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Packing for a trip with a baby or toddler can be such a headache that it almost makes you question whether it’s even worth it to go on a family vacation. Little ones require a lot of gear and some of your everyday essentials, such as your stroller or car seat, may just be too cumbersome and inconvenient to take along.
To lighten your load but still make sure you have everything you need, it’s important to choose baby travel gear that’s useful, portable and lightweight. Affordability is also key since you don’t want to spend a ton of money on baby products that you don’t use very often. This list of the best travel gear for babies and toddlers will help simplify your packing and actually make you look forward to your next family getaway.
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While you may love your spacious everyday stroller with the giant wheels, a smaller and lighter one is a better choice for traveling. Weighing less than 13 pounds, the Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller has a durable, all-aluminum frame and can be opened and closed with just one hand. It also features a carry strap, so you can sling it over your shoulder, which is very useful if you’re traveling to places with lots of stairs. The large, adjustable canopy and the pop-out sun visor blocks your baby’s sensitive skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Unlike lightweight umbrella strollers, the seat reclines and lays nearly flat, which is ideal for napping and on-the-go diaper changes. This stroller also features an extra-large storage basket, which is perfect for stashing a diaper bag and other essentials.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best travel strollers.
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When traveling with your little one, it’s worth packing a baby carrier that allows you to hold your baby and keep your hands free while in transit or sightseeing at your destination. Affordable and versatile, the Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier can be used to securely carry babies 8 to 32 pounds. The narrow seat position and padded head support are perfect for carrying small infants, while the wider seat can be used to comfortably hold larger babies. You can use also use the carrier to hold your baby facing out or on your back. And if your baby spits up, you can simply toss it in the washing machine to clean.
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While some hotels and resorts provide portable cribs for guests, you may need to bring your own to some destinations. The Babybjorn Travel Crib Light weighs a mere 13 pounds, so it’s easy to stow and carry and is perfect for all kinds of trips, whether you’re staying with relatives, camping or traveling through Europe. It’s a cinch to set up and fold up in one simple movement. The Travel Crib Light comes with a soft and comfortable mattress that has a built-in base and hook-and-loop attachments that keep it standing firmly on the floor and secured in place. The see-through mesh sides let you keep an eye on your baby while allowing your baby to breathe and look out. With plenty of room for your baby, you can also use this crib as a play yard.
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If you’re flying and don’t want to take your everyday car seat along for your trip, the CARES harness is a great alternative if your child weighs between 22 to 44 pounds. It's light, compact, and is simple and quick to install. This FAA-approved harness attaches directly to the back of the airplane seat and loops through the airline lap belt, keeping kids safe during all phases of flight. When you’re not using it, you can pack it up into the small, six-inch bag for easy storage.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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You should be able to find high chairs at most family-friendly restaurants, but if you’re staying with relatives or renting a home, you may want to bring along your own seat for baby to sit in and eat. My Little Seat Travel High Chair slips onto a regular chair, easily turning it into a high chair for babies six months and above or when your baby can sit unassisted. It’s safety tested for strength and durability and features a five-point harness system and extra reinforced seaming. My Little Seat folds down to the size of a diaper, so it’s extremely portable, compact and easy to store in the included matching bag.
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A baby gate is one of those essentials that you don’t realize how much you miss until you’re at your destination, struggling to contain your crawling or toddling baby. The Safety 1st Wide Doorways Fabric Gate is lightweight, easy to carry and comes with a storage bag. This pressure-mounted gate requires no hardware or tools to install, sets up easily in doorways, accessways or stairways and can be adjusted to different widths. It’s durable and transparent, so you’re able to see your little one on the other side. The fabric is machine-washable for when baby makes a mess with sticky fingers.
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If your accommodations only have a stand-up shower or your baby isn’t ready for a big tub yet, the Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Duck Tub is the perfect bathing solution. The inflatable design is padded and has a non-slip surface, so your baby stays comfy and secure. The tub also features a White Hot safety disc, which tells you when the water is too hot for baby’s sensitive skin. When you’re finished with the tub, you can empty it using the drain, and then it’s easy to deflate and fold-up.
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The Go-Go Babyz Travelmate Car Seat Travel Stroller makes the annoying task of getting your car seat (and kid) through the airport a breeze by converting it into a stroller. Just attach it to your car seat, secure your kid and adjust the telescoping handle for your height. You can push with just one hand and the soft, three-inch wheels allow for a smooth ride. Once you get to your gate, it’s easy to remove so you can use your car seat on the plane. Tip: Before bringing your car seat to the airport, be sure that it’s FAA-approved and narrow enough to fit on an airline seat.