We’ve all been there…crossing off the days on the calendar until the long-awaited vacation dates arrive. Having slaved away for this well-deserved family break during the year, so much is counting on the experience being fun, restful and bonding. Quality time, in other words. However, this precious time together could be more of a quarrelsome time, as parents compete for a few moments of relaxation among fractious children and their perpetual demands. In short, travelling with kids can be a handful.
Do not despair! This compilation of 15 must have travel items and gadgets for kids will aid your chances of vacation bliss being surrounded by joyful, contented loved-ones.
Packing When Travelling with Kids
Don’t get me wrong, there are some among us who buy tissue paper and carefully wrap each meticulously-ironed garment separately before carefully arranging them into our matching collection of cases and enjoy every second…maybe more so that the trip itself? That’s definitely the exception rather than the rule, though, especially when travelling with kids! Back to reality: grabbing clothing out of drawers and yanking off coat-hangers. Then, squeezing the whole family’s attire into stressed, worn-out suitcases is what most of us mortals do. And usually the day before we leave, or even the morning of. Which leads me to the first of my 15 must have travel items:
Buy your young child their own suitcase. Not just a case, but a ride-on case that is the perfect size as a carry-on bag. Ingenious! No more whining and moaning at the airport as your little horror can jump on and enjoy being pulled along. It’s the perfect item for travelling with kids. It also alleviates your stress, knowing exactly where your intrepid wanderer is. When you arrive at the interminable line at check-in, you have somewhere for the little-one to rest up (so that they’re not getting under anyone else’s wheels)!
Separating your child’s clothes from yours is a great way to instill organization into your packing. You won’t have to hunt around for the diapers, for instance, in the event of a panicked, pre-flight change.
So, what else should you organize for a young child or toddler?
#2 – Snack & Play Travel Tray with Dry Erase Top 40×32 cm, Lenbest Premium Child Play Tray for Car, Stroller, Plane
This is a singing-and-dancing entertainment/feeding station for travelling with kids. It attaches to a car seat to enable play in the car and also serves as a snack tray. The stretchable mesh pockets store toys, diapers, bottles, and snacks. This clever creation can be taken onto the plane and clipped onto highchairs. It’s ultra-versatile and will distract the most trying of toddlers in the most stressful situations. Those are the ones where you need your child to be the sweet darling you want all the judgmental, fellow (smug) passengers to see them as.
My child is at the age when only a cool gadget can suffice…what can I buy?
By ‘cool’ we mean electronic, right? By the age of six or seven anything made out of paper is often discarded with disgust by our tech-savvy kids. Book? Are you for real? These headphones are quite incredible as they (if we think outside of the box here) could transmit educationally-benefiting stories to your electronically-hungry child. Or whatever they’re into that keeps them quiet and entertained. After all, that’s the true purpose of a lot of these gadgets for travelling with kids.
The snuggly material they are constructed out of may induce even the most hyper-alert child of the family into a subdued state of surrender. Whether you’re on a transatlantic flight, or bumpy ride through Italian countryside to your vacation villa, they’re very useful. And, if your child snoozes off, you can pull the headphones over their undemanding eyes as they transform into an eye mask! Respect to the person who designed this simple, yet stress-relieving, device! It’s a great choice for travelling with kids and keeping them entertained in style.
But little Johnny wants to play a game….any other cool gadgets out there?
If it has been on your agenda to purchase an iPad before your trip, especially if it is a long one, now would be a great time. Again, one of the secrets of travelling with kids is to give them plenty of opportunities for entertainment they enjoy. Imagine if the trip was a surprise and you carried your child down to the car, only to discover one of these bad boys on the seat? Forget the trip, I’m in heaven, thinks your child. Load up heaps of educational apps, too. Then, as well as the mind-numbing but attention-grabbing games, voila; an extremely content child. If you can pry it away, the iPad can be used as a navigational tool for adults, too. Good luck with that, though!
Mom’s turn for a new piece of gear for travelling with kids. Back in the day, travelling used to always be a glamorous affair. Dressing up was the norm when flying to vacation destinations. All too often these days we see young parents burdened with strollers, car seats and yes, the dreaded, well-used diaper bag. There’s nothing glamorous about these necessary mobile bottom cleaners. But there CAN be. This Satchel Diaper Bag delivers more than wipes and cream – they resemble a fashionable tote bag. Even the many useful pockets and disguised bottle pockets don’t give it away. There’s no way you’d know there was a changing pad inside it, either. So, stroll with elegance and pride when embarking on your plane journey.
Let’s have a quick break from the 15 must have travel items and gadgets for kids list. How about some top tips to answer some frequently asked questions regarding travelling with kids?
How is it possible to reduce the stress when flying with young children?
A good suggestion is to lower your expectations. Let’s face it, it isn’t going to be a walk in the park! However, there are lots of ways we can prepare to take the fright out of the flight. Remember to take something for your young child to suck during take-off and landing. The changing air-pressure plays havoc with the internals of their tender ears. A lollypop would be a good idea so choking is avoided. But, don’t – whatever you do – let your child run up and down the aisle with a lollypop and stick in their mouths. Otherwise, there will be an immediate call of, “Is there a doctor onboard?”
Finger puppets are fun; your children will love them! Hopefully the smug snuggled-up, child-free couple on the seats in front of you will enjoy the show, too. Don’t underestimate the power of the on-board entertainment, either. A Disney film would have your child transfixed for as long as it runs, and you can have a family sing-a-long to Frozen as you fly over the Arctic Circle. Basically, whatever is on offer to aid keeping your young ones happy, you should take advantage of. Avoiding the screaming child is of utmost importance when travelling with kids!
