The Best Travel Gear For Families

I love to travel, but it became infinitely more difficult after I had kids. Thankfully, there are a large variety of products that make traveling, if not as easy as it was before kids (because it is never going to be that easy again), totally manageable. If you’ll be going over the river and through the woods this holiday season, check out this tried and true list of the best travel gear for families — you will definitely find something to make your trip a little bit easier.

  • Best Travel High Chair: phil&ted’s Lobster, $79.99 1 of 20

    We absolutely adore this high chair and have used it all over the place. The chair itself attaches to almost any table or counter with an easy-to-use adjustable clamp system. The seat has an adjustable five-point harness system to keep baby extra-secure, and comes with an easy-to-clean removable plastic food tray that will get a LOT of use when James starts finger foods. The Lobster folds up flat and fits easily into a diaper bag. We've attached it to our kitchen island, restaurant tables, and even a park bench - James loves sitting with the family, and I love that I don't have to hold him or struggle with a bulky stroller in a cramped restaurant.

    Buy the phil&teds Lobster Highchair here.

  • Best Plane Safety Device: CARES Child Safety Harness, $69.95 2 of 20

    The CARES restraint is the only FAA certified child harness that can be used in place of a car seat. It's perfect for toddlers who need their own seat, but aren't secure enough with the regular lap belt. I liked how easy it was to install - if I travel alone with Annie and James, I wouldn't be able to lug both of them AND a car seat onto the plane, AND install it. The CARES slipped right around the back of Annie's seat (it did not impact the tray table of the person behind her), and tightened easily. On our last plane flight we hit a LOT of turbulence, and Annabel was very secure with her CARES in place. 

    Get the Cares Child Airplane Travel Harness here.

  • Best Travel Night Light: Lullaby Light Cube, $19.95 3 of 20

    Annabel likes a nightlight when she falls asleep, but I've often found it hard to make night lights work in hotels - the rooms either don't have enough outlets, or they aren't conveniently located to where Annabel is sleeping, making them useless. The Lullaby Light Cube is great because it doesn't need an external power source, allowing you to place it anywhere. You adjust everything by touch - the light color, songs, and volume are all easily modified by simply tapping on the cube. Annie LOVED the star pattern and I often had to hide the cube from her during the day, or I'd find her lighting up the closet walls!

    Buy the Lullaby Light Cube here.

  • Best Compact Travel Crib: phil&ted’s Traveller Crib, $199.99 4 of 20

    The Traveller is great if you want to bring your own crib on your trip but don't have a lot of space. It fits into a long carrying bag the size of a yoga mat that, at only seven pounds, you can easily throw over your shoulder or into your suitcase. The crib itself needs to be assembled, but the instructions are easy to follow. The side-zip makes it great for kids who want to crawl in and out of bed. In our case, Annie loved it because it provided easy access to her brother. 

    Buy the phil&teds Traveller Crib here.

  • Best Travel Seat: BABYBJORN Bouncer Balance, $161.81 5 of 20

    This baby bounce seat folds flat for easy travel or storage. It's just too long to fit in a suitcase, but we've brought it on countless road trips. It lets baby sit up in a comfortable seat, and when he gets bored he can make the seat bounce. James has mastered the move to make the seat go up and down, and he squeals with delight.

    Buy the BABYBJORN Bouncer Balance here.

  • Best Toddler Travel Backpack: GoVinci Backpack, $28.09 6 of 20

    Kids need a lot of stuff to stay entertained during travel, and the last thing you want to do is spend precious time searching for the blue colored pencil or that one certain toy. This backpack is great because of all the little organizing compartments it has built right in. Annabel never asked me to find any of the two dozen items she'd brought along, because everything was in its place right inside the backpack. The cutest touch is the backpack has a clear window that you can slide paper into so your child can have their artwork on display wherever they go. Annie LOVES that! 

    Get the GoVinci Backpack here.

