Best Baby Travel Products for Visiting Family

Best Baby Travel Products for Visiting Family: everything from gear to important tips and things to consider
It’s exciting to have your family meet and spend time with your new baby. Travelling to get there can be a bit of a headache though. Even though you may be staying with loved ones who are going to have a few more amenities than a hotel, there are still a few question marks. How much do you lug with you? How much can you just use there? How do you maintain the groove (or sort of groove) you’ve established at home?

I’ve found some great travel items that you pack in the car or even take on a plane. YOU DO NOT NEED ALL OF THIS. I just wanted to get some products on your radar so you know what’s out there to get you thinking like, “Oh yeah, mom’s dog goes bananas anytime someone sets foot in the room. How are we going to swing naps?”

 

Here are some of the best baby travel products:

 

BRICA Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet
Best Baby Travel Products: the Brica travel bassinet

This travel bassinet has been around for a while and feels like a travel staple. It folds up well and works great for very wee babies. It would work well up until about 6 months (or once your kiddo starts rolling.)You can buy one here.

Some people skip this and just put the baby on a bed. If you go this route, make sure it’s on their back, on a firm surface, preferably swaddled and with no blankets, pillows, etc. that could end up covering their face.

 

Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard
Best Baby Travel Products: Lotus travel baby sleep crib

This crib is great for a few reasons. It’s easy to set up, it has high sides so it can double as a playard and  it can be used for babies that roll. It has the side zip so you can put the baby in there from the side rather than lowering them in from the top so you don’t have to worry about a not-so-gentle lowering of a sleeping infant due to postpartum lack of core strength (just me?). The side zip is also handy if you nurse your baby to sleep and want to crawl in there.  You can buy one here.

 

Gro Company Gro-Anywhere Blind
Best Baby Travel Products: portable blackout curtain

If you’ve established a great sleep routine that’s about to go out the window (see what I did there?) you can consider investing in a Gro-Anywhere blind. The suction cups adhere to windows and frames to block out the sun if your baby needs a nap at high noon. You can buy one here.

 

Kinder Noise Machine Night Light
Best Baby Travel Products: portable Kinder sound machine and night light

Babies love noise but sometimes new noise like your mother-in-law’s hysterical terrier or your Uncle Mike’s unmistakable laugh is going to throw a wrench into nap time. If you have one of these set up at home, they are portable enough to take anywhere. Pop it into a plug then control it all from an app on your phone. Your baby will think, “Ah yes, this sounds like home. This sounds like a three-hour nap.” (Fingers crossed). You can even change the volume, sound and night light from the app so you can turn it up and change it to “mountain stream” when Auntie Barb arrives and hits the wine box with a vengeance. You can buy one here.

 

Summer Infant Pop N’ Jump Portable Activity Center
Best Baby Travel Products: Summer Infant portable travel baby activity center

Not only is this activity center great for travel, it’s great for picnics, camping, or plain old space saving when you don’t want a giant “circle of neglect” in your livingroom. It folds up like a camping chair and slips into a bag. It even comes with a canopy to block out the sun and the mat below protects little feet on grass, stones or questionable floors. Hook some of these rings onto it with a couple of inexpensive never seen before toys and you’ll have a whole minutes of quiet time! You can buy one here.

 

Inflatable Bathtub
Best Baby Travel Products: inflatable bathtub is portable, inexpensive and a great travel baby item

Inflatable bathtubs are lightweight, portable and come in handy if your destination has a giant tub or no tub at all. I like this Mommy’s Helper Inflatable Bath Tub because it has the ‘crotch stopper’ for kids who slide down in the tub or The Shrunks Inflatable Spacious Bath Tub if you need something a little larger. These are also great for camping or summer backyard ‘pool parties’ when you want to change it up a little. (Note: these suckers may be small but a baby can easily drown one so don’t leave them unattended. You already know that though. You’re super smart.)

 

Portable High Chair
Best Baby Travel Products: portable travel high chair for babies.

Once your baby can sit up, portable high chairs are a great way to keep them involved at mealtime. I love the Inglesina Fast Table Chair because it’s easy to clip on and your baby is right up at everyone’s height. An, even more, portable option is the Totseat Chair Harness which ties right onto the chair. Your baby is a bit lower but you don’t have to worry about attaching it to different table lips.

 

Munchkin Travel Car Baby Bottle Warmer
Best Baby Travel Products: Munchkin travel bottle warmer for long car trips

If you’re in for a long car trip and need to warm a bottle, this one from Munchkin plugs into a car adapter and fits most bottles and cup holders. It just dawned on me that I may be able to use this for coffee. I’m going to get one then report back because cold coffee is the bane of my mom existence. You can buy one here.

 

Boon TRIP Travel Drying Rack
Best Baby Travel Products: Boon travel bottle cleaner and drying rack

This portable drying rack from Boon is great for bottles and comes with a built in drying rack. It all folds up into and tidy carrying case. You can buy one here.

 

Dapple Baby Laundry Detergent Strips
Best Baby Travel Products: Dapple Laundry Strips - lightweight, portable and great to have on hand

These laundry strips are great because they can be popped in a diaper bag and used in a full load of laundry or just in the sink on a particularly horrific up-the-back-shit onesie. These hypoallergenic and fragrance-free super strips dissolve in water, and 1 strip = 1 load – no measuring required. You can buy them here.

