certified organic pima cotton, made with zero dyes or any harmful chemicals. For convenient travel, it features two-way zippers for easy diaper changes and a fold over footie in case your baby loses a sock in the airport.
The winter weather and plane cabin air can affect your baby’s sensitive skin. Keep them moisturized with EllaOla, a 100% USDA organic certified skincare line co-created by a team of three Harvard scientists (who are also mothers themselves, of course). From its lotions to diaper cream, its products hydrate and seal in moisture to protect the skin barrier.
Keeping babies on their normal feeding and sleeping schedules can be difficult while in a new setting. Monitor your baby’s schedule with the Talli. The portable device has buttons for bottles, diaper changes, snoozes and more. Each click gets logged onto a connected app that multiple caregivers can update. This will come in handy if you hire a local babysitter.
Bringing baby medicine is a must. Genexa has pain & fever medicine and other homeopathic remedies for infants, babies and children. Its formulas are without artificial or inactive ingredients, and extremely effective. If your newborn develops a cold during the trip, bring Zarbee’s honey-free cough syrup options for babies younger than 6 months.
If you’re traveling with an infant and worried about how you’ll warm your bottle while on-the-go, Baby’s Brew has invented an award-winning, battery-powered, portable bottle warmer (formula or breastmilk).
If you are a fan of preservative-free foods, your babies can stick to all-natural fruit and vegetable purees even while traveling. Order from Little Spoon’s Baby Blends and just thaw them upon arrival. (Or, have it delivered to your destination). Its solid purees are 100% organic, without GMOs or artificial flavors. Worried about your child’s health and immunity during the flight or long car ride? Check out their Boosters, which are vitamins and remedies that can be incorporated into their meals as soon as they start solids. (The probiotic can be used from birth.)
If you are traveling with a toddler, the last thing you want is to resort to fast foods just because you are away from your trusty kitchen. Maintain your kids’ healthy diets with brands like Tiny Organics. From pumpkin-spiced oats to bananas foster and carrot cake bites, encourage healthy meals even when on vacation.
If you’re boarding a plane, skip the salty snacks. Pack Brainiac Foods’ Brain Bars which are made with a blend of all organic, gluten free oats, puffed quinoa, chia seeds and pea crisps. One bar provides 100 mg of Omega-3s, and 55mg of choline and lutein to support focus and memory.
The baby stroller is often the bulkiest of baby gear and a pain to pack. If you’re a frequent flier, a Doona is worth the investment. With a single click, it unlatches from the car seat base and unfolds into a full compact stroller (for infants from 4 lbs to 35 lbs). It is the first infant car seat with a complete and fully integrated travel system, allowing parents to transform from car seat to stroller in seconds, and in one single motion. Doona is the only car seat to have been tested and certified in three safety categories, as it offers 3-layer side-impact protection, anti-rebound crash technology and a superior 5-point safety harness.
If your baby has passed the 35 lb mark and can no longer fit into a light carrier, check out Silver Cross’ Super Compact Stroller, the Jet. The lightweight stroller fits easily in car trunks and overhead storage racks, and is even cabin approved for most airlines.
It holds riders up to 55 lbs with a comfy ergonomic seat and improved suspension for a super smooth ride.
Pumping On The Go
Last but not least, make sure you can safely and comfortably breastfeed, pump, store and feed. A regular hospital grade pump is heavy so check Aeroflow Breastpumps to see if your insurance can also cover a lighter yet effective one, like the Lansinoh Signature Pro. If you’re opting for extra style, check out Rebecca Minkoff x Medela Mom collection.
When it comes to feedings, lightweight bottles from Chicco’s starter set are great for the diaper bag. Even if you’re staying at a luxury hotel, bring Medela Microsteam Sterilizing Bags and/or Medela Accessory Wipes to ensure a safe, hygienic environment for your child’s sustenance.
There are also wireless breast pumps like Willow, Elvie and Spectra that have changed the game for nursing moms. But with portable pumps costing as much as $499, turn to sites like 1Naturalway to help you determine if insurance can help cover some or all of the costs. A key to making these breakthrough products work is the right support and placement. This year, Willow launched the Perfect Pumping Bra in collaboration with the Dairy Ferry to ensure proper fit to help maximize milk flow.
If you’re watching your wallet, Haakaa Milk Collector bra inserts are also HSA/FSA eligible and cost less than $20. The key is to never neglect your normal pumping and feeding schedule, as it can lead to mastitis or other infections.
Moms do so much during the holidays, and they do everything to make family travel possible year-round. It’s worth investing in the right items that will make the flight or car ride smoother, and the destination much more enjoyable.