Although vacation home sales are down since their pandemic surge, they’re still a great way to get away with the family. In many ways, for parents of babies, they offer the easiest travel option because once you’ve stocked the house, you can travel so much lighter and will be more apt to actually go.
Find a place near the beach, the mountains, wherever your happy place is. Then settle in for regular staycations that are good for the soul, for rejuvenating and for creating new memories for the entire family.
Since my husband and I became grandparents this year, our house has become a kind of vacation home for our son, daughter in law and new grandson. Because we want them to come often, we’ve tried to make it as comfortable and easy for them as possible.
A crib and stroller are the basic necessities and I highly recommend the Babyletto Maki Full-Size Portable Folding Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit and Graco Modes Nest Travel System (both of which I wrote about here). You can find more great travel gear for babies, including the Doona Car Seat & Stroller that my kids swear by for flying, here.
I’ve put together a comprehensive list of items that will make your vacation house feel like a home. These are the products my son and daughter in law love. Having them handy will help you relax and really enjoy your time away. You may find them so indispensable, you’ll want to keep a duplicate set at home.
Graco Teddi Changing Table with Bonus Water-Resistant Changing Pad
Storkcraft has some great changing tables but what I like best about this one is its simplicity and the fact that it fits quietly into any space, serving its purpose without taking over. It’s easy to assemble and features lots of storage space you can use for baskets of diapers, wipes and other baby necessities. Available in four sophisticated neutrals, it comes with a water-resistant changing pad that can just be wiped down – trust me on this – and it will work as a pretty bookcase once your baby’s outgrown it. Price: $109.99
Baby Brezza Bottle Washer Pro
My son and daughter-in-law can’t stop talking about this amazing new machine that automatically washes, sterilizes and dries bottles and pump parts, killing 99.9% of germs with steam, then drying everything with HEPA-filtered hot air. It cleans better than a bottle brush ever could and even uses 50% less water than hand washing. It features six cleaning modes and can hold up to four bottles, pump parts and accessories. You just plug it in and it does the rest. No wonder it sold out 10 minutes after it was launched. Pre-order now for the next batch shipping in November. Price: $299.99
Ubbi Diaper Pail
I admit I didn’t see a need for this diaper pail at first but it has made such a difference, I can’t imagine not having it now. First of all, it’s great looking. Made of steel, it’s sleek and minimalist in your choice of more than a dozen colors. But, most importantly, it opens and closes easily and discreetly and even has a child lock to keep curious little ones out of it. It holds up to 55 newborn diapers without any trace of a smell and, unlike similar pails, it lets you use any standard kitchen trash bag. It’s truly a game-changer. Price: $79.99
Infantino 5-in-1 Epic Developmental Learning Gym Go Gaga
My grandson adores this play mat and has spent hours happily taking in its sights, sounds and textures. Full of bright colors and featuring an electronic piano, black and white flash cards and hanging objects to reach for, it has been the perfect place to set him on his back or tummy and help him explore. He’s learned so much and had so much fun on this soft mat – and so have we! Price: $59.99
Graco Pack ‘n Play Sit ‘N Grow Playard
This multi-tasker serves so many purposes, it may be all you need if you don’t have space for numerous pieces of furniture. It acts as a bassinet, an infant floor seat, a changing table, a playard and a place to sleep for older babies. Portable, it folds up with the push of a button for easy maneuverability so you can travel with it or just move it to another room. It even comes with its own carrying bag. Price: $339.99
Society6 Sun Pattern III Blackout Curtain
My son and daughter-in-law were adamant about using blackout curtains so I ordered these beauties, which are so cheery – and which keep out the light when my grandson is sleeping. You can buy one panel or two – I use two – and they hang easily, thanks to a 2” pocket at the top. Society6 is one of my favorite sites for supporting independent artists and these curtains by colour poems make me smile whenever I walk into the room. Price: $135
Lalo Bathtime Full Kit
This complete set has everything you need to make bath time a breeze. The portable tub itself is sturdy and versatile, working as well on a kitchen countertop as in a full-sized bathtub. The kit includes a rinse cup for washing out shampoo, a bin for storing bath toys and a spout cover to protect little heads. It even comes with padded knee and elbow savers for the bath giver. Available in white and sage, it’s perfect for newborns through toddlers and will last for years. Price: $170
VAVA 720P HD Video Baby Monitor
Using a monitor gives my son and daughter in law peace of mind because they can keep an eye on the baby from anywhere in the house. The 5” screen is larger than most and provides top notch video and sound quality so they get a good view of what he’s doing. They can zoom in for a closer look and use the night vision mode when they hear him moving around at 3 am. Best of all, the system is wireless so it can be used in hotels without fear of hackers. It comes in four colors and definitely helps parents sleep better. Price: $179.99
RAPTbaby Smarter Sleep Sound Machine
Experts recommend sound machines for helping babies sleep better and this one is the first to also help them sleep smarter. Developed by a neuroscientist, it offers eight different soundtracks – two tracks each of classical, lullaby, nature and womb sounds – designed to soothe and build young brains and hone their ability to process language. Small and easy to toss in a bag, it can be plugged in or run on a rechargeable battery, making it ideal for travel. Price: $59.99
Uber Chill XL 12 Can Mini Fridge
In a two story house, with you and your baby both sleeping upstairs, a mini fridge to keep bottles handy in the middle of the night is a godsend so you don’t have to run downstairs to the kitchen. I like this one from Uber Appliance because it can sit on the desk without taking up tons of space yet is generously sized so it can hold bottles, store breast milk after my daughter in law has pumped and still have room for a snack or two. Available in four colors, it simply plugs in and can even be used in the car during family road trips. Price: $119.99
Baby skin is sensitive so we’ve stocked up on Babyganics products because they’re safe, they’re clean and they’re effective. Founded by two dads, the cruelty-free company uses as many natural ingredients as possible, avoiding parabens, phthalates and artificial fragrances. We use their baby wipes, shampoo & body wash, foaming dish & bottle soap, detergent and diapers, and have been happy with all of them. We feel better, knowing we’re doing the right thing for both our grandson and the planet. Price: From $3.99
Ceres Chill OG Breastmilk Chiller
This TSA-friendly chiller has made cross-country flights so much easier for my daughter-in-law because she can pump directly into it and keep the milk cold for 20+ hours. It’s compatible with every major pump and has a large capacity to hold many bottles worth of milk. Easy to use, transport and clean, it’s so much more efficient than having to worry about ice packs. Available in nine gorgeous colors, it’s as stylish as it is practical. I’m thankful for it because it means my grandson can come visit way more often now. Price: $74