Preparing for a trip can be a little nerve wrecking even for the seasoned traveller. I have always been a notorious over packer and it has only gotten worse since travelling with my baby (now babies). However, doing it over and over again I developed a checklist of the basics. Of course this will differ from location and length of stay, so I’ll post more details on each destination review.
Regardless of destination I will always ensure I have at least 3-4 day supply. If I am going somewhere where I know for sure they will have the same brand and are widely available I will usually pick up when we arrive, for example, anywhere in North America. One consideration however, is that sometimes diaper packs are huge and I don’t want to be lugging any leftovers back home. If travelling to a resort or remote location for a short-ish period of time then consider packing your whole supply, better to be safe than sorry. Now, if your travels take far away, do a little research before you head out to see if the brand you prefer is available, or perhaps sells under a different name. For example Pampers in North America and UK is known as Dodot in certain parts of Europe. For wipes, I usually bring a full package and have my refillable one that I carry with me.
Bring 3-4 bottles/cups of your choice. For washing, pick up a travel size bottle of your favorite dishwashing detergent for on the go cleaning. If you are staying in a hotel, they sometimes have sanitizers you can borrow, otherwise, you can always ask for a kettle to boil water and sterilize bottles by pouring boiling water on them. Along with a brush I bring lots of large ,freezer quality, Ziploc bag. For quick rinses I simply add detergent, bottles and water and shake! Of course, if you are pumping, bring your pump, storage bags, and any converters you may need. If applicable, call the hotel or accommodation ahead of time to see what kind of amenities are available. i.e. fridge, kettle, bowls etc.If your child is has started solids but is on rice cereal and/or purees, you again have to take into consideration the length and destination of your trip. If you are on a road trip it may be possible to bring your own homemade items if they are frozen and transported in a cooler, however, air travel makes bringing your own items a long a little more difficult. Speaking from experience, I found some really great, organic, non-gmo baby food widely available in North America. I personally like Earth’s Best and Baby Gourmet. For feeding, I found this amazing spoon from a company called >Boon. It literally changed my life. It became so easy to feed our daughter from anywhere sans mess. We simply emptied the food jar into the spoon and fed like a squeeze bag. AND it’s reusable.
Better safe than sorry. This is where my “pack light” rule goes out the window. Pack enough for 2-3 outfits per day x the number of days will be gone. If you are going somewhere with access to washer and dryer bring enough for at least 4-5 days. For emergencies you can use the Ziploc bag trick to wash any clothes that may have become dirty or treat any strains (add detergent, soiled item, water and shake). Of course you want to pack for the destination, if it’s warm bring bathing suits, sun suit, hats etc. If cooler/cold, appropriate jackets, sweaters, hats. Also, regardless of whether of where you go bring enough warm clothes for your baby. For the first month of our European adventure the weather was unseasonably cold, luckily I had the foresight to pack lots of pants and extra sweaters.
Other items that don’t fall into the “basics” but I believe to be essential are, changing pads or a good changing mat for easy, on-the-go changing. This can be a lifesaver when there are no restrooms or changing stations close by. Travel high chairs are also amazing. They are obviously great for feeding you baby on the go, but also great for keeping them safe in one spot. Stay tuned for my travel high chair review. A good backpack can be your best friend! While diaper bags are now super stylish, nothing beats hands free. By using a backpack you free yourself up to focus on your baby and so many other things. Another one must pack for me is my baby carrier.
5. Getting around
Although I technically don’t pack it, I use it at the airport and of course tons during any trip. Stay tuned for my “At the Airport with baby” post. Personally, I love the ErgoBaby carrier because of how soft, storable, versatile and comfortable it is. Another must for me is a reclinable umbrella stroller. While at home I use to have an UppaBaby and now have a City Select, nothing beats the versatility of an umbrella stroller. The one that worked for us in Europe was the Guzzie and Gus Texada (unfortunately now discontinued). It was almost a full recline, had a huge canopy and converted into a travel system. Of course this worked best with one child – so we’ll see what we do for two.
Let me know what you think of my list, and if there are any essentials you think are important when travelling.