I am and have always been a light packer, but since becoming a mom, that title has morphed into something a little different. When you have a baby, there really is no such thing as packing light. You will always be loaded down with more stuff then you ever could have imagined before your little bundle of joy came along. I will say though, that after numerous road trips with my now nearly two-year-old, I have packing down to a science, and a lot of that has to do with paring down the gear that we haul along with us, because really you’ll never use half of it. Eschewing the obvious, like diapers, wipes, a car seat, food and jammies, here are my infant travel gear essentials.
Boba Air. I am so in love with my Boba Air baby carrier. It is a soft-sided buckle carrier that can be worn on the back or front, and is actually designed for travelers. It is made of ripstop nylon and has military grade buckles so it’s lightweight, but still very sturdy. The biggest perk! The whole thing rolls into itself and closes with a zipper. So when not in use, it’s only about seven inches long and can easily be thrown into your day bag. If your baby hasn’t yet reached the 15-pound minimum, consider a wrap like the Moby are a Baby Bjorn.
Graco Pack ‘n’ Play. My son has always slept in his own bed and in his own room since he was six weeks old, so one of our biggest issues when traveling is sleeping arrangements. With the exception of one camping trip, our Graco Pack ‘n’ Play has been our go-to travel bed for the baby. A basic model is affordable and small enough to fit in tiny hotel rooms. We’ve even managed to squeeze it into closets and bathrooms so we can hang out in the main room while the baby sleeps soundly through the night. I also love the look of both the Phil & Teds and Baby Bjorn travel beds, so if you have more room in your budget, you may want to check those out.
Dundee Mills Burp Cloths. These burp cloths are one of my most-loved mommy secrets. They are great for all sorts of things in addition to diapering and burping – you can use them to clean up spills and messes, as a changing pad, as a nursing cover, or even just as a super-soft lovey for a fussy baby. I never leave home without at least a couple even now that my son is in the throes of toddlerhood.
Phil & Teds Smart Stroller. I am obsessed with our Phil & Teds Smart stroller. It was the one thing I had to have without compromise before my son was born, and I have gotten endless use out of it. It is constructed from high-end materials, making it comfy and durable, is insanely lightweight for a convertible stroller with a sun shade and parcel basket and handles extremely well on all sorts of terrain and in most weather conditions. It’s a dream and accommodates newborns all the way up to older toddlers.
Sleep Sheep. I try to get my son to sleep at a decent hour even when we’re traveling, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to hit the hay early as well. White noise is perfect for muffling any noises made while the adults are still up and moving about. The Sleep Sheep by Cloud B is not only adorable, but it’s cozy to cuddle with, will be a familiar item for your baby when you’re away from home, and will by you some extra time to hang out in the evenings.
–Shayne Rodriguez Thompson
Shayne is an adventurous 20-something mom to a toddler, freelance travel writer and part-time mommy blogger at Mamas Latinas.