Travel Gear Items to Help Families on Their Next Vacation


Lauren Bowman

Battery-powered fan attached to a stroller walking through the airport

A battery-powered fan attached to a stroller walking through the airport (Photo via Eric Bowman)

Summer is upon us. And if you’re like many Americans you’re either hitting the road or taking to the skies to go on that epic vacation.

But traveling as a family—especially with littles—can get a little, well, hectic.

Here are a few items that can make your next trip smoother.

My number one travel item is the Doona Car Seat & Stroller. It easily converts from a car seat to a stroller with the push of a button, making getting in and out of the car a breeze. The car seat has a LATCH base for your main ride, but it can also be strapped in with just a seat belt—allowing this to be a great option for families on the go, whether they’re renting a car or using a family member’s ride.

It’s also FAA approved and has pass all certifications required by the U.S. and EU.

Doona also released another product designed to enhance child safety. Adding peace of mind for those in the car, the SensAlert connects to the Doona app and can send alerts via the cloud. Through the technology, this anti-abandonment device adds an additional level of safety for children in vehicles. It’s important to know the laws of other countries when traveling, and in Italy these devices—or those like them—are required for anyone under the age of four. 

Traveling during the potty training stage, or if you have a little one that hasn’t quite learned to give a sufficient heads up before they need to go, can be tricky. Somehow my daughter has a knack for needing to go while we’re driving in the middle of nowhere without a bathroom for miles, and it’s always urgent.

After the last roadside bathroom stop—with utilities that looked as though they haven’t been cleaned in years—I started researching my options and tried out the OXO on the go potty. This seat comes with a few liners, so your little one can go anywhere and packs away into a waterproof bag. Plus it can be used on any toilet making it great for roadtrips and hotel stays. 

Another hotel essential is the Baby Sleep Pod by Slumberpod. This handy blackout tent can easily fit in a carry-on suitcase and pops up to fit over any standard sized traveling crib or pack ‘n play. The Slumberpod fan helps to circulate air, creating a nice safe environment to sleep while sharing a room with the rest of the family. I would especially recommend this if you have other children who like to stay up later. 

Going hand-in-hand with the Slumberpod is a good sound machine. I use the same one at home that we use on the go—the Hatch Rest Smart Sound Machine. It’s so easy to control from my phone, and it helps provide a very similar sleep environment for my infant on the go as it is at home—making it more likely for him to get a good night’s sleep. 

For those parents who have a toddler on the go, the Doona Liki Trike is for you. This can replace your stroller and help get some energy out of your child all in one compact tricycle. Ideal for ages 10 months to 3 years old—although my 3 and a half year old still loves it—this trike can easily switch from being controlled by a parents—with pedals locked—to bike mode with pedals unlocked for when the child wants to be on the move. Plus the fold flat design makes it ideal for packing. I’ve even seen families use them in place of a stroller going through the airport. 

Another one of my top picks for travel is a good infant carrier. However you may need to try a few different brands to see what works best for your body type and baby. My personal favorite has been the Ergobaby Omni 360 Carrier in mesh for both my kids. When flying, it makes going through the TSA security line substantially easier—you don’t even have to unbuckle them out of it. I’ve also opted to use this instead of a stroller at Walt Disney World and was very happy I did (no need for stroller parking, maneuvering tight spaces, or even taking your child out to go on most rides). 

Although I could have continued to use this carrier for my toddler, I instead opted for the Gooseket Toddler Sling. This simple sling carrier helped to better distribute my child’s weight while carrying her (rather than just holding her), and it easily allowed me to pick her up and put her down whenever she wanted to walk. The pickup/putdown seemed like a constant for us, and with far less straps to worry about, this sling helped provide some relief for my back while also giving my toddler the independence she craved. 

These items have greatly helped us have more stress-free vacations while traveling with littles, either meeting a need (like a bathroom on the go, creating a room within a room, etc.), giving peace of mind with insured safety measures, or providing a way to walk with your baby or toddler easily. Hopefully they’ll also help you in your next travels.

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