Photo of Shelly Rivoli

Shelly Rivoli

Professional Travel Expert

Best Baby Travel Gear & Best Baby Travel Accessories

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There are many products touted as “travel gear” for babies, but few that really go the distance when it’s time to catch a flight. For example, the many so-called travel systems that include an infant car seat bundled with a stroller that folds to the size of a small station wagon (and weighs nearly as much). The best items for air travel with babies truly ease your transitions from curb through check-in, security through boarding, and take-off through landing. Here are the top five.

For the best baby travel gear turn to our experts who cut through the hype. They recommend the best baby travel accessories and travel toys that are lightweight for easy packing during travel adventures around the world.

Best Air Travel Gear for Babies by Shelly Rivoli

The Best You Can Get

  • Combi Flash EX Universal Car Seat Stroller

    Shelly says: Sure, you’ll appreciate the compact tri-fold design as you store the Flash in your trunk or coat closet at home, but its benefits only multiply as you travel. Leave it folded and self-standing at your gate as you board the aircraft, and relax as it takes only minimal space in the trunk of your rental car or taxi—helping to make room for the rest of your family’s baggage. What’s more, the shoulder carrying strap proves invaluable as you carry your infant up stairs or escalators, board a shuttle bus, roll luggage, etc. And at only 11 lbs., you won’t hesitate to sling the Flash over your shoulder whenever you need your hands free for other things. The Flash EX works with most major brands of car seats and includes a safety strap for extra security.

    • Compact tri-fold design
    • Self-standing when folded
    • Weighs only 11 lbs.
    • Storage basket and parent organizer with cup holders
    • Shoulder carrying strap
  • Baby B’Air Infant Flight Vest

    Shelly says: If you’ve ever experienced turbulence when flying without a baby on your lap, you’ll especially appreciate the Baby B’Air when you do fly with your infant as a “lap child” (or when you take her out of her car seat to nurse or soothe her in flight). Just put the vest on your baby and adjust the straps to fit, then slip the back loop onto your airplane seatbelt and buckle up. It’s made of 100% soft, washable cotton, and provides just enough length to comfortably nurse your child and change positions during your flight. For children 6 months (or head circumference 16”) and older, go with the toddler-size Baby B’Air vest. Note: As a safeguard against turbulence, the FAA has approved the use of the Baby B’Air during flight segments only, not during taxiing, takeoff, or landing.

    • Protects lap-held babies against turbulence
    • FAA-approved for use in flight
    • Washable, 100% cotton
    • Fits 0 to 6 months (use toddler size for 6 – 24 mos.)
  • JJ Cole Premaxx New Edition Sling

    Shelly says: Wearing your baby can help keep your hands free for pulling suitcases and gear through the line for check-in, and later for loading the X-ray belt at security. However, since the TSA states that any child carrier or sling must be removed and run through the X-ray, those with buckles and too many twists and turns may not ease your way through the airport at all. This over-the-head sling is not only quick and easy to remove and “reload” by one parent while standing in a moving line (critical for parents traveling solo with a baby), it will also help keep you organized by storing your wallet, keys, cell phone, itinerary, boarding card, and passport in zipped pockets that are easy to access when needed. You can even keep a spare diaper stashed in a pocket for that impromptu diaper change. And if it’s this handy for getting your infant through the airport, imagine how useful it could be while taking the subway or Metro and seeing the local sights.

    • Wear as an infant sling from birth to 5 months
    • Use as a hip hammock once your child can sit - up to 35 lbs.
    • Integrated cushion supports baby’s neck and back
    • Wide, adjustable strap provides a comfortable fit for each parent
    • Toxin-free cotton with adjustable side drawstrings for a snug ride
  • Boon Squirt Baby Food Dispensing Spoon

    Shelly says: Serving up baby food in an airplane can be a frightening proposition for any parent, especially if you’ll be juggling the baby on your lap. This clever spoon keeps things simple and, for the most part, mess-free. I recommend preloading your squirt spoon(s) while you wait to board your flight, after clearing security with your jarred or packaged baby foods. When mealtime arrives, just whip out this “magic feeding wand” and proceed with confidence.

