As a mom who travels, I’ve created an inventory of what I think is the best baby gear for summer travel! Looking for baby essentials that you really need for summer? Here are some of my favorite travel items for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
This post about baby gear for summer travel was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Traveling with babies and toddlers is always a little stressful, because you don’t know what’s going to happen! But a huge game changer is having the right baby gear, especially in the summer.
At this point, my husband and I are seasoned parents when it comes to traveling with a baby! But it took a lot of trial and error.
You want to keep baby safe and happy. In the summertime, that means having the stuff handy, just in case.
Even for toddlers and preschoolers, summer means a different level of anticipation for traveling! Support their understanding through books or new swimwear that they get to pick out.
The last thing you need is to worry if your baby is overheated or if you brought the right gear. Be prepared with my list of must-have baby items for your summer vacation!
The Best Baby Essentials for Summer Travel
1. Breathable Baby Clothes
The first order of business for keeping baby cool while your family enjoys summer plans is to dress them in light, airy clothing.
For toddlers and preschoolers, Garanimals sets like this one are a no-brainer. Grab a couple of bundles with 2 tanks and 2 shorts, and your set for the summer!
Plus, they come in sizes 12 months through 5T. And they have options that work for both boys and girls. Check rates here.
2. Baby Carrier with Breathable Fabric
I cannot stress how vital bringing a baby carrier with us has been during our summer travels. Most hold up to 35 or 40 pounds and allow you to go hands-free while you’re exploring.
When we took a cruise to Greece with our toddler in August, it was so much easier to have him in the carrier on excursions!
3. Portable Travel Crib or Bassinet
If you’re going to add one travel crib to your baby registry, make it the Nuna SENA® Aire Playard & Travel Crib and you and baby will both sleep soundly!
This top-of-the-line foldable crib is GreenGuard Gold certified and features mesh sides for ultimate airflow. And the mattress can be raised for newborns and or lowered as your child grows. Check rates here.
Looking for something a bit more budget-friendly and compact for infants? The Dream On Me Niche On the Go Portable Travel Pod is perfect for babies up to 15 pounds.
It’s great for summertime with its mesh sides and removable mesh canopy. Plus, it folds down flat into an easy-to-carry backpack! Check rates here.
4. UV-Protective Swimwear
Proper swimwear is one of the top baby gear items for summer travel! That’s because, until baby is 6 months old, they can’t wear sunscreen.
So, shielding them from the sun is especially important. The easiest way to do this is by going with a one-piece, long-sleeve rashguard swimsuit with UPF 50+.
5. Pop-Up Beach Tent
If you’re going to be on the beach with kids this summer, a UV-protected beach tent is a must-have. I love this pop-up tent because it includes ventilation on every side, so it stays cool inside.
It comes in a zipper bag and includes sand pockets that you can fill for better stabilization if it’s windy. And the back unzips completely for ultimate airflow.
Now baby can take a nap while you watch the rest of the kids play! Check rates here.
6. Collapsible Wagon
For adventures near home, we rely heavily on our collapsible wagon. It’s very sturdy and can haul kids, beach gear, diaper bags, and more.
It’s essential for days at the beach, BBQs in the park, and special events. I love that it folds up with one hand and I can easily toss it in the trunk after a day of adventures.
While you can’t use it for infants, it can double as a stroller for older kids. And we’ve learned that it’s a lot easier to trek across the sand than a stroller! Check rates here.
7. Books and Travel Toys
One of my baby essentials for travel is small toys and books that I can through into a diaper bag or carry-on.
I always bring a few more toys than I expect to need just in case we lose one during our travels.
We let the kids play with toys at the airport, on the airplane, while waiting for our rental cars, and for when we are at the hotel.
For babies, I recommend something like the Fat Brain Dimpl. I always loved toys like this a great for travel because they lay flat in a suitcase and can entertain both my baby and toddler! Check rates here.
8. Stroller Fan
A super helpful baby gear item during the warmer months is a stroller fan, and this one is excellent! Different than the traditional clip-on fan, it works in a variety of configurations.
This means you can move baby between the car seat, the stroller, the beach tent, and the crib and still use it.
The soft, flexible tripod arms stay wherever you put them, and it has a hook for hanging as well. It also features 3 speeds and can be charged to use on the go. Check rates here.
9. Portable Bottle Warmer and Cooler
If you have a bottle-fed baby, you know how tricky it can be to keep a feeding routine during your busy summer travels! Consider getting both a bottle warmer and/or a cooler.
