26 Traveling Moms & Their Top 3 Travel Must Haves

Brush? Check! iPhone? Check! Passport, wallet, credit cards? Check! Check! Check!

When you travel with children or for business, you most likely have a few items that you absolutely can not travel without. During my travels as a writer I’ve come to know some amazing women. These ladies travel with and without their families quite often so they definitely have the whole packing thing, down pat. I thought it would be fun to poll them on their own travel must-haves. What could we find in their travel bags? What are their must-haves while traveling by land, air and sea?

It was fun to compare them with my own personal picks:

  1. MD Mom’s Sunscreen Wipes are a must-have for our family and we don’t travel anywhere without them. They eliminate the mess that large sunscreen bottles tend to make and unlike full-sized sunscreen, they don’t have to be packed in your checked baggage. Another perk? They are safe for babies under 6 months!
  2. My iPhone is another travel must-have. Besides the obvious perk of staying in touch with family and friends, it is jam-packed with apps, maps and GPS services that make our travels a whole lot easier. I won’t leave the house without this little palm-sized electronic.
  3. Tea. I’m a big tea drinker and tend to drink a variety of green, white and herbal teas on a daily basis. The airlines don’t usually carry the brands or flavors that I usually drink, so I pack 4-5 bags in a Ziploc baggie and pop it in my carry-on before I leave.

The iPhone was definitely a popular choice among these 26 ladies! Click through to find out what their travel essentials are and be sure to check out their sites! They are all an inspiration in their own right.

  • What Are The 3 Things You Can’t Travel Without? 1 of 27
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    Many of these picks may already  be on your own 'must have' list when planning a trip, while quite a few of these products may surprise you!

  • Kim Orlando’s Picks 2 of 27
    kim orlando

    Traveling Mom, Traveling Dad, She Buys Cars

    1. Herbal tea, because caffeinated drinks make me a spaz.
    2. A travel insulated cup. I call it the Adult Sippy Cup.  My kids can't spill my drink on me!
    3. Huge gold hoop earrings - they look good with everything
  • Jennifer Miner’s Picks 3 of 27
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    The Vacation Gals

    1. There are a few items I always make sure to pack for traveling with my family. One is pretty common; our iPad gets loaded up with all sorts of videos and games for the kids, so that they can entertain themselves on a plane, or watch a pre-approved show at night in our hotel room. Any tablet would do, however, the iPad's simplify and ease of use has made it our go-to gadget since the first version hit the market!
    2. A second item I'm always sure to pack for trips with my kids is a small assortment of big, baggy t-shirts and old sneakers (for my children as well as myself). Not exactly runway-ready, sure. However, anyone with a few travel experiences under their belts knows that 1. fashion is less important than comfort on vacation and 2. sometimes the unexpected happens, things get muddy, or painted on, and it's better to be wearing something a few levels down the fashionista scale from that pair of Jimmy Choos. In fact, some of the best family travel experiences are the serendipitous, messy ones.
    3. The last item I always try to remember to pack is a travel pack of real Q-Tip brand ear swabs.  I know what your'e thinking: who cares about Q-Tips, and hey, Jennifer is kind of gross, right? Well, let me explain. We've all got our quirks. My quirk is that I can't stand those cheap, bendy cotton swabs provided by hotel toiletries. Q-Tips are more sturdy than those hotel versions, with thicker cotton. When my ears are clean and dry after my shower, I'm starting the day off right. But remember, no sticking those Q-Tips in your ear canals! An injured ear drum would really put a damper on a family vacation.
  • Evelyn Hannon’s Picks 4 of 27

    Journey Woman

    1. In Canada, members of Parliament often have a stash of Canadian-flag lapel pins. When I travel with my grandkids I keep some of these pins in my bag in case they want to give someone they meet a souvenir.
    2. I carry at least one bandana for each child travelling with me. It becomes a placemat for their airplane tray tables, a spur of the moment sun hat, a hand puppet, a wash cloth, a way to signal to each other in a market and a way to carry snacks (hobo style).
    3. Each day on the road, I dissolve a packet of Emergen-C in water. It gives me 1,000 mgs of Vitamin C and it keeps colds away. I swear by it.

    Need an extra? 

    Travelling with kids? I never, ever leave home without a pack of cards. From building card houses to playing Gin Rummy, we can stay occupied for really long periods of time.

