Everything a Baby Needs to Live Nomadically

My baby has made approximately 11 international moves since his birth. He is almost 18 months old.

It seems American women are besieged with the amount and number of products they are told they NEED to have a baby.

I think I fell for it to some extent. Eventually I narrowed it down, as we always must, to the bare essentials—what can fit into one suitcase. Although this may look like a lot of stuff, it’s nearly all tiny and therefore lightweight. Since babies often get free luggage allowance with airlines, including bed and stroller, traveling with them is surprisingly easy!

Here is what our baby needed for the last 18 months of travel through 11 countries. I included affiliate links to Amazon for anyone who wants to investigate the products further.


We have the PeaPod Plus Travel Bed in Kiwi by Kidco
You don’t necessarily need one if you plan to co-sleep. However, Ryder and I both sleep better separately… And furthermore, it sets the signal that it’s bedtime when you are at someone’s house and it’s bedtime for the baby but not for you. Note: the 2012 Peapod due to safety concerns had a recall. Be sure to get the 2013 model.

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We no longer travel with blankets—just prefer to dress Ryder up warmly, but when they’re smaller, two is a minimum. One thicker, one lighter material, for when you are still swaddling.



Jacob, especially, loved carrying Ry in the Boba Wrap Classic Baby Carrier
Ryder’s too heavy for it now. I think for the next one, I will choose a backpack carrier though. Then I don’t have to worry about it coming loose.

Whale watching in Sydney



I’m on my fifth now. Can’t live without it. Turns out my favorite kind is the simplest and cheapest umbrella because it’s so lightweight and easy to close.

Exploring Guatemala’s cobbled streets:



You don’t need more than two. I recommend getting one that converts from bottle to sippy cup. Here’s an example.

A trip to the beach in Tahiti:



We have always carried more clothes than Ryder needed, mainly because I was too in love with their cuteness NOT to dress him up. Baby clothes can be bought anywhere, as well. It’s fun to dress them up in the country’s traditional baby clothing. Socks are easily lost-don’t underestimate their usefulness, either. Additionally, footie jammies are the best. No need to worry about keeping feet warm during the night. How often you want to do laundry will determine how many outfits you want to bring for your baby.

Halloween in Antigua



Only needs one pair. Recommended are: ones that fit well, allow for plenty of walking, easy to put on but not easy to take off. Good luck. I have yet to win the Battle of the Shoes with my kid.



I travel with two cloth diapers which I use on occasion when we have a washing machine. Otherwise, the throwaway kind are ubiquitous—no need to stock up on them.

Diaper changing station.

A portable diaper changing pad is invaluable, when you don’t want your baby’s bum touching some grody bathroom counter in a foreign country.

2 or 3 mini books.

Books can be picked up anywhere—bring only your child’s absolute favorites.

Binky with chain.

Having a binky chain to clip to his shirt meant we never lost his binky.

1-2 Stuffed animals.

More for my sentimental reasons than for his, Ryder has a couple loveys. He’s never been too big on stuffed animals though—tosses them out of his crib—but he likes it when they give him good night kisses.

Baby harness.

When they start to walk, this is invaluable to letting them have their freedom while still maintaining control. It’s great when it’s a backpack harness because they can carry their own snacks and clothes changes at the same time.

Walking to the markets in Melbourne:


Baby sunglasses

Checking out LA beaches from afar:

baby sunglasses

For when you feel bad for their little eyes.

Baby toothbrush.

Small versions of toothbrushes are often impossible to find abroad—bring one if you don’t want to use adult-sized. Ryder uses adult-sized just fine though. Or—maybe you’re into the electric toothbrush thing—best to get that before leaving. Here’s a toothbrush kit.


Infant spoon.

I at first thought infant spoons were unnecessary, but they are really helpful when they are first learning to eat.

Breast pump.

Try the Lansinoh Affinity Double Electric Breast Pump
it is lightweight and easy to use.

A port-a-potty.

We have not actually been successful in getting Ryder to use this potty seat.
He prefers the real potty. But I guess I’m still hoping because we still have it with us!

Clamp-on high chair

Breakfast at Lake Atitlan:


This is a relatively recent purchase but it is invaluable. The Inglesina
has worked great for us. Just get a dark color–easier to keep clean.


Here is what we left behind because it wasn’t useful enough:

Nursing pillow

inflatable nursing pillow
(too easy to find substitutes for; too rarely used.)

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Small toys Ryder rarely played with.

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Ryder looks darned adorable in hats, but without fail refuses to wear them, thinking throwing them out of his stroller is a game.

Cuddling with a Kiwi:



Probably should have used these more. Could have saved a few shirts that way. Now half the time I just take Ryder’s shirt off when it’s time to eat.

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This inflatable tub  is the one we bought.

When your baby is small, you can just wash him in the sink anyway. Our inflatable tub got a hole in it.

Infant Airplane Seat

Never used this; never needed it.


Unless you actually own a car, I don’t recommend bringing one with you. You will be changing transportation so frequently, and they can be borrowed/rented easily enough if you do end up needing one.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 371 awesome articles for us.

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