Have Baby, Will Travel

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Gear Guide

Clever, portable products help to simplify vacationing with your newest sightseer.

While "babymoons" may be all the rage, the ideal time to travel is after your baby is born. "It can be so overwhelming to be at home with a baby that it's hard to imagine going anywhere," says Shelly Rivoli, author of the Travels with Baby guide-books (Travels with Baby Books). "But getting a change of scenery can sometimes be the best way to create quality time for your new family." Here, ultrasmart travel gear—that will last well into toddlerhood—for your little globe-trotter.

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Phil&Teds Lobster

The phil&teds lobster, $80, is not your run-of-the-mill folding highchair. It easily and securely clamps to most tables and accommodates children up to 37 pounds. The five-point harness keeps even the wriggliest baby comfortably in place, and when you're ready to go, the chair quickly folds flat and stores in a little black bag. philandteds.com

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Beco Gemini Baby Carrier

Versatile (and cute, too!), the Beco Gemini Baby Carrier, $130, has multiple hands-free carrying options—on your front, hip or back—and can be adjusted wider or narrower at the base depending on your child's size. The padded shoulder straps and waist belt offer support for longer outings. From birth to 35 pounds. becobabycarrier.com

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KidCo PeaPod Lite

Whether you're camping or staying at grandma's, the KidCo PeaPod Lite, $40, is the perfect place for your baby to slumber. The 1.4-pound travel bed snaps into shape on its own—all you have to do is slide your child in. Mesh side screens allow for plenty of ventilation. Plus, it folds compactly for portability. kidco.com

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The First Years Jet Lightweight Stroller

For little more than the cost of a basic umbrella stroller, The First Years Jet Lightweight Stroller, $40, has taller handles and a cup-holder for parents. The wide seat and five-point harness make for a comfortable, safe ride for children up to 50 pounds. The lightweight buggy (11 pounds!) easily folds to stash in the trunk or check at the gate. thefirstyears.com

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Star Kids Air Play Tray Table Cover

Developed by two moms, the Star Kids Air Play Tray Table Cover, $30, makes entertaining your tot during flights much easier. The cotton sleeve slides over the airplane tray and is adorned on both sides with such baby-pleasers as a peek-a-boo mirror, zipper and more. For germaphobes, a bonus: It shields your baby's hands from a grimy tray. starkidsproducts.com

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Prince Lionheart Flexi Bath

The space-saving Prince Lionheart Flexi Bath, $39, provides a sturdy, safe spot to bathe your baby on the go. A hit in Europe and newly available in the United States, the tub easily folds nearly flat and snaps shut. It's made of phthalate- and BPA-free plastic. Accommodates newborns to 4-year-olds. rightstart.com

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J.L. Childress Ultimate Car Seat Travel Bag

Free up your hands with the J.L. Childress Ultimate Car Seat Travel Bag, $50. Worn like a backpack, it holds all types of car seats, from infant carriers to boosters. The durable bag also offers peace of mind: When you reach your destination, your child will be safe in the seat he knows, and you won't be at the mercy of car-rental agencies' spotty selection. babiesrus.com

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Top Tips for Flying with Your Baby

â–  Gate-check car seats and strollers—you won't get charged, and the items are much less likely to be lost or damaged.
â–  Nurse or give your baby a bottle or pacifier during ascent and descent to help adjust the pressure in his ears.
â–  Pack the diaper bag with an extra outfit for your baby, plastic bags for dirty diapers, a few new playthings and plenty of snacks.
â–  Consider renting a swing, bassinet or even toys at your destination. Visit travelswithbaby.com for a directory of gear-rental companies.
â–  Bring a copy of your baby's birth certificate or immunization records for proof of age if you're not purchasing a seat for your baby.

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