The gadgets you pack can make or break a vacation — especially a family vacation. Save your sanity with these essentials, guaranteed to keep the whole family happy (most of the time).
1. JetKids BedBox Suitcase
Who doesn’t love travel gear that does double duty? This compact, child-size, ride-on suitcase converts into a mini airplane bed so your little one can catch an in-flight nap. The size accommodates lap infants as a full-size sleeping area; for toddlers and children as old as 4, it can be used as a leg rest to extend the airplane seat. As a ride-on suitcase, it can be used until age 7, but since it meets carry-on requirements, kids can still get use out of it once they exceed the age and weight limitations.
Approximate Price: $149
2. ZincFlyte Kids’ Luggage Scooter
Another awesome luggage option is this suitcase with a built-in scooter. It’s ideal for active children who are a little bit older and might otherwise carry their own bag. The fold-down scooter attachment makes the responsibility of navigating luggage through a busy airport something your kids will enjoy (and takes the stress off of you). They are available in a few different sizes that accommodate kids from as young as 2 to those as old as 10, depending on weight.
Approximate Price: $90
3. Primo LapBaby
The LapBaby belt isn’t exclusively for travel, but it can make traveling on a plane, train or bus with an infant so much easier. It’s similar to a soft-sided baby carrier, but it’s designed specifically for seated activities, so it offers comfortable seated positioning and a lot more freedom for your arms and hands while keeping baby secure.
Approximate Price: $32
4. Mophie Powerstation XL
The Powerstation XL by Mophie is a universal external battery that’s suitable for use with smartphones, tablets and other USB devices, such as wireless speakers and handheld gaming consoles. This powerful battery can charge a smartphone up to three times on just one charge, and is capable of charging multiple devices simultaneously, which is super-convenient if you have more than one child or you simply want to be able to charge your own device and your child’s at the same time. It even recharges itself as it charges other devices when it’s plugged into a power source, so you really won’t have to worry about running out of battery during your next long road trip or beach day.
Approximate Price: $70
5. Buddyphones Kids’ Headphones
Buddyphones are a great option for your younger children because they’re comfortable, easy to use and affordable. They feature a volume-limiting circuitry and built-in audio splitter so you won’t have to worry about your kids turning the volume up too high, and as many as four children can listen to content on a single device. Long attraction lines and restaurant wait-times will be so much more pleasant!
Approximate Price: $19
6. Macally Car Headrest Mount
This car-mount device is a true gem. It’s easy to install on the back of a car head rest and adjusts to fit smartphones and tablets of different sizes. But the most useful feature is that the arm extends so that you can position the screen in between your children instead of in front of one or the other — it’s a total game changer.
Approximate Price: $20
7. Kindle Fire HD8 Kids Edition
The Kindle Fire remains one of the most affordable and best-quality tablets on the market. You can use it to download countless games, books and apps for your children to enjoy on vacation; to watch streaming video content from Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix; and more. Plus, you can adjust all the settings for the safety of your child and even set screen time limits. The kids’ edition even comes with a “kid-proof” case. Invest in one, and you’ll actually be free to use your own tablet yourself.
Approximate Price: $130
8. LectroFan Micro Wireless Sleep Sound Machine
White noise machines can be a life saver when you’re traveling, especially at a hotel with thin walls. We love this tiny travel version by LectroFan — it will drown out all the outside noises that could potentially keep your kids (and you) from getting a good night’s rest. It even doubles as a Bluetooth speaker.
Approximate Price: $29
9. Wonderboom Portable Bluetooth Speaker
If you’re looking for a kid-safe Bluetooth speaker that’s sturdy enough to carry everywhere, the Wonderboom portable speaker is an excellent option. It’s tiny, lightweight, and 100-percent waterproof. In fact, it’s actually built to float so you can bring it in the pool or lake! It offers impeccable sound and 10 hours of playback per charge, and the controls are oversized and easy-to-use — even a toddler can operate it. Plus, it comes in fun color combinations your kids will love.
Approximate Price: $75
10. Vtech Kidizoom Action Cam
Kids love cameras. It’s a fact. Lots of children enjoy taking pictures and it’s honestly a great way to keep them interested and engaged when you’re traveling. With the Vtech Kidizoom Action Cam, even younger children can be the official family vacation photographer! It’s durable and easy to use, and since it’s meant to be used while in motion, it can actually be attached to a helmet, skateboard or bicycle with included mounts. There are also photo filters built into the camera, and — bonus! — it’s waterproof!
Approximate Price: $50
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