Now back to our list, and onto travel gear.
Larger equipment must be included in our 15 (must have) gadgets for kids and travel gear list. Toddlers and small children require equipment to aid sleeping, eating and travelling.
Instead of doubling as a suitcase, this sturdy, ride-on box has a bed inside. When travelling with kids to a hotel, villa or camping, this will solve your toddler’s safe sleeping issues. No need to take along a cumbersome bed guard that would undoubtedly not fit the unknown bed at your destination. That’s the kind of frustrating problem that always awaits parents eager to chill out after a long trip. Instead, you can pull your child merrily down the leafy lane to your poolside residence, tip them off at the door and, hey presto! In a wink of a travel-weary eye, the perfect bed, with covers ready to go. One more nagging worry to tick off the list.
You’re going to need a stroller if your child is of that particular age. Picture it. You’ve had a restful time on the beach, you’re glammed up and ready to stroll out to the Tuscan Tavella a few hundred meters away along the coastal path. A hundred feet can seem like a hundred miles, however, if you’re dragging along an uncooperative toddler. That’s especially true if they are determined to walk and pick up every little shiny pebble on the beach. You want to eat and have a glass of pino grigio, let’s be honest.
When selecting a stroller for travelling with kids, you’re not looking for the sturdiest of vehicles. Study equals heavy and that’s not useful when you have so much luggage and want to keep the cost down when flying. Being light is key, and that’s exactly what this travel stroller boasts. At only 9.5 lbs. it is, in fact, the lightest on the market. Don’t be deceived, however, as it is also incredibly strong. It’s built using high quality, durable materials. The Pockit can hold a child from 6 months up to 55 pounds as well as 11 pounds of gear in its convenient storage basket. Not bad!
#8 – Totseat
Travel – check, bed – check, now to resolve the eating dilemma. Do you really want to pack your wooden, heavy high chair you use at home? You know, the one encrusted with three-week-old jam? No. I didn’t think so. Just slip this nifty piece of fabric into your snazzy Satchel Diaper bag and whip it out to cover any chair, no matter what shape and size.
#9 – Boba 3G Carrier
Tiny infants are too small for strollers, so you’re going to need to invest in a baby carrier. The Boba 3G Carrier is excellent as it grows with your infant. The insert adjusts accordingly to accommodate newborns to infants up to 15 lbs. The forward-facing aspect allows interaction between you and your passenger, and the comfort that you know the little one’s all right. When they are on your back, it’s so infuriating when you have to check their position in the reflection of shop windows. The wonderful side effect of the carriers are that babies are lulled to sleep by the rocking motion of your stride, together with feeling the closeness of your body. And here’s a free travelling with kids tip – encourage your other half to strap it on and take junior for a long walk along the seafront while you catch a few rays, or 40 winks.
Now we turn our attention to the beach.
I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to take one of these for your young person – that is if you want to protect them from the harmful rays of the sun. It is well-known now that a child who suffers sunburn under the age of 10 is so much more likely to suffer from skin cancer. So, it’s a no-brainer to take a pop-up sunshade with you for the beach. They are brilliant capsules for, not only your fair-skinned babies, but food and drink you take with you to the beach. We all hate the gritty-bite of a sandwich laden with sand. Also, you can stash the sun lotion in there too. Avoid the sand creeping in, so you’re not rubbing rough exfoliation lotion on when you really just want UV protection! It’s a great resource for use at the beach when travelling with kids.
You shouldn’t go near a beach without sunscreen. Buy it in bulk – well enough for the first day or so and then buy more from the local supermarket. This is a great sunscreen as it is has a broad spectrum UVB and UVA protection and sprays on. There’s nothing worse than having to smear lotion over your wriggling, eel-like toddler.
Fill this with delicious sandwiches and cooling drinks that will stay cool and stash it in your tent. You’ll be the envy of all around you. This lightweight bag measures 20”x16”x6” and surprisingly can carry 4 large beach towels, 12 cans of drinks, and also boasts two external pockets. One even zips so that you can stash your valuables (as we all take our cellphones to the beach for those very necessary selfies to send home). A great all-around beach item when travelling with kids, or even just on your own as a couple or solo.
If you also would like to have some respite from the sun, this sunshade will do the trick. It will offer the shade, but not the protection of your gear from the sand. After all, it is only a shade rather than a tent. However, it might save the rest of the family from excessive sun exposure. Just imagine: the whole family inside; the closeness; the intimacy; how about a game of cards? Maybe it’s time to venture out and go for a splash in the sea! Don’t forget the sunscreen though!
They dry quickly, are absorbent, and finally, sand won’t stick to them! Hooray! We’ve all been there; wafting our towels in the air to remove the annoying sand. Then, of course, the horror as we realize we only succeeded in annoying the slicked-up sun goddess behind us who now looks like a sand sculpture! With these towels there will be no need for that! When you return from your 50 foot swim in the ocean, you can flop onto your soft, sand-free, fluffy towel and relax. Heaven!
#15 – A Sense of Humor
Perhaps the most important thing for travelling with kids is keeping a sense of humor about yourself. It will protect you from everything and anything the vacation from hell can throw at you! Unfortunately, this in not for sale on Amazon. Add your name to the waiting list and maybe, just maybe, one may be delivered to you during the night, from somewhere, or someone, a few months before you start to prepare for your vacation.
We hope you enjoyed this article! Please feel free to comment with suggestions for new content and follow us so you’ll never miss another post.
ALSO READ: 38 Ways to Make Time for Kids