These 10 Items Make Holiday Travel With My Family Easy

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I’m a veteran traveler who’s been taking to the friendly skies since I was a baby. As an adult, I’ve crossed the country and world more times than I can count, but when I had my daughter, it brought an extra layer of planning. Instead of my usual carefree jet setting, I had to factor in diapers, feeding time, travel strollers, and more. And of course, I need to pack for the what-ifs, rumbling tummies, and the overall hectic time that is the holiday season. 


From a Dagne Dover diaper backpack that doubles as a carry-on to packing cubes that cut down suitcase space to my favorite hack for avoiding overpriced airport snacks, these are my family’s tried-and-true travel gear that will help save a bit of our sanity this holiday season. Starting at $7, these family travel must-haves even include a massive Calpak luggage bundle for 45% off.



Dagne Dover Indi Diaper Backpack

Dagne Dover



While I’m firmly out of the diaper stage, this diaper backpack is still my trusted companion, especially if I’m on a work trip. With space for my 15-inch Macbook Pro and extra monitor, dedicated compartments for water bottles, and tons of zipped or velcroed storage pockets throughout, I can keep track of passports, wallets, and tech gear without looking like I’m wearing a camping pack. 


Though it’s a splurge, I’ve been rocking this bag across the globe for nearly four years and it’s showing no signs of wear or tear. Available in gray, olive, camel, black, and a muted mauve, it’s also over $50 off right now, so you can get the large size for less than the usual price of the small.


To buy: Dagne Dover Indi Neoprene Diaper Backpack $161 with code PICKS25; dagnedover.com



Bagsmart Compression Packing Cubes (Set of 6)

Amazon



I usually share a bag with my daughter to make my life easier, so these compression cubes have been essential for fitting all of our stuff into one suitcase. Even after packing our bulky winter wardrobes, we still have space leftover for bringing home gifts from the grandparents. 


To buy: Bagsmart Compression Pack Cubes from $27; amazon.com



Bentgo Kids Chill Lunch Box

Amazon



I like to avoid spending money on overpriced airport snacks (why does one small bag of pretzels cost $12?). This Bentgo lunchbox has plenty of space for snacks I can share with my daughter in addition to a built-in compartment for an ice pack. And yes, it’s usually her school lunchbox that fits in the dedicated compartment in her Bentgo backpack—I live for multifunctional items.


When I want to bring food that needs utensils, I use this Munchkin bento lunchbox that comes with utensils and space to store them. 


To buy: Bentgo Kids Chill Lunch Box $30 (was $40); amazon.com



Calpak Evry Starter Bundle

Calpak



High-quality luggage is typically quite expensive, but I found a whole set of Calpak bags for a massive 45% off. This bundle includes one carry-on suitcase, one large check-in suitcase, a five-piece set of packing cubes, and a luggage tag. The rollers have 360-degree spinning wheels and TSA-approved locks, and the hardshell design protects your belongings during transit. 


Currently nearly half off its original price, this luggage set is on sale in black, pistachio green, light brown, silver, rose pink, and a pleasing dark teal blue.


To buy: Calpak Evry Starter Bundle $299 (was $545); calpaktravel.com



Anker Portable Charger 

Amazon



I have tons of these Anker chargers that I keep in rotation. They have fantastic battery life and charge devices quickly, which is so helpful on the go (particularly when kids’ tablets start running low on battery in the middle of a flight). I love that they’re slim enough to slip into my pocket or my crossbody belt bags if I want to travel light. 


My family always travels with a few of these so we can all top up our devices if we get stuck in a terminal with terrible outlet access (LAX anyone?). 


To buy: Anker Ultra Compact Portable Charger $15 (was $22); amazon.com



PowerLocus Wireless Bluetooth Headphones for Kids

Amazon



These cute little headphones are a lifesaver for me during air travel and on road trips. If you’ve reached your limit on overhearing Paw Patrol episodes or Minecraft videos, these kids’ headphones are your new best friend. The light-up cat ear design delights kiddos, and a volume limiter protects little ears from excessive noise exposure. 


While they do use Bluetooth, they’ll also work just fine with an auxiliary cable to plug into in-flight entertainment. Just know you do need to charge them if you want the cat ears to light up.


To buy: PowerLocus Wireless Kids’ Headphones $26; amazon.com



iHome Aquio Double Wall Steel Insulated Hydration Bottle

Amazon



If you’re wondering why this insulated water bottle is so pricey, that’s because it has a removable Bluetooth speaker in the base. This comes in handy if you’re staying at a hotel or taking a beach vacation and want to play some tunes.


The speaker is waterproof so you can rock out at the beach or pool. But if you just want to use it for water (it’s double-wall insulated), you can remove the speaker and the steel water bottle works normally without it.


To buy: iHome Aquio Insulated Hydration Bottle $70; amazon.com



Bagsmart Travel Electronic Organizer Case

Amazon



With all the electronic devices we’re carting with us, keeping track of wires and charger plugs—and avoiding huge tangles—is critical. This dual-sided case has dedicated pockets for everything, including portable chargers, and takes up minimal space in my Dagne Dover carry-on backpack or expandable tote. 


To buy: Bagsmart Travel Electronic Organizer Case $16; amazon.com



Sryesa Large Capacity Folding Travel Bag

Amazon



This seemingly simple $16 bag is actually expandable, allowing me to maximize space, which is particularly useful when I’m only traveling with carry-ons. A luggage strap in the back gives my shoulder and back a break, and there’s plenty of internal storage.


When you’ve reached your destination and unpacked your bag, you can fold it down to fit inside the external front pocket. I also use this as my gym bag when I’m not traveling. 


To buy: Sryesa Folding Travel Bag $16; amazon.com



Chmete Luggage Straps

Amazon



I don’t know about you, but when everyone’s luggage is black, it’s hard to tell which bags are mine without squinting at each airline tag. These bright suitcase straps make it easy for me to identify my family’s luggage in baggage claim so we can get in and out, and I like that the two different sizes in this set work for my checked bag and my smaller carry-on when it gets checked at the gate. 


To buy: Chmete Luggage Straps $7 (was $8); amazon.com



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