The first few months of my first daughter’s life were pretty stable. My husband and I were both working and had no vacation days left after parental leave, so we really had no choice to travel. But then, my husband deployed and I decided to leave work so my daughter would have more face time with a parent. After sometime alone, I decided “Hey! Why don’t I travel to see everyone with this little love nugget!” and I set off on a journey around the country with my baby in tow.
I am not the most prepared person in the world, but I am so happy with the purchasing choices I made for our year long trip. These are the products that I still recommend 3 years later.
OMG. This thing was a life saver. We always recommend it to our friends. It is fairly light (13 lbs) and packs into a 19 x 5.5 x 23.5 inch briefcase-like carrier, so it is easy to carry around. (Not like a pack-and-play, which is the least packable item on Earth). It does not fit into overhead luggage though, so you will need to check it. Some airlines checked it for free (as a necessary childcare item), but some didn’t. Frequently on short trips, I actually packed our clothes and things inside the crib carrier so I didn’t need additional baggage! It’s surprisingly roomy!
Another super important selling point for me was the breathable sides all around the crib. My daughter loved burying her face in the side of cribs and it would give me palpitations to see her sleep somewhere without mesh or barred sides.
The whole exterior is also removable and washable which, as you will find, is a must.
The best feature, however, is the incredible ease of assembly and disassembly. It takes literally less than a minute to set up, so after a long day of travel this was always such a relief to set up.
The (comfy but safe) mattress is included, however the fitted sheet is not. We purchased this one: BABYBJORN Fitted Sheet for Travel Crib Light – Organic White
The BABYBJORN Travel Crib is still one of the best purchases I have made in my life. I have seriously never been more happy with a product.
2. Ergobaby Original Award Winning Ergonomic Multi-Position Baby Carrier with X-Large Storage Pocket, Marine
This thing is great. I remember being so intimidated by baby carriers, but after you successfully wear the baby in it a few times, you feel like a pro. This is one of the items you should be doing some research and paying for quality on. There are many less expensive options out there but they are not as sturdy, and many do not have good support for the baby’s hips. I loved this one because my daughter’s legs were always comfortable and never pinched. The baby kind of sits in a pouch in this one with their legs at a right angle out of their hips, rather than being supported by their crotch with their legs hanging down (which you see in many cheaper versions). This was a must for me.
You can wear the baby in front or in the back, but you can’t wear the baby facing out in the front. Ergobaby has another version that allows all three positions (Ergobaby 360 All Carry Positions Award-Winning Cool Mesh Ergonomic Baby Carrier, Carbon Grey) but I haven’t used that one.
What is also great about the carrier is that it is SUPER adjustable. I’m 5’6″ 115 lbs and my husband is 6’4″ 200 lbs and we can take turns wearing it with ease. Just a few easy straps need to be adjusted.
I also never felt like my kid was going to fall out of it, which was great for total hands free moments like grabbing luggage off baggage claim or installing her car seat in taxis.
I have also thrown this in the wash (normal cycle, but then air dried) with no problems. I’m not sure if this is recommended, but I’ve done it and it has been fine for me 😉
Lastly, there is an infant insert to use while the baby cannot hold their head up (Ergobaby Easy Snug Infant Insert Cool Mesh, Grey). I haven’t used it, so I’m just providing the link so you get the correct one. Instead, I used a regular wrap (Boba Wrap, Grey, 0-18 Months), which is great for simple wearing, but to carry a kid around airports or long distances, I recommend the Ergobaby carrier (Ergobaby Original Award Winning Ergonomic Multi-Position Baby Carrier with X-Large Storage Pocket, Marine).
This portable high chair folds down to fit in luggage, but is not super packable. There are other all-cloth options available (Cozy Cover Easy Seat – Portable Travel High Chair and Safety Seat for Infants and Toddlers (Black/Green)), but I needed something more sturdy for my wiggle worm and also something that came with a tray (if I pushed her up next to a table, she would push off with her legs, almost knocking the chair down. So, I needed a tray to avoid that). I packed this one on longer trips where I was taking larger luggage, and it was so nice to not have to chase a baby around while you’re trying to eat, yourself.
There are straps that fit both under and behind the chair, so it will securely strap to almost any chair (it fit all chairs I had to use). Importantly (as with all booster seats), do not put it on a tall chair that will become top heavy, or next to something they can push on to tip the chair over.
I know this one seems silly to include because it’s such a small purchase, but we have gotten so much mileage out of these incredibly inexpensive balls. My daughter STILL plays with them at (almost) three, and has loved them since we got them at birth. They are great for traveling since they can’t break, they are easy to spot in bags and luggage, and there are countless ways to play with textured, multicolored balls with children of all ages.
5. Amazon Prime
If you already have Amazon Prime, GREAT! If you don’t, GET IT! I did several multi-leg multi-month trips and frequently sent diapers and wipes to the place I was traveling to so I didn’t have to waste precious luggage space. Also, when you’re in the mountains of Vermont with no car, and your baby is ready to move to size 4 diapers (hint: blow-outs every poop), Amazon Prime will rescue you. Here is a link for a free trial: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. And here is a link for a gift subscription for Amazon Prime if you know someone who could use it: Shop Amazon – Give the Gift of Amazon Prime.
Have you taken a long trip with your baby? What were the most useful items you brought along? Let everyone know in the comments!
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