DISCLOSURE: There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.
The below is a compiled list of of products, services, companies, etc. that I have used and LOVE. This list of recommendations will give you a quick reference guide for making life a little easier when traveling with little ones.
- Patemm Round Baby Diaper Changing Pad: I received the Patemm Round Baby Diaper Changing Pad for my baby shower and it truly is amazing. Who knew that a changing pad would be such an important tool, but once baby gets even somewhat mobile, having the extra surface space is so helpful. The pad measures 28″ around and has covered all baby changing stations we’ve visited with ease. Especially for the extra messy changes, it’s been great and easy to wipe down. This is so worth the extra cost and fits into most diaper bags. The thing I love best is that you can stuff several diapers into the pockets, so it’s easy to grab the changing pad on its own.
- Skip Hop Forma Backpack Diaper Bag: I used to lug around an over the shoulder diaper bag, but with always having to carry so many things now a days, it was becoming so cumbersome. So, I switched over to a backpack and fell in love with Skip Hop’s Forma Backpack Diaper Bag. Not only is it fairly reasonably priced at $69.99, but it has a lot of compartments for toys, diapers, bottles, etc. as well as comfort and easy to use/grab what I need while handling a toddler. You can also read more about it, here.
Play and Comfort Recommendations
- Lotus Travel Crib and Playard: Before going on our first international trip, a girlfriend asked where Charlie was going to sleep. She had just recently returned from a trip with her family and recommended the Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard. What I love most is that it fit into our large suitcase! It’s also fairly light, coming in at 13 lbs. Furthermore, you can strap it to your back and carry it around like a backpack. Charlie’s now 2 years old and we still use it.
- Melissa and Doug: Some of my favorite toy products come from Melissa and Doug. I especially love their Water Wow! reusable drawing pads. They are small/flat enough to fit into a diaper bag, purse, stroller basket, etc. and there is literally no mess! Kiddos use the water filled brush to review colors, hidden pictures and more. Charlie loves this thing and asks for it all the time. The manufacture says 3+, but Charlie’s been using this toy since 18 months; just watch your kiddo to make sure they don’t chew on the brush, etc. The Reusable Sticker Pads are also a hit in our home. The sticker book comes with sturdy pages to stick and peel vinyl stickers. These, too, were great on the plane, but have more recently ended up on every glass-like surface in the house.
- WubbaNubs: These pacifiers are great! WubbaNubs are soft plush toys that are attached to a pacifier. My son didn’t use a pacifier for long, but when he did, having the WubbaNub was great. It’s easy enough for them to hold on to and for slightly older kiddos, if they drop it, they can easier grab it if it falls out of their mouth.
- Aden and Anais Swaddling Cloths: Our son absolutely loves the Aden and Anais Muslin Swaddles. Surprisingly, he didn’t love them so much as an infant, but these now serve as his ‘baba’ (aka security blanket.) We wouldn’t dare go anywhere without these. In fact, I’ve purchased 6 (two of the 47″ 3-pack). As an infant, however, I did use them for our son’s car seat cover. They’re so thin and can let a little light in, but also provide some privacy. They’re great to double as a breast feeding cover, as well. But ultimately, it was when I was getting ready to donate them, that our son pulled them out of the donation bin and claimed them as baba.
- Safety 1st Grow & Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat: One of the biggest reason we got the Safety 1st car seat was because it actually has the FAA airline approved sticker. This is key, should you chose to bring your car seat with you during the flight, which I recommend in The FAA and Getting to Europe. There are a lot of fun features, that turned out to be pretty useful. I.e. I love the harness holders, which allows you to get your kiddo into the seat a lot easier then having to work around the straps. The other great feature is that the padding is all machine washable and dryer safe! I have actually tried this, assuming it was just talk, but it is actually really easy to do. You can seat your child rear-facing up to 40 pounds with a max height of 40 inches. In the forward facing position, your kiddo must be at least 22 pounds and at least 29 inches tall.
