We have found the following products helpful when traveling with our baby:
The First Years On the Go Booster Seat
This is one of our favorite pieces of baby gear. To us it’s a must-have for any travel, especially international when high chairs may be hard to come by in restaurants or hotels. This booster seat folds up to about the size of a large hardback book but it is incredibly lightweight.
Ergo Baby Carrier
Another favorite piece of equipment, this is the only baby carrier we use at home but it is fantastic for travel. It stuffs easily into a corner in the overhead bin so it’s handy for deplaning. Grace will easily fall asleep in the Ergo even at 16 months whereas she will not nap much in the stroller, so it is helpful when we are still out and about at naptime. With the Ergo your baby can be worn on your front or back and it works up to 40 pounds, so even tired older kids can get a lift.
Mia Moda Cielo Stroller
This stroller is lightweight, folds up compact for airplane gate check or for taxi trunks but is sturdier to push on bumpy sidewalks than an umbrella stroller because of its larger wheels. It also has a nice storage basket in back and a good sunshade. Caveat: Two of these strollers have broken on us, most recently while in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We managed to fix the stroller ourselves with a screwdriver and, when we returned, the company offered to replace it for us with an upgraded model (the second replacement we’ve received). Despite the problems we’ve had with Mia Moda, we continue to recommend them because we love the product, they stand behind their strollers and they have excellent customer service.
Eddie Bauer Travel Carseat
We have mixed feelings about this product but it is the only travel car seat we know of. It’s not easy to install and, even when installed correctly, seems to be fairly loose in the seat. It is probably better than no car seat when traveling internationally but if you can rent a car seat locally that may be a better option. This car seat does meet federal safety standards for car seats and it allows you to strap your child in when a big bulky one just wouldn’t be practical. It folds up small enough to put in your carry-on luggage and fits in a backpack or stroller basket.
Note: Regardless of which car seat you use when traveling, please use some kind of car seat. In developed countries (Europe, North America, Japan, Australia) car seats are required by law but in many developing countries they are not. The temptation is to just not use one as they are indeed a hassle. Traffic fatalities are one of the leading causes of death in developing countries so please face the hassle and protect your child. We went in and out of taxis without the car seat in Buenos Aires, as parents do every day in big U.S. cities like New York since you are generally traveling slow and short distances. But on long distances and on highways we do use a car seat.
Take and Toss Sippy Cups – We do not actually toss these but reuse them many, many times. These are our favorite sippy cups and we have tried them all. Sippy cups with lots of inner parts get a sour smell easily, especially when traveling when you may not have a chance to wash a cup out really well until the end of the day. These cups don’t leak any more than any other sippy cups (just a few drops if our daughter shakes it really hard) and they are easy to clean. Since they’re cheap it’s not a big deal if one does go missing while traveling.
Neat Solutions Biodegradable Table Topper – These plastic table covers are great in restaurants. They keep us from being as mortified by the incredible mess our daughter makes (most of the mess can be cleaned up by balling up the cover at the end of the meal), plus they protect her from germs and entertain her with the pictures on them.