Here we take a look at all the best kids travel accessories that will help make travelling with kids less stressful and a little easier.
Travelling with kids can be stressful. And exhausting. We know this, so we are always on the lookout for travel accessories that help make life a little easier.
Over the years we have tried out what seems like a gazillion different travel gear for kids, from travel cots to luggage, to headphones. We’ve tried car seats, booster seats, travel pillows, you name it, we’ve tried them out… all in the name of making the travel game a little easier.
There’s a few things that didn’t work along the way, but today we’re concentrating on what IS worth splashing out on.
From kids ride on luggage to a car seat travel tray and a travel baby gate, here is a round-up of the best kids and baby travel accessories, as tried and tested by us.
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Table of Contents
Kids Ride on Luggage
The Trunki is probably the most famous kids ride on suitcase, and with good reason – my kids LOVED their Trunkis before they got too big for them.
These children’s suitcases on wheels come in a range of fun designs, including Ladybirds, Tigers and even the Gruffalo, and help make the journey through the airport more fun for the kids – and easier for mum and dad.
My kids love to ride on the Trunki kids travel suitcase and race to see who can get to the gate first. This kids rolling suitcase also gives you plenty of room to store the kids travel gear – such as change of clothes, nappies, wet wipes, toys, books etc so that you don’t have to clog up your own hand luggage with all their travel items for kids.
Portable Booster Seat
A great option for a portable car booster seat is the Bubblebum. If like us you often take a taxi to/from the airport and travel by taxi when on vacation, having a portable booster seat is essential for the car safety of the kids.
The Bubblebum is an inflatable booster seat, so you can blow it up when needed then deflate and pack away in your hand luggage when it’s not in use.
Another great option is the Mifold foldable booster seat. The Mifold is one-tenth of the size of a regular car booster seat and folds up small enough to fit in your handbag or in the kids cabin luggage.
RideSafer Travel Vest
When your children are small babies, it is easy to carry their car seat with you everywhere to strap into taxis or cars. However once they are too big for the baby car seats, but not yet big enough for a booster seat, it can be worrying trying to ensure their safety in a taxi or for an airport transfer.
When my son was at this in-between stage, we used a RideSafer Travel Vest. It looks a bit like he’s about to go parachuting, but it positions the car seat belts correctly on him so that he is secured in the vehicle.
The RideSafer Travel Vest can also be used for older children (up to about aged 8), in place of a booster seat – which is also a great option for travelling as it easily folds up into your suitcase.
I don’t know how I would have managed all the travel we did in the early days without my baby carrier.
It frees up your hands in airports to rummage around for passports (or wet wipes, or crayons), it is a lifesaver for carrying sleeping children on and off planes, and it means you can go on hikes or continue with non-buggy friendly sightseeing wherever you go.
I have tried several different baby carriers (we had a tendency to leave them on planes, trains and in hotel rooms), but probably my favourite for travelling has been one our BabyBjorn Carrier One Air as it was lightweight and easy to use.
Click here to read more recommendations for the Best Baby Carriers for Travel.
Pop Up Travel Cot
Unless you always want to be sharing your bed with a wriggling child, a small travel cot is a great investment for travelling with children. We always used the BabyBjörn Travel Cot and I cannot praise a pop up cot like this enough.
This travel crib is SO easy to set up – it takes about two minutes as you literally just take it out of the bag and pop it up – then place the travel cot mattress inside. There is no fiddling about with attaching legs or figuring out which bit goes where.
It is also super-light – just 6kgs – so a great baby travel bed for airplane travel when you don’t want to use up your weight allowance. The Phil & Teds travel cot is very similar (and even lighter) and has the added benefit of the side unzipping, so it can double as a travel play pen. The Lotus travel cot is another similar and popular choice.
Kids Travel Bed
What do you do when your kids grow out of their travel cot? Buy a portable toddler bed!
We often have just one hotel room for four of us (two adults, two kids) but not many hotels will provide you with two rollaway beds, so a kids blow-up bed is an ideal solution.
An inflatable toddler bed is also very handy for when you are staying with family and friends.
There are several options when it comes to a toddler bed. Ideally you want one that will fold up small enough to fit in your suitcase or not add too much bulk to your luggage. An inflatable one is ideal for air travel.
One of our top picks is the Shrunks, which comes with an electric pump to make for quick and easy set-up if you arrive at your destination late at night.
Portable High Chair
A portable high chair is designed to safely secure your child into an adult chair – no need to bounce your kid on your knee while you eat, or push the buggy up to the table and risk it getting covered in bolognese sauce.
A fabric travel high chair folds up small enough to fit in your handbag, can be used on almost any adult chair and is machine washable.
