10 must-have items for traveling with kids (from our experience)

Raluca Loteanu January 17, 2017
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must-have items for traveling with kids

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I am asked frequently about the items that I consider the most useful in our trips with Bogdan, so I gathered here our top 10 must-have items for traveling with kids. They really made the difference in our trips and I hope they will be helpful to you too.

We are really relaxed when it comes to choosing the items in our luggage and with few exceptions we know that we can find almost everything at our destination so we don’t need to worry too much if we forget something. We have always a packing list at hand when we prepare for a new trip, but there are also some must-have items that we take with us almost everytime we travel.

Must-have items for traveling with kids by plane

must-have items for traveling with kids

Trunki Suitcase (1)

This is a small suitcase for kids. It is great for packing the things they will need on the plane, but it’s also a nice way of getting them involved in the trip. If they have their own cute suitcase they will be more willing to help packing and also they will carry it (proudly) in the airport.

The best thing about Trunki is that it’s a ride-on suitcase, so it’s a perfect solution when the child gets tired. The suitcase is made in the UK and has an award-winning British design that we really liked. It has a free five-year warranty and holds up to 75 lbs.

It is available on Amazon, we bought this model, but they are a lot of other models to choose from, depending on your child’s preferences.

We also have the Trunki Tote Bag, it fits perfectly in the suitcase and it can be used also as a shoulder bag. Two plastic clips on the back allow it to be clipped onto the back of a car or plane seat, so toys and games are easily accessible for the whole journey.

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(for small children) Ergonomic baby carrier (2)

For us, it was a live saver during our flights, especially when Bogdan was an infant and he traveled on the same airplane seat with me. The carrier also helped us during our vacations and it was a must-have every time we went on a holiday. It is easy to pack and it really makes a difference! It is important to find an ergonomic baby carrier that allows the child to have a good back support and to stay in ‘M position’, that is the only healthy position for carrying a baby. We used a Manduca carrier and it was the best choice for us, it is totally worth the money!

(for older children) Inflatable booster Seat (3)

When we travel by plane and then we rent a car or use the taxi at the destination we really need a booster seat. Until now we used a normal booster, but it was really hard to carry, especially when we had a lot of other luggage. I recently discovered this inflatable booster seat and I think it’s a very practical alternative.

Travel pillow

See the details on the list for car items (below – number 7)

Headphones For Kids (4)

I never imagined this were useful until we had our first long haul flight and Bogdan wanted to watch an animation film on the airplane TV. The headphones we received from the stewardess were completely useless for kids, so he had to watch the movie without sound and this was very annoying. I looked for a solution for our future flights and I discovered the Kidz Gear Wired Headphones For Kids and they look lightweight and comfortable, so I think we will try them. They are great also when the kids want to hear some music during the flight without disturbing the other passengers.

Must-have items for traveling with kids by car

must-have items for traveling with kids

Travel play tray (5)

The tray is ideal for allowing the kid to play while seating in the car seat. It also makes the eating easier and the pockets on the sides are great for storing crayons and other small items. You can find several models on Amazon, we bought one a year ago and it was very useful on the road trips.

Travel blanket (6)

You can always pack the blanket your kid uses at home, but there is another option that is more practical and comfortable for long trips: a travel blanket. We use the Trunki Travel Pillow and Blanket Set and it really makes the difference on road trips. SnooziHedz is an innovative 3 in 1 travel pal, pillow, and blanket. It is presented in the form of a cute character that simply unzips to reveal a plush fleece blanket and an inflatable pillow.

Travel pillow (7)

If you prefer not to use a travel blanket and pillow set or if you plan a summer trip and you don’t need it, you can find a separate travel pillow that is great for the moments when the child naps in the car. When we switched to a bigger car seat we noticed that sleeping is more difficult because the seat doesn’t offer a good support for the child’s head. When we searched for a solution, we found this travel pillow that solved the issue and made naps more comfortable. You can also find other models on Amazon, but we are big fans of Trunki products and we really liked this one.

Car backseat organizer (8)

This is really a perfect organization tool for the car. It helps to keep all the child’s items in one place and to have an easy access to them during the trip. Before moving to California we had one backseat organizer that was made by us from a clothes organizer, but now we plan to buy one of the car organizers we saw on Amazon. You can find there a lot of models to choose from.

(for small children) Travel potty (9)

If the child is in the potty training phase or you are making a long trip and you don’t know where you’ll be able to find a restroom on time, this travel potty is the best solution. We plan to buy one of those for Bogdan, they are easy to pack and are very practical.

Activity books (10)

During long trips, kids get bored easily so it’s better to be prepared with a lot of great activity books to keep them busy. I wrote a separate post about our favorite books for keeping kids busy while traveling, I hope you will find some inspiration on that list.


This is my list of must-have items when traveling with kids, I hope they will be useful for you too! I am sure that we will discover new ones in our future journeys and we will change the list as Bogdan grows.

What are your must-have items when traveling with kids?

I would be glad to find new ideas, so please share them in the comments to make this list even bigger and more helpful for all the parents.
must-have items for traveling with kids

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Raluca Loteanu

If you find yourself on this blog I invite you to discover us as the happy family we are, who look with optimism and joy at life. If you want to contact me, you can find me on email, I gladly respond to each message.

