We travelled from Israel to the US last summer and stayed with my father in NY and my inlaws in Florida. In both places they arranged to have 2 cribs, 2 car seats and 2 high chairs. These were the basics. My father also borrowed a bag of toys. My inlaws couldn't find high chairs to borrow, so they bought 2 First Years booster seats, which we brought back with us. We brought our stroller with us.
Portacribs can make your life much easier.
When deciding what to bring, you'll need to consider where the babies will sleep. As with car seats and other equipment, you may be able to borrow cribs at your destination. If not, you'll have to consider bringing along the prtacribs:
I found the portacribs invaluable--the occassions I tried to do without them, bedtime was a nighmare and next to non-existant...they wouldn't stay down. They love the portacribs and always want in them when we have them set up.
If you'll be staying in a motel, they may be able to provide you with something:
The motels we stayed in all provided port a cribs. Some were free and some charged a nominal fee. The only problem we ran into was that the motels didn't usually provide crib sized sheets. You might want to make sure they can provide two cribs, call ahead to make sure. I wouldn't bother with a port a crib from home.
Be prepared for differences in formula and baby food.
When we traveled to Canada with our singleton, we were running short of formula and she did NOT like the other formula we got for her there. She refused to drink it. Fortunately, she was old enough (close to a year) that she was mainly eating solids anyway. But try out the formula ahead of time to be safe since yours are younger and more dependent on it.
Many formula brands are available worldwide. Others are specific to a given country. When you'll be travelling abroad, you may wish to contact your formula manufacturer and ask if they can recommend a brand with a similar taste in the country you'll be visiting. You may even find that your brand is available. (The Freebie FAQ has contact information for many formula makers.)
If you won't be able to bring enough to last through the trip, and your brand will not be available where you're going, here are some suggestions for getting by:
Pampers and Huggies are pretty much universal, but you may want to bring your own wipes.
Pampers and Huggies are available throughout Europe and the Middle East, so you probably won't have to worry about trying all the local brands. However, the selection of baby wipes may vary considerably.
While I had no trouble finding diapers [in England], I did have difficulty getting wipes of the thickness we're used to in the States. Most stores and pharmacies had very small single-ply wipes in unwieldy pop-up style dispensers. Travelers might want to bring homemade paper towel wipes with them. (In London I ended up at Mothercare which had the kind of wipes I needed -- though perfumed, yuch!--but rather expensive).
For best results, try larger supermarkets, as smaller corner shops or drug stores generally have a much more limited selection.
Borrow a safety gate, or stock up on duct tape!
Unless you're visiting friends or relatives whose children are the same age as yours, you'll probably have to consider childproofing as soon as you arrive. One of the easiest things you can do is to bring a roll of strong tape with you. This will help keep curious hands out of cupboards and electrical outlets! (Not to mention being handy for quick repairs.)
If you'll be staying in a house with stairs, "Ask the folks you're visiting to borrow a pressure gate. We didn't do this but it really would have helped a lot." This is especially important if you don't live in a house with stairs! The novelty may be too much for the newly mobile.
Give your hosts as much advance notice as possible for what to expect:
I've found that the hardest people to visit are my grandparents. Not only have they forgotten what toddlers can get into, but they need lots of things around which can be very dangerous (eg medicines). So prepare them as much as you can before you get there (most of my advice didn't sink in...).
When renting a mini-van, specify the number of seats you'll need.
One parent wrote, "We will be renting a car in several of our locations - we'll need something that'll seat 7 (5 of us + one or two parents or in-laws) plus all our stuff. What should we ask for?" Those who responded said to be sure to tell the rental company that you'll need to seat 7.
The larger mini van is a must if you want any room at all for luggage, and bring locking clips for the carseats! The brand new Plymouth Voyagers rented by Dollar rent a car do not have locking seatbelts and they don't have the locking clips available, so basically our kids were not safely belted all over Florida.
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