In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

The 65 Best Baby Travel Essentials of 2023

Whether you're traveling by plane, train, or automobile, we've gathered the best award-winning travel gear for babies and toddlers
The 65 Best Baby Travel Essentials of 2023
Credit: 123rf
By Molly Bradac and BabyGearLab Review Team
Monday January 23, 2023

Ready to plan a family trip? Our list of favorite baby travel gear spotlights only the best and most essential products for a successful journey. Traveling with your baby (or multiple children) can feel intimidating. If you have limited luggage or cargo space, it's tough to know what baby travel gear is travel-worthy and capable of withstanding the adventures ahead and what you might truly need.

We can ease your troubles with our travel and gear expertise.

When it comes to baby gear, we have lofty standards and equally high testing protocols. Nobody tests baby gear as extensively as BabyGearLab. Over the years, we've tested hundreds, if not thousands, of child-related products, and for each review, we've selected, purchased, and hands-on tested each product in the competition. Our testing covers all aspects of a product, allowing us to compare the contenders head-to-head. You can feel confident that only the finest high-quality products will make this list of the best baby travel gear. We regularly update this list if new and compelling gear outshines a top contender.

Our favorite baby travel gear list includes practical categories to help make your trip a success, including the most notable or budget-friendly products. There is something for every travel enthusiast in our lineup.

Editor's Note: We updated this article on January 23, 2023, to incorporate our latest picks for Breast Pumps.


baby travel
Credit: 123rf

Transporting Your Baby


Factors like your destination, adventure goals, the number of children you're hauling, and budget will influence the stroller or baby carrier you need.

Baby Carrier


A top-ranked baby carrier keeps your little one close as you navigate the hustle and bustle of air travel, public transportation, or locations where strollers can't go. This baby travel gear keeps you virtually hands-free so you can hold boarding passes, reach for snacks, or grab a pacifier. Plus, many parents find little ones are quieter and more content in a baby carrier.

Lifetime Carrier for Infants to Toddlers

Tula Free-to-Grow

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Baby Backpack Carrier


The best baby backpack carrier can work well for treks or stroller-free trips for older babies and toddlers. It keeps your child contained and often decreases meltdowns and tantrums. Many museums and other public spaces won't allow strollers, but a backpack is usually allowed.

Best Overall Baby Backpack

Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Elite

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Best Bang for the Buck

Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL

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Umbrella Strollers


If your baby's travel gear requires wheels, pack a stroller. Many parents prefer a top-ranked umbrella stroller for travel, given their lightweight and compact design. Other stroller types might be a better fit, and we've tested those too.

Best Overall Umbrella Stroller

BabyZen Yoyo2

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Best Budget-friendly Umbrella

Zoe Traveler

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Also an Excellent Value

UPPAbaby G-Lite

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Best Overall Double Umbrella Stroller

Zoe Twin+

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High-end Stylish Double

Mountain Buggy Nano Duo

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baby travel
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Feeding On-the-Go


Bring the baby travel gear you need to make feeding time during vacation more convenient and manageable. While it might feel like you're lugging around a lot, we think you'll be glad you brought the extras.

Kids Lunch Boxes


Grab one of the best lunch boxes for kids to carry snacks in one place.

Best Budget-Friendly Option

Rubbermaid LunchBlox

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Baby Bib


Protect clothing and make mealtime cleanup a breeze with a travel-friendly baby bib. A silicone bib is easy to clean, dry, and stow after mealtime.

Best for Mealtime

Happy Healthy Parent Silicone Bib

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Baby Spoon


Don't rely on fast food vendors to offer smaller spoons. Stash some of the best baby spoons in your diaper bag for baby's mealtime.

Budget-Friendly Option

Munchkin Lift Infant Spoons

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Snack Catcher


Keep little ones busy and stave off hunger and low blood sugar-related meltdowns with a snack catcher. A helpful snack catcher encourages independence and keeps hands and mouths busy.

Best On a Budget

Boon SNUG

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Sippy Cups


Sippy cups allow for independent drinking without worrying about spills and loss of liquids. Little ones like to help themselves, and a water-filled sippy cup can help prevent dehydration.

Best Overall Sippy Cup

Pura Kiki Vacuum Insulated Toddler with Sleeve

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Best Trainer Cup

Munchkin Miracle 360 Stainless

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Portable High Chair


A portable high chair or booster seat may not be a travel necessity, but they could be helpful if you are staying in one location for some time. A designated place for your child to eat can make a new place feel more like home, and they can enjoy mealtime with other family and friends.

