As travelers, we were ready to embrace the challenge of traveling with our little guy as soon as he was born. We spent the entire pregnancy jetting around like usual, and we couldn’t wait for the little man to join us earth-side so that he could witness the fun. We’ve thoroughly loved taking him on all of our trips, and we think that adding a child is not a stressor when traveling; it is just an augmentation to the fun and adventure that we find when we travel!
This post is the 4th of my 6-part series on traveling with a baby. If you like this post, be sure to check out the other posts in the series.
Something that has made our travel experiences with him much easier and more stress-free is the fact that we worked diligently to find the right gear. While we still travel lightly, bringing a few extra pieces of equipment along with us makes getting around our destination (and our travel days) much easier.
While you don’t need ALL of these things for EVERY trip, they all come in handy in the right place at the right time. This is a list of our picks for the best stroller, car seat, carrier, playpen, and travel organizers that make traveling with a little one easy, stress-free, and enjoyable.
The Best Stroller for Baby Travel: Babyzen Yoyo2 or GB Pockit
First things first, I will point out that neither of these strollers is a travel system. A travel system is a stroller/car seat combination, where the car seat attaches to a stroller base to make a functioning stroller.
There are positives and negatives to each type of stroller, and I will dive into that in another post. Both of these strollers are specially designed travel strollers that fold up to be extremely compact and light. Both can be folded up and carried onto a plane!
The Babyzen Yoyo2
The Babyzen Yoyo2 ($$) is, in my opinion, the absolute best travel stroller on the market. While it carries a very hefty price tag of about $480, the investment is well worth it for someone who travels frequently. This stroller folds up easily and unfolds on its own with just the click of a button. It is so aesthetically pleasing to watch.
Purchase the The Babyzen Yoyo2 here.
To make things even sweeter, it only weighs 13.6 pounds!
If you can afford to drop almost $500 on a stroller, then this is easily the best option on the market.
The GB Pockit
The GB Pockit ($) is a similar, yet much more affordable option. This stroller doesn’t have the fancy popout functionality of the Yoyo2, but it folds up to be just as small and weighs even less. In fact, it is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s smallest folding stroller. With a price tag of just $180, it is less than half the price of the Yoyo2 and extremely similar in quality.
While there are some material and functional differences, the GB Pockit makes a great stroller for someone who can’t afford (or justify) spending almost $500 on a travel stroller.
The Best Playpen for Baby Travel: BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light or Graco Pack ‘n Play On The Go Playard
If you’ve been following our series on baby travel, you already know that a playpen is a maybe yes, maybe no kind of item. You won’t always need one when you travel, and investing too much cash into one might not be necessary depending on the type of trips you go on.
I highly recommend checking out my post on the five things not to pack when traveling with a baby to determine if investing in a nice travel playpen is worth the money for you or not. If you decide that you do indeed need a good playpen, I have two solid options for you: The BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light and the Graco Pack ‘n Play On The Go Playard.
The BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light
The BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light ($$) gets glowing reviews from just about everyone for its usability and portability. It weighs just 13 pounds, which is quite possibly the cheapest playpen on the market. It is also extremely durable, like all BabyBjorn products, and very easy to put together. It does come with a price tag of $300, but it is built to last and should be the only playpen you ever need if you can take care of it.
The Graco Pack ‘n Play On The Go Playard
If spending $300 on a playpen doesn’t sound like it is a possibility or desire for you, I recommend going with the classic Graco Pack ‘n Play On The Go Playard ($). Graco is one of the most trusted names in baby equipment, and while this playpen weighs almost double the BabyBjorn, it is still sturdy, foldable, and can make do for a trip.
It does weigh in at 21.5 pounds, but the significantly lower price tag of $80 might make the weight worth it for you. While this is not the best playpen out there for travel, it is not that far behind the others and offers a lot of bang for your buck.
The Best Travel Organizers for Baby Travel: BAGAIL Compression Packing Cubes
This is not an item that is strictly limited to baby travel, but I think that it comes in handy when traveling with a baby. When you bring your baby along on a trip, you are naturally going to need to bring more things than you otherwise would.
After all, you are packing for an extra person! Luckily, packing up your little one’s things really doesn’t need to take up that much space. Using packing cubes to pack both your and your baby’s things keeps things very well-organized and compact from the moment you pack until the moment you arrive at your destination.
