We’re off again! And this time with a whole crew! We’ll be spending the next few days in Napa Valley with my 2 sisters, brother, and their families (4 kids in total)! Many have doubted our plans to conquer Napa with kids, but after months of prepping, I’m confidant we’ll have a fantastic time. More to come on that!
In the meantime, we had to get all 4 of these kids out to California; a feat which is slightly panic-inducing considering Matt wouldn’t be by my side this time to help (he’s been in Palo Alto for a week already!) So this past couple of weeks have been all about planning what to take and what to leave at home. We wanted to make sure we had everything we’d need to be comfortable, but careful at the same time not to overpack with a bunch of heavy, unnecessary stuff.
Even before Evelyn was born, we knew we’d be doing some extensive traveling with a baby in tow. So we decided to bite the bullet and invest in some really good baby travel gear right from the start. Having lightweight, easy to pack items specifically designed for travel has helped us in so many ways. How else would we get through the airport time and time again carrying a stroller, travel crib, car seat, luggage, AND a baby on top of that?
With our favorite tried and tested baby travel gear, that’s how!
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1. BabyBjorn Travel Crib | This baby doesn’t even compare to other pack-n-play style cribs. It weighs in at just 11 lbs, sets up in 10 seconds, and conveniently breaks down to the size of a small suitcase. Every time we check it at the airport we get some sort of comment from the attendant basically saying “this is a pack and play??” It’s definitely a splurge, but worth the investment if you travel often. (One con: you will need to buy a crib sheet separately…I recommend this one.)
2. UPPABaby G-Lite Umbrella Stroller | Having a nice compact stroller has been a lifesaver in cities like Chicago and San Francisco. This one from UPPABaby is nice and slim, so it’s never in the way (even in a busy crowd or a tight store). And better yet, it easily folds up and is super light for carrying on and off the subway. It did take about 9 months for Evelyn to be big enough for it, but now we love it. I highly recommend adding this rain cover too; trust me on this one!
3. ErgoBaby Baby Carrier | After researching all kinds of different carriers, the overall consensus online was that the ErgoBaby is the best for long-term carrying. And though I don’t have anything to compare it to myself, I have to agree it is very comfortable! So far, we’ve always kept Evelyn in the carrier when we fly so we can keep our hands free. It’s also super handy in places that are not too stroller friendly, like hiking trails or places with lots of stairs. The infant insert is a must for little babies, so don’t forget to add that if you’re flying with a baby under 4 months old.
4. Car Seat Travel Bag | We love this thing because not only does it keep our car seat clean and safe, but it makes it super easy to carry. The bag has a long strap on the back that allows you to carry it over your shoulder, plus, it folds up into an easy to store little bag after your trip.
5. Cosco Scenera Next Car Seat | This car seat is loved by traveling parents for it’s simple lightweight design. It might not have all the bells and whistles like those big fancy ones, but it does the trick for the occasional trip and weighs in at just 5 lbs! It’s safe for rear-facing 5-40 lbs or forward-facing 22-40 pounds, so you can get a lot of use out of it. And best of all, it’s only $40!
6. OXO Travel Drying Rack | If you’re bottle-feeding baby, this little guy will help keep the clutter of bottles off the bathroom counter of your hotel room. Plus, it includes a bottle brush you can tuck neatly inside. Throw in some travel-size dish soap if you’re not sure if where you’ll be staying will have some.
7. UPPABaby Stroller Travel Bag | Even more important than the car seat bag, a good stroller bag is a must to protect your investment. This padded bag from UPPABaby keeps our G-Lite safe and can be worn like a backpack (seriously!).
8. phil&ted’s Lobster Highchair | Ok, this is one item you could get by without…we’ve spent many trips sitting and feeding Evelyn on the floor. But this portable high chair folds up super compact (it can even easily slide inside the center of the BabyBjorn travel crib!) and can attach to just about any counter or table. If you’re anxious about not having a high chair, this is a great option!
What do you never leave home without when traveling with kids?