Another blog post from Mr. Deals…

So as experienced a traveler Mrs. Deals is, I have to say, we have some serious work to do when traveling with the future Deals Queen. One of the things I’ve always loved about Mrs. Deals is her ability to pack so light. She is definitely not the type of person to have a separate bag dedicated to shoes. I mean, with airline baggage fees the way they are would you expect anything less? Somehow we’ve managed 18 day trips overseas with just a simple overhead size wheeled suitcase (one for each of us). And, we even have managed to bring back lots of purchases in those bags.

Well, it’s been a different story with Baby Deals so far. I get it, babies require a lot of stuff. So far we’ve only done road trips so it’s been ok to actually go a little overboard on the packing, but Mrs. Deals has taken it to a whole other level. Now, Mrs. Deals and I drive a standard midsize car. No SUV or anything for us (though my mind is starting to change about getting one). At about 1 month old we took Baby Deals on her first road trip to Cape Cod (a beautiful place to visit in the northeast if you’ve never been – especially during the summer). This was a Summer trip, so I figured I could pack in just a backpack. All I really need is a pair of board shorts and a couple t-shirts and I’m set. Mrs. Deals could pack light as well. Baby Deals, oh no, that’s another story.

A few things you need right off the bat:

  • Pack N’ Play
  • Diapers
  • Monitor
  • Stroller
  • Diapers (about 80 give or take for a week away)

So right there you already have the trunk filled of a midsize car. Then you add in a bag of clothes, swaddles, bibs, etc. and multiples because there’s bound to be some “accidents.” Ok, so you’ve now got the back seat filled (can’t forget the fact that a car seat takes up the other half).

But with Mrs. Deals, there was way more that was necessary. We had to bring the napper thing, the mobile, a bassinet, a seat swing thingy, I don’t even know what else was in there. You could barely fit us in the car! My first question was how the heck are we ever going to do this if we have to fly!?!?

After not using about 40% of the extra stuff we brought, Mrs. Deals has definitely calmed down a bit. I don’t know if we have figured out flight ready packing just yet, but we’ll be there soon.

I’m curious, those of you with kids, what are the essential baby things you bring on a plane when you’ve got a kid under a year? I’ve got to help Mrs. Deals prep for our next trip!

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

  • DJ said,

    We def don’t use all those things but here is what I recommend to help get better at planning…

    Make a note on your phone of what you took, and then what you didn’t use.

    Then for your next trip use that note to make a new packing list and then refine it again once you get back.

    For things on a plane, we brought larger toys so that when our son threw it we weren’t digging underneath seats looking for it.

  • Rob H said,

    http://www.guavafamily.com/products/lotus-everywhere-travel-crib

    By far the best travel pack-n-play/crib.

  • Baby Songer said,

    We really worked hard to travel as light as possible with our now 2 year old. She’s been with us on about 70 flight segments and would have racked up 137k miles had she had earned frequent flyer miles.

    1. On flights, we bring a few plastic bags to use as impromptu garbage because the FA’s don’t come frequently enough.

    2. On a trip, we only bring 3-4 diapers/wipes for just the flight and buy a new package when we get there.

    3. Instead of a bunch of toys, we just bring an iPad. The overprotective parent types will roll their eyes, but we’ve found the iPad to be very educational for her as well as for entertainment.

    4. We didn’t use the pack-n-play as most hotels offer cribs and when we’re not staying at a hotel, we’ll make our own bed for her with pillows/blankets on the floor.

    5. We also research for places to do laundry if we’re staying for more than 2-3 nights. That helps us not bring as many clothes.

    And for what it’s worth, we stayed 5 weeks in Thailand with our child (15 months at the time) as well as 2 weeks in Argentina, a few weeks in Japan/Korea, etc etc.

    The thing we keep in mind is that people all over the world have babies and somehow they deal with them, even without many of the modern American conveniences we’ve come to love (but not need).

  • Kestie said,

    Your carry-on needs to include extra ziplock bags (to contain whatever mess may occur), an extra binky, your child’s favorite blanket/stuffed animal and little toys, sticker books or pop-up books (Sesame Street has some good books with pop-ups that take a long time to read). When she is older, you can bring coloring books and markers. I learned early on that my child loved only one blanket and stuffed animal so I bought two of each (in case one got lost at daycare or in the hotel) and took one set on travel. You should try to give your daughter a bottle or have your wife breastfeed during take-offs and landings because the ear-popping can be upsetting for a baby. I used to heat a bottle before we left for the airport and keep it insulated–in a pinch you can run hot water over a bottle and warm it up. Once your child is older, you should bring some Cheerios in a baggie for a quick snack in case you are delayed. Also bring a change of clothes in case your child needs one and a t-shirt for yourself so you can avoid flying for hours and smelling like puke or worse. The key for my kid was to bring along the same night-time stuff that we used at home so we could recreate the same rituals on travel. We did not use a pack-n-play, but used a hotel crib or made our child comfy on the floor with her own blankets and some pillows to keep her contained. While we used a vibrating swing at home, we did not use one on the road, but simply bounced/carried her more. We also tried to maintain the same nap schedule, to the extent possible, which sometimes meant changing our schedules to meet our child’s needs–but it was worth it in the end. Once your child is a toddler, you may want to wrap the toys/books in paper, so they can guess what is inside before they tear off the paper. Trust me, this will make sense when you are at this point. My daughter, now 15, traveled to AKL, SYD and various places in Europe while she was quite young. As long as we maintained our night-time rituals (a bath and a story), she felt cozy wherever we ended up. The best part will be when your child is reading on her own and you find that you can take a nap. Finally, I’d agree about taking an Ipad or a DVD player–we did not have these when my daughter was young, but I always brought her favorite videos because they made her feel at home and she would watch the same darn video about 100 times…Good luck!