  • Heather Greenwood Davis’ Picks 5 of 27
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    Globe Trotting Mama

    1. My laptop - I'm a writer. My laptop is like my left arm and I've never left home without that. Even if I never actually take it out, having it with me makes me feel like, should the mood strike, I could write the next great novel at any time. 
    2. Portable charger. You know what makes me crazy? That "10% left" message on my iPhone. My portable Fat Cat charger means knowing I can tweet my quips 'til the cows come home without worrying about a dead phone mid-tweet. 
    3. A sense of humour. Things can get crazy when you're traveling - flight delays, stinky seat mates, crazy drivers - having a sense of humour always makes any situation better. And if I can bring my husband along (he shares my "laugh so you don't cry" philosophy) all the better. 
  • Jacinda Cannon Boneau’s Picks 6 of 27

    Pretty Prudent

    1. My watercolour paints. -New places and experiences are where I get so much of my inspiration. 
    2. Cetaphil Gentle skin cleanser. Removes makeup and cleans skin with or without water. It's been my face's best friend since I was 14. 
    3.  Worishofer slingback sandals. Comfortable enough for a day or touring, cute enough for a nice dinner.
  • Elina Furman’s Picks 7 of 27
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    A-List Mom Travel

    1. Ralph Lauren Fedora. Nothing says travel more than a classic fedora! It's great to throw on when I don't have time to do my hair and it's a must-have for the beach when you need a little extra protection.
    2. Mara Hoffman Overssized Bag. A large bright oversized bag is perfect for any summer destination and you can fit all your kids toys and gadgets easily to take on the plane.
    3. Frends Rose Gold Headphones. I love the cool look of these and the ability to tune out the world or watch a movie while i'm en route to a new destination.

    And just one more!

    The New Travel Must Have (these are really great!)

  • Amie O’Shaughnessy’s Picks 8 of 27
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    Ciao Bambino

    1.  iPad. A device the size of a small magazine with unlimited books, movies, TV shows, and games ... how did we ever travel without it? 
    2.  Eminence Organics cleanser and mask. Long-haul flights are tough on skin. My landing ritual includes a deep facial cleanse and a mask or two, transforming my hotel room into a spa room.
    3.  Pashmina. Pashminas are a girl's best friend on the road as they work with practically any outfit and provide warmth without taking up precious packing space.
  • Keryn Means’ Picks 9 of 27

    Walking On Travels

    1.  iPhone- It's a phone, it's a camera, it's a movie theater, juke box, game center, book shelf, and organizer all in one. It keeps me connected with my friends, family and readers, my kids entertained, and a little more sanity in my life when our travel schedule gets a little hectic. 
    2. White noise machine- my small, travel noise machine creates a consistent environment for my family wherever we go. Beds and cities may change, but every night we go to sleep to the same sound. 
    3. Vaseline or chapstick- No matter where I travel I have dry lips and hands. A small tub of Vaseline in my bag gives instant relief to me, and my little family when we need it. 
  • Mara Gorman’s Picks 10 of 27

    Mother of All Trips

    1. My smartphone and its apps have become completely indispensible to me when I travel. I use it to keep track of our itinerary, including flight and confirmation numbers; to find restaurants and make reservations; for maps of everything from the subway to museums we are visiting; and to take photos and share them with Grandma before we get home. 
    2. BPA-free water bottles for each member of my family - It's important to me both that my family stays hydrated and that we leave as little of a footprint as we can when we're on the road. To avoid purchasing bottled water, I simply make sure we each have our own bottle that can be refilled at water fountains.
    3.  Gallon zipper plastic bags - I use them to carry everything from wet bathing suits to smelly shoes to Pokemon cards. The side pockets of all my suitcases are full of extras so that I'm never short.
  • Katja Presnal’s Picks 11 of 27

     Skimbaco Lifestyle

    • Passport & my American green card, because there are more US Embassies around the world than there are Finnish ones, and I sure hope they would help their resident in need. 
    • iPhone, because it's my lifeline. How else I could navigate if I didn't have my interactive map or how else I could Skype from anywhere in the world? Not to mention that I share all of my travels on Instagram as Skimbaco and love taking people virtually with me!
    • iGo wireless iPhone charger to keep my phone charged at all times. 
    These might be boring and self-evident, but I tend to travel lightly and am flexible and will survive if my favorite lipstick was left home 😉 
  • Anne Taylor Hartzell’s Picks 12 of 27

     Hip Travel Mama

    My Merin Bag: Great for carry on and on beach + by pool - waterproof bottom!
    My iPhone: work goes with me where i go, share photos social media.
    Pandora app: for sleepy kids in unfamiliar hotel rooms; for hanging out, good tunes to set the mood on vacation!

  • Carol Cain’s Picks 13 of 27

    Girl Gone Travel

    1. My camera and iPhone because the most fun part of travel blogging for me is sharing the images of where I am, whatever I am experiencing with my friends and readers. My goal at GirlGoneTravel is to want to make others want to travel, and I can't think of a better way to do that than through photography. And of course, my iPhone keeps me connected to everyone, especially my kids.
    2.  I also love to travel with something that belongs to my husband like a t-shirt- that I sleep with, because he is my home. 
    3.  Lastly, I have a black dress that I always travel with. It's versatile and can be dressed up or down and fits any occasion, not to mention it saves me from having to pack extra outfits!"


