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Home Exchange Travel Gear for Infants and Toddlers
Home Exchange Travel Gear for Infants and Toddlers

Child in a baby backpack, Italy

Photo by Mariella Baldussi

By Nicole Frank, Home Exchange Travels

One of the biggest advantages of a home exchange is that you pack less but get more. Your exchange home is likely to have most of the things your family needs. Yet there are a few clever devices that will make traveling with infants and toddlers trouble-free and they are all easy to lug. Here's the first-ever round up of my favorite travel gear for little ones:

Portable bed
My favorite travel bed is the portable PeaPod tent bed. Zip your baby into this brilliant device each night and you won't lose sleep wondering if s/he has rolled out of bed or is crawling towards the stairs.

All hail the Sit n' Stroll. It is truly a five-function miracle. It's a stroller. Fold the wheels into the base and it becomes a rear-facing car seat for infants or a front-facing car seat for older kids. Use it as a booster seat at a restaurant or kitchen table and on the airplane. And while not all flight attendants are aware, this device is FAA (United States Federal Aviation Administration) approved. But there is one drawback to convenience and no more rental fees, every parent you meet will want to know all about this piece of your travel gear.

Play Yard
The Super Yard XT takes the nightmare out of a house swap with toddlers and saves you from baby proofing your exchange home. This series of linked plastic gates can be formed into a hexagon or rectangle. And while the result is, in short, a pen, it keeps your child's hands from your swap partner's collection of delicate figurines.

Folding Chair
My favorite gear for children aged 1 to 4 is the Ride-On Carry-On. This brilliant folding chair turns any upright rolling suitcase into a stroller. Just strap it on the front and go. And if you think its handy in airports, wait until you get your destination. Load your suitcase with diapers, snacks, extra clothing and anything else your child may need on a day of sightseeing. Strap on the folding chair and you are ready to tour family attractions and more.

Car Seat
Notwithstanding the name, the Safety 1st Tote n' Go, stinks, even on ice. This backpack-like booster car seat lacks more than just a seat pan. It is little more than notebook-sized padded board that attaches to your child's back like a knapsack. Aside from the fact that it is uncomfortable, I found it near impossible to secure with a seatbelt and, once buckled, my child was practically bouncing around the car.

While I don't yet receive any compensation for my opinions, monetary or otherwise, I am determined to prove to manufacturers that word of mouth advertising works. So when you rush out and buy my preferred baby travel gear, except Safety 1st of course, make sure to tell them that you heard it hear first. I promise to let you borrow from the resulting pile of free baby goodies or at least tell you about them, honestly.

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