Looking for the best baby travel gear for better family trips? These baby travel essentials have helped make our family adventures (both near and far) more rewarding and less stressful with two little ones.
Lori and I have logged dozens of flights, thousands of road trip miles, and countless hotel stays across three continents with our two young boys.
Out of the multitudes of pieces of kid gear we’ve put through the wringer over the years, only a handful of these really stand out as true baby travel essentials.
The gear in this guide has made a world of difference in our travels, be it a long-haul flight, family road trip, exploring a new city or country, or simply running errands.
A bunch of gear alone isn’t going to vanquish the baby travel Bogeyman. But the right gear along with an ounce of preparedness can make traveling with infants more fun and less stressful.
And this guide to baby travel essentials is a great place to start!
In a hurry? Here’s a preview of our list of top baby travel essentials
- All-in-One Baby Carrier
- Portable Travel Crib
- Portable White Noise Machine
- Packable Soft Cloth Highchair
- Travel Stroller & Snap-In Infant Car Seat
- Baby Video Monitor
- Packing Cubes
- Portable Bassinet
- Static Stick Car Window Shades
- Popup Beach & Park Tent
Read on for the whole enchilada, including why our top recommendations, why we love them, and what makes these baby travel essentials.
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Our Favorite Baby Travel Essentials for Your Packing List
➊ All-in-One Ergonomic Baby Carrier
Despite all the marketing for gear for wee ones, there are actually only a few true baby travel essentials. A comfortable carrier is one of those.
When our #2 came along, we considered getting a lightweight dedicated toddler carrier for our oldest (who was 2.5), but still wanted the versatility of carrying baby or toddler with the same thing. For that and more, the Ergobaby Omni 360 delivered.
And the new Omni 360 makes wearing either kiddo possible in a multitude of positions. Ergobaby’s newest update has been redesigned and is even more comfortable and ergonomic than our old Ergo 360.
On the fence? Read our detailed review on both the original Ergobaby 360 and Ergobaby Omni 360.
➋ Portable Travel Crib
This travel crib is compact, lightweight, and indestructible, with lots of useful features like the side zipper door and carrying case backpack.
The Lotus may just be one of our favorite baby and toddler travel essentials that we own and one of our best kid gear investments to date!
Undecided? Check out our detailed review of the Lotus Travel Crib for more of our thoughts on the crib after years of use and abuse on the road.
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➌ Portable White Noise Machine
The Yogasleep Hushh portable white noise machine has been a life saver for us at home and on the go. 10+ hours of battery life, a handy clip, and full, natural sound (not harsh sounding static from a smartphone) put this little gadget at the top of its class.
Why a portable white noise machine for baby? It helps mask/ equalize all of the various sounds conspiring to wake your baby’s hard-fought sleep while adding comfort and consistency to travels away from home for baby.
Honestly, we don’t know what we’d do without our trusty Hussh.
➍ Packable Soft Cloth Highchair
A soft, packable high chair is a true essential for traveling with an older baby or younger toddler, particularly if you travel overseas or find yourself doing snack time out and about where this is no high chair.
We love the Liuliuby Travel Harness Seat, which features a number of upgrades compared to the one we used with our first son.
The Liuliuby turns almost any standard chair into an instant high chair and packs down to less than the size of a baseball.
We highly recommend using it with a Bumkins Superbib, which have small pouches to hold / catch food.
➎ Travel Stroller & Snap-In Infant Car Seat
Like many new parents, we found ourselves in need of a stroller AND a car seat. We thought it would be nice if the stroller folded up for easy transport. If we could somehow move sleeping baby from the car to the stroller without waking him, it would be even better!
Enter the Chicco Mini Bravo Sport Travel System! The system comes with an easy-to-setup base that can stay in your car. The infant car seat releases from the base with one tug of a handle, then clicks into the stroller for a seamless transition!
Better yet, as baby gets older, the stroller can be used as a standalone baby stroller without the infant carseat attached.
➏ Baby Video Monitor
It’s true, not everyone’s situation requires a baby monitor, and many parents these days prefer monitors that connect to their smartphone via wifi.
For travel, however, it’s really hard to beat the Infant Optics DXR-8.
Wifi can be unreliable where you’re traveling, but more importantly, Lori and I don’t like having to tie up one of our phones during nap time.
The Infant Optics DXR-8 also uses interchangeable lenses (wide, tele, and normal) so you can have a wider field of view for smaller rooms and a zoomed in view for larger rooms.
➐ Packing Cubes
Instead of packing a separate bag for baby, we like to pack their clothes and accessories in packing cubes and incorporate them into our own luggage, particularly for short trips.
Packing cubes like this Shacke Pak 5-set are also a life saver when packing our carry-ons for flights with baby. As soon as we reach cruising altitude, we can unload our cubes and have all of baby’s essentials at our fingertips.
When we go backpacking, we prefer compression stuff sacks instead. For everything else, we think soft packing cubes make for the best use of space.
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➑ Portable Bassinet
With newborns, you may not want to lug around an entire travel crib or play yard for sleep time.
The compact, sturdy, and lightweight Chicco LullaGo Anywhere Portable Bassinet takes up little space and sets up in seconds.
Comes with its own waterproof mattress, fitted sheet, and zip-off bassinet fabrics for easy washing.
➒ Static Stick Car Window Shades
Summer rays can really heat of the back seat of a car and ruin a long road trip. These KinderFluff Sunshades are a safe, lightweight, and quick way of fixing that issue.
Our little ones napped much better on long trips after getting our hands on a set of these.
No suction cups or adhesive backing to mess with. The KinderFluff shades use static to cling to almost any window, and fold up small for easy stowage.
➓ Popup Beach & Park Tent
Last on our list of baby travel essentials, this WolfWise Easy Popup Tent offers UPF protection and a ton of cross-ventilation for hot days.
If you plan on spending time outdoors, finding shade for baby can be a challenge, especially during the summer months or at the beach/ park/ lake.
The WolfWise sets up instantly and even has stakes for keeping it firmly planted on the ground.
We spent a lot of time at the beach with our boys when they were young and this beach tent quickly became one of our favorite baby travel essentials.
And That’s Our Baby Travel Essentials List!
Did we miss any of your own personal favorites? Let us know which baby travel essentials you can’t live without in the comments below!
We know that many parents of toddlers have strong reservations about traveling long distances with their wee ones.
While even the best baby travel essentials alone won’t fix everything, we’ve learned that knowledge and preparedness make traveling with a baby a lot less stressful (and a lot more fun!).
Being an American NGO expat family based in Southeast Asia, and now a nomadic family based in Mexico, travel with babies and small children has become a regular part of our lives.
Travel doesn’t just benefit older kids, but can have numerous benefits for even the youngest travelers as well.
We’ve learned a ton along the way and wouldn’t trade our travel adventures with our little ones for anything.
Lori and I wish the same for you as well!