Best Light and Compact Hook-on

Mountain Buggy Pod

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Overall Best Table Booster Seat

Prince Lionheart SQUISH

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baby travel - the plush animal at the end of the wubbanub helps stabilize the...
The plush animal at the end of the WubbaNub helps stabilize the pacifier, and it makes it easier for children to pick-up.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Soothing Must-Haves


Packing gear that entertains or soothes your child is essential. If you're flying, you should plan on bottle-feeding, nursing, or giving your baby a pacifier (if they take one) to help ease ear pain caused by altitude changes while flying. Sucking and swallowing motions are the best way to relieve altitude-related pressure changes in the inner ear.

Pacifier


Sucking on a pacifier is a great way to relieve pressure in little ears during air travel, especially for take-off and landing.

Overall Best Pacifier

Chicco PhysioForma Soft Pacifier

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Best Budget-Friendly Option

Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier

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Baby Bottle


Alternatively, a favorite baby bottle (if your baby knows how to) can help babies relax and prevent ear pain when taking off in an airplane or traveling swiftly from one altitude to another.

Best Overall Baby Bottle

Comotomo

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Nursing Clothing


Travel is a great time to capitalize on breastfeeding your baby, especially during altitude changes or if the situation might be upsetting, new, or stressful. Nursing can relieve ear pain and calm your baby when you need it most, and a nursing bra can make the task easier to achieve with some modesty when paired with a nursing top with openings for feeding.

Best Overall Nursing Bra

Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra

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Most Stylish Nursing Bra

Ingrid and Isabel Seamless

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Best Overall Nursing Top

BLANQI Everyday Pull-Down Support Tank

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Best Short Sleeve Nursing Top

BOOB Classic Short Sleeve

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baby travel
Credit: 123rf

Fun in the Sun


If you're hitting the pool, lake, beach, or splash pad while vacationing, be prepared with some essentials that keep things safe and the good times rolling.

Sunscreen for Kids and Babies


Protect your child from the sun's powerful rays with one of our favorite sunscreens. We've tested various high-quality sunscreens to help you find the best option for your little one. Any outdoor time should include sun protection, even in the winter.

Overall Best for Babies & Kids

Babo Botanicals Baby Skin

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Swim Goggles


A great pair of swim goggles can make time in the water more fun. Whether you're in the pool, lake, or ocean, swim goggles can improve visibility and comfort in the water for children.

Best Overall Goggles

Speedo Hydrospex

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Kids Lifejackets


If you're planning time on the water with boating, kayaking, or paddle boarding, a kids' life jacket is a must-have.

Best All-Around Vest

Hardcore Life Vest

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baby travel
Credit: 123rf

Road-Trip Essentials


Ready to hit the road? Ensure your child has a safe and cozy seat from our lineup of favorite car seats appropriate for their size and age.

Convertible Car Seat


For many kinds of travel, a top-ranked convertible car seat is a safety must. We recommend finding a safe seat that is lightweight and easier to carry while traveling.

Best Budget-friendly Convertible Car Seat

Britax Emblem

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Booster Seat


A booster seat is a must for little ones who still need a safety seat. You don't want to lug a heavy or large seat while on travel. Our pick is small, lightweight, and easy to carry.

Best for Travel and Carpool

BubbleBum

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baby travel
Credit: 123rf

Baby Toiletries


Like adults, you'll need to pack some toiletries for your child. We consider some health-related products essential.

Baby Shampoo


Baby shampoo can typically double as a body wash, which limits what you need to take on travel. Most adult or hotel-supplied soaps are not suitable for little ones, so don't forget to toss a favorite baby shampoo in with toiletries.

Best Bang for the Buck

Honest Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo and Wash

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Baby Lotion


Baby lotion is essential for soft and comfortable skin, especially if your travel plans include a dry climate or water fun with salt or chlorine.

Best Bang for the Buck

Baby Dove Lotion

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Baby Nail Clippers


You might think you can leave your baby nail clippers at home, but we recommend packing them. Not only do they take up little space, but you never know when a hangnail might need attention. Better to have them and not need them than the other way around.

Best Scissor Style Clipper

Easy Grip Nail Scissors

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Kid's Bandages


Boo-boos happen, even on vacation. We recommend keeping some bandages in your carry-on, wallet, or other easy-to-access location for accidents away from home.

Best Budget-Friendly Pack

Band-Aid Bandages Family Pack

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Thermometer


Germs are everywhere; the further you go from your bubble, the higher the likelihood of little ones coming down with signs of illness. Having an accurate thermometer on hand can help determine if your child needs medical attention.