  • Nicole Feliciano’s Picks 14 of 27

    Mom Trends

    1. New Balance running shoes. A 3-5 mile jaunt is a great way to get your bearings and to work off the local delights. Running is a totally portable workout. I've logged miles in more than 45 countries--the rice paddies of Burma ranking among the most surreal spots.
    2.  Polly Pockets. Strange but true. These little dolls with their teeny tiny shoes are the go to toy for the past five years. They are so portable (unlike Barbie or an American Girl doll). We put them in ziplocs and go. They were a huge hit last summer in Turkey and Singapore. All the fun of a dress-up doll with none of the bulk.
    3.  Avon's Bug Guard Sunscreen. It's DEET-free and totally works. Multi-tasking products like this are a must. We try to jam it all into carry-on bags so products like this are essential.


  • Dana Rebmann’s Picks 15 of 27

    Dana Rebmann - Regular contributor for San Francisco's 7x7 and Ciao Bambino

    1. Narrowing down my travel must-haves to three isn't an easy task, but when push comes to shove, winners emerge. Though I wish they were smaller, my Bose noise canceling head phones are a must. Whether it's to listen to music at 30-thousand feet or get some much needed sleep, they make long flights feel shorter.
    2. Ziploc bags are good for anything and everything. Keeping toiletries organized, holding jewelry, crayons, seashells or any trip new finds. Hitting the ground running is the best way to explore new places, so my running shoes go everywhere with me. I cover more ground than walking and see things I'd miss in a car.
    3. Hitting the ground running is the best way to explore new places, so my running shoes go everywhere with me. I cover more ground than walking and see things I'd miss in a car. Good shoes take up valuable carry-on space, so I often wear them on the plane, giving me more room for other things I don't like to travel without!
  • Vera Sweeney’s Picks 16 of 27

    Lady and the Blog

    1. Dry Shampoo - If my hair needs a quick touch up, dry shampoo is THE quick solution. Available everywhere (and in travel size if you are only bringing on a carry on bag), this is my MUST HAVE beauty tool. 
    2. An Over-Sized Comfy Sweater - I don't care what time of the year it is, that plane ride will be too COLD for me. I need to wrap myself up when I am in route and an over-sized comfy sweater is my favorite travel companion. 
    3. Sunglasses - There are so many reasons why I need to bring sunglasses on a trip but I will give you just two. When I am on a plane or train and am in desperate need of a nap or just some quiet time, sunglasses prevent anyone from attempting to have a conversation with me. It's like a forcefield! AND - If I am touring a city and don't particularly feel like putting on a full face, sunglasses hide the fact that I am without makeup. Score!
  • Desiree Landers Miller’s Picks 17 of 27

     Stress Free Baby

    1. I can't travel without my phone. The phone is self-explanatory. I can call those I love, or those I need in case I end up lost somewhere. I can take pictures and shoot videos, and look up great places to visit or tweet or ask on Facebook for insider info on each location.
    2. My Travelers Club luggage with four wheels that doesn't require tilting to move has changed my life, saving my back when I have a long walk with the luggage (the Atlanta airport is more than a mile long from parking to the gate if the tram is down).
    3. My GABS purse from Italy is really an all-in-one that fits everything and anything in it, from a laptop to a toothbrush to a pair of flip flops (the stuff in it doesn't have to count on my list of three items, right?!). There is also a tag sewn in that reminds me to 'Have a Nice Day!'.
  • Corinne McDermott’s Picks 18 of 27
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    Have Baby Will Travel

    1. Wipes. Wipes. Wipes. Even though my kids are (blessedly!) no longer in diapers, I always travel with a package of diaper wipes. They are handy for spills, hand washing, and cleaning gross surfaces we sometimes have to touch. (A certain airplane washroom comes to mind - *shudder*).
    2. iPad... Probably the single biggest item to make a traveling parent's life easier - bags are lighter (no books!) kids are quiet (new apps and shows!) and I can usually steal a few minutes with an old school book or magazine. Limiting access to technology at home makes the unfettered access on travel days that much sweeter for my kids
    3. My Kids. Seriously. I don't like traveling without them. My husband, too. Whenever work has dictated that I go somewhere solo, I spend the entire time thinking of places and things my family would enjoy. And they love traveling so much that they always want to come - win win.
  • Jaime Morrison Curtis’ Picks 19 of 27
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    Pretty Prudent

    1. Dry shampoo. It buys me time between having to wash/dry/style my greasy hair.
    2. A watch. I normally never wear a watch but for avoiding jetlag my best trick is to start wearing a watch set to the time at my destination a few hours before I leave for the airport. It tricks your mind into getting on schedule ahead of time.
    3. A small makeup bag filled with all of my chargers/cords/headphones/camera batteries. This way they don't get all tangled up in my carry on and I always know where they are.