    • Greatly simplifies feeding in transit
    • Cuts down on mess
    • Holds up to 3 oz. of baby food
    • Dishwasher safe
    • Leak proof cover included
  • DEX Grab N Go Bottle Warmer

    Shelly says: Warming bottles at 30,000 feet can be a tricky proposition, and flight attendants aren’t always willing (or able) to help. This gadget will. When it’s time to start warming baby’s bottle, just push a button to activate the warmer. Since the warmer packs must be reboiled between uses to reactivate the crystals (anytime, not necessarily the day of travel), you may want to buy a couple of extra Grab N Go warmer packs to have ready during travel, especially for that all-important bottle you’ll want to give during descent to help your child’s ears adjust. Like all travel bottle warmers, expect the Grab N Go to take a bit longer than electric models you would use at home, especially if you are warming chilled bottles. My advice? Start warming the bottle a little sooner than you expect you’ll need it; the heated gel pack and neoprene sleeve will help keep the bottle warm and ready.

    • Fits all bottles, including Avent
    • No batteries or electrical outlet required
    • Insulated sleeve helps keep bottle warm
    • Non-toxic and reusable

You will be happy with any of these

  • Phil and Ted’s Shake-a-Way Latte Travel Bottle

    Shelly says: The easiest bottle to warm in transit is one that has not been chilled. This travel bottle stores just the right amount of powdered formula and water separately, so you can keep it at room temperature, ready to go in your diaper bag. When it’s feeding time, just twist, shake, and serve at room temperature if needed, or know you’ll need far less time to warm it to baby’s preferred temperature than you would a bottle kept in cold storage. Present your travel bottle at security as you would liquid formula, or wait to add water until after you’ve cleared the screening area.

    • Just twist and shake at feeding time
    • 8 oz. capacity
    • Durable Polycarbonate bottle
    • Silicon nipple with cap and ring included
    • Dishwasher safe
  • JJ Cole Essentials Travel Pods

    Shelly says: With so many things you might need as you travel with your baby, it can be hard to access the things you do need along the way. These travel pods make it easy to stay organized as you pass through the airport and pass time on the airplane—and even as you see the sights at your destination. When it’s time to hit the lavatory for a diaper change, take only the “diaper and wipes pod,” and leave the two-ton diaper bag back at your seat. The pacifier pod will keep binkies (holds two) or small teethers clean and ready should fussiness strike. And the insulated bottle pod makes it easy to store your child’s next bottle, while keeping it cold or warm, not to mention they make it easy to find and present your bottles at security. Best of all, each pod has its own “attach anywhere” handle, allowing you to strap it to the outside of your diaper bag or daypack, your stroller, or even your child’s car seat. Tip: Purchase an extra bottle pod or two individually for storing multiple bottles in transit (one warmed pre-flight in the airport restaurant, one cold for later use).

    • Set includes bottle pod, diapers and wipes pod, and pacifier pod
    • Bottle pod keeps bottles or sippy cups cold or warm
    • Diaper pod includes changing pad and room for a few diapers and wipes
    • Pacifier pod holds two pacifiers
    • Wipe clean on the go or machine wash at home
  • Cloud B Sheep On the Go

    Shelly says: With any luck the hum of jet engines will lull your little one to sleep. But in case the kitchen or lavatories throng with activity opposite your bulkhead bassinet, or your neighbor launches into his Korean War exploits at several decibels, you may be especially glad to have this soothing sound maker ready to tuck beside your child.

    • 4 soothing nature sounds
    • Volume control
    • Two sleep timer options
    • Attaches to car seat and stroller straps
  • Tiny Love Musical Take-Along Arch

    Shelly says: Save this as the big surprise for your babe once you head out on your trip, and she’ll be infinitely intrigued by the dangling animals and sounds they make each time she swats or grabs hold of them. Clip it right to her infant car seat or stroller to keep it within easy reach. During the quiet portion of your flight, or naptimes en route, just shut off the musical feature to ensure a quiet ride.

    • Entertains with music, rattle, and mirror
    • Clips to infant car seat or stroller
    • Music shuts off when desired
  • Lamaze Freddie the Firefly

    Shelly says: Clip Freddie to your child’s car seat or stroller strap, her Baby B’Air flight vest, or even the strap of her overalls to keep him within easy reach. He makes enough sounds to keep your child entertained without overwhelming your neighbors on the airplane and at the gate. The teether toy tucks into its own storage pocket to help it stay clean between uses.

    • Links to car seat, stroller, and Baby B’Air vest straps
    • Makes crinkling, squeaking, and clinking sounds
    • Bright colors, multiple textures, mirrors
    • Teether toy with storage pocket

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Choose the best baby travel gear with the help of our experts who scour the Web for travel accessories that are lightweight and easy to maneuver from curb to boarding. These best baby travel accessories are also built tough for the highest quality baby travel items. And don't forget the best baby travel toys for a smooth trip any time of the year.