There were a couple of things as we were traveling around that proved to be absolutely brilliant. These are our favorites!
1. Ergo 360
I decided that we needed one of these about two weeks before we left. Kyle wasn’t quite so convinced until two days before we left, and I had to agree to sell our stroller if we got the 360, but we had a deal! Only problem: everybody else wanted a 360 as well, and we had the hardest time finding one! Yes, it’s pricy. Yes, it was a splurge. Yes, it was necessary for our highly curious, snuggly boy who refuses to ride in a stroller. Even in a “pram-dominated country” where we’ve gotten some weird looks with our baby carrier, we’ve done everything with him in this and we’ve had a much easier time navigating uneven castle floors, staircases of public transport stations, cobblestone streets, battleships, tiny town shops, and big London crowds with him in the Ergo instead of in a stroller. Great buy, and I’d do it again! I will say, when he’s been facing outward he’s had a tendency to drool and chew on the carrier, and we’ve kinda been wishing we had the teething pad that is available for it. We’ll see how it goes, we might be ordering that next!
This isn’t travel-specific, we actually use it daily at home, but it’s been invaluable when we’ve been out and about and need to mix up a quick bottle. This thing is awesome! Just measure out the formula, drop it from the dispenser into the bottle, shake shake shake, and you’re good to go. If I could go back, it would be easier to get out the door in the morning if we had two of these dispensers that we could just prep ahead of time, so that might be something to consider.
When we ordered this we thought it was a bit of a splurge, probably not necessary, but a good idea. We were so wrong! This is absolutely a necessity for bottle feeders staying away from home! I love how it folds up so neatly and holds bottles as well as a good amount of other things at the same time. We do wash bottles a couple times a day, and we discovered pretty quickly that our bottles don’t like to stay upright when they’re drying on this rack, so we put the mouth of the bottle upside-down between four of the post thingys which makes it quite secure. We’ve kept it rinsed out and dried off as much as we can to keep it from getting grimy, and it’s looking pretty good so far!
4. Diaper Caddy
Definitely not travel-specific, and strictly speaking it’s not terribly travel-friendly since it doesn’t collapse or anything of the sort, this $3 Target find from their dollar section (meaning: they’re probably gone forever, never to be offered again, as is usually the case with Target’s enigmatic dollar section) has been so great for our long trip. We’ve been able to keep our many packages of disposable diapers in the closet while keeping enough diapers for the day at the ready in the caddy, along with wipes and baby creams. It’s been fantastic to have it all in one easily accessible, portable bin. So glad I insisted on packing this! You could easily use some similar handled, compartment-ed caddy for the same purpose.
I could go on and on about how I feel about diaper bags right now, but I’m not going to because I’ll give all my secrets away. In short, I’m not happy with them. However, using this little backpack of Nolan’s instead of using our regular diaper bag was definitely a good move. Maneuvering up and down narrow castle staircases with a giant diaper bag would have been a pitifully bad idea. I like that we’ve been able to keep things in predictable places and small things haven’t gotten lost in a cavernous pit. I’m still working on an alternative because it was far from perfect, but much better than what we’d been doing!
We got this on our last day in England actually…I’d wanted one for Nolan for a long time, but I thought Kyle would freak out about how much they cost (I could see it going down in my mind: “It cost $9?! Are you kidding me? For a bib? Shouldn’t bibs cost like $1.50? You know it costs them $0.67 to make it, they’re ripping us off! Somebody is getting rich off of this!” I was just not up for that.) Turns out, if we’d just gotten this in the first place, we’d have saved ourselves a lot of clean up, as well as the need to pack a million bibs. It took some getting used to for Nolan to be okay with it, just because it’s so different from his fabric bibs, but between the pocket catching his dribbles, how well it folds up to pack away in the diaper bag, and how easy it is to clean it, this thing is a travel winner. (The link takes you to a Tommee Tippee bib, and I think that’s the one we have…ours is green and we got it at a grocery store.)
Honestly, we didn’t use this much, but when we needed it it was invaluable. England is an incredibly baby-friendly country so I don’t think we ran into a single instance when a restaurant didn’t have a highchair. Belgium is a beautiful country but less baby-friendly. We went through a couple meals of switching off which parent was holding him so the other could scarf down a few bites then switch again before we finally got smart and just called ahead to the restaurants we were visiting to see if they had a highchair. Also, as will be covered in another post, this was a godsend on the train! We strapped his little booster onto the seat, popped him in it, and boom! Happy independent baby! In an ideal world this would fit into the diaper bag or have some sort of strap attachment thingy that made it easier to carry, but we can work on that, right?
8. Toy leashes
Nolan doesn’t like these much, but we love them! He just doesn’t like that when he throws something on the ground, it doesn’t actually hit the ground. These are great for attaching toys to high chairs during meals and even to the ergo when we were out and about. We’ve had them since he was born and use them at home to attach things to his carseat, the baby carriers, the diaper bag…just about everything. Great tool!
Something we don’t have but wish we did:
We met so many helpful service people during our trip, but one restaurant that really blew us away in Cardiff had this fantastic little gizmo. We were so impressed by the product itself, and especially impressed that the restaurant kept it in the kitchen specifically for their smallest customers! This is something we’ll definitely be looking into for future travel. It would have been incredibly easy to just pass this to the waitstaff and just ask them to fill it halfway up with hot water, rather than having them find something in the kitchen that they didn’t need for a time so we could heat Nolan’s food or bottle.
Hopefully there’s some help here! What are some of your favorite baby travel gear items?