7 Must-Have Travel Essentials for Families

See recent posts by Kimberly Liu

1. gogo Kidz Travelmate

If you’re traveling with a child weighing less than 50 pounds, you won’t want to leave home without this ingenious contraption that in seconds lets parents convert most car seats into a stroller. With the gogo Kidz Travelmate, there’s no more lugging both a heavy car seat and your tired child; you’ll easily navigate the airport as you wheel your child through security lines and down walkways to your gate. Once at your gate, simply detach your car seat from the Travelmate, and use it as a seat on the plane. Upon arrival at your destination, you’ll have a car seat handy and avoid the additional cost of renting one or the inconvenience of borrowing one at your destination.

The gogo Kidz Travelmate features 5″ razor wheels, a telescopic handle with four positions and an ultra-light weight of just 5 lbs. The quick-release wheels provide room for extra storage and allow the Travelmate to pass through smaller x-ray machines.

Available from select Web sites and stores from $90

2. Powerskin

Travel days can be longer than cellphone batteries normally hold their charge, and there’s nothing worse than your Smartphone conking out just when you need it. PowerSkin to the rescue — it’s a flexible, recycled-silicone case with a built-in rechargeable battery that will typically extend the life of your phone’s standard battery up to two times, providing you with an operational phone all-day long. Back at your hotel, you can recharge the case and your phone simultaneously via your laptop or a wall charger. Your phone will charge first and then the PowerSkin, and when you use your phone, the power will be drained first from the PowerSkin and then from your phone.

Available from select Web sites and stores from $60

3. Baby Bjorn Travel Crib

Say good-bye to complicated manuals and heavy lugging with the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light. With rave reviews for its innovate simplistic design (sets up and folds up in one movement), light weight (just 11 lbs. including the carrying case), safety (sits firmly and stably on the floor), and attractive clean lines, it’s a travel must-have. The crib is made from non-toxic materials that are harmless to kids’ sensitive skin and fine for children with allergies, and the mesh sides allow for unobstructed airflow and viewing of your child. Both the mattress cover and bedding are machine washable, and little ones will appreciate the super-comfortable pad, too.

Available from select Web sites and retailers from $249

4. Rockstar Headphone Splitter

Multiple children but only one music or movie player? Keep all the kids happy with one simple and inexpensive gadget, the Rockstar. The Rockstar lets you connect up to five headphones to your iPod, MP3 or DVD player or other portable media-device, squelching squabbling kids and giving mom and dad a little time to sit back and enjoy some relaxing quiet-time.

Available from Belkin.com, $15

5. Brica fold ‘n go travel booster

A travel booster seat is truly essential when traveling, especially when visiting grandparents who don’t always have the gear that makes life with kids easier. And there’s nothing not to like about this super-portable booster seat from Brica. Not only is it small enough to toss into an overnight bag, but it also sets up in seconds and features adjustable straps, a three-point harness and stain-resistant fabric that easily wipes clean.

Available from select Web sites and stores from $19

6. Nirvana Seatback Travel Organizer

Keep kids travel activities, snacks and gear handy in this 2-in-1 in-flight travel organizer that clips right onto your seat-back tray table. Featuring multiple zippered and mesh storage pockets, you’ll find a convenient place for everything from pacifiers to bottled water to media devices, and when your flight is over, simply zipper up the organizer and it converts into a slim travel tote. The Travel Organizer is also suitable for trains, cars and even strollers.

Available from select stores and Web sites from $39

7. Coulvue iPad or iPad2 Car Mount

With the CoulVue iPad car mount, you’ll only need one iPad to keep the whole crew entertained with a movie on a long car ride. This clever device mounts easily and safely to the back of any standard automobile headrest and features a flexible arm which extends out, twists and tilts, allowing for optimal positioning for all backseat passengers and use of the iPad for playing interactive games. The reinforced locking system ensures the iPad stays securely in place, even on bumpy roads and over bridges. Although it looks like it might be complicated, it takes just seconds to install, and the soft inner lining keeps your iPad protected from scuffs and scratches. Separate models are available for the iPad and iPad2.

Available from TOUCOUL.com, $80

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