This is a guest post by Celine from Baby Can Travel. We have officially named her the Guru of all things related to baby and traveling! Read more about Celine at the end of this post.
Having a baby will slow down your pace of travel, but it is still possible to enjoy the same type of vacation you loved prior to having a baby. Truthfully, your baby is happy to just be around you so as long as she is fed and comfortable she will be glad to tag along on all your adventures. Whether you are about to embark on a week of relaxing on a beach or hiking in the mountains, having the right baby gear will make your vacation a little easier on everyone.
Your main concerns on a beach vacation will be to protect your baby’s sensitive skin from the sun and to keep your baby hydrated. Talk to your pediatrician about recommended age for sunscreen. Though it’s only typically recommended for babies older than 6 months, you will still want to ensure your baby is well protected if you are spending a lot of time outside. Baby Can Travel Sunscreen Recommendation: Babyganics Mineral Based Sunscreen.
Putting sunscreen on a wiggly baby isn’t the easiest job and reapplying it throughout the day gets less fun as the day goes on. One option to consider is a sun protective one-piece swimsuit that will give full coverage and a wide brimmed hat. Baby Can Travel recomendations: UV Skinz Swimsuit with UPF 50+ and iPlay Sun Protection Hat.
Your baby will love splashing around in the shallow water, but when it’s time for a nap you might not want to head back to the room. If you plan to have your baby nap while you are on the beach, a tent or umbrella to create shade is a must. Baby Can Travel Recommendation: Traveling Baby Beach Tent with UPF 50+ and mosquito net
You’ll need some method of getting your baby around, so a good stroller and/or a baby carrier will be one of your most useful baby gear items on any vacation. For your baby carrier, find one suitable for warm weather that has mesh or better yet, one that can go in the water. Ergobaby makes a wonderful mesh carrier that can be found here. If your beach vacation includes staying at a resort, a stroller with a good canopy can be used for giving your baby naps on-the-go.
Don’t Forget: Swim diapers and a water bottle/sippy cup for your baby to help keep her hydrated.
The Beachfront Baby Carrier can be worn in the water.
A winter vacation might seem a little more daunting with a baby, considering all the extra gear required to keep your baby warm. However, with a few key pieces you really don’t have to bring too much extra. Once you determine what types of activities you’ll be doing (or would like to do), then consider the ways you’ll be getting your baby around with you. The easiest way will be to carry your baby and to get a jacket extender like this one. This will allow either you or your husband to carry your baby and you can rest assured that your baby will be toasty warm. We also like a fleece bunting that is thin enough to go in a car seat, yet will keep your baby warm while transferring him to a stroller or baby carrier.
If you will be doing activities that will have your baby in a stroller, sled or a backpack carrier, then a down-filled stroller bag doesn’t take up a lot of room and a weathershield/rain cover for your stroller works great for blocking the wind on extra cold days.
Don’t forget: Warm hat, mitts and boots for your baby to help keep them extra warm and happy.
City breaks are a great way to explore as a family and can be done fairly easily with a baby. If you plan to take public transportation then a compact stroller or a baby carrier will work best for subway stations that don’t have elevators or for attractions that aren’t completely accessible.
The Mountain Buggy Nano Stroller fold up to a compact size
You might find your baby spending a lot of time in the stroller or baby carrier as you visit museums or art galleries, so having a picnic at a park is a great way to give your baby time to play. Bring a light blanket or a small plastic table cloth that takes up very little room and will give everyone a place to sit.
Don’t forget: It can still get hot so don’t forget sun protection for your baby if you stroller does not have an adequate canopy.
Going on an active vacation is still possible with a baby. The easiest activity will be hiking, as it requires far less gear. It’s best to get one of these vacations in early when your baby is less mobile and not trying to walk themselves. Once they discover walking your pace will slow down considerably.
A structured carrier will work for hiking, but if your baby is sitting up a backpack carrier is a more comfortable option for both you and your baby. Not only does it provide much better visibility for your baby and therefore keeping your baby happy longer, but a good one will also have a spot to carry diapers/wipes and snacks. Make sure to also bring along plenty of water for both you and your baby. A water bladder that also fits in the backpack carrier can be used by you and your baby (depending on your baby’s age).
Don’t Forget: Good hats for everyone, sunscreen and a good hiking book with maps of the area. Hiking with a baby isn’t the time you want to get lost!
For all the types of vacations, you may also need a travel crib and a travel high chair, depending on the age of your baby and where you are traveling. If your hotel or apartment does not provide a travel crib, then consider renting or purchasing a lightweight travel crib. If your vacation is in a city where most restaurants provide high chairs, then you may not need a travel one. Also a good portable change mat will allow you to change your baby almost anywhere.