Whether you frequently travel with kids or this is your first time, your trip will go a lot easier if you do some preplanning. These items came from all over the world, and they’re some of the best travel accessories to have on hand if you’re traveling with kids.
Related To: Travel Accessories for Women
Accessories for Planes and Cars
The first part of graduating is actually getting to your destination. This collection of items is designed to keep kids safe, organized, and occupied as you travel by car, plane, or even train or bus.
1. Inflatable Booster Car Seat
An inflatable booster seat is perfect for elementary age children who have outgrown a typical car seat, but still want to be elevated. Try to find a model that has been approved by the FAA so that you can use it on plane rides (otherwise you may be asked to remove it during take-off and landing).
2. Seatbelt Neck Pillow
These specially designed pillows wrap around the seatbelt so that the child can rest against the belt without the pillow slipping. Again, there are hundreds of styles available, but our favorites are still the animals. Some parents also view these travel accessories as a safety accessory as well.
The seatbelt animal can remind kids to buckle their seatbelt when they get in the car, and some models will even help to cushion the impact of the safety belt in the event of a very severe crash.
3. Backseat Organizer
These backseat organizers are designed to attach to the driver and passenger seats with Velcro straps, creating an organizer with a lot of different pockets facing the children who sit in the back of a car. Some of our favorites are versions made by real parents that are sold on online marketplaces like etsy.
Look for organizers that have a wide variety of pocket sizes; it’s nice to have a place to store everything without it getting jumbled together. Consider if you really want versions that include storage for snacks and drinks, while this may prevent things from getting too messy, you’ll need to clean the organizer a lot more often.
A high-quality backpack is an absolute essential item for every child who is traveling. Use it as their personal item to carry stuff through an airport, then use it to pack and store their daily stuff during the trip itself.
By the way, it may be possible to save some money here by buying a backpack that is ideal for both travel and school. It’s better to invest in a high-quality brand than it is to replace backpacks every year, but make sure your child is of an age where they are ready to take care of it.
2. Rolling Luggage
A rolling suitcase is a must-have if you want to get a child to carry their own luggage anywhere. Even the lightest suitcases are about 30 pounds when fully packed, which is way too heavy for most elementary aged children to carry on their own for any reasonable length of time. Investing in a set of wheeled luggage will allow you to get through hotels and airport a lot faster.
3. Travel Shoe Bags
Let’s face it, kids’ shoes can get filthy. If they’re at an age where they want to pack by themselves, or if you just need them to be packed in a hurry, you’ll need something to keep the dirt and grime from getting on their clean clothes. If you can, invest in shoe bags that have a waterproof lining.
This allows you to store items that are wet, such as wet shoes and clothes, without getting everything else in the suitcase wet.
4. Luggage Tags
Luggage can all look the same when it comes time to pick it off the carousel a the airport or out of a pile at a hotel. Make sure that it is uniquely your child’s by labeling it with a unique luggage tag. Look for some that are bright, colorful, and easy to spot.
5. Packing Cubes
For short trips, pack your child’s outfits for each day. This should make getting dressed a lot easier in the morning, especially if it’s possible to label each cube with the day and that day’s planned activities.
6. Water Bottle
Kids seem to be constantly thirsty, but it’s next to impossible to find a working water fountain anywhere anymore. Packing a water bottle in their backpack everyday ensures that they’ll always have something to drink, and you won’t waste a ton of money and plastic on buying water everywhere you go. If possible, look for a bottle that is collapsible. they’re usually lighter, and it will take up less space when it’s empty.
7. Power Adapter
In the old days, this would have been an adults only item that would only have been needed if you were traveling out of the country. Today, however, this is an essential item for any kid who has a phone, tablet, or any other electronic item that needs to be charged. Forget it, and you’ll spend your whole trip with them pulling your stuff off the charger so they can charge their stuff.
Toys and Games
Whether it be an iPad, Fire, or other brand, tablets can be one of the best accessories for kids when you’re traveling. Use one to store games, books, and communication information. It will provide hours of entertainment in the car or on a plane, and be a wonderful back-up if you end up stuck in your hotel.
