We’ve found a few really excellent travel accessories for kids over the last 7+ years. These are things that have saved our (vegetarian) bacon time and again. While this list doesn’t include travel entertainment options (that’s a whole other post!), these are things that have minimized the stress and effort when it comes to traveling logistics. Every family’s needs are a little different, but hopefully this will give you a few ideas of items that are worth their cost and their weight in travel!
What are your favorite kid travel accessories? Please share because we’re headed off for two months of travel this summer, and I’m sure there are new things that have come up!
(Note: None of these companies has a clue who I am; I’m just sharing them because we’ve loved them. We’ve purchased all of these items with our own cash. While I haven’t been compensated for including any of these items, there are Amazon Affiliate links below, which means I may receive enough money to purchase a stick of gum or perhaps a single lollipop if you click on them.)
1. Sound Machine. Okay, this isn’t really travel specific, but it’s SO helpful for travel. All our kids sleep with some sort of white noise, and it’s really useful in helping kiddos (and adults!) adjust to new time zones, sleeping locations, etc. We usually just pull up a white noise app on our devices when we travel, but the one we use at home also runs on battery and is very convenient.
2. Kidco Peapod. I love this thing for the older baby/young toddler age. It’s like a little pop up baby tent thing that zips up so baby can’t get out. We never use the mattress that comes with it (do the newer versions even have that?) so it only weighs about a pound and is about 18″ diameter or so – way better than carrying around a 20+ pound pack n play. My only gripe with it is the zipper is a bit loud and can wake a light sleeper. In an ideal world, I’d love a pop up crib type thing that didn’t need a zipper, but still weighed next to nothing. I haven’t found that yet, so if you have, let me know!
3. Car Seat Suitcase Strap. Okay, this is really kind of the stupidest, simplest thing. You could undoubtedly make it for cheaper than the $14 you have to pay, but it’s probably more annoyance than it’s worth. And you know what? This silly little strap totally works to strap a big, bulky convertible carseat onto a suitcase, and your kid can even sit and ride in it.
4. Cosco carseat. Speaking of car seats, we never fly with our nice ones. Just too much risk of them getting damaged either externally or internally (worse, and we may continue to use it without realizing it). But the Cosco Scenera is dirt cheap and fairly lightweight, making it perfect to have as a backup to include with checked luggage if you need a seat at your destination.
5. Mifold. More car seat talk. These super slim booster seats are a dream for travel. They fold up SUPER small (easily slip into any sort of backpack) and are very lightweight. They’re safety-tested to the same standards as any other booster and are way more convenient.
6. RideSafer Travel Vest. Can you believe I’m still talking car seats? While I love the Mifold, kids should be 4+ years old and 40+ pounds to use it. The RideSafer Vest is tested down to 3+ years old and 30+ pounds, which is super helpful in not needing to carry around a big car seat for that time.
7. Portable Door Lock. To be fair, I’ve only tested this one at home as it’s a recent purchase. But we had a bit of a scare about a month ago when our toddler managed to get out of our hotel room in the wee hours, so we knew we needed to find something to prevent that from happening again. I don’t love that this one is still child height, but it seems to be tricky enough to use that it would prevent a child from escaping (or likely someone else from entering if you’re somewhere without a lock).
8. Packing cubes. Everyone’s heard of these. They’re magic for keeping everyone organized and each kid has his or her own color. We have these and another kind that’s no longer available, but I’m sure any kind will do.
9. Folding backpacks. On the subject of packing, we got each of our kids their own travel backpack this past Christmas. We took them on a trip a week later and it was so nice to have everyone’s stuff contained in a lightweight, easy-for-them-to-carry package. These are big enough that they comfortably fit a week’s worth of stuff, but not so big that our kids couldn’t carry them (even our smallish 3-year-old managed, albeit with some difficulty). Everyone has their own color for these, as well, and they fold up nicely when not in use. Plus, if we need to condense stuff while traveling, the backpacks easily slip into other luggage. I love that this one comes in tons of colors and has several exterior zip pockets.
10. Carabiners. You can get a set of about a million of these on eBay for dirt cheap. Get the kind that screw for extra security, and get them in a bunch of colors. Great for strapping on water bottles, keys, or even stuffed animals.
11. Baby carrier. I can’t imagine traveling with a child under the age of 2 without a baby carrier. They are just so, so useful, especially if you’re traveling to a place that’s not very stroller-friendly. We have both the regular Boba and the Boba Air (which folds up into a small pouch and fits easily in a bag). The regular Boba is significantly more supportive if you’ll be wearing a child for a longer period of time, but the Boba Air is great because it folds up so small and wipes down easily.
12. Portable high chair. What we have is currently unavailable, but I bet there’s something similar out there. I like that this one folds into a small pouch and is super lightweight, but effectively secures a child while traveling. It’s honestly not totally necessary, and we haven’t used it extensively, but if you have a child who regularly tries to escape the table, it could become invaluable.
13. Kinderwagon. We purchased a double stroller before we traveled to Europe and the Middle East several years ago when we had an almost 2 year old and almost 4 year old. We considered skipping the double stroller altogether (and have only ever used it while traveling), but it was definitely useful on those days when we were in places we could push it around and both kids needed to nap. For our trip this summer, though, I think we’ll stick with our beloved single stroller and baby carrier combo for the two napping younger ones, and have the older two skip naps (or go back if it’s a day they really need one).
14. Ziplock bags. Suffice it to say spit up, potty accidents, food, spilled drinks, etc. will make you very grateful you have a million of these on hand.
15. Travel towels. Another item that comes in a million brands/sizes; just pick your favorite. While I love that Turkish towels fold down small and are soft, I find that they take way longer to dry and are less absorbent than microfiber travel towels. Throw a couple in your luggage for places that don’t provide one, if you go to a beach, or if you just need to wipe down somewhere. Kids can even use them as blankets if really needed.
Your turn! What are your favorite kid travel accessories??