Wondering how to travel with a baby? We have the travel systems, lightweight car seats, and portable baby beds you’ll need for future family adventures.
For new parents, traveling with baby along for the ride might seem like a challenge. The good news is, there are plenty of safe, practical, and convenient travel baby gear solutions for on-the-go moms and dads, whether they’re traveling by car or plane, on a short trip or a long one.
Adam Lari, Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) and Baby Gear Expert for The Pump Station & Nurtury, is here with recommendations for infant travel and baby travel gear—the what AND the why.
Best Travel Car Seats
You can’t travel in a car with a baby or toddler without one important thing: a baby car seat. Car seats can already be tricky enough, with installing them properly and getting your child buckled in safely. Add to that, when you travel by plane or spend part of your trip in a rental car, you’ll need to lug your car seat around with you throughout your trip!
Depending on your child’s age and weight you have a few travel car seat options to choose from. If your little one still fits in an infant car seat, most of them can be installed baseless. So fortunately, you can take a lightweight seat without the base and install it in any vehicle or airplane with only a seat belt. Some parents may not know their infant seat can be installed baseless, but this is a lifesaver when it comes to being mobile with a little one.
For the best car seats for travel, one great option is a travel system stroller—or a car seat combined with a stroller. What’s the best travel system? For parents looking to carry as little gear as possible, the Doona Car Seat is one of a kind. When you’re using it in the car the wheels pop in, and when you take it out of the car the wheels pop out and you’re really to stroll.
For children over 2 years old, it used to be so much work to travel with a heavy convertible car seat, but the lightweight and compact Pico WAYB makes things much easier—it’s really a game changer! Weighing just eight pounds, it folds up when not in use, and it has a car seat travel bag option for portability.
If you’re not looking to spend a lot for a travel car seat, the lightweight, budget-friendly Cosco Scenera NEXT is a good option for both rear- and front-facing children.
Tip: When using any car seat for travel, it's always a good idea to practice the install before you leave home so you know what to look for and where everything is.
Best Travel Strollers
We talked about infant travel systems above, and a travel stroller is another must-bring item when taking trips with a baby. There are several good options here as well.
For the best compact stroller for traveling, the lightweight Babyzen Yoyo2 and UPPAbaby MINU are easy to bring along, anywhere you go. In fact, they fold up so compactly they can fit in most airplane overhead compartments, so if you want to wheel your baby right to your seat, the folded compact stroller can count as one of your carry-ons. (The UPPAbaby MINU collection includes the optional backpack-style MINU Travel Bag.)
For those who don’t mind gate-checking their gear, UPPAbaby has an amazing program for their car seats and strollers called UPPAbaby TravelSafe. This program offers a two-year warranty on car seats and strollers when they’re placed in an UPPAbaby Travel Bag for airline trips—if the item becomes damaged while in the travel bag, UPPAbaby replaces or fixes the damaged parts, or the car seat/stroller, at no charge. There’s no other brand that offers this type of “insurance” program to protect your gear while you’re traveling with a little one.
Best Travel Cribs
If you won’t be lodging somewhere with a dedicated spot for baby to sleep, or if your babe is young enough to still be in a bassinet or crib, you may need a travel crib or travel bassinet.
So what’s the best portable crib? The convenient BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light is an easy-to-bring-along portable baby bed, and at just 13 pounds, it’s one of the lightest on the market. It’s approved for safe sleep and can hold kids up to 30 pounds.
If your travel plans include a long plane ride and you want your little one to sleep comfortably during the flight, look no further than the Stokke JetKids BedBox baby travel bed. It transforms any airplane seat into a flat travel baby bed.
Tips for Newborn Travel
While traveling with little ones might seem daunting, especially to first-time parents, there are ways to make it a bit easier—including finding the right baby products for the way you like to travel. Check out all the suggestions below!
And of course you can add any of these items to your baby registry. (Don’t have one yet? It’s easy to create a Universal Baby Registry, then add anything you like, from any store in the world.)
Baby Travel Car Seats, Strollers, and Cribs from Pump Station
More Travel Gear for Babies
In addition to the more substantial travel gear above, you’ll want to consider things like a travel baby carrier, a baby backpack or diaper bag, even a portable play yard for outdoor family activities like trips to the beach.
For slightly older babies, a lightweight travel stroller or the best umbrella stroller is a great alternative to a travel system, as they really can be the best stroller for traveling.
About the Writer
The Pump Station & Nurtury has supported new and expecting parents in the Greater Los Angeles area for more than 33 years with evidence-based breastfeeding, baby care, and parenting education. Through its array of prenatal and postnatal classes and services, in person and online, The Pump Station gives parents the tools they need to parent confidently.
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