Traveling as a family is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. It can be stressful and exhausting, sure. But the adventures we’re having and the memories we’re building are totally worth it. Both Jamie and I grew up taking road trips and traveling with our own families. Not every adventure needs to be far or grand, though those are fun too. Big or small, there are a few baby travel items that tend to go with us on every trip to make everything a little easier for everyone.
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1. Baby carrier
This one is pretty much a must wherever we go. Baby wearing makes it so easy to just head out and go wherever you’d like. It makes nap times (and cranky time) such a breeze too. There are a lot of different kinds of baby carriers out there. For travel, I prefer soft-structured carriers, like the Tula, Ergo, LILLEbaby or Beco. A SSC allows you to get baby on and off really quickly without any hassle. Plus, if you’re doing a lot of walking and exploring, you shouldn’t have to stop to make any adjustments along the way.
If I know we’re going to have a little more of a relaxed vacation (and extra packing space), I’ll sometimes throw in a ring sling or woven wrap. You can do so many fun things with these other kinds of carriers, but the last thing I want to do in the streets of NYC is messing with my wrap tails.
2. Lightweight stroller
I know what you’re thinking. Wait, why do you need a stroller if you have a baby carrier? Well, now that we have two kids, the stroller mostly comes in handy for Liam. We tend to do a lot of walking and exploring when we travel. Having a stroller on-hand is great for when his legs get tired from walking. Jamie doesn’t mind letting Liam ride on his shoulders, but that can get tiring too after a while. We chose this stroller for several reasons. It’s a little more durable than a super cheap umbrella stroller, but it’s still light enough to cart around and carry up and down subway stairs.
Even when Liam was our only child, this stroller came in handy. The seat reclines, which is great for napping. Baby wearing for naps is perfectly fine too, but both of my kids tend to cat-nap in a carrier. Having their own space to nap helps them sleep longer. This feature also comes in handy when we’re in places during nap time that wouldn’t have a baby-friendly napping space. We’ll often stash the stroller in my grandmother’s bedroom in her apartment so that one of the kids can get some sleep in a safe space.
3. Sturdy diaper bag or backpack
Babies and kids need a lot of things, especially if you’re going to be out and about for an entire day. I actually like to pack my DSLR when we travel too so that I can take photos of our adventures. In order to keep my camera a little more protected, we usually travel with this camera backpack. It has plenty of room for my camera and an extra lens, as well as tons of space for diapers and wipes, bottles, sippy cups, snacks and anything else we need to take along. If you aren’t planning to carry camera gear with you, I still recommend a diaper bag that can be worn as a backpack to get it out of the way until you need something. Especially if you plan to baby wear. I really like this one from JuJuBe.
4. Motion Sickness Aids
Nothing ruins a good trip than a bout of nausea. Honestly, I’m probably the one that gets hit with it the most. But I imagine that as the kids get older, they might have to deal with it too. Jamie normally drives, so I like to do things like read, weave or catch up on social media on my phone. Unfortunately, I get carsick fairly easily. Especially if I’m riding in the backseat with the kids. Even if we fly, I’ve been known to feel a little….iffy if we end up sitting towards the back of the plane or if we hit a lot of turbulence.
There are two things that I’m always sure to pack in case I get his with a case of motion sickness. The first is candied ginger. It’s something that my Chinese grandmother never leaves home without. I like the flavor of candied ginger in general, but it’s actually really soothing for your stomach. My grandmother send it to me from Chinatown, but this one is good too.
I’ve also started bringing along a set of PSI bands. These are bracelets that use acupressure to help alleviate nausea. I really like that they’re adjustable, so the bands will fit both my wrists and Jamie’s. I especially like that I can use this when other motion sickness aids can’t be used. Like when I’m sleeping or don’t want to take any medications that might make me drowsy because I’m busy keeping track of kiddos. Really, I like to use medicine as a last resort, so I love having these as an option.
5. Noise machine
We learned this one the hard way. When we traveled with Liam for the first year of his life or so, we didn’t bring along a noise machine. Which was fine…until it wasn’t. All it took was a squeaky door hinge and some creaky floorboards to have us scrambling to find a good white noise app on our phones in the middle of the night. We tend to share a room with the kids when we travel places.
Having a noise machine allows us to sneak back into the room after the kids are asleep when we’re staying in other people’s homes. It drowns out hallway noises at the hotel and covers up the sound of us rustling through our suitcases or trying to grab an early shower. And Caleb doesn’t always sleep through the night because of teething and sleep regressions. Using a noise machine in our room increases the likelihood that Liam can sleep through any noise we make getting up and down with Caleb throughout the night. We use this one and I really like that it can be used with just batteries too.
What items do you always travel with?