  • Best Toddler Travel Bed: Tuckaire Toddler Travel Bed, $48.88 7 of 20

    My three-year-old LOVES her special "balloon bed." Her bedroom is our defacto guest room, so when we have company we inflate her travel bed and she camps out in her brother's room. It also gets a lot of use at her grandparents' houses! The bed is perfectly sized for a kid (it can hold up to 150 pounds), and the bumpers on the side make it hard for her to roll out. The included pump makes inflating/deflating the bed simple. The design allows a crib sheet to tuck into the mattress, so bring along your kid's sheets to make her feel like she's at home. (Check out the Inflatable Bed Rail - we use it in hotel rooms!)

    Get the Toddler Inflatable Travel Bed here.

  • Easiest to Assemble Travel Crib: BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light 2, $239.99 8 of 20

    This is the perfect crib when you have lots of room for luggage. It folds into its own carrying case, which you can then check on an airplane or put into the back of your car. While it's not the smallest portable crib on the market, it's the easiest to use. It assembles literally in seconds: just pull it out of its case, lock the legs in place, unfold the mattress and you're done. The design of the crib has the mattress almost floating. My son loves sleeping in it, and gives us restful overnights every time we use it!

    Buy the BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light 2 here.

  • Best Travel Mirror: Baby In-Sight Auto Mirror for Car, $34.99 9 of 20

    James and I take a lot of car trips together, and while I'm not worried about being unable to see him in his rear-facing car seat, I do worry about him getting bored and restless on some of our longer car trips. This mirror is great because I can activate it with a remote control whenever I think he needs a little stimulation. It straps on securely to the seat back with velcro and hooks, so I don't ever worry about it flying off if I hit the breaks. James giggles and coos whenever the music and light show starts, and the fact that I can see him so happy in my rearview mirror is an added bonus.

    Get the Baby In-Sight Auto Mirror here.

  • Best Baby Plane Accessory: FlyeBaby , $49.95 10 of 20

    The FlyeBaby was recommended to me by another mom who frequently travels with her infant. I wasn't sure about it, but I promised to give it a try. It easily easily attached to my tray table (although, you might need someone to hold your baby while you set it up) and it doesn't intrude on the person in front of you at all. My aunt was in the seat in front of me and had no idea that I'd used the FlyeBaby! It was nice for James to get out of my arms for a bit and stretch out. The FlyeBaby is NOT a safety device - think of it more like a comfort device that allows you and your lap infant to get a bit of space from each other. Once your baby outgrows the height and weight limits, the FlyeBaby transitions into a portable highchair.

    Get the Flyebaby Infant Airplane Seat here.

  • Best Carseat Transporter: Roll ‘n Go Car Seat Transporter, $62.99 11 of 20

    Whether you're bringing your car seat onto the plane or just to baggage, it can be bulky and hard to manage. The Roll 'n Go makes bringing along your child's car seat SO EASY. Just strap it to the transporter and you're set! We had a ton of baggage when we went on our family vacation last month, but the wheels on Annabel's car seat made transporting it a snap. The Roll 'n Go can also be used as a stroller, and while Annabel had zero interest in that, I'm looking forward to James being able to use it!

    Get the Roll 'n Go Car Seat Transporter here.

  • Best Travel Mat: Kikko’pilo, $54.99 12 of 20

    I love this multifunctional travel pad for both of my kids. I will often unroll it in waiting areas and let James lay on it and stretch out. Annie likes to lean against it on long car rides. It's good for adults, too! When it's rolled up, I use it as back or neck support. The inner cover is waterproof, and the outer cotton cover removes easily and is machine washable. I keep our Kikko'pilo in our car and use it all the time!

    Get the Kikko'pilo here

  • Best Kids’ Suitcase: Beatrix Wheelie Bag, $94.00 13 of 20

    If your children are anything like mine, they want to be treated like big kids. My daughter always wants to pack her own suitcase, and she wants to pull it herself. This suitcase is adorable, with a variety of characters to choose from. Many kid-sized suitcases are so small they can barely fit a stuffed animal, but not this one. The interior has plenty of room for your kid's clothes and treasures, and easily fits into an overhead storage compartment. The telescoping handle can be set at kid height AND adult height - because we all know that mom and dad are going to end up pulling that thing eventually.

    Get a Beatrix Wheelie Bag here or at Beatrix New York.