Plenty of parents use them to store bedtime stories or short videos to get kids calmed down after a long day of adventures. Yes, it might be the most expensive item on this list, but you’ll be glad you made the investment.
Buy a good pair of headphones to go along with the tablet. Kids love to turn the sound up on video games and movies, and having the headphones means you won’t have to listen too. If you’re traveling with others, getting your child headphones is the only courteous thing to do. Look for a pair that is designed for children. These tend to fit better, and they’ll be more comfortable.
3. Travel Bingo
Look for this classic travel game in dollar stores and big box department stores. You’ll need a card for each child. Players will mark off or close small windows for each item they see on the road. The game is relatively simple, but it can keep kids occupied for hours.
4. Travel Journal
A simple blank book can be filled with a child’s memories of your trip. Have them combine what they write with hand-drawn pictures and photographs that they take.
5. World Map Coloring Posters
As your child explores a country, they get to color it in. The poster can be displayed in their room, and they can plan their next adventure by deciding where they want to color next. Also look for versions of this poster showcasing all 50 states or the national parks. These are not only great decorations, but they make for really great conversation pieces as well.
Clothing and Other Wearables
1. Mosquito Bands
These bracelets are a lot easier to convince kids to wear than spraying them down with insect repellent. The bands are a lot less messier too. Rather than trying to pack insect repellant that inevitably leaks from their plastic or metal bottles, these bands are completely solid. Most brands will last up to 30 days, so you’ll be insect-free for your entire trip.
2. Rain Ponchos
Unless you’re vacationing in the desert, you’ll want to make sure that your kids have something to protect them when it rains. Look for a rain poncho that is lightweight and can be folded into a small size to make it easy to store in a car or backpack.
1. Blanket and Pillow Set
Give each child you’re traveling with their own pillow and blanket uniquely themed for them. These sets come in a variety of patterns (our favorites are animal-themed sets). They’re great for encouraging kids to fall asleep in the car or in the airport. It also gives them a way to calm down when things get too stressful. Ideally, find a set that folds down to a compact size.
2. Portable Window Blackout Blind Shades
Don’t you hate it when you’re on vacation and your kids are up as soon as the first ray of light comes through the hotel window? Prevent this from becoming an issue with portable blackout curtains. These curtains attach via Velcro to the existing window rod and should keep the room dark all morning long. Of course, they’re also perfect for any adults who are light sleepers, too.
3. Inflatable Bed
Whether Grandma’s house just doesn’t have enough beds, or your hotel room just won’t fit your growing family, an inflatable bed will more than pay for itself over the years if you care for it. Invest in a model that inflates automatically with an electric pump; blowing up a bed by hand pump when you arrive at your hotel late in the evening is no one’s idea of a good time. You’ll also want to take the time to teach smaller children not to jump on it.
1. Motorcycle Safety Harness
If you have a friend or relative with a motorcycle (or if you ride yourself), odds are your kid wants to ride too. Safety for a child on an ATV or motorcycle is more than just wearing a helmet. These harnesses attach the young child to the adult driver, ensuring that they will not fall off the bike even over rough terrain.
2. Life Jacket
If your child isn’t a strong swimmer yet, you do not want to let them go into open water (or a crowded pool or water park, for that matter) without a life jacket. Take the time to make sure that you have found a model that fits your child; you should not be able to get more than two of your fingers under it at any point while it is on the child. This means, of course, that you will have to take the time to tighten the straps in order to get the best fit.
By the way, nearly every state will require that your child be wearing a life jacket if they are in a privately-owned or personal watercraft. If your travel plans include getting in a canoe or pontoon boat, you will need to buy this travel accessory.
3. Water Shoes
A pair of good water shoes is essential if you’re taking your child to a lake or a rocky beach. Water shoes do take some getting used to, but they are the best at protecting the feet of small children. Furthermore, they can provide some traction over slippery terrain, especially underwater when visibility is poor.