Before having kids, travel was one of my biggest passions. My wife and I knew that when we started a family, we wanted to continue to prioritize these experiences as much as possible. Since our eight-month-old daughter was born, we’ve taken a handful of domestic trips to visit friends and family, but we recently completed our first international trip.

We visited Portugal for eight days, staying for four days at a resort along the southern coast and four days in Lisbon. When booking our lodging, we prioritized space. We knew we’d have to work around her schedule for naps and bedtime, and my wife and I wanted to be able to still relax, talk, watch TV, and generally just have the lights on while she was sleeping.

On the coast, we found a relatively inexpensive suite, and in Lisbon we stayed at an Airbnb with multiple bedrooms. At both locations we had separate sleeping and living spaces, and a full kitchen with a standard fridge. (We didn’t really use the kitchen, but needed the fridge to store breast milk safely.)

My Top Three Essentials for Flying with Baby

On the flight, our three essential items were: 1) the Nuna Pipa car seat, 2) Baby distraction items (in our case, a few small toys and her favorite crackers) and 3) disinfectant wipes.

We have yet to take a flight without purchasing a seat for our baby. It’s an added expense, but is crucial to our in-flight comfort. She is more comfortable in her own space, and she sleeps better when we can tuck her into her car seat and pull the shade over her. We are more comfortable too!

We didn’t bring many toys on the trip, just a few of her small favorites to distract and entertain her when she was fussy. Same goes for the crackers—they were mostly a distraction strategy.

Disinfectant wipes were probably a must-have for parents even before COVID, but they have become even more important post-pandemic. The first thing we do before settling into our seats is thoroughly disinfect every surface we or the baby might touch. Don’t forget to disinfect seatbelts! That was one of the things she played with the most.

My Top Three Baby Carrying Products

Once we arrived at our destinations, we used the Babyzen Yoyo stroller, the Nuna Pipa car seat, and the Ergobaby 360 to transport her around the resort and town. The stroller was key for airports and throughout the resort; the car seat was a must-have for the plane and in rental cars; and the Ergobaby was our method for carrying her all around Lisbon, which is hilly and cobblestone-y.

My Top Three Baby Sleep Products

Both locations also provided a crib, but we opted not to use this option for safety and COVID-related reasons. We traveled with our own portable crib, the Guava Lotus Travel Crib. I love this product so much. We also packed the Hatch Rest Mini sound machine, the Nanit Camera (with the Multi-Stand that’s designed for travel), and nighttime diapers.

Other Baby Travel Items we used Every Day

Outside of travel and sleep, there were a few other essentials we used every day:

  • A small diaper bag with just the diapering essentials. We didn’t want to lug our big diaper backpack everywhere we went. A Kibou would work great here!
  • A formula dispenser container to portion out formula before we went out for the day so we could easily make a bottle on the go.
  • Sunscreen and sunhat
  • Extra pacifiers
  • Prunes to help with constipation
  • Baby meds and toiletries

We packed more items than the above for her, like clothing, diapers and wipes. But by focusing on the essential things we needed in the big categories of travel, baby carrying, and sleep, we were able to be efficient in our packing, and I don’t think there was one item we packed that didn’t get used at all. (We’re just that good) As long as the basics are well-covered in those key categories, you can usually find or purchase an item you need and didn’t pack (or forgot) at your location (particularly if you’re traveling to a destination that’s as baby-friendly as Western Europe).

Do you have any travel product recommendations for parents? Please come join me in the Poppylist Community and share!