This holiday season Babble wants you to whisk through airport security looking like a travel pro even while dangling kids from each arm. While we can’t be your personal porter, (we would if we could!) we can offer you sound advice for successful holiday travel. These ten items have been road-tested and approved by a family of four.
– April Peveteaux
- Universal Car Seat Carrier/Snap N’ Go
Rather than lugging the car seat, stroller and gear through the airport, a much smarter solution is the all-in-one infant car seat carrier. One of these lightweight carriers will hold your favorite car seat on top (presumably, with baby) and a load of infant accoutrements underneath. Take the baby and the car seat out when you board and fold and check the carrier at the gate. You can pick it up upon departure and wheel everyone out the door. (When the kiddo needs the bigger toddler seat, check out the Sit ‘n’ Stroll.)
Get the Kolcraft Universal Infant Seat Carrier at Amazon for $54.96.
Get the Snap N’ Go from Amazon for $59.99.
- CARES Safety Restraint
What a relief to check the car seat when your toddler reaches twenty-two pounds! Slip the CARES safety restraint into your carry-on and that’s all you need until your little one can use the regular airplane seat belt. CARES is the only harness child restraint device that is FAA approved and is adjustable until your child reaches forty-four pounds. Giving you extra security and extra space in your bag makes CARES every parent’s best friend.
Get it from Amazon for $70.
- Trunki Suitcase For Kids
Not only is this carry-on for kids adorable (we were stopped multiple times on the way to the gate) the Trunki is the most practical kid item we tested. Let your child pack games, books and blanket in their very own suitcase and pull it through the terminal independently. When the little traveler gets tired, they can hop on for a ride. Choose your animal or bright color pattern and go!
Get it from Amazon for $49.99.
- FeltTales Storyboard
No mess, no noise – a perfect airplane companion. This felt dress up game even has a handle for easy transport. Whether your kiddos like pirates, princesses or celebrating the Jewish holidays – there’s a felt theme for every kid fantasy.
Get it from Babalu for $19.95.
- Zoobies Plush Animals
It’s a blanket, it’s a lovey – it’s both! Your baby will be entertained and swaddled by this compact plush toy all at the same time. Zoobies come in many species of animal and sizes but we recommend the baby Hada the Hippo (and she fits nicely in the Trunki).
Get it from Zoobies for $25.
- The Gürdle
Especially helpful if you’re traveling alone with baby, the Gürdle is a simple strap that streamlines your luggage. Small but strong, one step connects your diaper bag to your suitcase, freeing up that third arm you’ll be needing. Available in many colors for easy luggage identifying. See how the Gürdle works here.
Get it from The Gürdle for $29.99
- Jill E. Bag
The Jill E. bag serves two purposes – hauling the kid stuff and making you look fabulous. Originally a camera bag, Jill E. realized the potential of expansion and sold us on this bag as travel tool. While you stroll to the gate with the latest design in handbags hanging on your arm, the luscious leather outer is actually hiding the secret weapon – tons of separate compartments to keep snacks, toys, games, crayons and myriad other kid props in their own place.
Get it from Jill E. for $169.99.
- Nature Baby Organics Travel Set
Allergist-approved for baby, the Nature Baby Organics travel set includes shampoo, body wash, conditioner, face and body moisturizer and can be used by every member of the family (one set lasts a family of four an entire week). Additionally, you should use the calming lavender aromatherapy spray liberally – perhaps even on your fellow passengers.
Get it from Nature Baby Organics for $15.95.
- Itzy Ritzy Wet Happened!
When you’re doing a ton of a laundry, suddenly keeping the dirty and clean separated en route and return is incredibly important. Toss your soiled baby clothes into the zip up Wet Happened! from Itzy Ritzy and forget about whatever it was that leaked, spilled or squirted all over that onesie. Available in fabulous styles and two sizes, you’ll wonder why you never traveled with a wet bag before.
Get it from Itzy Ritzy starting at $17.95.
- Coby Portable DVD Player
If you’re lucky your flight will come equipped with a personal TV on every seat. Why take that chance when you can guarantee a happy, occupied child with a portable DVD player? The Coby has traveled many miles with our family and reliably saves the day when all else fails. Travel tip: Pick up never-seen episodes of your child’s favorite shows to achieve maximum down time.
Get it from Amazon for $71.56.