- Brica Roll n Go: The Brica Roll n Go™ Car Seat Transporter has been a life-saver when rolling around the airport. We opted early on to give Charlie his own seat on the plane, which means we had to have a car seat or a harness for his seat. Furthermore, we usually have a car or travel in a car/cab, so having a car seat is imperative. So instead of risking placing it under the plane and getting damaged (no bueno!), we opt to bring it with us on the plane. The Brica turns the car seat into a stroller; however, I wouldn’t recommend using this as your stroller once you land. You should use a regular/travel stroller or other carrier for that!
- Baby K’Tan: I was never very good at figuring out those long strips of fabric to strap baby to my chest. A friend of ours recommended K’Tan. K’Tan is a ready to wear baby fabric wrap, that you don’t actually have to wrap! Baby wearing has been around for centuries, allowing mama and baby to connect and stay in tune with one another to bond and have a soothing affect on your baby. K’Tan makes it so easy and I personally loved getting a little bit of my freedom back.
- ErgoBaby 360: In addition to the K’Tan, sometimes you need a carrier that is a little hardier. In this case, we opted for the ErgoBaby 360. What I liked best about it was it’s safety features that don’t compromise the baby’s hip position. It also came with a hood to shelter Charlie from the sun, but to also hold his head in place. We typically used this when we didn’t want the bulkiness of a stroller. It cam in really handy when we were walking around the Vatican Museum as outlined in my post, here.
- UPPAbaby CRUZ: If there are two things you splurge on, I think the UPPAbaby CRUZ stroller and MESA Infant car seat are the answer. My mom gifted us the CRUZ and it was love at first sight. The price is up there, between $499.99 and $549.99, depending on the color you pick, but this thing has survived many a cobble stone road, multiple flights and almost daily use and still works like day one. UPPAbaby also has a great customer service program as well, though I’ve never personally use it. A friend of ours was damaged during a flight and because they used the UPPAbaby VISTA TravelSafe Travel Bag, UPPAbaby ended up replacing the frame at no charge. Check out my review, here, to learn more about my experience.
- UPPAbaby Travelsafe Travel Bag: If you’re planning on taking your UPPAbaby stroller on the plane, then you MUST pack it in the Travelsafe Travel Bag, otherwise UPPAbaby won’t be able to support any issues in case your stroller gets damaged.
Travel Products and Services Recommendations
- Airbnb: Looking for something personal, than a hotel? Airbnb provides an alternative solution. The reason we typically go with an Airbnb is to provide our Son with his own place to sleep. With a 7pm bedtime and still napping, we’d be challenged to do anything fun after he goes to bed in a hotel. But Airbnb provides us a little more freedom when traveling. Even better, the prices seem to be less than that of a hotel and you can save by self-catering.
- Allianz Travel Insurance: With affordable plans, Allianz Travel Insurance can give you the peace of mind when traveling. I.e. going somewhere during inclement weather, needing medical attention and unexpected cancellations are all service options in getting this insurance. Top that with 24-hour assistance, Allianz has you covered while you’re away.
- KOA/Good Sam: When we travel in the RV, I like to use the KOA or Good Sam Camping Apps. In the past, we’ve been en route to our destination and because of baby breaks (read delays!) we needed to stop sooner to rest for the night. The apps came in handy in identifying places for full hookups and safely parking for the night. We’ve also leveraged Walmart parking lots, but this doesn’t allow you to have the full hookup capability.
- TripAdvisor: Before any trip, I always start by visiting TripAdvisor. Not only can you read reviews from other travelers, but if you find something you like, you can book the service right on the website. I like this site because it consolidates all this great information, from where to stay to what to do and where to eat. You should also download the app on your phone.
- Expedia: Expedia.com is the first place I go to look for airfare. But you can also use the site to book your rental car, hotel, and more.
- Booking.com: is another great resource for booking travel (i.e. airfare, vacation rentals, hotels, etc.) Booking.com has been around since the mid-90s and provides services from small bed and breakfast to corporate travel and luxury vacations.
- CityPASS: Provides discount/bulk prices for selected cities in North America. It’s a great way to get save upwards of 50% on top city attractions. If it’s your first time to one of the CityPASS locations it’s a great way to experience the city on a budget.