Best Bang for the Thermometer Buck

Digital Forehead and Ear Thermometer

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Dental Care


Don't let dental care slide on holiday. Little ones need to brush regularly, even when away from home. Don't forget your favorite baby toothbrush and a top-ranked kids' toothpaste.

Budget-Friendly Option

Jordan Step 0-2 Years Toothbrush

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No Compromise Budget Choice

Tom's of Maine Children's Toothpaste

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baby travel - the spectra 1 is fairly lightweight and easy to carry with a smaller...
The Spectra 1 is fairly lightweight and easy to carry with a smaller package than some of the similar competition.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Nursing On-the-Go


If you're planning on pumping your breastmilk while traveling, you'll want to equip yourself with the right gear. Here are some pumping products, including some convenient products, that make the process more manageable.

Breast Pump Bag


Carrying a breast pump typically includes a plethora of accessories. One of the best breast pump bags can help keep it all together, offering functionality and extra storage.

Best Overall Breast Pump Bag

Ju-Ju-Be Be Supplied

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Our Favorite for Organization

Sarah Wells Abby

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Breast Pump


Depending on your travel goals or plans, you might need a full electric pump to meet your needs, but you could potentially get away with a more transportable handheld pump. Check out our favorite breast pumps for recommendations before making a decision.

Best Overall Electric Pump

Spectra S1 Plus

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Best Compact Expressing Buddy

Baby Buddha

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Bottle Drying Rack


If you bottle-feed or need to while traveling, a travel-friendly bottle drying rack can help keep things clean away from home.

Our Favorite Travel Option

OXO Tot On-the-Go

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Diapering Essentials


Traveling and diapering doesn't have to be challenging. You can carry all your supplies in one place, making it a smooth and efficient operation.

Disposable Diapers


On-the-go diapering is often easier with disposable products, even if you are a die-hard cloth diaper lover. It could be challenging (and stinky) to carry dirty diapers in a bag until you find a way to launder them.

Best Overall Disposable Diaper

Seventh Generation Sensitive Protection

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Baby Wipes


Disposable baby wipes are good for travel and incredibly messy cleanups. Being able to throw yucky things away instead of keeping them for laundering later is a big win away from home.

Tight Budget Water Wipe

Mama Bear 99% Water Baby Wipes

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Diaper Cream


Diaper rash can result from changes in diet and habits, which are common on travel. Don't be caught without a soothing diaper cream for tiny tushies in distress.

Best for a Tight Budget

A+D Zinc Oxide Cream

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Diaper Bag


Go for a top-ranked diaper bag that's easy to carry and holds enough items for your travel needs. Also, don't forget a changing mat to make diaper changes on-the-fly easier.

Best Overall Diaper Bag

Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back

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Favorite Versatile Bag

Ju-Ju-Be B.F.F.

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baby travel
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Gear for Sleeping


Although you can't bring your at-home nursery on the road, you can create a sleep-inducing atmosphere with some handy and portable gear. Keeping your little one on a regular sleep schedule in a calming environment is key to successful travel with little ones.

Travel Cribs


Many parents consider one of the best travel cribs a necessity if their little one hasn't transitioned to a bed. If your baby still sleeps in a crib, you'll find a travel crib to be a big benefit while away from home. It provides a safe and comfortable place for little ones to get some shut-eye. Trying them out at home can help familiarize your child with the new sleeping digs before you go.

Best Overall Travel Crib

BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light

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Cool Side Open Crib

Lotus Travel Crib

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Best Portable Crib on a Budget

Baby Joy Travel Crib 2-1 Playpen

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Swaddles and Sleep Sacks


Top-ranked baby swaddles and sleep sacks offer comfort to little ones away from home. Familiar sleep garments and consistent coverage can help toddlers sleep soundly.

Best Bang for the Buck Organic Option

Burt's Bees Baby Beekeeper

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Night Light


New places can be scary for little ones, and a night light can offer comfort by illuminating the dark, providing a feeling of safety in a strange room or sleep area.

Best Overall Night Light

Hatch Baby Rest Night Light

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Sound Monitor


A simple and cost-effective top-ranking sound monitor can be useful while staying in new spaces where you might not be by your baby's side every moment. A dedicated unit is easy to set up and use in any location with electricity.

Best on a Tight Budget

VTech DM111

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Sound Machine


If you plan to travel to hotels or with family, nap times might be loud. One of the best sound machines can provide masking of ambient noises and a calming environment conducive to sleep.