I am a big fan of the BAGAIL Compression Packing Cubes, as they take up minimal space when not in use and can expand to fit things of all different sizes. Using these packing cubes to fill up your suitcase makes packing so simple and organized, and they’ve become an essential item on any of our trips. The best part is that they only cost $27!
The Best Carrier for Baby Travel: BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One Air and BabyBjorn Baby Carrier Mini
I will start off by saying this: carriers aren’t for everyone. Not every parent loves the idea of a carrier, and not every baby likes being strapped into one. Before you take all of the tags off of any carrier that you buy, I highly recommend giving it a few wears to see if both you and your baby like it.
Now, when it comes to actually selecting a baby carrier, there are several different styles. Many people love the wrap-style carriers, but we personally have not liked these. The two carriers that I have chosen to include in this section are both of a similar style and are both from the same company, BabyBjorn.
BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One Air
The BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One Air is as good as it gets, in my opinion. This carrier is suitable for kids from birth until they are 3 years old, is extremely durable, is made of a mesh material that is very breathable, and frankly, the carrier is very comfortable.
This is the first carrier that we got to use with our son, and it will forever be our favorite. We have used it for long walks through airports, intense hikes in the Rocky Mountains, adventures in new cities, and even to get chores done in the house. This carrier is 5 stars in every way as far as I am concerned, and it is probably the one item in this whole post that I recommend the most.
The only drawback is its $220 price tag, which can be off-putting for many people.
BabyBjorn Baby Carrier Mini
Spending $220 on a baby carrier is a lot of money; especially if you don’t need one of such durable nature. If you do not want to spend $220 on a baby carrier or don’t plan on using it for intense hikes and long days of urban exploring, I recommend opting for the smaller, lighter-weight, cheaper BabyBjorn Baby Carrier Mini.
This carrier comes in at just $90, and is still consistent with the high quality standards that BabyBjorn meets with all of their products. This carries is smaller than the Baby Carrier One Air, and it can only hold your baby until they are one year old. Angel likes to use this one for daily wear around the house. However, for longer walks or hikes we definitely always go to the Carrier One Air for its back support.
The Best Carseat for Baby Travel: Nuna Pipa Lite RX or Evenflo Pivot
While many people may disagree with me on this, I think that a good car seat is a fundamental piece of baby equipment when traveling. Some parents opt to buy their child a seat on the plane, in which case a car seat is actually mandatory, while many others opt to just hold their child on their laps for free.
If you read my post on avoiding stress when booking flights with a baby, you’ll know that we fall into the second of these two groups. Still, even though we don’t use a car seat on the plane, we think that a good car seat is fundamental to a successful trip with a baby.
Whether you will need it in Ubers or the rental car, or you will need it to be used as part of a travel system, there are many different great options out there for travel-ready car seats. We wanted to look at several factors, including safety, weight, travel system compatibility, and ease of installation when we bought our car seat, and hopefully these two options are appealing to you as you get ready to travel with your little one!
Nuna Pipa Lite RX
If money is not an issue, there is a clear favorite on the market: the Nuna Pipa Lite RX ($$). This car seat is among the lightest and safest car seats on the market, and it is extremely easy to install in your car, on the airplane, and on its accompanying stroller, the Nuna Tavo Next.
This carseat is simply loaded with features that makes parents drool just like their babies, and a quick glimpse through the Nuna website will show you all that you need in order to be convinced.
The downside is an exorbitantly hefty price tag, at $880 for the carseat, base, and stroller. The stroller is just as nice as the carseat, and if you’re able to shell out the nearly $900 for the set, your baby will be rolling in extreme luxury and style.
Even Flow Pivot
If $900 is not in the cards for a carseat and a stroller, consider paying less than a third of that price for the Evenflo Pivot ($). We are big fans of this system, as the carseat is very light and easy to install with and without its base, and the stroller has arguably the best glide and maneuverability of any stroller at or around its price point.
This stroller is not super compact and takes up a lot of space in the trunk, but it makes for a very smooth ride and a quick transition from the car. Parents also love the Evenflo Pivot travel system because the stroller can be used at all age levels from birth through the toddler phase, as the stroller can be used as a single or double, holding the carseat, a bassinet attachment, or a toddler seat attachment all either inward or outward facing.
The whole Evenflo Pivot system costs closer to $280, which is certainly not cheap, but is a fraction of the $900 price tag that the Nuna sells for.
Thanks for reading my post with our picks of the best baby travel gear. Hopefully these recommendations are of use to you as you prepare to travel with your little one, whether they’re arrived yet or not!