What’s your go-to gadget for travel? We asked our team of travel experts and parents what they carry with them at all times. From headphones to apps to aromatherapy, these are the essentials our editors swear by.
1. Jackery Portable Charger
The Jackery Portable Charger Bar is a must-bring for any family. With the amount of electronics that get thrown in a carry-on bag and are used throughout the trip, having an extra pack of juice is essential. “I like that this portable charger is small enough to fit in a purse, but powerful enough to charge smartphones or tablets more than once without a charge,” Editor Courtney Elko says. The 6000mAh is lightweight and pocket-sized, but the 12000mAh has dual USB outputs, so there’s no arguing over who gets to charge first. Both have a built-in flashlight, which is an extra bonus if your family is camping or you’re just looking for something at the bottom of your purse.
2. Kindle Fire Tablet
Contributing writer and mom of two, Cortney Fries swears by the Kindle Fire Tablet. “The Kindle allows me to download tons of reading material for myself and my family on one small, compact device,” says Fries. “I can access samples of books I’m interested in and download new titles instantly.”
And while the Fire HD10 is a favorite—with up to 12 hours of battery life, hands-free control via Alexa and enhanced Wi-Fi—the Kindle Fire Kids Edition has all of that plus the addition of an included kid-proof case, two-year replacement guarantee and pre-loaded kid-friendly content. “I often add a few new books for my family on my Kindle before we go on a trip together. That way, when my children complain that they’re bored after a few hours in transit, I wow them with the new books I found for them on my Kindle,” Fries says.
3. Sketchers Go Walk GoFlex Two-Pocket Yoga Leggings
Fries also recommends the Sketchers Go Walk GoFlex Two-Pocket Yoga Leggings. “These Sketchers leggings are awesome because they fit well and come in fun colors,” she says. “But most importantly, they hold your phone, keys and other necessities in their two side pockets.”
4. Amazon Audible Subscription
Senior Executive Editor, Josh Roberts, loves the Amazon Audible Subscription for family vacations. “Audiobooks are a great way to distract or relax kids without resorting to screen time, and they’re also great for families to listen to together,” Roberts says. “I’ve also been known to listen to an audiobook if it’s after the kids have gone to bed and we’re all sharing the same room, when we can’t talk loudly or watch TV or read with the light on without waking them.”
There are hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from on Audible. Your subscription includes one credit every month, where you can download any title, two Audible Originals (exclusive content), guided wellness programs and major newspapers delivered right to your tablet.
5. Cosco Scenera Car Seat
As a travel writer and mom of two kids, Terry Ward doesn’t go anywhere without the Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat. “This car seat goes everywhere, any time we fly with our two toddlers and rent a car. The car seats are so light, inexpensive and easy to install,” she says. “It’s a must.”
One of the best travel car seats, the Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat is certified to use on airplanes and has built-in side impact protection and a five-point harness that’s easily adjustable. It can be used as rear or forward-facing.
“TripIt is my tried-and-true travel tool,” says Amanda Norcross, Lead Editor. “The app allows you to easily import and manage all of your travel plans—hotels, car rentals, you name it—in one place. Its flight tracking tool is especially convenient; TripIt will often alert me to a flight delay or gate change before the airline does,” she says. “It’s $50 well spent each year.”
7. Skyroam Hotspot
The Skyroam Wi-Fi hotspot is something Elko can’t travel without when leaving the country. “My Skyroam hotspot is the first thing I turn on when my plane lands. For me, it’s easier to use a hotspot to connect to the internet than purchase a SIM card or upgrade to an international phone plan,” she says. With Skyroam, you purchase the hotspot device once and then pay-as-you-go by purchasing the amount of days you need Wi-Fi. You can purchase as little as one day or go with an unlimited plan, and up to 10 devices can be connected to the hotspot at the same time.
8. Yogasleep Rohm Portable White Noise Machine
A white noise machine is essential to family travel, especially when traveling with little ones. That’s why Senior Photo Editor Noemi de la Torre always packs the Yogasleep Rohm Portable White Noise Machine when traveling with her baby.
“We can’t travel without our white noise machine. This one is portable, and it comes with a lanyard that you can tie onto anything. We tie it to the stroller for naps on-the-go, or to the side of the travel crib. And you don’t need batteries—it charges via USB which makes it super easy to pack,” de la Torre says.
Contributing writer Keryn Means also needs a white noise machine while traveling. She recommends the Marpac Zohne Portable Sound Conditioner to block out the sound and let the whole family sleep more soundly. “Whenever we travel, I bring our little portable sound machine or use the white noise app on my phone. Having white noise has helped my boys sleep in hotel rooms all across the world, blocking out slamming doors, sirens outside and late night guests heading back to their room,” Means says.
9. Beats Solo Pro Wireless Headphones
Elko loves the sound quality of the Beats Solo Pro Wireless Headphones, as well as the noise-cancelling feature that makes them especially ideal for noisy plane rides. These wireless headphones are also Bluetooth compatible with iOS and Android for 22 hours of listening. “But my favorite part about these headphones is the way they collapse and fold into themselves,” says Elko. “This makes them easier to put into a backpack if you don’t want to use the included (but slightly bulky) carrying case.
10. The Carry-On by Away
Thinking about investing in an Away bag? “The Carry-On by Away lives up to the hype,” says Norcross, who uses the carry-on and Away backpack for every trip. “It’s sleek and surprisingly lightweight considering how much it holds. There’s a hidden laundry bag inside, a TSA-approved combination lock, and, my favorite feature, an ejectable battery for charging my phone or other devices,” Norcross says.
11. Tommee Tippee Portable Bottle Warmer
Keeping bottles warm is important when traveling with a baby. But to do that while in transit can be a challenge. That’s why Public Relations Manager, Rachael Van Reen, always travels with the Tommee Tippee Portable Bottle Warmer. “All you have to do is get through security and find a restaurant to fill the container with hot water. The water stays hot for HOURS,” Van Reen says. “You literally just pour it into the plastic cup that comes with it, and milk is warm in a few minutes.”
12. Oil Diffuser
Editor Megan Johnson always travels with her Actpe Portable Diffuser, which is a mini humidifier that doubles as an aroma diffuser. “No matter where I stay when I’m away, I like to purify the air a bit, so a travel diffuser is a must! I love one with a USB charging option so I don’t have to worry about extra adapters when traveling abroad,” Johnson says. “It’s perfect for getting that hotel smell out of the room, or a musty smell out of an old B&B. I always pack a germ fighter oil, a purification one and, of course, lavender for sleeping.”
13. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash
Want to combat dry skin while traveling? Contributing writer Jeff Bogle recommends Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash and Moisture Treatment. “The A.M. jolt and zing I get from these first rate skin care products help me meet the energy levels of my kids every day of our family vacations,” Bogle says. “I feel alive and ready for adventure after a quick wash and moisturizing.”
What to Pack for Your Next Trip
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Boy’s Water Park Outfit
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