12 Must-Have Family Travel Items
They say that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going, but with kids in tow that 'going' can get even tougher. So if you are traveling avec enfants, this handy list of gear can make the trip a bit easier.
1. Melissa & Doug Trunki
Function meets fabulousness with the fantastic Trunki ride-on suitcase. Pack away their necessities and put away the complaining about too much airport walking (and waiting). Literally made for kids, the Trunki line of products now offers a saddlebag that gives you extra packing space. Clip on to the suitcase during travel, then take off and wear when you get to your destination. Let them be their own sherpa for a change.
Available for $49.99 at www.cooltoysfortots.ca
2. Samsonite Sammies
What's cute, weighs just under four pounds, and rolls around a lot? Expectant mothers might guess their burgeoning baby-to-be, but we're giving points to anyone who guessed the Samsonite Sammies kids' suitcase. With great durability, retractable handle and chunky zipper pulls for small hands, kids will love how cute they look and parents will love having one less bag to carry.
Available for $80 at www.samsonite.ca
Help identify gear on the luggage carousel or hotel lobby with Toronto-based SwaggerTags. Personalize (with a photo, image or logo) the tag on the outside, and keep your personal information private on the inside.
Available for $3.99 at www.swaggertag.com
4. Tiny Diner Portable Placemats
'Experiencing the local culture' doesn't mean picking up everyone's germs and leftover food. Portable placemats make it easier, and more hygienic to feed kids on the go - wherever you go. Kiddopotomaus' Tiny Diner placemat is made from reusable PVC, it's latex and phthalate-free, wipes up easily and has a catch compartment for falling food. Just sayin'.
Available for $12.99 at www.naylanaturalcare.com
5. Sony Children's Headphones
Listen up. The portable entertainment device you brought (DVD player, iPhone, iPad) is only as good as the headphones that plug into it. There's nothing relaxing about forever fixing earphones that keep falling out/falling off/are uncomfortable/not loud enough... you get the idea. These Sony headphones for children come in pink or silver and have their own volume control and soft cushioning for maximum comfort, which means minimal interruptions for you.
Available for $14.99 at www.bestbuy.com
6. OXO Candela Tooli
If only the cavemen had thought of this first. Brighter than a candle, wind resistant, cool to the touch with an eight hour rechargeable life span, OXO's portable lights are perfect for taking with you. The dilemma is whether to use it as a reading light in the car, a nightlight in the hotel or a short light sabre - not its intended purpose, but boys will be boys. The Candela Zoom is likely the perfect light source for the modern age.
Available for $37 at www.babybot.com
7. Goober Baby Change Mat & Diaper Tote
Baby plus giant diaper bag plus world's tiniest washroom makes airline baby changing an Olympic sport. Whether you are in the air, or on the floor of a highway restroom (and God help you if you are), the Goober Baby Change Mat and Diaper Tote will make things easier. The Canadian-made, oversized and waterproof change pad (made of cotton) has a slot to hold diapers and wipes and rolls up easily.
Available for $30 at www.gooberbaby.com
8. Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag
There are a few guarantees in life. Experiencing a diaper explosion at the worst possible time (read: a long flight or car ride) is one of them. Keep calm and carry on with the help of the Planet Wise Wet/Dry bag that can handle the wet stuff without leaking, and has a dry pocket for a new diaper or onesie. It's perfect for swimming, potty training and more. When you're not using it for wet items, it's a great tote for dry items - diapers, change of clothes, cosmetics and anything else.
Available for $27.98 at www.bynature.ca
9. Especially for Baby Disposable Diaper Bags
Seal in the stink with Especially for Baby Diaper Disposal Bags that are much more than just a plastic grocery bag. These bags lock in odours and are lined with scented talc to keep the worst smells at bay. We know you'd never forget your kids, but if you temporarily forget about that dirty diaper wrapped up in your purse, it won't be the end of the world - or your olfactory sense - thanks to these bags.
$1.99 for 50, available at www.toysrus.ca
10. Phil&Teds Traveller Play Pen
Wouldn't it be great if there was a pack 'n' play that only weighed a few pounds and fit into an overhead compartment? Hats off to Phil&Teds, the smart New Zealand company that develops the most portable parenting products around. Their Traveller Play Pen will fit into any trunk and most overhead compartments. Look for Phil&Teds portable high chairs, too.
Available for $199 at www.babybot.com
10. Melissa & Doug Sleeping Bags
Sleepovers away from home will feel like great fun when they get to jump into Melissa & Doug's Sleeping Bags made from dense polyester. Six feet long, these cute animal and creature-themed sleeping bags may get them excited about bedtime, or not. Regardless, it'll keep them warm and will require little space in the trunk or overhead. Sleep on that idea.
Available for $30.75 at www.boutiqueyourbaby.com
10. The Shrunks Tuckaire Inflatable Toddler Bed
Good weather is key, but the quality of a family vacation depends on the quality of sleep you all get. Tuck them into an inflatable, portable, suitcase-ready bed from The Shrunks that allows for standard-sized crib or twin sheets to be tucked comfortably into the mattress. The raised side bumpers, which can be purchased separately, will prevent the kids (it comes in both toddler and big kid sizes) from rolling onto the floor, and maybe even (if you're lucky) from getting up at the crack of dawn.
Available for $99 at www.momstobeandmore.com
More Jaunt Family Reading
- Top 10 Travel Apps to Keep Your Kids Content
- 8 Great Tips for Flying With Kids
- 6 No-Screen Toys to Travel With