It's true what they say: Your greatest adventure begins with the birth of your child. But there should be an asterisk that includes another adage: With children, beware additional baggage. As someone who prides herself on traveling light, toting around an infant has somewhat slowed my roll. But only so much, for there are many, many baby products that target just the sort of conundrum traveling parents face. I'm happy to report that I have discovered many paths to adventuring happily and relatively hands-free. These are my favorites so far. (I'm only a few months into parenthood. I'll find more.)
There are three criteria for my list of baby carriers/holders: Items must be lightweight, easy to maneuver on one's own, and subtle in design. (I'll pass on the SUV-sized, double-wide strollers and all those plastic bells and whistles, thank you very much.)
1. The Carrier
The Ergo, Baby Bjorn, and Stokke are popular carriers that provide nice support for baby and adult.They're just bulky to pack. I love the Baby K'tan Original, a clever, lightweight, easy-to-wash all-cloth wrap that doesn't have any unwieldly or ungainly snaps, buckles, belts, zippers, or clasps. (As the founders more elegantly put it, it's a wrap without all the wrapping.) You can change the way you wrap the baby (facing in, facing out, on the hip) and style the sling in various ways to keep it comfortable. The OG is the real deal.
2. The Stroller
Let's cut to the chase: For parents who want to be minimal in a world of baby product maximalism, the Yoyo Babyzen is the best stroller on the market. It is lightweight. It is tiny. It is zippy. It is compact. It is the slick little Fiat to all of the over-the-top Escalades taking up space on city sidewalks. Not only can you carry the Babyzen easily down a set of subway stairs in the middle of winter, but you can also close it with one hand and stash it in the overhead compartment of a plane. It was a lifesaver for me and my seven-month-old on a recent trip to Japan. We cruised all over the streets of Tokyo, seamlessly navigated the Osaka fish market, and rolled right on through the aisle on the bullet train. In a country obsessed with precision and inconspicuousness, this was the perfect accessory.
3. The High Chair
Friends of mine, parents with a robust travel schedule, told me about a little chair that they can fasten to the counter at their favorite tiki bar in the Caribbean. Good idea, right? The Inglesina Fast Table Chair is a space-saving alternative to the bulky high chair. It folds flat, stays in one piece, can be used with a table tray (sold separately), and can easily be kept in the trunk of your car — ready for spontaneous outings whenever you are.