Top Travel Gear for Families with Young Ones

by - June 14, 2021

There are a lot of lists out there of travel gear to buy but if you are frugal like me, you'll find that lots of that gear is useless and you don't ACTUALLY need it. However, there are indeed travel items that you do need, especially if you are traveling with an infant or toddler. And if there is one on the way, you can put these items in your Amazon Baby Registry! So here is my list of travel gear that will make your journey flawless:

1. Carrier

If you have a lightweight kid, and you plan to be doing some hikes that are going to be non-stroller friendly, a baby carrier is your best friend. In fact, it has been rated the #2 most important travel item by families, and I totally agree. Depending on the weight and size of your baby, you can decide if you want to get a small carrier wrap like the Moby Wrap, or Baby Bjorn, or a carrier for a toddler so that you can go hiking, such as a backpack carrier. If you are like me, you probably want something affordable and longer-lasting (though remember, nothing lasts too long with kids since they will always outgrow it - eventually). That's why I should suggest the Infantino Convertible carrier, that works for a baby up to 32 lbs and is both front and back facing.

2. Travel Stroller

A compact travel stroller is essential, even if you have a carrier, and even if your kids can walk. In fact, even when your infant or toddler loves to walk, chances are they will get tired and you will be the one having to lift them - AND THEIR SH**. That's why be nice to your back and go with a stroller. You would like to go with a compact one, but one which has a storage pouch as well to throw in your diaper or milk bag. There are lots of affordable options, and the best one is the Summer Infant 3D Lite. It’s inexpensive, durable, only 13 lbs, and has a multi-position recline that can go practically flat for an on-the-go nap. It fits in the smallest of trunks and if easy to take on the plane. Note that this is not for "off-roading" and also, not the most suitable for a very small baby aka newborn. But it works great for travel purposes and even for regular use.

If you want a somewhat more durable and heavy duty stroller, you could go for a lighter Graco stroller, such as the Nimblelite. The Graco stroller is amazing when it comes to folding and unfolding, and have larger handles for those maneuvers. The Graco seat does recline, but certainly not suited for a baby under 5 months. The Graco has bigger wheels, making it easier to push through dirt and rocks. 

On the other hand, the Summer Lite Stroller is smaller, more compact, and lighter. While it seems that a stroller isn't always needed, carrying my newborn in a carrier for a long haul flight was exhausting and I realized that a stroller would indeed have been useful, if not essential.

3. Diaper Changing Pad

I didn't think I needed a Diaper Changing Pad but given the bathrooms one encounters during travel, and also doesn't encounter, a changing bad is a must. It keeps your kids arms contained when we are changing him or her in seriously dirty places. You can use it anywhere, from a bathroom, to an airport floor, a museum or a park. The best thing is these diaper changing pads are standard and cheap. You can buy one for as little as $20. Check this one out.

4. Backpack

A backpack is a must, especially one that is gentle on your back because face it, you aren't getting any younger. You should NOT be using a handbag when traveling. It is not only inconvenient but with a kid, it really takes up your hand and arm space. While you need a backpack, though it doesn't need to be anything special. In fact, a backpack replaces a diaper bag or formula bag, which I think are useless. A regular good back pack will do. Get one that is compartmentalized enough to contain your documents and important kids stuff, including some diapers and wipes and one change of clothes that doesn't take space. Don't put everything there, since you can keep it in the carry-on. You'll also get diapers on the plane, as well as kid food. 

My favorite backpack is my own Discovery Expedition, which is an explorer backpack. Fortunately, Amazon has a bunch of options for you, from the cheap to the expensive. The main difference between some of the cheap ones is that they are unbranded or some sketchy brand and *may* be of poor quality. 

This Zomake backpack for example has great reviews and is only $26. A backpack like this would help to keep you organized and would be gentle on your back.

On the other hand, if you happen to be a backpack snob and want to go for one of the top brands, you can try the Osprey. Prices vary but you can find a really great Osprey backpack for as little as $90 which is a steal. It is also one of the best thing you can do for your back since it is great for those with back pain issues.

5. Liquid Formula

If you are traveling with an infant, and are not interested in offering your boob in front of a swathe of travelers, I'd really look into liquid formula. For an infant that doesn't really need more than 24 ounces a day, two prepared bottles were work well. Pay the extra and you save yourself the hassle of carrying boiled water or boxes of formula. I would choose the Enfamil liquid formula since it is the closest to breast milk and is the formula that most hospitals use.

6. Baby monitor

I never thought I would need a baby monitor when I am traveling, but surprisingly it is very useful on your journeys as well. If your kid is sleeping and you want to use the pool in the hotel or the jacuzzi in the room, the baby monitor will be handy since you can relax in peace while keeping an eye on your little one. It is also handy because in your destination site, you will have the option to hire a babysitter if you need to, and the baby monitor will be able to function as a nanny cam as well.  I'll also suggest a baby monitor because they are compact and most include in-built lullabies and music to lull your kid to sleep. I would highly suggest getting one which has sound and video like this one.

7. Car seats

This isn't an essential thing to take, mainly because if you are booking a car at your next destination, chances are that you can easily rent a car seat for your kid. Also, in case you are not renting a car and borrowing it, chances are you can borrow a car seat or buy one second hand. Often it will be cheap and won't set you back by more than $50.

However, if you are going to be buying a car seat anyways, you can choose to buy one that is aviation travel friendly. Make sure however, to check if these seats are acceptable in the countries you travel to, since some locations require a seal from their own country, such as Canada. However, by and large, the two widely accepted and affordable car seats in North America are the Cosco Scenera Next and Evenflo Tribute.

The Cosco Scenera NEXT is an awesome little travel seat. It’s bare bones, kind of large looking and has an infant insert, and is lightweight as well. Most likely you will find it at the Walmart, and you can easily order it online.

The other one is the Evenflo Tribute. A bit nicer than the Scenera, the Evenflo Tribute weighs just over 9 lbs. The Tribute has a removable head cushion for older kids, an upfront harness adjustment, and buckle release, as well as a body cushion, though it’s not the easiest to install. In Canada, you'll get it for less than a $80, which is one of the cheapest options when it comes to car seats. It also can be used all the way till the age of 4 or 5, or when the kid weighs 40 lbs. It does have a recline option, but you need to watch a video how to properly install it for infants.

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