Traveling with kids requires more planning/gear than traveling with just adults. Here are some of our favorite travel items that make traveling with kids much easier!
World Traveler Shirt
First things first! Let your little one be fashionable and let the world know they are experienced travelers by getting them this World Traveler shirt. They are super cute and come in many colors.
We don’t often use a stroller (and didn’t even have one until Milana was closer to 2-baby wearing for the win!). But now she’s older and heavier and gets tired in places we have to walk a lot (think Bangkok or Panama City), so we got the JOOVY Groove Ultralight stroller. It’s super light (13 lbs.), has a shoulder strap for easy carrying and a high weight limit (55lbs), making it a great option even for bigger kids. The canopy is large and it reclines almost fully, making it comfortable for naps/hot sun.
The only downside is the seat wasn’t very comfortable for her, so I purchased the Tivoli Couture Classic Memory Foam Stroller LinerTivoli Couture Memory Foam Liner and now she loves riding in it.
I’m a huge proponent of baby wearing. When she was a baby, we used the Didymos Baby Carrier Organic Wrap almost exclusively, along with the Girasol (snow rainbow) wrap conversion ring sling. If you have babies, this is by far the best piece of equipment for traveling! You can wear them through security, while you breastfeed and just keep them close to you while walking through the airport/at your destination. If you’re looking for a quality carrier (not Baby Bjorn or any other non-ergonomic option), I highly recommend PaxBaby. It’s owned by a sweet mama, who will help you find the perfect carrier for you and your baby.
Poor choice of luggage can make your trip miserable! Instead of buying cheap luggage year after year, invest in some quality ones. We love Tumi. Their luggage is high quality and will last you for years! We have several pieces from their collection and are very happy with them all. We have the carry on: Tumi V3 Continental Carry-On and the extended trip bag Tumi Vapor Lite Extended Trip Packing Case.
At home, we use the Diono Radian, which isn’t very travel friendly! Sure, it folds and has backpack straps, but that thing still weighs a ton and is not something I am willing to haul through the airport. So, we purchased the Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat for travel. I know a lot of people recommend the Cosco Scenera, however most kids outgrow that very quickly so it would only work for really small babies/toddlers. This one has higher limits, and we are still using it with room to grow at almost 5 so it’s definitely the right choice for us! It’s fairly light and easy to install on the plane and various rental cars, making it the perfect seat for travel.
If you have older kids (at least 4 years old, 40 lbs and 40 inches), then you don’t have to lug a giant car seat around. The MiFold is an excellent choice, and it takes up virtually no space in your backpack or luggage.
Car Seat Tote
To lug the car seat through the airport, we use the BRICA Cover Guard Car Seat Travel Bag I know many people like the wheeled carts that turn your seat into a stroller, but we prefer this. It fully protects the seat and you can put other things (like blankets, pillows, sweatshirts) inside the bag without needing additional luggage or holding them the entire time at the airport.
Just like with regular luggage, you get what you pay for! We have recently switched Milana’s suitcase to a backpack but until she was 5, she used this suitcase. We bought her a Minnie suitcase from Heys Kids Luggage and it’s one of the nicest kids suitcases out there! It has a hard shell, is easy to roll and comes in a variety of colors/characters, so there’s one every child will like. It cost around $60, which is more than the cheap stuff you’ll find at Target and Walmart, but we are going on year 3 and with much abuse from a small child, it’s still as good as new. I highly recommend this brand!
Now, she uses the Osprey Youth Jet 12 Backpack and absolutely loves it! It’s super cute, perfect size and she knows that she is responsible for carrying what she packs, teaching her to only pack essentials. I’m very happy with this purchase!
For our 17 hours flying time to Thailand, we knew we had to get something to make Milana comfortable on such a long-haul flight. I found the 1st Class Kid Pillow travel pillow and bought one. I tried it on a shorter flight first, and it worked great so I brought it along for Thailand. It is one of the best travel products we own! There is no way she would have been comfortable or slept for so long on the flight (slept 9 hours on the way there!) without it. It inflates really quickly by blowing into the one way valve (we didn’t use the air vent like they suggested, and don’t count on it either since lots of planes don’t have them), it took less than a minute to fully inflate. To deflate, it takes about 10 seconds so again, super quick. She was able to stretch out and sit comfortably without her legs dangling. It folds super tiny to stow in your carry on when not in use. I highly recommend this product!
With so many headphones geared toward kids on the market, it’s hard to know which ones to get. We have tried several, and the ones that have stuck (going on 3 years!) are the Kidz Gear Wired Headphones. They fit little heads, and come with an adapter if you want to control the volume. We don’t use it, since it’s hard to hear with it on the plane. Most kid headphones automatically control the volume, but this one gives you the option of not muting the sound if you don’t want to, making it a great choice. We love these, but most importantly Milana loves them. She chose purple, but there are several colors to choose from.
As anyone who has flown knows, straw cups will leak in the air. The pressure causes the water to leak out of the straw, making everything it comes in contact with soaked. Not fun! The PlanetBox BottleRocket is our favorite water bottle. It’s stainless steel without a straw (has a spout), we have never had a leak! This bottle is slim and perfect for travel. We have several, it’s definitely our favorite kids water bottle. Keep in mind, if your child tips things and shakes their cups, this isn’t for them as it’s not spill proof. The water flows freely from the spot, similar to a real cup.
How did people travel before these?? We have 3 sets, a different color for each of us. They make travel so much more organized! You just take out an entire cube and place in a drawer in your hotel room/rental, without having to dig through a suitcase full of clothes. We used to use compression bags, but it was hard to find what we needed and this makes it super easy to organize outfits. I highly recommend buying a set in a different color for each member of your family, they are by far one of the best things we bring on our trips! TravelWise Packing Cube System is what we currently use however I got some of these Gonex Compression Packing Cubes recently that I will be trying out on our next trip to see how much space they really save!
Living in an area where it barely rains, it’s hard to imagine rain at our destination! But, aside from our area, it rains pretty much everywhere else in the world. We purchased these Land End Rain Jackets for each of us. The jacket folds into itself, taking up very little room in luggage. It’s a great thing to bring when traveling to tropical, rainy destinations!
Do you pack huge pails when traveling to beach destinations? Only to have them take up half the luggage break in transit? Well you really need to invest in these awesome collapsible pails! No more leaving buckets behind or buying cheap ones when you get there. Use these over and over again, and simply collapse to store. They barely take up any room and are great for traveling to beach destinations.
What are your must haves when traveling with kids?