We took our first family trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico a few weeks ago and I learned so much about what and how to pack the essentials for a fun, convenient experience. I thought we'd be bringing a circus of things, but we were able to take off with 2 suitcases between the 3 of us, a stroller and car seat. I've also teamed up with my good friend Linzey @thefamilyfuntour to share some thoughts on what and how to pack for baby's first trip! Take a look at my top 10 things to pack and top 4 things to buy/use while you are on your vacation. Then go and check out Linzey's post on HOW to pack it all in as little space as possible!
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For now, I linked all of the items I mention in this post below. Enjoy!!!
What to Pack
1. Carseat & Carseat Bag - I know most shuttles and hotels offer you a carseat. But I wanted to be able to click ours in to our stroller so we could cover baby up and take her out to dinner, put her in it during naps on the beach and also have something safe to use during taxi rides. Our carseat, albeit a bit pricey, is AMAZING; it can be strapped in with a seat-belt with or WITHOUT the base. The carseat carry bag I linked below is also amazing. You can wear it as a backpack and put your carseat and stroller in it to make sure it doesn't get dirty or too banged up. It makes juggling everything on the runway a lot easier, too. Just plop everything in it and drop it at the gate and then pick it up when you land.
2. Baby tent - Adelaide is still working on tummy time to build muscles for crawling and her complexion is super fair, so I wanted to have something that would keep the sand and sun at bay (and avoid sunburn!) and also be a place to set her down to get wiggles out during the day without having to worry about going to and from the room. Our baby tent was a game changer. She played around in the tent throughout the day. The best part is the tent folds up to be TINY, too!
3. Baby Floating Raft + Swim shirt - Again, we have a super fair baby, so I made sure to get her a swimshirt (I bought the size up: 6-12 months so she can use it all summer) and a floating raft so she could be out in the sun AND come in the water with us. Adelaide loved playing with the raft's crab, chewing on the chew toys, and kicking her feet and splashing her hands in the water. AND it folds up to be tiny and thin for packing, too!
4. Hat & Sunscreen - I did a lot of research on baby sunscreen brands and Babyganics is one of the best. To be honest, we used sunscreen every 2 hours and in 1 week almost went through a full bottle. This hat below was also a game changer because it's made of wicking material so it would dry quickly. It's also reversible so she could be a fashionista and not get burned.
5. Swimsuits & Re-usable Swim Diapers - Honestly, I would have just had my babe in swim diapers if I could, but I couldn't resist the cute-ness of these swimsuits. Either way though, these re-useable swim diapers I linked below are also amazing. They grow with your babe and make cleaning and swim time fun for everyone.
6. J&J Babywipes & Medela Accessory Wipes - When going to Mexico, the thing I was most worried about was water - how to clean bottles, nipples, pacifiers, teethers, etc...and baby's face. The J&J wipes were a fantastic way to wipe off dirty hands and face and the Medela Accessory Wipes were great to wipe/sanitize anything that fell on the ground (and because I am OCD, I used them to wipe down the bottles after they were boiled) AND they sanitize whatever you clean them with within 10 minutes!
7. Travel sized toiletries and diapers - I brought my own diapers. They took up a lot of space. But it also meant I didn't have to go shopping when I got there so much time on the beach. Also bringing travel size aquaphor, baby wash and even hand sanitizer helped make more space in our suitcase.
8. Bottles for 1.5 days - My husband has a habit of loosing baby bottle pieces. So I packed a couple extra just in case something happened (which it did on the airplane- we lost a bottle and 2 lids!)
9. Stroller - Most folks will tell you to bring a travel stroller, especially if your babe is sitting up. I'm going to be honest; I didn't . I brought our regular stroller; I did not want to spend more money, have something else to store, and give up the large canopy that when combined with my carseat's hood completely blocks out sunlight so my sleeping babe could be at our 6pm BRIGHT dinners. We used our Baby Jogger City Mini GT stroller and car seat. It had a cooler for milk, a large undercarriage for baby's stuff and was the perfect place for day time naps.
10. Formula (if you need it) or breast pump and accessories (remember you get to check this as a separate item) - I brought 1 large bins of formula since we got thru 1.5 a week and I didn't want to run out!
What to Use from the Hotel
1. Towels as towels, burpclothes and for tummy time mats!
2. Crib or Pack N Play and Sheets
3. Stroller (if your hotel offers one) and you don't want to bring or buy one
4. If you have time when you land in your destination, and are braver than I, you could also get diapers and wipes and not bring them, too! Same thing with pre-made baby food, though I would probably just pack my own.
Speaking of this SUPER long list. Take a look at my friend Linzey's blog for some REALLY awesome ways of packing everything... in the best, most compact and organized way possible. She uses a magical technique called packing cubes! Her link is here.