Our trip to Tokyo was fantastic. With that said, we did learn a lot in terms of what to pack for future international trips. Domestic travel with a baby is easier (traveling with a baby is never EASY) because you can almost always stop by a local Target at your destination to pick up any items you didn’t pack and/or forgot to pack. Unless you are traveling to see family and/or friends (which usually makes it easier to access baby items as things will probably be ready for you upon your arrival), international travel (especially if your destination is one where you don’t speak the language) can be tough on finding the right baby supplies for your little one. Here are my must-haves for international travel:
(1) Cell Phone Case with an Attached Clip–A cell phone case with an attached clip may not seem very useful when you’re at home but when traveling with a baby, anything that can facilitate being hands-free is a winner. Since I usually don’t wear outfits with pockets, my case allowed me to attach the phone onto the stroller (and that’s how I carried my phone during the entire trip). Having the clip also made my phone very accessible for taking photos and pulling up any necessary apps (like currency converter, Google Maps, etc.).
(2) Travel Stroller–Unless I am mistaken, the only travel stroller on the market that is able to be compacted into a carry-on small enough to fit into plane overhead compartments is the Babyzen YOYO Travel Stroller. This was a LIFESAVER. Light enough to be carried with one hand and yet sturdy enough to hold a child of up to 50 pounds. Many people would argue that it’s easier to check a stroller with your other large pieces of luggage rather than lug it around as a carry-on. I would agree with that if you have a non-stop flight, are traveling extremely light, and are unafraid of your luggage getting lost during transit. Since I prefer to have one layover per flight (easier to grab a bite to eat, use the restrooms, stretch your legs, etc.) and have had my luggage lost a couple times during previous trips, I was unwilling to risk any mishaps by checking our stroller. Plus, it felt great to be able to put Max in it right way after holding him during our entire flight (each way).
(3) Organized Diaper Bag–I’ve tried several diaper bags and, by far, the Skip Hop “Chelsea” Diaper Bag is the best for traveling. With the usual baby stuff compartments, this bag also has two zippered compartments (one small and one large–perfect for things like your wallet, house keys, passport, flight itinerary, etc.). An added bonus: handles AND a crossbody strap. Need I say more?
(4) Baby Toiletries–In general, diapers and baby powder/cream are easily accessible in most places (especially if you’re traveling to another developed country) via full service drugstores (ones that have pharmacies). So, packing just enough of these items (plus a few extras) for the flight should be enough until you reach your destination. However, for things like baby shampoo, baby soap and/or body wash, it’s best to pack more than you’ll need for the entire trip. This will minimize your baby having any allergic reactions to other cleansing products. Plus, using (and smelling) familiar products will likely be a comfort to him/her in an unfamiliar environment.
(5) Double Amount of Formula and/or Baby Food–If you’re breastfeeding, you can cross this off your list. I initially wanted to pack just enough baby food for our flight but after doing some research on Japanese brand formulas and packaged baby food, I discovered that a couple brands had recalls due to radiation contamination. That was enough for us to pack enough formula and baby food for the entire trip. Packing your own ensures that your little one will avoid any food allergies. For travel, I’m a big fan of packaged food brands like Plum Organics and Ella’s Kitchen (as they’re disposable, easy to feed, and don’t spoil as easily as homemade food).
(6) Pacifiers–Max does not use pacifiers on a regular basis because I’m afraid they’ll make his teeth come in crooked. However, pacifiers work wonders on a plane! They serve two purposes: help to calm your baby and lessen the pain in his/her ears during flight. Enough said.
(7) Washable Toys–Bring several toys that are easy to pack and easily wiped and/or rinsed clean. This one’s self-explanatory.
(8) Baby Wipes–You can never have enough baby wipes. Ever.
(9) Anti-bacterial Surface Wipes–These wipes come in handy for wiping down public changing tables, toilet seats, airplane seats/headrests/tray tables, etc. You get the idea.
(10) Extra Change of Clothes–Self-explanatory
(11) Inflatable Baby Tub—This was also a lifesaver during our trip. In addition, be sure to pack a plastic cup to use as a rinsing cup.
(12) Tissues–What would you do without them?
And last, but certainly not least, a kid-friendly hotel. What does that mean? That means that your hotel must, at bare minimum, be able to provide a safe and clean crib.