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Baby & Toddler Travel Gear for an Effortless Vacation

You may have seen countless Insta-moms flaunting a bunch of cool travel products, claiming that they are absolutely essential for travel with your toddler or baby. It’s easy to fall for the urge to buy something when told that it can make or break your trip.

But take it from us, who travel frequently in practically every kind of way with my children (road trips, long flights, campervans, hotels, apartments – we’ve done it all).

There are some must-have baby & toddler travel gear items, but many are simply wasting space in your luggage.

In a rush? I created an ultimate list of basic necessities and travel gadgets for families traveling with baby or toddler. Check out MY LIST on Amazon (I update it all the time).

Two toddlers at the airport waiting for a flight

Best Travel Equipment for Babies 0-18 Months

Here are the things we recommend getting for traveling with babies. While things won’t always be smooth (let’s be real, you have a baby in town), they SHOULD help your trip go smoothly. 

You will see I have broken up these items into two sections, giving you the essential items I recommend you pack for babies, and below for toddlers. 

1. Travel Stroller

Recommended: Babyzen Yoyo Stroller

Top of the list is one of the most essential travel items for both babies and toddlers: a travel stroller! 

Keep in mind that we 100% recommend getting a stroller specifically for travel, as trying to use your regular home stroller is going to be a nightmare as it won’t fit nicely on the plane, rental cars,

My wife and I have tried every single travel stroller out there and I can say that the Babyzen Yoyo Stroller is the best choice. 

You need something that folds down (quickly) to fit anywhere, doesn’t have to be gate-checked, and has sturdy wheels to handle rougher terrain. We can confidently say that the Yoyo checks all those boxes! 

2. Baby Carrier

Recommended: Inflantino Flip

Since you can’t take strollers everywhere, whether it’s because of certain restrictions or simply because the terrain is not stroller friendly. Bringing a baby carrier is 100% a must for our family. 

For my first son, we got the Ergobaby360 because it seemed like the one everyone loved. Turns out we really didn’t like it, so we changed to the Infantino.

I keep mine in the car or the stroller basket because you never know when you might go for a little hike or end up having to ditch your stroller in a museum. 

3. Portable Sound Machine

Recommended: Hatch Baby Light or Hussh

These are small and easy to pack, making them a sanity-saving travel item for babies, even for “just in case” scenarios. 

Sometimes if we end up in a noisy hotel room or just don’t want to go to bed when the baby does, we pop on the white noise machine for our kids to sleep. Problem solved. 

If you are planning on staying in a different room from your baby, the Hatch Baby Light has both a night light and a built-in noise machine. This is our current go-to for the kids! 

4. Portable Changing Pad

Recommended: any is fine

Even if you’ve never traveled before you’ve probably encountered the problem of needing a changing table where there isn’t one.

Well, having a portable pad is essential for planes and hard, cold tables, to make it a little more comfortable and sanitary for everyone. 

5. Car Mirror

Recommended: anything works

Despite a lot of people using a camera for their baby instead of a mirror, for traveling I always go with a mirror.

It’s simply much easier to use with rental cars and I have never had a problem with our mirror before. 

6. Portable Crib / Pack & Play

Recommended: Guava Lotus Crib

This one is not 100% necessary all the time depending on where you are staying, and to be honest we only bring a portable crib if we are staying somewhere that can’t provide one for us for a long time.

I always try to book a hotel with a crib but if there is no option for that, bringing a portable crib is going to be essential for you. Plus, you can usually check 2 baby items per child when flying so it’s not too difficult. 

We tried a few different brands but in the end, the Lotus Crib is my recommendation as is really compact when packed down and also super easy to set up. 

7. Other Travel Products You Might Need:

The following travel products for babies aren’t 100% essential but could be super helpful for you depending on your circumstances. 

Inflatable Bath Tub

Recommended: Mom’s Helper

Unless you’re super careful about always making sure your room has a bath, you may find that a portable bathtub comes in handy more times than you may think. 

At first, I would simply rinse off my baby in the shower with me, but he quickly decided he hated showers, so we needed to find a small portable bath for him (for our own sanity more than his). 

We found that inflatable baths work much better than folding ones and Mom’s Helper is the best choice for one child. Otherwise, we like this one for two kids! 

Portable High Chair

Recommended: Nuby or Hiccapop

This is another item I didn’t originally think was needed as an ultra-light packer, but it turns out not all restaurants have them (especially in Europe). 

Plus if you want to be able to eat in your hotel or apartment, it’s vital. We like the convenience of the hiccapop booster for babies under 1 or the Nuby for older kids as it fits every type of seat.

Packing Cubes

Recommended: Eagle Creek

Baby clothes can so easily get lost in a suitcase, especially when you need to get to them quickly. Packing cubes are a lifesaver for keeping things organized.

Eagle Creek is a great brand with tones of colors so we can color code each member of the family! 

Sippy Cups

Recommended: CamelBack

Even though my son can easily drink from normal cups, when traveling we always like to bring a cup for him that doesn’t spill. We do not want wet clothes on a long plane trip.

I have tested so many sippy cups over the years and found that most of them leak. But, while they may be a little more difficult to clean, Camelbacks don’t leak and are easy to drink from. We used it from about 10 months old. 

toddler travel gear

Best Travel Products for Toddlers (15/18 months to 3 years)

If your kids are a little older, here is a list of items specifically for toddlers. 

Of course, some of the products from the baby stage are still needed, so if you jumped to here make sure not to forget the following from the list above:

  • Travel Stroller
  • Baby Crib (maybe – some kids might be used to floor bed by now)
  • Portable High Chair
  • Packing Cubes
  • Drinking Cups
  • Sound Machine

1. Travel Car Seat

Recommended: WayB Pico

If your baby has grown out of their infant seat, it can be super difficult to even imagine traveling with a HUGE car seat. 

Luckily there are a few portable travel car seats that pack down for easy transport once your kids reach toddlerhood.

For babies, the lightest option is Cosco Scenera Next but this seat is pretty awful if I’m completely honest.

The WayB Pico is great for small kids, but as it’s forward-facing it’s recommended from at least 18 months, then they can move up to the Hiccapop Inflatable Booster and mifold as they get a little older (4+ usually). 

2. Bed Bumpers

Recommended: Hiccapop Inflatable Bumpers

We were super happy with our decision to switch our older son from the crib to a real bed because it meant one less bulky item to bring with us on every trip.

We use inflatable bed bumpers and push his bed against the wall to make it nice and safe for him. The inflatable kind is best because they are super portable! 

3. Hiking Backpack

Recommended: Deuter

If the idea of going hiking with your kids appeals to you, you are going to need something better than a regular baby carrier. Especially if you are walking long distances or have bigger toddlers. 

Luckily, there are a lot of baby hiking gear and different hiking backpacks to choose from so you can easily find something comfortable inside your budget.

4. Ride On Suitcase

Recommended: JetKids

We love ride-on suitcases not only for long airport walks but also storing our kid’s toys for the plane.  

Firstly we tried the famous Trunki but found that the wheels weren’t great and the kids kept running into things.

We ended up preferring JetKids because it not only has better wheels and control, but it also turns into a plane bed. However, it’s undeniably more expensive.

Alternatively, if you don’t care for footrest or mostly fly airlines that banned them (Emirates for example), you might go for MiaMily.

5. Kids Backpacks

Recommended: Wildkin

Teaching kids how to take care of their own belongings from an early age is important. Kids’ backpacks are perfect for them carrying their own toys.

There are various amazing kids backpacks, where little ones can pack their toys or fun items for traveling like toddler camera, binoculars, or snacks. It makes family travel more fun for everyone involved!

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