Whether it’s a road trip to see abuela or a grand-scale European vacation with multiple plane trips, families everywhere are revving up for fun spring and summer travel. And as anyone who’s ever traveled with little kids knows, efficiency is key! If you’re getting for a trip with the kiddos, there are so many useful travel must-haves that will make the trek a breeze. Check out some of our favorite kids travel gear this summer.
Read Related: 10 Tips for Smart Traveling with Kids
FOR ROAD & PLANE TRIPS
One for the Road
If your vacation plans include visiting family, chances are they won’t have a toddler car booster seat in their vehicle or for the dinner table. And you can’t necessarily rely on car rental agencies to provide them either, at least not without being charged a small fortune. Be prepared by bringing along a BubbleBum, the portable and inflatable car booster seat that won’t take up much space in your luggage. $29.99 from BubbleBum, Target, BabiesRUs and Walmart.
Organized Chaos in the Backseat
The term “road trip” might strike fear into the hearts of many parents, but Prince Lionheart’s fantastic kids travel gear like the Back Seat Organizer ($25) keeps little ones occupied and their toys, books, sippy cups and snacks organized. For babies, we also like the Baby View Mirror ($17).
Save the stroller!
Last time we took a long-haul flight and gate-checked a stroller, it was returned to us with pieces missing. That’s why we’re thrilled with this Stroller Gate Check Bag ($24), also from Prince Lionheart. We’re not sure the baggage handlers will read the cute message, but it can’t hurt! There’s a similar model if you’re toting a car seat, too.
Sun & Pest Protection
Your sightseeing plans don’t have to mess up your toddler’s nap schedule, or vice-versa. The SnoozeShade ($59.99) fits on most stroller types and keeps off the sun’s rays, mosquitoes and other elements while staying 100% breathable and safe. You can also use “lookout mode” to let your little one see what’s going on around him while still getting UV protection. Smaller babies will benefit from the CozySun Cover ($14.99), which fits on infant carriers and offers full UV and bug protection.
Bug Spray & Sunblock
Little kids are every bit as vulnerable to bug bites and sunburn as adults are. But most adult products are not kid friendly, as they contain too many toxins, especially for little ones who still put their hands in their mouths. Daddy’s Natural Bug Spray (9.95) and Sunblock Lotion ($19.95) are chemical and DEET-free and made with all-natural ingredients.
If you want to make sure your kids continue to eat and drink healthily while you’re on the road, BooginHead’s Squeez’Ems ($6.99) and Pack’Ems ($9.99) are essential kids travel gear. These reusable food and drink packs allow you to make your own smoothies and snacks. They’re portable and great tossed in the cooler—and no doubt healthier than anything you’ll find at a convenience store or beachfront concession stand.
In Case of Emergency
No one plans for an emergency while on vacation—that’s why they’re called emergencies. In the unlikely event you find yourself in the ER away from home, Kinsights’ Personal Pediatric Health Record allows you to keep track of your children’s health information electronically. Just print off a copy before your trip or access it on your mobile device. Best of all, it’s free for all parents living in the U.S.