You know those people who get married and all they request for their wedding registry are contributions toward their dream honeymoon? That was us, pre-kids. The good news is you can continue to keep your gift registries shamelessly travel-centric once you’re expecting, too. Read on for our baby registry must haves for travel gear and an admitted splurge for the jetsetting mom that will put a little more joy in your journeys.
1. Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base Stroller
One of the most stressful things about traveling with an infant—any parent will tell you—is all the gear you have to lug along. That’s what makes the invention of this car seat that converts into a stroller so totally awesome. The Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base Stroller even comes with its own base to attach in taxis and rental cars. It’s a splurge, for sure. But this contraption honestly feels like one of those magical Transformer toys. And the freedom it gives you to have two of the biggest baby travel gear items condensed into a single piece of roll-through-the-airport luggage can save a lot of stress on the road. Do note that the car seat is rear-facing only and designed for newborns and babies up until about 35 pounds.
2. Mixie Bottles
If you’re not breastfeeding, then you probably know that formula feeding comes with its own set of challenges while traveling. The stuff can be super messy to prepare when you’re away from your kitchen. Once mixed with water, the general rule is that formula goes bad after an hour. Fix now and mix later is the idea behind Mixie Bottles, portable formula mixing and feeding bottles that take the stress out of worrying if pre-made formula is fresh since you can make it to order for your little. When your baby is hungry, the components are all there inside the bottle, waiting to be mixed and served super fresh with no messy plastic scoopers. We’ll take these over a can of spill-prone formula and loose bottles in our diaper bag any day.
We’re big fans of the horseshoe-shaped Boppy pillow for making nursing at home extra comfortable on the couch or in bed. Unfortunately, they’re too big to travel with, especially by air. Enter your Brest Friend, an inflatable travel nursing pillow that can help you get comfortable with your baby both while you’re wedged into that coach seat on a long flight. The pillow is easy to inflate and packs down flat and tidy when you’re done with it, making it easy to keep in your diaper bag.
Okay, we know this is a splurge. But traveling moms deserve to be as comfortable as humanly possible. And this 100-percent cashmere wrap cardigan by Hatch makes for a decadent inflight wardrobe mainstay that can segue straight to a European street cafe, with all the requisite style. Choose from the two available go-with-everything colors, black and “wheat.” The one-size-fits-all design falls to about mid-calf on most women and has a generous cut that makes it easy to wrap your baby inside your warmth. (It also makes for a handy nursing coverup). The best part? The cardigan’s look is so timeless, you’re going to get use out of it for many non-nursing years to come. Trust us, you deserve this.
Not all hotels and vacation rentals are guaranteed to have a travel crib available for your baby. In fact, many hotels offer them on a first come, first served basis, and won’t let you “reserve” a baby bed in advance of your arrival. If you want to be sure to avoid co-sleeping with your infant, consider registering for this lightweight and extremely portable travel crib to bring along on trips. The packs down flat and can easily be packed into an Travel Crib Lightextra large suitcase (with plenty of room for other stuff) if you want to avoid paying an extra baggage fee. The best part is the setup—the sturdy poles easily pop out, you pop the mattress down and your baby is good to go.
Related: Best Travel Cribs for Babies
Baby wearing has all kinds of advantages, even if you don’t fly far from your nest. But for parents who travel, wearing your baby can quite simply be a lifesaver when trying to navigate cities where strollers are more trouble than they’re worth (colonial towns with beautiful but impossibly steep stone streets, we’re looking at you). There are many baby carriers out there, but we’re fans of BABYBJÖRN’S Baby Carrier One both for its compact design and comfy padded shoulder straps. We also love that there’s no extra infant insert needed. Kids up to age 3 can be accommodated more comfortably than ever thanks to the new carrier’s wider seat design.
In addition to packing their favorite lovey, a good way to make your baby feel like they’re at home on the road is by providing him or her with the same white noise they’re used to in their crib at home. Even if you don’t use a sound machine back home, the Rohm Portable Sound Machine by Marpac is as genius for blocking out urban noises on a vacation in Hong Kong as it is for drowning out the sounds of your rowdy relatives at the family reunion. Since this compact machine is rechargeable and doesn’t need to be plugged in, it’s just as effective for use on a camping adventure, too. Simply switch it on and let the white noise work its magic.
Strapping your baby into the stroller to eat or doing the you-hold-I-feed method certainly works in a pinch. But it’s much more relaxing to know you have a go-anywhere high chair to attach to rental home tables, bar tops and the like. There are lots of options out there, but we like this particular hook on high chair for travel thanks to its light weight (just 4 pounds) and easy installation to different surfaces up to 3.35 inches thick. It folds down flat and small so you can even it pack in a carry-on bag.
A diaper bag that doesn’t look overly like a diaper bag and can fit some of your own essentials inside, too, is more welcome than ever while traveling. And this stylish backpack-style diaper bag by Skip Hop has two packing cubes (perfect for stashing a change of clothes for multiple kids) and a changing pad among many smart features tucked inside. The shoulder straps are cushioned so you can slide a heavy laptop in there, along with the baby essentials, and be no worse for the wear.
A photo shoot with your precious little one is the best souvenir you take home from your first big trip together. Flytographer has vacation photographers available all over the world and in more than 130 locations that include hotspots like Barcelona and the Amalfi Coast, as well as farther flung locales like Bali and Tbilisi. As the recipient of this gift, you can browse local photographers for a style that matches your own and get local advice for the best photo shoot locations. Within five business days of the shoot, you’ll be sent a link to access all of the photos.
Longtime travel writer and adventurer Terry Ward lives in Florida with her husband and young son and daughter. She’s constantly on the lookout for the next Scandinavia Airlines Kids Fly Free deal to save money on flights to Norway, her favorite place to visit both in the winter (Northern Lights!) and summer (Midnight Sun!). A travel writer since 2001 (read: long before the kids came along), she’s written for such publications as Endless Vacation Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler and Scuba Diving Magazine, among many others. Find Terry on her website, Terry-Ward.com.