If you were the type of person who previously packed for your travels by stuffing a few shirts and underwear into a hiking backpack, along with an iPad, I commend you. And now I must break some news to you: those days of super light packing are over.
But, just because you’re traveling with a Little One, doesn’t mean you need to pack up your entire house. And you’re not going to want to! Tip #1: Plan to do laundry during your travels. Tip #2: Pack wisely. Below I’ve listed essentials for traveling with a Little One. Each item listed below is a product I’ve traveled with — and can recommend to others.
Strollers & Carriers
The Ergo Baby 360 proved absolutely invaluable during my Little One’s trips from four months to 14 months. In his younger days, Little One spent most of our flights snuggled up in the carrier, and later on, he explored hilly Valparaiso in it, where wielding a stroller would have been impossible. He also hiked up a Patagonian mountain and through a Texas Hill Country national park in it. The Ergo Baby 360 allows you to wear your baby in the front, back, or on the side (though I’ve never attempted this position), and comes with a sun cover. Best of all, you can keep your baby super close to you, while being hands-free.
This is both our everyday stroller and our travel stroller. I love it because it collapses easily, isn’t too heavy, has a good amount of storage space, includes an excellent sun-protective hood, and can accommodate a clip-in car seat. I’m able to wheel the stroller right up to the plane’s door, and then leave it there for easy check in. When the flight lands, I can pick it up just outside the plane’s door, as well. Simple!
If you plan to take a taxi — even once — during your travels, I highly recommend taking along a car seat. Make your life easy by taking a car seat that snaps into your stroller, and doesn’t require extra hands. This car seat snaps into our stroller, so that we can transport our baby directly from a car to the stroller, with minimal disruption. Also, the car seat’s hood, coupled with the stroller’s hood offers complete sun protection and a very nice place for your Little One to nap, while you tour to your heart’s content. Just be sure to purchase the adaptors as well!
Bringing a 15-pound pack ‘n play to Chile turned out to be the opposite of a burden. It gave us a ton of flexibility in our sleeping arrangements, enabling us to stay in Airbnbs and spend a fraction of the price that we would’ve spent on hotels that provided cribs. Also, bringing a pack ‘n play meant that Little One always had a familiar spot to rest his head amid our busy trip. We checked the pack ‘n play as a piece of luggage, and carried it by its handle when we were on the go.
If you’re trying to pack light, quick dry shirts are a great way to go. First of all and most obviously, they dry quickly — whether your baby is a drooler, or you need to handwash it in the sink. Second of all, they’re super light and comfy — perfect for a day in the sun, at the beach, or as an underlayer in a cool environment.
The Patagonian sun is fierce, so we knew that we needed a hat that would protect our Little One, feel comfortable, and stay on. This hat is super light with breathable mesh inside; provides great sun protection with UPF 50+ material, as well as a baseball cap brim and a long neck flap; dries very quickly; and comes with a tie — essential for my baby who loves pulling off hats.
When I buy a bathing suit for my Little One, I want to make sure it protects his sensitive skin from the sun. This bathing suit was perfect — covering his shoulders and half of his arms and his legs down to his knees. It has UPF 50+ protection, is super easy to take on and off, dries quickly, and is unbelievably cute.
At home, Little One’s room is filled with toys big and small, but when traveling internationally, we needed to choose wisely. The blocks, which come in a small pouch, were endlessly entertaining, and, because they are magnetic, they were exceedingly hard to lose. Little One played with them all over Chile — in airplanes, boats, on at least a dozen restaurant floors, in five Airbnbs, in parks, along the shore, everywhere. And we returned home with each piece. Of course, once back in our apartment, we immediately lost them.
We put a lot of effort into protecting our Little One’s sensitive skin from the sun with UPF clothing, and also lathered sunscreen on every few hours. This baby-friendly sunscreen is SPF 50, tears-free, sting-free, and water resistant. Perfect!
If you’re traveling somewhere with mosquitos, don’t put yourself at risk. Our pediatrician urged us to apply bug spray to our Little One while hiking in Patagonia. Just be sure not to put it on your Little One’s hands, nor anywhere near his eyes.
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