For babies who drink warm milk, the Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle Warmer is a dream. It’s the only non-electric bottle warmer I’ve seen.
Plus, it’s super helpful that it’s self-contained, so it’s not messy to use! Just grab hot water before you leave home or your hotel, and you’re set for the day. Check rates here.
And while a lot of diaper bags have insulated sections for bottles these days, you might need something more.
Especially if you’re breastfeeding, this J.L. Childress Cooler Bag for baby bottles and food containers will keep everything secure.
The compartments can fit 2 7oz bottles or be arranged to carry a combination of smaller containers. So, it’s perfect if you’re bottle-feeding breastmilk, too! Check rates here.
10. Baby-Friendly Sunscreen and Insect Repellent
A must-have for summer travel with kids is a quality sunscreen and insect repellent. Make things easy on yourself and just grab this Babyganics Kit with repellent spray and sunscreen lotion.
Babyganics is great because its products are thoughtful and gentle enough for most kids (and adults!). Their sunscreen is SPF 50, mineral-based, and reef-safe.
And their natural insect repellant is a plant-based spray made with a blend of essential oils and works really well! Check rates here.
Just keep in mind you can’t put sunscreen or insect repellant on babies until they are over 6 months old.
11. Travel-Friendly Highchair
A highchair is one of those baby items you may not think about until you get to dinner. But when you’re going out to dinner this summer, the Summer Infant Pop ‘N Sit Portable Highchair is a lifesaver!
The canvas fabric comes off so it’s easy to clean, and it all collapses to fit in a carrying bag. It includes a 3-point harness and a hard plastic tray. Check rates here.
You can use this highchair for babies that are sitting up (or 6 months old). And it holds up to 45 pounds, so you can use it with toddlers!
There’s also a Booster Seat version with straps so you can put it on top of a chair or use it on the floor.
12. Summer Sleep Sack
When you are away from home, the key to everyone having a wonderful time is keeping baby’s sleep schedule. If your baby uses a sleep sack, or wearable blanket, don’t forget to pack it!
For warm summer weather, consider switching from a heavy fabric like wool to a lighter one like 100% cotton or even muslin, like this one.
If your little one still has their startle reflex and prefers to be swaddled, stick to lighter fabrics. The Halo Sleepsack Swaddle is a great choice.
13. Baby Sunglasses with UV Protection
Baby sunglasses are SO CUTE and you can find them everywhere! But they’re not all made the same.
Especially if you’re heading to the beach with baby, it’s important sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun! What should you look for?
· 100 UV Protection (UVA and UVB rays)
· Polarized lenses
· Unbreakable frames
· Bonus: strap for no lost baby sunglasses
Add these ones by Baby Sunnies to the top of your summer baby essentials list.
They’re perfect for newborns up to 24 months. And they come in a bunch of cute colors!
14. Travel Diaper Changing Pads
When you need to change a diaper on the go, reusable travel changing pads are super handy. I suggest grabbing a few of these portable diaper changing pads for your summer travels!
They fold up easily to fit in any diaper bag or suitcase. And they’re easy to spot clean or toss in the washing machine.
15. Portable Blender
Don’t want to lug around a bunch of baby food jars or frozen purees this summer? Personal blenders like this one are a must-have way to make homemade baby food when you’re out!
Just grab fruit at your hotel’s continental breakfast or order steamed veggies when you go out to eat.
It comes with a cleaning brush, is easy to clean, and easily fits in any bag. Check rates here.
16. Spill-Proof Sippy Cups and Snack Containers
The last thing you want to deal with this summer is leaky sippy cups and Cheerios all over the place!
One of my top baby items for travel any time of the year for toddlers and preschoolers are Munchkin Click Lock Flip Straw Sippy Cups. They’re completely spill-proof!
I’m also a fan of the Munchkin Snack Catchers. Plus, this new silicone version is great for travel because it comes with a lid and can collapse so it’s easy to store away.
17. Travel-Friendly Snacks
Bring more snacks that you may think you need. Trust me.
Not only do snacks get spilled on the ground, but they also are great entertainment for little ones. You’ll go through more snacks than you will ever anticipate!
Brands like Honest Kids and Happy Baby are a huge hit with my whole family. The snacks are perfect for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
18. Baby Noise-Canceling Headphones
At the top of my personal list of baby gear for travel are noise-canceling headphones. Flying can be very overwhelming with all the sound and pressure changes.