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Comments (16 people commented this post)

  • avatar image

    Daria

    January 17, 2017 Reply
    Awesome tips! I have two grandchildren ages 16 months and 2 months, so these tips will come in handy. I've been out of the loop with traveling and children, so this post is right on time. Thanks for sharing!
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      I'm glad that this post was useful for you and I hope your grandchildren will enjoy traveling! :-)
  • avatar image

    Kimberly Lewis

    January 17, 2017 Reply
    what great picks! It really helps to be organized when you are traveling with kids
  • avatar image

    Roxie Watt

    January 18, 2017 Reply
    I love the look of the carrier and travel blanket. My baby is only 6 months so we haven't done a lot of travelling yet, but I'll pin this for later!
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      I wish you a lot of wonderful trips with your baby! We started going on longer trips when Bogdan was 9 months old and it was great!
  • avatar image

    Chrissy

    January 18, 2017 Reply
    These are all great suggestions and they make traveling with kids so much easier! We loved the car backseat organizer when my daughter was a toddler - and she loved organizing all of her belongings into it!
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      My little boy loves organizing the backseat pockets too! And I am glad that this keeps him busy during road trips! :-)
  • avatar image

    lesley sullivan

    January 18, 2017 Reply
    Thank you for sharing! We have a 17 hour flight coming up, these tips came at a great time!
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      Wow, a 17-hour flight is a real challenge! I hope you will have an easy flight!
  • avatar image

    Valerie

    January 19, 2017 Reply
    Great tips! I have a feeling that each new trip with kids is an adventure – and it's always a learning process on what to pack depending on the trip!
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      You are totally right! Each new trip is a new adventure! :-)
  • avatar image

    Roxanna

    January 19, 2017 Reply
    I find interesting hoe you put it: in the begining you say theese items are must-haves for you, but on the way I find out you don't use most of them, but plan to buy them. Not very convincing...
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      I have 7 of the 10 items mentioned. I have also a car seat booster (so 8 out of 10) and I consider it a must-have; the inflatable booster is even more useful, so we will certainly buy one too. The headphones and the portable potty are on my list and I will buy them soon, the only reason why I don't have them yet is because Bogdan didn't have the appropriate age for them. What items on this list do you think that are not must-haves for traveling with kids? I really think all of them are really helpful, I'm sorry you don't feel the same!
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    May 18, 2017 Reply
    […] Read also: 10 must-have items for traveling with kids (from our experience) […]
  • Our favorite road trip games for young kids {12 free and fun ideas} - Playful Notes

    June 22, 2017 Reply
    […] free alternative for keeping kids busy during road trips is to use printable games and activity sheets. They require a little preparation before the trip to […]
  • The best things to do in San Francisco with young kids - Playful Notes

    August 14, 2017 Reply
    […] 10 must-have items for traveling with kids (from our experience) […]

Leave your comment

Comments (16 people commented this post)

  • avatar image

    Daria

    January 17, 2017 Reply
    Awesome tips! I have two grandchildren ages 16 months and 2 months, so these tips will come in handy. I've been out of the loop with traveling and children, so this post is right on time. Thanks for sharing!
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      I'm glad that this post was useful for you and I hope your grandchildren will enjoy traveling! :-)
  • avatar image

    Kimberly Lewis

    January 17, 2017 Reply
    what great picks! It really helps to be organized when you are traveling with kids
  • avatar image

    Roxie Watt

    January 18, 2017 Reply
    I love the look of the carrier and travel blanket. My baby is only 6 months so we haven't done a lot of travelling yet, but I'll pin this for later!
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      I wish you a lot of wonderful trips with your baby! We started going on longer trips when Bogdan was 9 months old and it was great!
  • avatar image

    Chrissy

    January 18, 2017 Reply
    These are all great suggestions and they make traveling with kids so much easier! We loved the car backseat organizer when my daughter was a toddler - and she loved organizing all of her belongings into it!
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      My little boy loves organizing the backseat pockets too! And I am glad that this keeps him busy during road trips! :-)
  • avatar image

    lesley sullivan

    January 18, 2017 Reply
    Thank you for sharing! We have a 17 hour flight coming up, these tips came at a great time!
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      Wow, a 17-hour flight is a real challenge! I hope you will have an easy flight!
  • avatar image

    Valerie

    January 19, 2017 Reply
    Great tips! I have a feeling that each new trip with kids is an adventure – and it's always a learning process on what to pack depending on the trip!
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      You are totally right! Each new trip is a new adventure! :-)
  • avatar image

    Roxanna

    January 19, 2017 Reply
    I find interesting hoe you put it: in the begining you say theese items are must-haves for you, but on the way I find out you don't use most of them, but plan to buy them. Not very convincing...
    • avatar image

      Raluca

      January 19, 2017 Reply
      I have 7 of the 10 items mentioned. I have also a car seat booster (so 8 out of 10) and I consider it a must-have; the inflatable booster is even more useful, so we will certainly buy one too. The headphones and the portable potty are on my list and I will buy them soon, the only reason why I don't have them yet is because Bogdan didn't have the appropriate age for them. What items on this list do you think that are not must-haves for traveling with kids? I really think all of them are really helpful, I'm sorry you don't feel the same!
  • How to "survive" a long-haul flight with a young child {our top tips} - Playful Notes

    May 18, 2017 Reply
    […] Read also: 10 must-have items for traveling with kids (from our experience) […]
  • Our favorite road trip games for young kids {12 free and fun ideas} - Playful Notes

    June 22, 2017 Reply
    […] free alternative for keeping kids busy during road trips is to use printable games and activity sheets. They require a little preparation before the trip to […]
  • The best things to do in San Francisco with young kids - Playful Notes

    August 14, 2017 Reply
    […] 10 must-have items for traveling with kids (from our experience) […]