Here’s the situation: You’ve booked your flight and found a great place on Airbnb. The moment you finish packing your bags you remember: I’ve got a toddler and I have to somehow navigate the airport, the plane, and find somewhere for my kid to sleep!
While traveling anywhere these days is a challenge, adding a kid (or two) into the equation is exponentially more complicated. Rest assured, it’s all possible—especially with the right gear.
Here are some of our favorite products for the airport, the plane, and the rental that will make your travels so smooth that you’ll be planning your next trip before this one ends.
1. A stroller that can fold up and roll around like a suitcase
This stroller was designed for jetsetters. While our favorite stroller—the Baby Jogger City Mini—is a great all-around pick, the Roll n’Go is lighter, narrower, and smaller when folded. Cheap strollers like from our roundup of the best lightweight strollers are as well, but this model has the storage and convenience of a larger model.
You’ll be able to navigate the concourse and the tarmac with ease thanks to its compact design. It folds up with one hand, and it even fits in the overhead bin of the plane. If you need to transport the stroller when it's already folded, you can extend the suitcase-style handle from underneath of the seat, and literally roll n' go.
2. A stroller that folds to fit in an overhead bin
The Pockit+ has the smallest folded dimensions of any stroller on the market. It was updated late last year to include a deeper recline, larger canopy and car seat adapters, which are a great bonus if you’re traveling with an infant car seat (requires a compatible car seat from Cybex or GB).
Need to stow your stroller during the flight? It’s small enough to pack up into the overhead bin, or underneath your seat.
3. A folding cart for rolling your infant car seat around
If you plan on bringing your car seat onto the plane, or even gate-checking it, this cart from Britax attaches to your car seat into something resembling a stroller. While a travel cart isn't as exciting as some of the other items on this list, it does its job well and it also fits in the overhead bin when not in use.
The chassis of the cart has specialized connection points to attach your car seat's LATCH connectors. This smart feature means that you can lock the seat in place, and leave the bungee cords and duct tape at home.
4. A beautiful and creative set of blocks
Tegu is a brand that creates toys with a conscience that are designed to spark your child’s creativity. Based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, they aim to create stable jobs and to improve the lives of those in their community.
Tegu's 8-piece set of magnetic blocks is colorful, and just the right size for little hands. The addition of polarity helps to engage your curious toddler, more so than a normal set which would just wind up on the floor.
5. An FAA-approved harness for your toddler
If your child is going to be sitting in their own seat, and they are within the 22 to 44 pound weight range, the Cares Harness is an essential piece of gear. The harness goes over the back of your child’s seat, while the plane’s seat belt goes through the bottom portion of the harness. Certified for all phases of air travel, the harness packs up into a small bag.
6. A worry-free tablet to keep them entertained
One part tablet and one part toy, the Amazon Fire HD 8: Kids Edition is a great travel companion. We previously named it the best tablet for kids, citing its durability and built-in safeguards for children.
The best feature? A 2-year “Worry-Free” replacement program if your kid decides to break it. With this device in hand, your kids will be sitting patiently, occupied with the latest games and movies on their own device. How about that for a change?
7. A travel-friendly bed that can be carried like a backpack
Most rentals and hotels don’t come with a bed for your infant or toddler. If they do, they’re probably not as nice—or as clean—as you would like. A great sleeping solution for those who are under three feet tall is the Lotus Travel Crib. It’s compact, fitting into a backpack-style case, and at only 13 lbs it’s easy to tote around. The pack-and-play style bed opens up in seconds, and packs away with ease.
8. An easily inflatable bed you can set up anywhere
Are you unsure about how well your toddler is going to do in a big-kid bed? If so, look no further than the inflatable beds made by The Shrunks. Their toddler and youth size beds inflate in 30 seconds! Both styles have a unique two-part design that allows you to tuck-in sheets or blankets, so your kids stay nice and cozy in their own bed.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.