There’s no doubt about it. Traveling with kids in tow means more of everything. More planning. More packing. More stuff. But with a few strategic moves and the right travel gear and accessories for kids, you can embark on an adventure that’s also more fun.

Whether you’re boarding an international flight or loading the fam into the minivan for a road trip to the grandparent’s, there are a few pro tips that we’d offer first and foremost.

  1. Stash an extra set of clothes for everyone in ziploc bags tucked into an easily accessible spot. (Yes, yourself included.) Should a mishap occur, you’ve got everything you need to do a quick change and as a bonus you’ve got a disposable way to contain the soiled clothes or part of the mess itself.
  2. Before your trip gather a few new mess and travel-friendly toys like wiki sticks, reusable sticker pads, LCD writing pads, magnetic board games, or hidden picture books. (Another idea? Raid the $1 section at Target or the dollar store.) Keep them stashed until you’re on the plane (or the road!) for maximum boredom-busting effects.
  3. Rent what you don’t want to bring! Why lug 800 pounds of gear you may or may not use? One of the slickest tricks to save you the struggle is to rent the things you need instead! Strollers, car seats, even wagons and toys can be delivered directly to your destination via the pros at BabyQuip. (They’ll even meet you at the airport!) Not only do they deliver it–they set up everything for you, and pick it up when you’re done—all at your convenience. All rental gear is clean, safe and insured so you can rest easy and just enjoy your vacay!

Now onto the gear! Speaking from a collective tens of thousands of miles, we’ve rounded up the best travel gear and accessories for kids that will make getting from point A to B as enjoyable and seamless as possible. Check it out!

jetkids by stokke bed box

JetKids by Stokke



From cush strollers to sensor-driven bassinets, it’s not hard to be super jealous of the comfort our little ones are afforded. But the BedBox from JetKids by Stokke turns us a whole new shade of green with envy. This 2-in-1 piece of kid-friendly travel gear is one part super cool ride-on suitcase, one part stealth bed in a box that turns any economy seat into a first-class, highly nappable nook. (Yes, they can stay buckled while lying down!) It’s ideal for kiddos ages 3-7 and fits most standard aircraft economy seats.

BCozzy Kids Travel Pillow



Kids Travel Neck Pillow

From road trips to air travel, napping is exponentially more comfortable with a travel pillow. One of our favorites for kids? The BCOZZY. With 360 degree support and an overlapping design, this top-rated pillow is perfect for little ones who always seem to flop forward when they konk out. The flat back keeps their head from pushing forward while the stacked arms provide a cozy place to rest their chin. It’s soft and cozy with a curved surface that conforms to their neck and can be customized to the perfect fit with a touch of velcro. (There’s two sizes and a bunch of fun colors to choose from as well.) Got a carsick (or drooly) kiddo on your hands? No problem. It’s totally machine washable! (Check out our favorite kids’ travel pillows for more options.)

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids tablet



Fire HD 8 Kids Tablet

Screen time rules? What screen time rules? During travel, a tablet full of kid-friendly content is nothing short of a total lifesaver. Arguably the most durable kids tablet out there, the Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids is our top rec. Not only is it relatively affordable and designed with a kid-proof case and built in stand, it also comes with 1 year of Amazon Kids+ (FreeTime Unlimited), and a 2-year worry-free guarantee. You can also download their favorites from Netflix, play educational games (and Minecraft!) or even Zoom with grandma and grandpa.

ONANOFF BuddyPhones Foldable Kids Headphones

ONANOFF BuddyPhones


Foldable Kids Headphones

Ok, there is one screentime rule. Headphones are a must. You don’t want to hear Peppa Pig at full volume over the din of airplane engines and neither does everyone else on the flight. These award-winning headphones are our top choice because of smart features like volume control, a foldable design and the ability to tether with another pair and share a single device.