  • Elizabeth Thorp’s Picks 20 of 27
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    1. My Louis Vuitton Neverfull tote. It's the perfect carry on to store all my gear, ages beautifully and also has served me well as a beach bag.
    2. iPad with my favorite apps -- Instagram, Skype/Facetime for staying in touch w/ the family, FlightAware for tracking my flight, Turbulence Forecast since I'm not a great flier (ironic), ibookstore (love to read) and Words with Friends.
    3. Earplugs and an eye mask. I'm a light sleeper so this is key for both the plane and hotel. 
  • Jodi Grundig’s Picks 21 of 27
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    Family Travel Magazine


    1. Benadryl - Having a child with food allergies means that I never travel anywhere without my Benadryl. Plus, in a pinch it can be used for motion sickness.
    2. Gallon-sized Ziploc Bags - perfect for everything from wet swimsuits to protecting your phone while on a water ride.
    3. Power Strip - most hotels don't have nearly enough outlets to power up our devices
  • Whitney Wingerd’s Picks 22 of 27
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    1.  Extra charger. I always pack 2 portable chargers from Kensington that I have as a back up to juice my iPhone or iPad in case I can't find an outlet!
    2. Change of clothes for each of us. (For airline travel)  We each carry small backpacks and I always have a small rolled up outfit for each of us in case our luggage is lost! There's nothing worse than having that grimey airplane feel and no clothes to change into!
    3.  Wipes/antibacterial towelettes. Because with kids, there's always inevitably a mess of some sort to clean up! (I like Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes too for just freshening your face and hands up)
  • Colleen Lanin’s Picks 23 of 27
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     Travel Mamas

    1. My iPhone. It works as GPS to find my way around a new town, a watch so I
      know what time it is, and a pocket-sized camera when I don't want to lug my
      big one around. My iPhone also provides oodles of entertainment for me and
      my kids with books on Kindle, video games, and videos.
    2. Fiber. My family tends to get a bit (ahem!) backed up when we travel. To
      avoid traveler's constipation, I always bring along some Benefiber Stick
      Packs. These powder packs dissolve easily in a cup of coffee or juice. If
      that doesn't get things moving, I pull out the big guns: Miralax in travel
      pouches. This powdered laxative has no flavor so even my very picky
      preschooler doesn't mind when I add it to his sippy cup.
    3. Antibacterial gel. When visiting museums, amusement parks, and other
      attractions it's easy to come into contact with germs that can ruin a
      hard-earned vacation. I love the Pocketbac Hand Gels from Bath & BodyWorks
      for their fun fruity or floral scents. Stay healthy by clipping one of these
      mini germ-killers onto your diaper bag or purse with one of their handy
      PocketBac holders.
  • Amy Querido’s Picks 24 of 27

    Q Family Adventures 

    1. My first and foremost thing I can't live without when traveling is my iPhone & charger. I have everything on my phone from my flight reservation, password to various sites as well as Google Drive app to access my detail spreadsheet for our trip. So yeah, it's the first thing I make sure I have.
    2. My DSLR Canon camera. I love to take pictures especially during our trip and I will feel naked without my camera. 
    3.  My sunglasses. My eyes are fairly sensitive to light so I can't live without my sunglasses. I even wore them during the rainy day (if it's not too cloudy or dark).



  • Audrey McClelland’s Picks 25 of 27

    Mom Generations

    1. NOOK Color with all my romance novels downloaded! 🙂 
    2. Lip Gloss (don't laugh!) My lips get so chapped when I travel.
    3.  Sunglasses
  • Kim-Marie Evans’ Picks 26 of 27

    Luxury Travel Mom

    1. A cashmere blanket and socks. Planes are always cold and if you manage to get a blanket it's always dirty.
    2. My Brookstone portable charger-it charges my phone and my iPad on the road. I hate sitting on the floor of the airport just to find power, this charger actually holds a lot of juice.
    3. Medical travel insurance. I travel to third world countries, sometimes with my children, I want to know that we can get the medical care we need if an emergency arises.
  • Andrea Fellman’s Picks 27 of 27

    Savvy Sassy Moms


    1. I love my Macbook Air because it is so light and can easily fit in a large handbag or carryon. It is essential because usually while I am traveling I have to squeeze in some work too.
    2. The headphones are a must for plane travel to watch movies, listen to music and drown out any unwanted airplane noise.  
    3. I always travel with a scarf or two.  I tend to get cold and it's the easiest accessory to change up an outfit.

Find more of Nadia’s writing on her site Child Mode. You can also find her on Disney Baby and Hip Baby. Love social media? So does she! Follow her daily on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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