A folding high chair like this is perfect for eating in restaurants, or holiday rental accommodation that doesn’t have a high chair – we used ours all over the world and it definitely made life a lot easier.
Travel Stair Gate
We once arrived in our holiday accommodation to discover that there was a really steep set of stairs leading from the front door to the living room – not great when we had a very active toddler with us!
We ended up using two suitcases to block the entrance to the stairs. After that we invested in a travel baby gate to ensure we had additional peace of mind.
Our travel safety gate is lightweight, adjustable and easy to use, and we have used it many a time – in both holiday rental accommodation and when visiting friends and relatives.
Kids Carry On Luggage
Another great product from Trunki, the BoostApaks are kids travel bags that double as portable booster seats for the car. We often use the BoostApaks as children’s cabin luggage, so that we have a car booster seat with us when we reach our destination.
For kids hand luggage, it has 8 litres of capacity inside for any travel essentials (although nothing you need to get out when you are in the car, as your child will be sitting on it) and can be carried as a backpack when not being used as a booster seat.
It is however quite bulky and heavy as children’s hand luggage – which means mum inevitably ends up carrying it…
If my kids weren’t using the Trunki or the Boostapak, they would use a kids wheeled suitcase like the one below. This allows them to pull their own case through the airport and have all their carry on items together.
Inflatable Travel Pillow
Inflatable travel pillows for kids that fills the legroom gap on the airplane, effectively turning your child’s economy seat into a flatbed, are all the rage these days.
When deflated, the pillow is small enough to squeeze into your children’s travel bags, and when inflated it fills the footwell in front of the seat, allowing your kids to stretch out.
We love our 1st Class Kid Travel Pillow and there are several similar kids travel pillows on the market now – including the Flytot, JetKids Bed Box and Fly Legsup. Do check with your airline as several airlines have banned the use of these inflatable travel pillows for kids.
Before I had kids, I once spent an eight-hour overnight flight from Singapore to Sydney cursing the parents of a toddler who was sitting next to me, playing Dora the Explorer on her iPad at full volume. Nobody needs to hear that. Not even now that I am a mother and can recite every Dora episode by heart.
So do everybody else on the plane a favour and invest in some kids headphones for your children.
The Puro Junior Jams Headphones are often considered to be the best headphones for kids – they are certainly funky and come in a range of colours. I recently purchased the Onanoff Buddyphones for my kids, which are also great.
There’s a choice of colours, and each headset can be further personalized with the included stickers. They’re adjustable, comfortable and have a built-in audio splitter, meaning up to four kids can plug into one iPad at the same time.
We have recently reviewed several other kids headphones brands. Click here to read which we think are the best kids headphones for travel.
Whatever headphones you choose, make sure they come with a volume limit on them to protect your kids ears.
Snack and Play Travel Tray
If you have a long road trip in your future, then a portable snack and play tray is a great investment. This gives your kids a wide flat surface to play on, while the deep rim around the edge prevents toys and snacks falling on the floor.
There are also pockets for a drinks bottle, books and toys, making this one of the best car accessories for kids.
My son has used his kids travel tray on the plane, in the car – and even on his stroller. The belt helps keep the kids activity tray in place, even if he nods off in the middle of the car journey. Some newer models even have a dry-erase surface for drawing on.
Worrying about how to keep baby bottles sterilized when travelling is one of the biggest concerns for parents planning a trip – particularly if you are travelling to parts of the World where safe drinking water is a consideration.
I swore by cold water sterilizer bags when my kids were babies. These plastic bags are big enough to hold all your baby bottles and contain sterilizer tablets so all you need to do is add water (no matter what water) and leave them to soak. These Milton steriliser tablets do the same thing.
Bottles are sterilized in just 15 minutes, and you just need to use a new bag every 24 hours. The bags have drawstring handles so can be hung on the back of the bathroom door in a hotel room.
If you are going to have access to a microwave while travelling, then the microwave steam sterilizer bags are probably your best bet. These take just minutes to sterilize your bottles, and can be re-used several times, making them a more economical option too.
Waterproof, Shockproof Camera
Like most parents, I love taking photos of the kids when we are travelling. Now that my kids are getting older, they love trying to take photos too… which is why I recently invested in a good waterproof, shockproof camera to save my iPhone from further damage.
I opted for the Olympus Stylus Tough camera, which was a great investment.
We can take it in the swimming pool and the sea for underwater pictures, take it to the beach or skiing and I can happily let my kids run around with it taking pictures without worrying too much about her dropping it. Definitely a good investment.
Did I miss your favourite kids and baby travel gear? Let me know in the comments below!