Family travel tips: Best baby travel gear

Planning your first family trip with a baby? The most adventurous family travelers began practicing soon after their child was born. Traveling with a baby may seem daunting, but with the right prep it can be more fun than pre-baby travel days because it helps intensify family bonds.

You have to pack every time you leave the house with a baby or toddler anyway, even if it’s just for  an errand. Why not go somewhere interesting?

The key to keeping travel with a baby low stress is to invest in the right baby travel gear. Remember, baby items are already intended for short-term use and readily available used. Baby travel gear is used less often, and also up for resale. Before you rush into a specialty baby store and pay full price, check out the online classifieds to find a  better deal on gently used baby travel gear.

Umbrella stroller

If you’re flying, many airlines require you to check standard-sized strollers. Not only does this mean a high risk of damaging your everyday stroller, you’ll also be stuck juggling your carry-ons and your baby as you make your way through the chaotic airport security.

On road trips, you don’t want to use your entire trunk on your baby or toddler’s stroller. Skip the hassle by investing in a light, easy to fold travel or umbrella stroller.

Not only can you bring it to the airplane gate, it’s small size ensures that you can use it for other tricky scenarios such as folding it up before getting onto Paris metro, squeezing into petite European shops, and even rolling it up to the table in lieu of a high chair at nice restaurants that allow kids, but don’t cater to them.  A classic choice for an umbrella stroller is the sturdy buy lightweight range by Maclaren.

Travel crib

Sometimes hotels, vacation rentals, or relatives have a crib you can use when you arrive. If you trust the source, go for it. But if you travel a lot, it’s worth investing in a travel crib.

Babies sleep better in a familiar environment and when they always get the same cozy nest and bedding on a trip, they can feel at home when traveling. Most travel cribs work for 0-3 year olds and can double as a playpen.

Baby carrier

Baby carriers are great for keeping your hands free and getting extra cuddle time your tyke. They’re especially useful in urban travel experiences with cobblestones or stairs, like Montreal, Marseille, Prague, Lisbon, and many of the other gorgeous historic destinations. For urban experiences, soft baby carriers such as Ergo work fine.

When you start hiking with your baby, you’ll probably want to invest in a hiking baby carrier with more storage, more support, and a kickstand. It also helps to have a metal frame so that if you stumble, the baby has protection. One example of a common baby carrier hiking brands is MEC.

Travel high chair

If you want to enjoy a meal with a baby at a restaurant that allows kids, but doesn’t cater to them, you’ll need to find a way to seat your little one. An easy solution is a lightweight travel high chair. Travel high chairs are also useful if you want your little one to engage in table play at your hotel room or other vacation rental.

Sturdy travel “diaper” bag

Diaper bags are often impractical tote bags with cringe-worthy design. They slip off your shoulder every time you attempt to lift bag and baby. In addition to being awkward to carry, they will topple a light travel stroller if you hook them onto the handle bars.

Instead, invest in a sturdy, good-looking, Canadian-made backpack such as a Herschel. You can wear these with a front baby carrier. Bonus: you can keep using it when you no longer need a “diaper” bag.