The thought of traveling with baby might make you want to run and hide under the kitchen table. All those time zone changes, bulky suitcases and sketchy rest stops. If only your baby came with a personal assistant and team of interns, right?
When it comes to packing for your trip, though, all you really need are a few basics – the diaper bag essentials, plus some handy items that travel easy.
Here’s what we’d bring to keep things running smoothly:
- Blackout and sun shades
Call these your new best friend. Blackout shades block out light so getting zzz’s is a breeze and sun shades prevent overheating in the car. Tip: Black garbage bags over the windows will do the trick at a hotel or Grandma’s house.
- Extras of the essentials
Always be prepared with backups of the basics – from diapers, snacks and sunscreen to extra changes of clothes, pacifiers and wet wipes (you can never have too many wipes!). If you don’t want to lug everything, ship a few things to your vacation spot ahead of time.
- Baby monitor
Did you know Nanit’s monitor was specifically designed to travel like a dream? It pairs with a compact travel mount, and has a built-in nightlight and white noise machine that can be controlled from its app. So you can keep watch over baby and set the perfect sleep environment no matter where you go.
- Toys and games
Keep your little one entertained and engaged with a few easy-to-tote toys. When in doubt, a good ole guessing game works too (“I Spy: Airport Edition,” anyone?).
- Bedtime books
Help your baby stick to a bedtime routine and unwind after a hectic day of taking in the sights with their favorite evening read.
- Portable crib
Take baby’s nursery to go with a crib that’s compact for use in even the smallest of hotel rooms.
- Favorite blankie
A well-loved lovey or security blanket can add instant comfort to a strange new environment. Tip: To ensure it smells like home, wash it after you return from vacation, not before.
- Safety kits
Just in case, it’s always a good idea to take along travel-sized first-aid and baby-proofing kits with handy items like a thermometer and outlet covers for the hotel room. Don’t forget your baby’s prescriptions and emergency contact numbers so you can hit the road with peace of mind.
- Travel gear
Depending on where you’re going, you’ll need gear that travels light – from a FAA-approved child safety restraint system for the plane to an easy-to-fold stroller. If toting a stroller through a busy train terminal sounds like your worst nightmare, a baby carrier or sling is also a good bet.