I have NEVER felt this level of anxiety! Getting on a plane and doing my best to make sure it was a good experience for all of us (other passengers included) was my priority. I googled. I TikTok’d. I Instagrammed. I looked everywhere! I was searching for the “must have items” from more seasoned traveling parents. Especially those who had traveled with babies under 2. I was also looking for the viewpoint of parents that have traveled since Covid began. Because sure, let’s add on to an already stressful/anxious situation lol.
After making a decent list I headed to the stores and ordered a few things from amazon. Now that I have them I’m hoping to get to use these items more than just the once. After all, many of these items are not exclusive to flying. I’ll post links to the items if they are still available online. If not I’ll let you know where I bought them. I hope this helps put some of you similarly anxious parents at ease as well! Here’s my list of things that I found useful.
[Disclaimer] These items listed are based on my experience and reflect my opinion on them. I’m no expert!
GEAR FOR TRAVELING WITH BABY
- STROLLER – For Christmas we received the GB Pockit Air All Terrain Ultra Compact Lightweight Travel Stroller. Geez that’s a mouthful. It runs about $200 USD but sometimes I see it on sale for $159.99 USD. At first I wasn’t too sure about it because it seemed so much looser than the sturdy 4-in-1 stroller we have at home. But daaaammmmmn I was not expecting to love this thing the way that I do. Have you ever see anyone pushing a baby down the aisle in a stroller?? The airplane aisle?? I could not believe I was able to push my baby all the way to our row on the airplane. And plop him back in right when we exited. I had used the stroller for a couple of weeks at home to gain some practice with folding and unfolding it and I felt like such a badass being able to snap it open on the spot. I was able to fold it and stick it underneath the seat on the airplane. I preferred doing that than placing it underneath in cargo. The basket on the bottom doesn’t hold much. I was enough to carry essentials like a few diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes for the baby. The stroller is super light so no one strained their muscles carrying it. It also didn’t take up much space in the trunk. We had a lot of people in the car so every square inch was needed. The canopy that comes with the stroller isn’t the best for providing shade though.
- DIAPER BAG – The one we have is a 3-in-1 Backpack Organizer. It has the cooler for the bottles, a changing station, and a charging port for your electronics. We found ourselves in the middle of a park with no place to change a very pooped baby. It was about 12pm and most businesses had already closed for their siestas. It took me 20 seconds to unzip and unfold the changing station. Baby was clean and we could continue wandering the town by foot.
- HATS – Our baby has very sensitive skin. In an effort to avoid getting sunburned I bought three different hats. Sunday Afternoons Play Hat was the best for multiple reasons, including it’s $20.00 price tag. When he was in the car seat or in the stroller the back of the hat didn’t get in the way. It has a snap to remove the strap easily from underneath baby’s chin if he falls asleep with it. The brim of the hat still held its shape after being machine washed and folded in the luggage (albeit a few visible creases). And it has an adjustable head circumference. He’s wearing it at the smallest setting so I know it will grow with him. I ordered him a large and it’s perfect.
- DISINFECTING WIPES – The one wipe the airline gives when entering the plane is not enough for me lol. I brought my own stash and wiped down the screens, windows, trays, etc. Idk about your baby, but mine touches it ALL. So I made sure to wipe down everything. I also used these to wipe down the changing table in the bathroom on the airplane. Actually, I used these on almost every changing table I used during the trip now that I think about it. I took about three packs with me and it lasted me the ten days.
- PACIFIER WIPES – I definitely thought pacifier wipes were a scam lol. Another gimmicky thing for parents to spend their hard earned money on. However, going to a third world country where the tap water isn’t safe to drink I realized we were going to need them. And need them we did! I used them for the pacifiers and the toys he normally puts in his mouth. I carried mine in a ziplock bag for the majority of the trip though. Unfortunately the cabin pressure changes caused the bag to start leaking. This wasn’t the only item that leaked either…
- BABY HAND SANITIZER – Midway through the flight I felt a few items had gotten wet. Noticed the baby’s foaming hand sanitizer had broken it’s seal somehow. Damn that cabin pressure change! Anyways, we just made sure to carry it upright in the diaper bag at all times. We still used it many times during the trip to clean baby’s delicate little hands.
- BOSE NOISE CANCELING HEADPHONES – No, I did not buy my baby Bose headphones lol. I had an old pair of the noise canceling headphones and thought they’d be better than nothing. I also downloaded some of his favorite episodes on Netflix and some lullabies on my amazon music account. These came in handy when other babies on the flight cried or it got loud. He was able to take his naps unbothered. This is another thing I would try practicing prior to flying. If your baby isn’t used to having things placed on his head he may not leave them on.
- INFLATABLE BATH TUB – This bath tub from amazon was such a great idea! If I do say so myself lol. The daily average temperature was 90 degrees. So he not only took many baths throughout the day to cool off, he also used it as his own personal mini pool to play in. There are three places were the bathtub gets inflated. The walls, the flooring and the center has a piece so the baby doesn’t slide into the bottom. Unfortunately on day one I popped the center piece by over inflating it. Honestly, this has to be one of my favorite travel items. Not needing to worry about cleaning a tub or bathing him in unsanitary locations was so worth the $14.99 price tag.
- (and 10.) CAR SEAT & COVER- Traveling on an airplane with a car seat is such a divided topic. I came across people who swore by them and others who preferred to lap their baby. Regardless of whether you choose to buy the extra seat or not it would be best to check with the airline. Most airlines will let you check the car seat and stroller for free. I have a really heavy car seat in my car. I knew we were going to buy a second one so I looked into getting one that was lighter for travel and narrower. The narrow part comes into play when the seat needs to fit between the armrest. I headed over to Target and purchased the Evenflo Sonus Convertible Car Seat. It has a few different positions and weighs so much lighter. It came with the clips and we were able to install it very quickly in the rental. I wasn’t able to recline the seat though because the space didn’t really cater to a reclined position. But baby was comfortable and took naps on each leg of our trip. I also bought the Easy Carry Gatecheck Bag on amazon. I wanted to have it in case they didn’t let us bring the car seat on board. I really liked this cover because you could carry the car seat as a book bag when not using it. Trust me when I tell you it’s cumbersome to travel with it when its not in an easy carrying bag.
With all these items listed, or with any you plan to buy I would recommend one final thing: practice. Practicing using the items before traveling made them easier to use out in the airports and in the cities we visited. If you can work out any kinks or reduce the learning curve prior to the trip you’re already ahead of the game.
Lastly, I do feel like some things are very obvious packing items. If you’re interested though, I have a generic packing list I follow. Click HERE to read and print it for your own trips!
Best of luck out there with your little ones!