Traveling With a Baby Is Hard, But These 12 Things Make It Less Painful

Our editors pick the best toys, strollers, and more to survive your next trip

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Amazon / Skiphop / Cocoon

There’s no greater distance between two points than a trip you take with a baby. Even the most cheerful little one can get (understandably) grumpy when they’re confined to a car or plane seat—and if the baby isn’t happy, no one is happy. The reverse is true, too, though: A happy kid means a happy parent. 

These editor picks for plane and car travel with a baby will help keep them fed, rested, comfortable, and entertained on short or long journeys, which means you can relax a little too.

For Keeping Baby Entertained

Babies love to play, and these colorful, lightweight toys for infants allow for hours (OK, at least minutes!) of fun.

Lamaze Captain Calamari

Lamaze Captain Calamari

Amazon

It's a pirate … octopus? Sure, why not. All I know is that, when I bring it out, my baby is riveted. Is it the mirror on the bottom? The ball with the colorful little balls inside that rattle when he shakes it? The crinkly bits? Who knows, and frankly, who cares? He loves it, which means I love it, and I'll take the 20 minutes of peace it gives me. Price at time of publication: $12.  — Cecily McAndrews

Bright Starts Lots of Links Rings

Bright Starts Lots of Links Rings

Amazon

This one is an absolute MUST. I buy it for every baby shower I go to. It was a lifesaver on planes with all of my three kids. They can be linked together, chewed on, used as bracelets, stacked, attached to strollers and baby carriers. So many uses for one small, very affordable toy. Price at time of publication: $6. —  Hildara Araya

For Keeping Baby Comfortable

Some simple, inexpensive items will help keep your little one dry and happy, even under unusual circumstances.

Skip Hop Pronto Signature Changing Station

Skip Hop Pronto Signature Changing Station

Skiphop

I loved being able to leave the diaper bag at home and instead have this mini changing station at the ready for squeezing into the miniscule airplane bathrooms. The designs make me happy, too, which is surprising for an accessory you use when wiping butts. Price at time of publication: $21.  — Sabrina Rojas Weiss

MAM Original Baby Pacifier

MAM Original Baby Pacifier

Amazon

Take off and landing can be the most stressful part of flying with a baby—they can be inconsolable when their ears pop. To help with this, a lot of the time you'll be told to give them a bottle (or plan to nurse) during take off and landing. But if your baby isn't hungry, what then? With a baby it's probably a good rule of thumb to always have a couple of extra pacifiers on you at all times, and flying is certainly no exception. That sucking reflex will keep them from experiencing a ton of pain due to the change in pressure. Price at time of publication: $10. — Ashleigh Morley

For Keeping Baby Fed

Nothing is worse than a hangry baby. These essentials will keep them fed on the go.

We Are Amma Cocoon Cover

We Are Amma Cocoon Cover

We Are Amma

I loved traveling with this cover. Not only is it beautiful and doubles as a scarf or poncho you can wear anytime, but it is lightweight, comfortable, and so easy to use. It was so easy to put on, and my baby loved being under it while nursing or just cuddling while tired. I used it on the plane, in the car, and in restaurants. The baby can look out, but no one can see through it. It is easy to poke your head through the top to look at your baby which my son just loved. Price at time of publication: $89. — Holly Klamer

Skip Hop Bottle Bag

Skip Hop Bottle Bag

Amazon

This is such a simple and yet vital accessory when traveling with a baby. The top carrying handle is a clip that makes it easy to attach to a stroller, backpack, or even a belt buckle. It fits two bottles, has a mesh pocket inside for an ice pack, and stands up on its own. This little bag was an MVP when we were flying, traveling to the beach, or just going to the park on a playdate. Price at time of publication: $19. — AM

Hiccapop OmniBoost Travel Booster Seat

Hiccapop OmniBoost Travel Booster Seat

Amazon

This seat was a life saver for making mealtimes easy while traveling. We set it up at my in-law's house and loved that it was easy to wash and wipe down. It folds up in an easy-to-carry case, making it ideal for travel. Price at time of publication: $33. — HK

For a Baby on the Move

Whether you’re racing to catch a flight or taking a pit stop on the road, here are some safe and effective ways to take your little one along for the ride.

Baby Bjorn Carrier One

Baby Bjorn Carrier One

Amazon

When you're traveling as a parent, one of the most important things I found was to have your hands free. And for me, that meant baby wearing. This carrier from Baby Bjorn is easy to use (so important!) and comfortable to wear (a close second, in terms of importance). You won't be able to wear your baby in a carrier during take off and landing on most airlines, but it's still a must-have—especially for air travel. Price at time of publication: $209.  — AM

Contours Bitsy Elite Stroller

Contours Bitsy Elite Stroller

Amazon

The eternal problem of a parent on the go: When you need a stroller, you really need it, but when you don’t need one, it can be so bulky and annoying to move around. That’s why I love this high-quality umbrella stroller. It’s lightweight, can be folded with one hand, and fits into the overhead compartment for most airlines. It also reclines, for naps on the go, and is made of a nice, comfortable, breathable fabric. Price at time of publication: $200. — CM

Uppababy Vista Stroller Travel Bag

Uppababy Vista Stroller Travel Bag

UPPA baby

“If you're traveling with a stroller, check to see if the brand makes a stroller bag. We had an Uppababy and this bag made flying with the stroller possible and, frankly, easier. Airlines aren't known for being gentle with cargo, and Uppababy's travel bag essentially acts as an insurance policy for your stroller: When you register your bag on its site, the company will help you with repairs or replacement should anything happen to the stroller when you use the bag. We never once had an issue with our stroller getting damaged with this bag, and it rolls up pretty small, so stowing it in the stroller basket was a cinch. It made traveling with such a big stroller actually feasible! Price at time of publication: $200. — AM

For a Well-Rested Baby

If you have a long journey, it’s crucial to have a comfortable, safe place for your baby to snooze. Here are some essentials.

Hatch Rest Mini White Noise Smart Sound Machine

Hatch Rest Mini White Noise Smart Sound Machine

Amazon

When you’re staying in a hotel or at someone’s house, you never know what kind of noise level you’ll have at nighttime or during naps. We have a full-sized Hatch at home, and this one recreates the rain noise that he loves so much, and allows him (and, in turn, me) to sleep soundly, no matter what is going on outside. Price at time of publication: $40. — CM

Uppababy Remi Portable Playard With Bassinet Attachment

Uppababy Remi Portable Playard With Bassinet Attachment

buybuybaby

By the time you get to your destination, everybody is usually exhausted, and the last thing you want to do is fight with a portable crib. I’ve wrestled with some pack-and-plays in my time, and this is by far the easiest one I’ve ever had to wrangle. It assembles in less than a minute. I also like that it comes with a bag with handles on the side and on the top. All the components fit neatly together, and it stands on its end, so it doesn’t fall over when you’re loading or unloading it from the car. It’s a bit pricey, but a good purchase. Price at time of publication: $350. — CM