  • Amy said,

    First thing I would recommend is figure out what is offered at the place your going. Most hotels/b&b/resorts offer pack-n-plays or cribs for baby to use. For the most part, you shouldn’t need to bring something for baby to sleep in unless they are really particular. I would however recommend bringing a sheet from home so the new sleeping area smells familiar.

    Also, while some locations offer high chairs though, if they don’t, I highly recommend something like this: http://www.amazon.com/BRICA-Travel-Booster-Black-Green/dp/B004L2JJ6O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384145642&sr=8-1&keywords=portable+booster+seat … it folds up and has a handle and can easily be put into the checked luggage!

    If you’re not staying somewhere where baby will be in the room alone, don’t worry about bringing the baby monitor. I do recommend getting at least the jr. suite though so you have somewhere to separate baby from the noise of the rest of the hotel room if offered. It really sucks to have to turn off all the lights and not be able to hear the TV when baby goes to bed at 7pm and you’re all in the same small space!

    For carry-on packing, you want at least two outfits for baby (for some reason, if they’re gonna have a poop’splosion it’s gonna be on the plane) and a bunch of gallon size ziplock bags to contain said ‘splosions! Also bring an extra t-shirt for mom and dad! I pack these outfits in the ziplock bags I’m bringing with me and squeeze out all the air so they all fit nicely. Bring just enough diapers and wipes to get you through the trip and plan to stop at the local store when you get there to pick up more! Also bring a blanket for baby or a shawl that can double as a blanket. I’ve found that the pashmina’s that you can get at the mall for $10 make SURPRISINGLY warm blankets but fold up really small!!!

    For the young child, you can bring just a few favorite toys because they’ll likely sleep but for older toys, you’ll want to bring an assortment of toys (preferably new, or new to them, or toys you’ve hidden from them about a month before your trip) so they have lots to choose from. Also bring snacks, lots of snacks! The measly little package of pretzels the airlines give you will not be enough for little tummies! Oh, and don’t forget the bottle or sippy cup! Since when traveling with an infant, you can bring your own water through TSA screening to use for mixing formula, make sure you throw in some formula, even if baby is EBF because you just never know what baby’s gonna want! I’ve actually brought an entirely 1 liter bottle through screening with me when I was traveling with formula!!!

    Oh, and don’t expect to be able to actually sleep or read when baby is with you. I bring my headphones and _try_ to listen to an audiobook or something but I’ve not always been successful, just depends on how much attention baby wants. Just be prepared to be uncomfortable and bored! If you can upgrade to business class, definitely do it because the extra space will be a live saver but be prepared for all the nasty glares from the business people up there who feel like you’re invading their turf with your “crying machine.”

    Oh, and don’t even bother to put your bags overhead, it’s just SO much easier to have them at your feet!!!

  • Jane S said,

    I’m probably the age of your parents so perhaps this is a little out-of-date information but when we had our kids, we didn’t have all those things. We needed need a monitor because when the baby cried we knew he was awake! Umbrella strollers are good for travel or for a baby at the age of one month (like yours was) a Baby Bjorn so you could wear him/her in the front – it’s only for a week. Bring diapers for the trip but buy diapers when you get there. Most hotels have cribs/port-a-cribs but if not, you can always buy one from a Goodwill or second hand consignment stop and then donate it or put a towel in a drawer and put the baby in it – that’s what they did in the real olden times. It’s not going to hurt the baby. You don’t need al these modern conveniences – we all did without them. The manufacturers make young parents feel that they HAVE to have these items.

  • Michael W Travels said,

    Damn you guys bring way too much! I don’t agree with your list of things you need. We’ve never brought a pack n play (we don’t even own one) or a monitor on a trip. Also why 80 diapers for a week? On average I’d say 4-5 diapers are needed per day. If this is your essential packing list, good luck flying with the baby in the future. :)

  • steve said,

    I pack some diapers and a baby monitor. I buy what I need when I get there.
    Wal-mart has a generous return policy :)

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