With plenty of baby travel gear on the market, all claiming to be that 'essential item' every parent needs, it can become difficult to really establish what you do and don't need on your next family trip.
Here we will break down some of the baby travel gear you might need, with the pros and con's of each allowing you to determine what best suits you and your family.
Depending on the age of your baby you may prefer a bassinette over a port-a-cot.
However these days many of the port-a-cots have an insert that turns them into a bassinette anyway.
Then when you are comfortable it turns into a port-a-cot.
Just be sure to check the safety regulations if you are thinking of using handed-down equipment.
There are not many travel bassinettes on the market; this is likely due to the range of port-a-cots available. We had a travel bassinette and kept it in the boot of our car. It was great for visiting friends, as we could place our baby in there, and then they could sleep regardless of where you were. However the pitfall was it did not fold down or become compact in any way so was not really an option for holidays.
A basis port-a-cot does what it says it should, you open it up and your baby sleeps in it. There is nothing fancy about it. However the good thing about this, you are not dragging 100 other accessories around to make it work.
However as we previously mentioned you may want those added extras. A bassinette attachment and a change table attachment might be something you are after.
When feeding you baby, the baby travel gear options will depend on if you are breast feeding or bottle feeding.
If you are breast feeding your baby, this will obviously reduce the baby travel gear your packing drastically. However if you're not, then the decisions rest with sterilising. What are your options?
And what if you are feeding your baby solids?
When travelling in the car, pack items that are frozen. This way they have a bit more of a life span. You can put them in a cooler bag or esky, or even purchase yourself a little car refrigerator. They usually hold the equivalent of six cans of soft drink.
Clip lock bags are a great way to store meals, as it means you can dispose of the container once the meal has been eaten, reducing your luggage for the return trip.
And don't forget their cutlery. No doubt you use a little plastic or rubber spoon that is not too harsh on their soft gums. You can purchase packets of disposable cutlery for kids; however given they are so small, why not try and recycle on this occasion.
Finally, where will they sit? When travelling, most restaurants, fast food stops or truck stops will provide high chairs, but what about when you are at your destination, or in the park?
Often a stroller / pram is a good option, they can sit upright allowing you to get the job done without having to pack another piece of equipment. However if you are concerned about getting food on your stroller / pram, you may like to consider a travel chair / booster seat.
There are so many different options available from wooden boosters that allow the baby to sit directly at the table to plastic ones that come with their own tray. Again you need to look at the features of each and determine which one you like best.
Now we all have our pram, this is a given, however is it going to be suitable for your family travel. Is it big and bulky?
Often you'll find, when considering baby travel gear that a stroller is a great solution.
They are light and compact, and these days most of them recline to a reasonable sleeping position.
The only real down fall with a stroller is you'll almost always find that your storage space underneath is reduce to a minimum, so as long as this is not a priority for you, a stroller is a great alternative.
And finally when picking which baby travel gear options are best for you one of the most important considerations are, how much room will it take up in the boot?
Two years after the first addition to our family we made the decision to trade in our sedan for a station wagon. This has certainly provided us with a little relief when packing for our many trips.