It’s amazing how much stuff you have to carry and travel with when you have a baby (or two, in my case). Over time, we have worked at finding the lightest weight (but still high-quality) of the essential gear that we need when traveling. Here is a round-up of our favorites.
1 PACK AND PLAY (STANDARD SIZE): NUNA SENA or4MOMS BREEZE
The Nuna and 4Moms pack and plays actually use the same equipment, so it’s hard to tell the difference between them. We have the Nuna Sena, and we love how (relatively) lightweight it is. Plus, you can’t get an easier pack and play to set up and fold down. The best part is that it uses standard pack and play sheets.
2 PACK AND PLAY (OVERSIZED): JOOVY ROOM2
Originally we bought this so that Audrey and David could sleep in the same crib when traveling. That worked for all of a hot minute before they started wiggling and moving too much to be safe. It is a square size, with its length and width equivalent to the long side of a pack and play. Because the crib sheets are not standard, it comes with one sheet, with the opportunity to buy more (although they are on the expensive side at $30 each). We really love how easy it is to set up as well (just like the Nuna and 4Moms), plus it is very sleek looking. When we travel, this is Audrey’s crib, as she loves to craw around, sit up, and play more than David.
3 PLAY YARD: SUMMER INFANT POP N PLAY
This is truly an innovative play yard. Whereas the pack and plays listed above have a weight limit, the Pop n Play does not for one very big reason: it is completely on the ground. In a pack and play, the base hangs up above the ground, which is the reason for the high weight and clunkiness of these products. Summer Infant has taken that out of the equation with a waterproof fabric that literally sits on the ground. Its huge size is fantastic for multiple babies to play in. Not only do we use this when we travel, but when we are home, it lives in our playroom so that there is a safe place for our now-mobile babies to play if we have to leave the room for a minute.
4 ACTIVITY SEAT: KIDCO GO-POD
These chairs are incredible! They look like a mix between a tailgate chair and a bouncer. They fold up so easily and fit in their own traveling case, making it easy to throw it over your shoulder before picking up your baby. We use these whenever we are away from our playroom, whether visiting grandparents, at a friend’s cookout, or at a dirty location. There is a cup holder and snack holder along with 4 loops for you to attach toys. There is also a fabric floor so that Baby’s feet will never touch the ground. The only downfall is that you can only spot wash the Go Pod, but I would assume that if it is dirty enough, you can just hose it off (as we would a tailgate chair).
5 HIGH CHAIR: CIAO! BABY TRAVEL HIGH CHAIR
Going along with our tailgate chair theme, we recently invested in the Ciao! Baby high chairs as our travel chairs for grandparent visits and while on the road on vacation. I love the laminated tray that seems very easy to clean and the fact that the lap belt buckles behind the chair itself. While not as nice or sturdy as our Bentwood high chairs, they are a fantastic alternative for on the road (and everyone that sees them comments about how they love them). Plus, they fold as compact as the Go-Pod, which saves so much room in our car (since we have to have two of them). We have friends that are still using these with their 2-year-old, so we plan on using this for a good, long time.
6 POP-UP TENT: KEL-GAR SUN DOME
While it isn’t always required, if you need a shady spot with 50+ sun protection, this is a fantastic option. We opted for the XL version so that it could hold two babies, and the biggest difference between this and the standard size seems to the be depth. We used this every day we were at the beach, and it allowed us to bring the babies out to the ocean while avoiding the need to apply sunscreen or have them eat sand.