Don’t hold back from traveling with baby this summer because you are concerned about all the gear you need to bring! The summer months offer an endless possibility of places to head to for baby’s first exploration. You might not need to bring as much as you think, and if you plan ahead and ensure you have the right packing list, you will get started off on an enjoyable trip.
Before You Go
Before you start packing, call your hotel to confirm items they have on hand. Most major hotel brands offer small babyproofing kits and the option to add items such as a crib, play yard, refrigerator and even humidifiers to your reservation. If you are staying with friends or family and they don’t have a baby, pack a small bag of babyproofing items, including a collapsible gate for any stairs.
A light carrier can be a great alternative to a stroller while traveling. While baby wearing in the warm weather, ensure that you and baby wear light clothing and look for a carrier made from a breathable fabric. No matter your mode of transportation, you don’t want all your space to be taken up with your stroller. Consider using a frame that will fit your car seat.
What To Bring, What To Leave Home
To ensure your baby is able to get enough sleep away from home, bring as much of your baby’s home sleep environment with them as possible. Make sure to pack their sleep sacks, lovey, white noise machine and even one of their crib sheets.
Don’t get too concerned about bringing lots of books and toys. Grab a few of your baby’s favorites and leave the rest behind. Use this opportunity to show your baby the world, pointing things out and describing the new things you are seeing.
If your baby is under six months, it is best to avoid the sun by dressing your baby in light clothing that covers their skin with a wide brimmed hat, and finding shade whenever possible. In case that isn’t an option on your summer travels or your child is older than six months, make sure to pack lots of sunscreen that is at least 15 SPF and be prepared to apply every 30 minutes.
Look for items that you can multipurpose, such as oversized swaddling blankets. These are a lightweight alternative that can be used to cover baby up from air conditioning, to cover the car seat or stroller if baby is sleeping, as an impromptu diaper changing station, or a place to put baby down all without taking up too much room in your luggage.
If you are traveling by car, make sure your baby’s car seat is properly installed, and be prepared for lots of stops! Pack a bag dedicated to feeding that includes items such as a nursing cover or bottles (including one more than the number of feedings you estimate your baby will need on the road). Set up a diaper-changing station in the back seat so you don’t have to rely on finding a safe and clean bathroom, and then you can ensure easy access to everything you need. Having space in the car doesn’t mean you have to fill every crevice. The more items you have packed means the more items you have to search through when the baby is in need of something.
If you are traveling by plane and your baby is getting their own seat, make sure your car seat is approved by the FAA by looking for a sticker that says, “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” on the side of the seat. Only pack in your carry-on what you are comfortable carrying while walking a long distance in the airport. A padded bag for your stroller that is being gate checked is worth the investment as it will ensure your stroller works properly when you get to your destination. Pack a diaper bag with a stocked travel diaper changing station, anything the baby requires for nursing or bottle feeding (consider disposable sterilized baby bottles), and a pacifier or extra bottle for feeding during take-off and landing.
If you really want to keep your packing at a minimum, consider renting gear when you arrive at your destination. Look for a company that belongs to Baby Travel Pros to ensure you are renting safe, clean and high-quality gear. These companies offer rentals on everything from strollers to exersaucers to outdoor toys and high chairs.
Most importantly, take advantage of this time to connect with your baby and watch them enjoy observing a new place. Plan ahead, relax and enjoy your summer travel with baby! Share your best summer travel tips below.
Julie McCaffrey is a mommy to three kids, including one set of twins. Julie owns BabyNav Baby Planners, offering personalized consultation to new and expecting parents. She is a modern baby gear expert and loves to help moms and dads navigate everything from baby gear to preparing for multiples to getting back to work and getting the whole family on a routine! Follow her on Facebook or check her out at www.babynavbabyplanners.com.