2022 Travel Baby Gear Guide
Our prime product picks for adventuring as a family.
By Lauren Lisle
Summer is officially here, meaning family vacations are on mind, and hopefully, on the horizon. Whether you’re road-tripping to the nearest beach or jet-setting on a European holiday, having the necessary gear is important when traveling with a baby (or two) in tow.
Optimal travel gear needs to be lightweight, portable, and convenient. While caring for your little one can be extra challenging away from home, these products and services are likely to make your trip more successful and enjoyable. After all, vacationing with kids is really just parenting in a new (prettier, more exciting) place. Here’s what you need, plus a few extras to consider:
What to Buy
Packing as a parent often involves bringing many of the same items you use in everyday life but in smaller, more travel-friendly versions. From breakfast to bedtime and all the moments in between, these products help you maintain your routine.
No matter where you go, baby’s gotta eat when they’re hungry. These items get the job done.
Great for kitchen islands, countertops, and restaurants alike, these go-anywhere chairs fill the gaps for establishments without highchairs. The lobster-style claws on this phil&teds portable seat are gentle on surfaces and easy to adjust. What’s more, it has a shoulder harness for keeping climbers safely seated and comes with a travel bag.
|Weight: 3.8 pounds|
|Age/weight range: from 5 pounds to 37 pounds|
|Size (folded): L 13.7 x W 13.4 x H 3 inches|
Cloth Harness Highchair
This isn’t an actual highchair, but a safe way to attach your older baby (6 months and up) to whatever chair is available. It can be rolled up to fit inside the diaper bag and is machine washable should major messes ensue.
Try it: liuliuby Travel Harness Seat
Don’t get caught in a security line moving at a snail’s pace without a manageable way to pump. Because a mother’s milk supply waits for no one.
Try it: Medela Harmony Breast Pump
Inflatable Nursing Pillow
A comfortable place to nurse is a must, but adding a pillow to your cargo can take up a lot of space. This inflatable breastfeeding pillow packs light and rises to the occasion come mealtime.
This nifty contraption allows you to store formula in the upper compartment of the bottle and water in the base. Once ready, release the formula and gently shake for a fresh, ready-to-drink meal in seconds.
Try it: PopYum Formula Making Bottles
With these helpers you can turn any room into a baby-safe sleeping space.
Portable Play Yard
A play yard is a great solution for safe sleep and play while away. This super lightweight design boasts an “effortless set up” with no assembly required, which is exactly the kind of travel buddy you need.
Try it: Chicco Alfa Lite Travel Playard
|Weight: 12.5 pounds|
|Age/weight range: from birth to 3 years|
|Size (folded): L 9.5 x W 9.5 x H 21 inches|
If your home-away-from-home provides baby with their own room, you’ll want to pack a video monitor to keep an eye out from afar. And should your current nursery monitor be wall-mounted, consider purchasing one just for travel (or as a backup). This plug-and-play pick is super easy to operate at half the price of other products; features include remote control camera rotation, two-way talk, temperature monitoring, night vision and more.
No mom wants to stay in a too-cold hotel room with a newbie who’s too young for a blanket. A sleep sack offers warmth and comfort without the hazard of loose bedding. We love Kyte Baby’s unlined silky bamboo fabric for sleeping during the summer months.
Try it: Kyte Baby Sleep Bag 0.5
Portable Sound Machine
Repeat after me: I will not participate in family travel without a portable sound machine—ever. A white noise machine can be a miracle worker for jet-lagged tots missing the familiarity of home (or thrown off by the unfamiliar sounds of your in-town Airbnb).
You’ve finally arrived at your destination! Now make sure you can keep on cruising.
If you want a travel stroller that takes up less packing space and is still equipped with top features, the newly launched UPPAbaby MINU V2 is a great choice. Offering a true one-handed fold, generous sunshade, spacious reclining seat, and large storage basket, this lightweight stroller is excellent for both “daily adventures and exciting excursions.”
Try it: UPPAbaby MINU V2
|Weight: 16.9 pounds|
|Age/weight range: 3 months to 50 pounds|
|Size (folded): L 11.5 x W 20.3 x H 23 inches|
Travel Double Stroller
Families with two kiddos to carry know the importance of a quality, travel-friendly double stroller. Consider opting for a “tri-fold” double stroller, which typically offers parents a smaller fold and decent features. The Mountain Buggy Nano Duo was one of the first tri-folds on the market and prioritizes both form and function.