  • Best Sunscreen: Honest Sunscreen, $18.99 14 of 20

    No matter the temperature at your final destination, kids need sunscreen if they're going to be outside. I love Honest Sunscreen because it has NO harmful chemicals. It's baby-safe, too - my newborn son was outside a ton this summer by virtue of his swimming-obsessed older sister, so I slathered Honest Sunscreen on him daily. He has very sensitive skin and he never had one breakout or rash from the sunscreen. Most importantly, he never got burned! My swimming three-year-old also wears Honest Sunscreen and she never gets burned, either. I keep a bottle in my bag at all times.

    Get Honest Sunscreen here.

  • Best Anywhere Travel Bed: Peapod Plus, $99.95 15 of 20

    This was the BEST multipurpose travel bed for our recent family trip to Hawaii. The house we stayed in only had hard tile floors, so we'd pop open the Peapod Plus and let James roll around in whatever room we were in. It was perfect for the beach, too! The different shade flaps allowed us to make sure James was always out of the sun but still had optimal air circulation. It folded up small enough to fit into my carry-on luggage, and only weighed a few pounds. The Peapod Plus is good for children up to age five, so you'll get years of use out of it.

    Get the PeaPod Plus Travel Bed here.

  • Best Travel Potty: Potette, $11.81 16 of 20

    I suggest this portable potty seat to all of my friends who are toilet training their kids. The Potette is either a stand-alone potty or, if you fold out the legs, a sanitary child-sized seat that fits on top of standard toilets. When you're not using the potty, it folds flat and has it's own carry bag. My daughter has been potty trained for almost a year, but on long car trips I make sure the Potette is with us - it never fails that she'll get the urge to use the bathroom when the nearest rest stop is 30 miles away!

    Get the 2-in-1 travel potty here.

  • Best Reusable Water Bottle: Bobble, $9.99 17 of 20

    I love drinking my eight glasses of water a day, but when I'm traveling it's not an easy thing to accomplish. I like filtered water, but spending a zillion dollars a day on prepackaged bottles is not in my budget! The Bobble is my favorite reusable water bottle because the water is instantly filtered through the built-in filter in the nozzle. The replaceable filter is good for the equivalent of 300 plastic water bottles, so you're not only saving money, you're doing the environment a major solid, too. I have a Bobble in my car, diaper bag, and carry on and if I'm not using it, my daughter definitely is. 

    Get the Bobble Water Bottle here

  • Best Travel Baby Carrier: BABYBJORN One, $199.95 18 of 20

    I've tried about a dozen baby carriers over my six years of parenting, and this one is easily my favorite. You don't need another adult with you to use it! The One carrier goes on easily, and has a number of different ways to adjust the carrier for the comfort of the baby and the parent. I liked that there was a zipper that allowed me to adjust the seat below James' bottom to allow his legs to wrap around me naturally. My husband liked that it was easy to switch the carrier between the two of us with minimal fussing. The best part is this carrier will grow with the baby - the One allows babies older than 12 months to ride on a parent's back!

    Buy the BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One here.

  • Best Safety Gear: Travel Childproofing Kit, $57.32 19 of 20

    Hotel and vacations homes might have a lot of amenities, but childproofing tools are rarely among them. I've often brought outlet covers to hotels, but this travel kit goes above and beyond. I've used almost every single item in this kit at least once, and as James gets older I know I'll get even more use out of it. The best part is none of the safety items leave marks or alter the room you're staying in in any way. Every traveling parent should have one!

    Get the Travel Childproofing Safety Kit here

  • Best Headphones For Kids: Kidz Gear Headphones, $19.99 20 of 20

    On our recent trip to Hawaii I knew there would be a variety of situations where Annabel would be using technology, the biggest being our flights to and from the island. I didn't want her to disturb anyone on the flight while she watched movies, but I didn't want her to blow out her eardrums with any of our adult headphones. These Kidz Gear headphones were ideal - they fit her head perfectly (they have multiple adjustment points), and there's a volume limit on them which means that even if they are plugged into a music source that is at full-volume, your child's ears won't get blown out. I also liked that she could easily adjust the volume herself.

    Get the Kidz Gear Headphones For Kids here.

All items were tested by me and my family. Items were either owned by my family, or submitted for review. All opinions are my own.

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