Family travel essentials

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We travel as a family of three and have learnt by actually travelling and experiencing situations what items we consider family travel essentials. We are making this post to help other travel families make the right choices for equipment, gadgets and gear from the get-go.

Tip read: Flying with a baby

Luggage

Adult

Luggage is a hot topic for any traveller. We all want to get the right backpacks from the start because we pay a good price on them and don’t want to have to re-buy in the future. We spent a lot of time testing backpacks in person before deciding on our two. We have backpacks like the two below but in different colours. We found them comfortable and big enough to hold everything we wanted and more.

Tip read: How to choose the best travel backpack for women

Toddler

For our toddler we settled on the JetKids case. This case has so many features it is almost shocking how useful it is – we will do a full review on the case soon. First off it is a case. You can pack stuff into it. Essential right? Great. Now imagine that this case is hand luggage size. You can use it on budget airlines as a small bag. We put it in front of the seat in front of us, but it also fits in the overhead compartment too.

Tip read: Dealing with your childs first sunburn

family travel essentials
Travis loves taking his own case

Now here is the fun part. The case top flips, slips and fits into the space in front of your kids seat. This stops them being able to slide off and try to escape (is this a huge problem for other travel families?!) but the great part is the case some with a mattress to turn this area into a bed. That is right your baby or toddler can laze about and sleep the flight away. More peace and a more relaxing flight for Mum and Dad. On top of this it is easily pulled along and is a ride on too.

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Packing cubes

We use packing cubes to neatly organise our luggage. This way we can keep all things that are related in one cube and grab it without searching a full backpack for it. This is super handy if you do not want your underwear falling out in front of a street of people.

We also collect little bags and things we get given as hotel gifts or that come on household items. We can use these to bag up little items to keep things well divided.

A waterproof bag

If you are going somewhere hot you are going to need a waterproof bag. The same goes for if you have a kid. They spill a lot of stuff. We have this Hippychick Bumkins one and love it. It has two sections so you can keep things separate. It also has a taggy handle so you can attach it on the outside of a bag or strap it to the buggy instead of having it inside your bag. Extra storage if you need!

Tip read: Toddler changing bag essentials for travel

Toddler transport

We swear by the GB Pockit stroller as one of our favorite family travel essentials. This thing folds us small enough to go into a large handbag – no joke. Every single time I have travelled with this I have had Mums come up to me asking about it and commenting on how awesome it is. It comes in a range of colours so you have lots of choice with that too. The buggy has a lot to it, and we will do a full review of that too. For now what you need to know is it is light, folds up tiny and can go as hand luggage (yes we were the only parents not carrying their sleeping baby off a flight in the cold into Edinburgh , ours was wrapped warm and comfy the second we stepped off the plane.)

FAMILY travel essentials
Travis all comfy in his GB Pockit stroller

Gadgets

Charging

We swear by these USB chargers even at home. It eliminates the need for multiple sockets and instead you can add up to six USB cables into one. This one is our all time favourite and has been in our travel bags from Iceland, to Koh Samui to Ibiza. It has never failed us. You can take all the sockets and have the one device suit you for the full trip.

Tip read: How to beat jetlag

Headset

We have this headset for Travis because we take an iPad with movies on the plane. Its specifically for little ones so fits nice and snug as its name suggests.

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The headphones actually fold up super small, and you can disconnect the jack cable from the headset to make it safer to transport them. This also means you can replace the jack if it gets broken without needing a whole new headset.

For kids

There are a few extra family travel essentials we take for Travis that not just any traveller would need.

Mosquito net

We have this mosquito net and have had it since Travis was born. It is going to be an essential part of our travel kit in South East Asia.

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Thermometer

If you have a kid you probably already own one of these. If not you need one. Kids get sick, that is normal. You need to be able to know when their temperature is too high especially in a foreign country. We had a close call with Travis last year where his temperature spiked but luckily we had this and had kept track of it. He was taken into hospital and they admired our efforts to keep track of his health so closely.

We love Tommee Tippee so that was our brand of choice in this situation.
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34 Comments

  • that travelling kit for kid is so perfect for me, but for now will save bucks so I can purchase it

    • Yes! We LOVED it. At first we thought it may be hard to have an extra bag we cannot put on our backs but it was a lifesaver. We wouldn’t go back without it now

  • I can totally relate with how much I have panicked that my underwear will fall of from my bag whilst searching for other things, so I tottaly understand the importance of packing cubes. It makes life so much more organised. I don’t know why I haven’t given a thought on USB chargers till now, until reading your post. It sounds like an incredibly essential thing!

  • Have you heard of the 1st class travel pillow? We use it on long-haul flights and it’s the best thing ever. It folds up super tiny and you can put it into your carry on til you are ready to use it. We travel light so it’s perfect and lets our daughter sleep comfortably for the majority of the flight. Great list!

  • My goodness, traveling with a toddler… more power to ya! (As long as I’m not kicked too much or they’re overly loud – I understand sometimes that babies cry!) Also, good on you for keeping such good track of your children’s health while traveling! This is super important, especially with the crazy situations that can arise from a hospital visit or stay overseas.

    • That is is Tom, it is better safe than sorry right? I won’t lie though, traveling with a toddler has its challenges… I feel a new post coming on about that one! Ha

  • OMG! Thank you for sharing this. When I travel, I usually take my clothes all ironed from home and they turn out to be a mess by the time I try to get them out of the suitcase. I am totally going to buy those packing cubes!

    • You should! We began the clothes rolling technique for our sons clothes but I heard that it works for adults too. And it is meant to keep the creases out! Check it out and try it next time

  • Oh dear. I first read this that a toddler was a travel essential for family travel. Which I guess is true. Waterproof bags are necessary for all travellers.

  • Thank God for these gadgets and travel accessories travel with kids have become lot easier.
    A useful guide list for all new parents dreaming to travel the world. Some of them are good for solo travel too.

  • Such an essential list! I’m travelling with my little brother this summer and will apply your advice. Saved it for later use 🙂

  • You have some splendid ideas here! Packing for me has always been nightmarish and no matter how hard I try I can never ever travel super light. Sort of envy guys who travel out of a backpack. I love the organisers ! Sharing it with my friends who have kids!

  • Great tips here for those with kids! That little suitcase is so cute. I don’t have kids – and don’t plan on it – but a lot of these are the same travel essentials for adults, so very useful post.

  • Great tips for traveling with kids! I love the Jetkids Case and we never travel anywhere without a waterproof bag. We are in the market for new luggage and some new travel essentials, thanks for sharing your favorite things!

  • Packing cubes are so great! I have recently started to use them and they completely changed the way I travel. I can fit sooooo much more now in my backpack and it takes considerably less space.

  • He is too cute! I barely take my two on trips to the grocery store! Haha. Do you guys still plan to travel once he gets older?

    • Haha, well I know how that goes. Even that can be a drama. He is quite well behaved when we are traveling which is a nice change for us. We hope to. Not to the delight of our families of course. We are just going to see how it goes and see how well he takes home-schooling and take it from there

  • These are some great tips, we have two of the travelling kids suitcases, my two love them!

    • Aren’t they fantastic! My son is normally moany when we walk but he is distracted while he brings his own case – yay

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