Favorite Portable Option

VTech Myla The Monkey

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baby travel
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Outdoor Travel


If you're an adventurous parent who wants to explore the great outdoors with your child, we've got the inside scoop on some must-have gear. Although flying hinders what you can pack, this list is best for road warriors with a car, trailer, or RV space to spare.

Kid's Bike Helmet


Keep heads and brains safe with our favorite kids' bike helmets ready for every adventure, from a passenger in the bike trailer to a pedal bike and beyond. Don't skimp on safety just because you're away from home.

Best Overall Kid's Helmet

Schwinn Thrasher

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Bug Spray


Keep the bugs at bay with a top-ranked bug spray. While young babies should be protected with clothing and netting (not chemicals), older babies and children should use a suitable repellent to help avoid bites, discomfort, and insect-borne illnesses.

Best Overall Bug Spray for Kids

Sawyer Insect Repellent

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Kid's Fishing Pole


Fishing can be a fun and bonding experience for family and friends. Finding an easy-to-use child-sized fishing pole can help bring joy to the water for pint-sized fishing.

Best Overall Kids' Fishing Pole

Zebco Roam

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Kid's Bike Seat


Riding your bike with a child on board can give your little one a new vantage point on fun and the environment. Be it a city sidewalk or park, a bike seat can be a fun form of sightseeing for children.

Best for Travel

UrRider

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baby travel
Credit: 123rf

Keep'em Entertained


Wherever you roam, avoid boredom by packing some entertainment. And, if you read books before bed at home or use bath toys, continue the routine on vacation. Children thrive on routine.

Toddler Books


Books can be heavy and perhaps not the best travel partners for planes, but entertaining toddler books can be a great resource for road trips and stays at Grandma's house.

Our Favorite Rhyming Book

The Pout-Pout Fish

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Children's Books


Older children may be more interested in books for older children. Plus, reading can help make time pass while traveling.

Overall Best Book

Room on the Broom

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Teething Toy


Babies cutting teeth will find relief and entertainment with the best teething toys. You don't need a baby in pain from erupting teeth to have a meltdown in public if a teething toy can help ease their discomfort.

Overall Best Teether

Comotomo Silicone Teether

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Bath Toys


Bathing in an unfamiliar bathtub can be more fun and engaging with the addition of fun bath toys from home. Little ones can stress when exposed to new places; bringing part of your home with you can help.

Best Overall Bath Toy

Munchkin Fishin' Bath Toy

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baby travel
Credit: 123rf

Older Kids on Travel


Traveling with older kids takes different gear for safety, hydration, and entertainment. Consider some of our favorite products if your child is old enough to monitor their supplies.

Kid's Headphones


A great pair of kids' headphones lets little ones watch shows and play games or listen to music without disturbing those around them. If you have multiple kids, headphones can stop the fighting between siblings listening to two different things. Headphones with Bluetooth capabilities are a plus, so you don't have to deal with cord-related snags, tangles, and drops.

Best Overall Kids' Headphones

Puro Sound Labs

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Kid's Backpack


Many kids love independence and want to carry their own gear. Check out some of our favorite backpacks for kids. Plus, it can help ease the burden of carrying too much stuff in an airport or train station for you.

Best Bang for the Buck

Everest Basic Backpack

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Kid's Water Bottle


Nothing leads to a meltdown or tantrum like hunger or dehydration. Little ones need regular snacks and water to keep in top form. We recommend providing a kid-friendly water bottle, so they can stay hydrated. You might want to avoid frequent restroom breaks, but, trust us, thirsty kiddos are far more of a travel hindrance than the frequent need to pee.

Budget-Friendly Option

Thermos FUNtainer

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Kid's Mask


The best masks for kids can help prevent your child from contracting all kinds of germs. Indoor public places increase their risk of transmitting all sorts of viruses that could put a damper on your travel fun. A great mask can make all the difference in getting to your destination illness-free, so everyone is ready for fun.

Best Overall N95 Mask

Kimberly-Clark N95 Pouch

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Best KN95 Kids' Mask

HALIDODO KN95 Face Masks

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baby travel
Credit: 123rf

More Information


With some preparation and planning, you'll be ready for vacation mode with our comprehensive list of baby travel gear. Of course, everyone's destination and length of travel vary, but we included items, big and small, so it's a one-stop shop for all that serves your travel needs and budget. Don't see the gear you are seeking? We've tested lots! From several car seat options to diapering products and more, check out our reviews.

Molly Bradac and BabyGearLab Review Team


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Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.

BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.

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