Try it: Mountain Buggy nano duo
|Weight: 20 pounds|
|Age/weight range: birth (with use of infant seat adaptor) to 3 years|
|Size (folded): L 20.5 x W 28.3 x H 12.6 inches|
Travel Double Umbrella Stroller
Umbrella strollers are awesome for all types of travel because they are undoubtedly the most compact option available. While they may lack some of the bells and whistles of regular strollers, you’ll never have to worry about it fitting in your trunk. (Bonus: This stroller meets Disney size requirements.)
|Weight: 18.3 pounds|
|Age/weight range: up to 35 pounds per seat|
|Size: L 23.4 x W 29.9 x H 37 inches|
Looking to pack minimal gear? A structured carrier allows you to forgo a stroller while remaining hands-free. The BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One Air is made with airy mesh to keep baby comfy and close without getting too warm, whether you’re taking in the city sights or hiking in the wilderness.
Try it: BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One Air
|Age range: birth to 3 years|
|Weight range: 8 to 33 pounds|
|Height range: 21 to 39 inches|
When shopping for a car seat for air-travel, think lightweight and simple. We love this cost-effective convertible seat that weighs a mere 10.4 pounds but secures kiddos up to 40 pounds. It’s also certified for use on an aircraft, making for fewer TSA holdups.
|Weight: 10.4 pounds|
|Age/weight range: rear-facing: 5 to 40 pounds; forward-facing: 22 to 40 pounds|
|Size: L 17.6 x W 15.7 x H 30.2 inches|
Avoid less mess with durable diapering baby essentials made for on-the-go changes.
If flying, your carry-on diaper bag needs to be able to withstand the grimy floor under your seat or in the overhead compartment bin. Choose one that’s well-organized, easy to clean, and easy to carry.
Try it: Dagne Dover Indi Diaper Backpack + the matching Joey Changing Pad Kit (coming soon)
Portable Diaper Pail
Real talk: Diaper blow-outs don’t follow an itinerary, nor do they wait for an ideal location with a trash can. If forced to perform an extra-dirty diaper change on the side of the road, a portable pail will help keep the stink away until you find proper disposal.
Try it: PurePail Go
Keep your cutie pie squeaky clean—even if there’s no tub.
If your wee one hasn’t mastered sitting up on their own, the Puj Flyte can offer a cradling, soft barrier in the sink during bathtime that helps keep them in place on their back. It folds flat for easy packing and is mold- and mildew-resistant. For the best fit, use a sink that’s 19 inches (left to right) by 12 inches (front to back) and no more than 7 inches deep.
Try it: Puj Flyte
Touted as a “head-to-toe detailing kit,” the FridaBaby Grooming Kit will ensure you cover the basics of baby’s hygiene and appearance for all those upcoming family reunion pics.
Try it: FridaBaby Grooming Kit
What’s (Maybe) Worth the Splurge
These products and services may not be necessities, but they sure do make aspects of travel easier. (And depending on who you ask, they may be totally necessary.)
What’s more stressful than trying to get your child to sleep in an unfamiliar environment? A sleep tent will black out your baby’s sleep space regardless of location; with the addition of a sound machine, they’ll think they’re at home—and will hopefully sleep soundly.
Try it: SlumberPod
|Weight: 5.7 pounds|
|Age range: 4 months to 5 years|
|Size (folded): L 17 x W 5 x H 6 inches|
Hands-Free Breast Pump
While it’s true you can pack any breast pump, a hands-free, wireless, wearable option may be more comfortable to use when pumping at the airport or in flight. (Some airports have lactation rooms/pods for mothers to breastfeed and pump, but they’re never guaranteed.) These products are often expensive, but they also offer more discretion and convenience than traditional breast pumps.
Try it: Elvie Pump
This handy carry-on suitcase turns your toddler’s seat into a bed (mattress included!) with an extendable lid that lengthens the seat for more room to comfortably lie down. Check to see if BedBox is currently approved by your choice of airline.
Try it: JetKids by STOKKE BedBox
Gear Cleaning Service
You read that right. There’s now a cleaning service specifically for your spit-up and sunscreen-covered baby gear that’s extra gross post-vacation. Specializing in car seats and strollers, BabyQuip uses non-toxic, baby-safe products to restore your filthy gear when needed (which is all the time). BabyQuip also offers gear rental services for items you’re not willing to buy but know you’ll likely need during a trip.
Try it: BabyQuip Cleaning
Breast Milk Shipment Service
Get breast milk (safely) home from anywhere in the world with Milk Stork. This shipping service allows moms to pump and pack both frozen and refrigerated expressed milk without worry of spoiling her supply. They’ll ship the box straight to your hotel and take care of the remaining mailing details while you enjoy your vacation.
Try it: Milk Stork Breast Milk Shipping