And Mumba baby headphones are excellent for situations where you need to protect your little one’s ears. They might even help a little with ear pain on flights.
19. Binky Clips
Binky clips may seem like such a trivial item, but when you’ve lost your last pacifier on a dirty airplane floor as many times as I have, you’ll realize they are essential baby gear!
And if your child uses pacifiers, you don’t want to lose them all. This is where binky clips really come in handy.
Just clip them to onesies, baby carriers, or diaper bags. I also use them to attach lovies to luggage!
I personally like clips like these ones that don’t stand out in vacation photos. Plus, silicone binky clips give baby’s something to play with during long flights and car rides.
20. Travel Baby Bathtub
Make sure bath time is stress-free with a safe and cozy travel tub. It feels like they thought of everything with this foldable baby tub!
It has an anti-skid bottom and a temperature gauge. The silicone tub collapses and folds for easy storage.
There’s a drain at the bottom so it’s easy to empty. And it’s made for both infants and toddlers, with a removable mesh baby cushion! Check rates here.
21. Solid Collapsible Stroller
As much as we love babywearing, sometimes a stroller is vital baby gear for everyone’s happiness.
We’ve really enjoyed our UPPAbaby G-LUXE umbrella stroller for Disneyland and Europe. It was a solid purchase because it could accommodate both my baby and my preschooler.
The reclining option enabled my oldest to nap every afternoon while we explored with our baby in a carrier. Check rates here.
22. Sand-Proof Beach Mat
Living in the Pacific Northwest, I’m always leery of sitting on the ground because it’s nearly always damp. And I hesitate to put my baby on grass that may or may not be muddy.
When we’re in Hawaii, it’s also much easier to put the baby on a sand-resistant mat. Then, they can move around, and I won’t have to worry about them eating (too much) sand!
Thankfully, you can find sand-resistant, water-resistant mats like this one! It’s so easy to shake them off and throw them back in the trunk for our next adventure. Check rates here.
23. Car Window Sunshades
You might not think of car sunshades as summer baby gear, but they make a huge difference during summer road trips (and even errands around town!).
24. Baby Beach Shoes
Baby water shoes are another favorite on my list of baby essentials for summer travel. And there are a wide variety of beach shoes and sandals to choose from!
When we’re at home in the PNW or exploring rocky terrain, these Stride Rite water sandals are perfect. They provide grip for exploring different surfaces but hold up well to getting wet.
However, beach days require something a little different. Especially if your child is sensitive to getting sand in their shoes, you’ll want water socks.
25. Stroller Sun Canopy
While many lightweight strollers come with sunshades, they don’t quite do the job.
Some parents end up draping a blanket over their stroller, which can raise the temperature inside to an unsafe level!
Instead, purchase a universal UPF 50 sun canopy. They work with a variety of forward-facing and rear-facing strollers, including car seats.
A must-have for strollers and car seats, this sun canopy allows for airflow while blocking harmful UV rays. Check rates here.
FAQs on Traveling with Babies
What should I pack for my baby in hot weather?
Some essential summer baby gear, include light, breathable clothing (for both you and baby), as well as a breathable baby carrier or stroller. I’d also include proper UV protection, like a canopy stroller or UV clothing and a sun hat. And don’t overlook a travel fan and a way to keep bottles cool. The most important thing is to keep baby cool and safe.
What’s the safest age for baby to travel?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends working with your pediatrician to decide when it safest for your baby. While experts don’t say your baby has to be a certain age to travel, it’s important to remember that flying with a baby can expose them to illnesses. This is especially true if they’re a preemie or less than 6 months old, when they have weaker immune systems.
How often should you stop when traveling with a baby?
More stationary modes of travel, like flying and road trips, mean baby can be strapped into a seat for hours at a time. For their development and comfort, try to take a short break from sitting every 2-3 hours during the day. For overnight trips, you can go 4-6 hours before breaking to feed baby or change a diaper.
What’s the Best Baby Gear for Your Summer Vacation?
Having the right baby gear for summer travel means you and your baby will be comfortable and cool, as well as safe!
Not sure where to start? You need light, breathable clothing. You also need a lightweight carrier or ventilated and shaded stroller.
My list includes essentials like food storage and UV protection, as well as fun items like travel books and sand-free play mats!
Make the most of your summer vacation with the best baby summer gear. Have tons of fun under the sun!