 

Umbrella Stroller
Best Baby Travel Products: 3 of the best umbrella strollers for travel

Umbrella strollers are lightweight, easy to carry and a great alternative to carrying a baby around with you all day – especially when they are out of the newborn phase. I’m often asked about umbrella strollers, which is a whole post onto itself, but here are my top three picks to get you started. If you’re travelling with an infant car seat, also check out the Snap n’Go.

ZOE Umbrella

  • nice big canopy
  • super lightweight
  • $120

Baby Jogger City Tour

  • Lightweight
  • Easy fold
  • Baby Jogger has great resale value
  • $170

Summer Infant 3Dlite Convenience Stroller

  • $60
  • Lightweight
  • Decent canopy and storage

Note: If you are checking a stroller or car seat at the airport, have a look at a Car Seat Travel Bag or a Stroller Travel Bag. It’s a fairly inexpensive way to protect a pricey piece of baby gear.

 

Carrier
Best Baby Travel Products: LILLEbaby carrier

Think about whether you even need a stroller. You may be able to get away with your carrier or sling for the trip, plus, you can tie that baby onto other members of the family – “Here dad, let me just tether this screaming kid to you for your evening walk. Love you!!” The carrier featured above is a LILLEbaby and you can buy one here.

 

Safety Gate
Best Baby Travel Products: portable safety gate

If you’re headed somewhere with a crawler or early walker, this travel gate is held up with pressure (no screwing hardware into the wall) and rolls up for easy transport. Evenflo also makes a wider version. These are best suited if you’re trying to keep a curious baby out of a kitchen or room of antique china, and not suited for the top of the stairs or over-enthusiastic large dogs. You can buy one here.

 

Dreambaby Sliding Locks
Best Baby Travel Products: inexpensive safety locks to keep curious babies out of dangerous spaces

There are always one or two spots a baby shouldn’t venture and these sliding locks are super easy to install and relatively inexpensive ($6 for a 3 pack). You can buy them here.

 

Summer Infant Pop N’ Play Portable Playard
Best Baby Travel Products: Summer Infant portable playard

Sometimes it’s just easier to secure the baby rather than trying to secure the house. Plus, baby gates can be hard for some people to navigate (i.e Auntie Barb after the box of wine above). This portable baby thunderdome is great to have at home, in the backyard or taking on the road. You can even get one with a canopy if you are going to be in a sunny spot. You can buy one here.

Another hack is to pack a baby pool. Simply inflate that sucker, fill it with toys and let the fun times begin. It only works with new crawlers who are pretty happy staying put – if you have a determinded adventurer, stick with the thunderdome.

 

  • Packing list: write your list over the course of a day so you don’t forget the mundane stuff. (This is how I forget socks.)
  • Just in case stuff: medicine, diaper rash cream, nail clippers, insurance cards, etc. are stuff that you may not use day-to-day but may be a pain in the ass to track down while away.
  • Weather: Keep the weather conditions of your destination in mind. Will you need something warm for the baby or perhaps the hats and sunscreen you’ve tucked away for the season?
  • Ship Ahead: Think about shipping extra diapers, wipes, formula or new gear to where you are going rather than hauling with you in the car or on the plane.
  • Renting: consider renting baby items and have them sent directly to your destination. Google “rent baby gear <city>” to see if there is a service nearby.
  • Prepare: Brush up (or have your family brush up) on things like Surprising (and Not so Surprising) Choking Hazards for Babies and Top Tips for Introducing Pets to Your Baby so there are no unpleasant encounters with a bowl of loose peppermints or a wary chihuahua.

 

Most of all, take it in stride. Chances are your baby will throw a fit in front of your Uncle Mike who says “kids are spoiled these days” while a drunken Auntie Barb wipes out on the baby gate but who cares. Hand the baby off to a friendly relative, dip into the box wine and enjoy the magical time spent with your one-of-a-kind family.

Happy travels and let me know if there is anything else you would add to the list!

 

Related: How to Pack Your Handbag for a Flight With a Baby

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Best tips and awesome baby gear for visiting families and parents. Travel packing list includes portable high chairs, stroller, and infant bassinets!

Topics:Baby, Travel
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7 Comments

  • My mom figured out that a yeti/insulated tumbler cup works very well to keep a bottle warm (and that ozark mountain brand is less than $10 at walmart.)

  • Three hour nap? Hahahaha….ha…*sob*

    Pretty intrigued by the bottle warmer for the car, though! We just took a 5 hour (one way) trip to visit family. Grandma and Grandpa watched the baby one night while my husband and I went to a concert but I forgot the bottle warmer at home so they had to go old school with the pot of hot water.

    • I know, three-hour naps were a rare occurrence at our house too. Hey, a woman can dream!

      As for the bottle warmer, it seems to get good reviews so I felt it was worth mentioning even though I haven’t tried it. If you get it, let me know what you think!

  • Great list of travel items, but what I really need is how to keep my 13 month old from screaming the entire 6 hour drive to family’s house over the holiday.

    • My suggestion (and it worked with twins!) is travel overnight if you can. We gave baths, put them in pajamas, milk then in the car seats to head off for an 8 hour drive. It helps if you have extra adults to help with soothing, driving, keeping driver awake, etc. Even if that means renting a bigger vehicle. The only hard part about this is getting everything in the car before bedtime!

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