- Baby wrap – A baby wrap is a long piece of material you wrap around your body in different ways so that it will hold your baby close to your body. Wraps are popular because they are lightweight and comfortable, provide a “hands-free” way of carrying your baby, and provide a closeness with your little one.
- Baby strap – A baby strap, or carrier, looks a lot like a backpack worn on the front or back of your body and made to fit a baby. Like wraps, carriers also provide a closeness with your baby, and give you the freedom of being “hands free”, but the quality of a carrier is imperative as some have been known to cause neck and back pain.
- Stroller– A stroller (for our purposes) is a wheeled device that you place your baby into, secure with a safety strap and then have the ability to push around. There are many types of strollers with different features and functionalities (also called a pram).
The #1 most asked question from mothers that want to travel with their baby is…
“What is the best way to tote along baby during your travels?“
“What about the stroller? Should we check it at the counter, gate check it or leave it behind?“
What are the options?
I am a safety first kinda gal, especially when it comes to baby Lucy. On our first trip abroad I wasn’t sure how the stroller (which breaks down into a car seat as well) would work. Our first trip was for a destination wedding to the beautiful island of Curacao. Kyle was set on renting a car, something I was a little weary of, but in the end turned out to be a wonderful thing. I knew I would be bringing our car seat for the car but I didn’t know what to expect as far as walking with a stroller. I wondered if we would be walking on sidewalks or mainly just beaches. Obviously a beach is not the place for a stroller, but the airports we would be in during travel days is definitely a great place to have the stroller.
We packed everything except the kitchen sink for this trip and since it was our first travel abroad as new parents, we just did not have the art of packing down (another post on that later).
As mentioned in previous posts, we always knew we wanted to travel with our baby so when shopping for a car seat and stroller we kept this top of mind. I found the J.J. Cole Broadway Stroller with Car Seat Combo and after searching for the best deals, coupons and bargain sites I found a Black Friday deal that basically got the car seat portion for free! I was so excited.
Once the set arrived it was a base, a car seat, a stroller with bassinet and capability of popping the car seat in. Check out it’s awesome functionalities here.
In Curacao we would need to bring the car seat, the stroller and the base for the car seat. (Or so we thought.) We arrived at the airport and checked a couple of bags and had to check the base portion of the car seat. We were able to keep baby in the actual car seat attached to the stroller and gate check those two portions. Since we were checking other baggage, checking the base didn’t seem to be that much of a pain except that we would have to check it and re-claim it in a different areas of Baggage Claim (oversized luggage, though it was about the size of a textbook and weighs less than a pound).
When we arrived in Curacao it was great having the car seat and stroller but it still seemed like too much stuff! We would repeat this similar process a few more times on trips to Philadelphia, Costa Rica, and Washington, DC. On all of these trips we were able to carry on our bags, but we still had to check or tote along that pesky car seat base. It was less than ideal. While we were in Washington DC, strolling the streets in Georgetown we decided we wanted to take an Uber ride but we didn’t have the base with us. I pulled out the owners manual (that is conveniently attached to the car seat) and realized that we could just strap this car seat into a car without the base. It was a disappointing epiphany that we never needed the base in the first place.
It turns out that reading the owner’s manual was a true #blessing. In future I will make sure to have the option to not use the base for any new car seats. We would later come to perfect the art of strapping the car seat into any vehicle in under 30 seconds.
When we are not strolling, ‘baby wearing’ is another handy dandy way to tow babe along. I loved using a baby wrap during our visits to busier places. In bustling cities, busy museums and for quick trips it was the easiest for everyone involved. Kyle helped out by wrapping Lucy too and wearing her, though he would have preferred something a bit more masculine. We would find something for him before our next trip to Europe.
I had always loved baby wearing it was just unfortunate that I got so good at it the older that Lucy got. I did some researching and even became enamored with a certain brand, but I was worried that if I splurged on another amazing baby wrap for our Europe trip that 9 month old Lucy might not even let me wear her at that age.
I saved my pennies and used the wraps I already owned (they are awesome wraps!) for our European holiday. As it turned out, Lucy absolutely loved touring Europe as a burrito, nice and snug! She preferred the comfortability of a wrap versus a stroller. Also, being able to really see where we were going and what we were doing as I wore her around Barcelona and Milan helped her mood immensely. We still took the stroller and car seat (gate checked) on this trip and used it half of the time too when it was appropriate. It was great having the car seat for the hour and half car ride from Milan’s airport to city centre.
Fast forward to a trip to Asia where we would be visiting Macau, Hong Kong, Thailand and Shanghai. We packed up stroller, car seat, baby wrap and a baby carrier (backpack style) that we found for Kyle. The stroller and car seat are great for airports and expansive exploration, but I quickly learned that in busy, crowded cities where sidewalks are crammed, this convertible stroller was a lot bigger than I realized and it made little sense. In places such as the crowded streets of Bangkok or during times when we would take trains or subways, toting a stroller seemed like carrying an Elephant down 67 flights of stairs. It was during these times that I would clench my teeth and think “why am I not baby wearing right now?”
The best way of carrying your little one while exploring new places will always be a personal one. Evaluate what you will be doing, be versatile and less is ALWAYS more. Look for space saving solutions like folding and convertible strollers, base free car seats and if you haven’t yet, try out baby wearing it’s even great for everyday tasks!
(Disclosure: Some links used may pay a commission, I will never link something that I wouldn’t use myself. If you choose to support the blog, please use our links, but if not that’s okay too – thanks for reading Another Baby Maybe.)