Airplane Footrest

Airplane Footrest

Airplane seats aren’t designed with young travelers in mind. (To say the least!) Dangly legs can use a little support in the form of portable footrest. Just attach it to their tray table to give their feet a little boost and as an added bonus, keep them from kicking the seat in front of them.

Kenley Kids Travel Tray



Kids Travel Tray

Speaking of the tray table, that’s not designed with little kids in mind either. If they’re too little to reach, opt for this brilliant travel tray instead. The soft but structured tray sits across their lap to keep snacks, toys and books within reach. There’s pockets to keep supplies at hand as well as a designated pouch for their tablet when they’re ready to kick back and watch a movie, hands-free. And it’s not just for air travel. According to one highly devoted reviewer who calls it “literally the best purchase ever,” “This item will turn a 12 hour car ride of pure screaming child hell to one of silence and bliss.” We’ll take 12, thank you very much.

State Bags Kids Logan Suitcase

State Bags


Kids Logan Suitcase

For older kiddos who are ready to schlep their own business, the kid-friendly suitcases from State will help them do it in style. The super fun patterns are easy to spot and the design itself provides plenty of space and organization for their flight and destination needs. The best part? Each purchase gives back to kids in need!

Melissa & Doug Water Wow! - Water Reveal Pad Bundle - Farm, Safari & Under The Sea

Melissa & Doug


Water WOW!

You can never pack enough things to keep your kiddo busy during a flight, but you’ll also need to consider that you’ll be in a tight space and wanting to create as little of a mess as possible. Water Wow reusable water painting books for the (mess-free) win!

These sturdy, spiral-bound books come with four reusable pages and a “paint” brush that stores right in the cover. Kids love them, and we promise they’ll buy you at least a few minutes of peace and quiet during your trip 😉

Lugabug Travel Seat, one of motherly's must-have products for baby's first flight



Travel Seat

If you’ve ever tried to make it to your gate with a toddler in tow you know that, 1. you’re not moving very fast and 2. that gate is farther than you think. This genius product is for use with kids ages two and up. Just attach it to your suitcase and they’re ready to roll. Literally.

Jet Kids Stokke portable air mattress

Jet Kids by Stokke


CloudSleeper Portable Mattress

If you have a child in that in-between phase who is too big for a pack and play, but not ready to sleep in a normal bed, the idea of sleeping away from home can cause anxiety—for you and them. Send them off to dreamland in this inflatable kids bed by Stokke. Made specifically for toddlers, its top surface is made of a lightweight nylon which can easily be cleaned with a wet cloth. We love that unlike an adult-sized inflatable mattress, it’s kid-sized (measuring in at 60 inches long) and boasts full-length side bumpers to keep your toddler from rolling off. Best of all? The travel bed folds up to a compact cube that is slightly larger than a lap top, and has an integrated pump so there’s no hauling extra parts to inflate or deflate. All of these unique features have landed it close to 5 stars on Nordstrom, and the Reddot award best of the best 2021 in product concept. 

mifold Grab and Go Booster Seat



Grab and Go Booster Seat

Once your kiddo hits that magical 4 and 40 pounds mark and can be in a booster, it seems travel will be easier. But then you realize even those boosters are clunky to carry. That’s where the mifold, one of the most innovative booster concepts on the market. Instead of lifting the child up to be in the right position, this design safely lowers the seat belt to meet your child. Most impressively, it’s small enough to fit in your purse (10” x 5”) and weighs under two pounds–small and light enough that your kid can even carry it in their backpack.

Ride Safer Travel Vest



Travel Vest

Even if they’re not quite 40 pounds, you don’t necessarily have to lug around a car seat. The brilliant RideSafer Travel Vest allows kids as small as 3 years or 30 pounds to safely ride without a bulky booster. Similarly to the mifold, it allows the seatbelt to fit properly, providing a safe secure ride and can easily fit into your carry on!

Alnoor Car seat travel belt



Car Seat Travel Belt

If you’re not quite in the booster seat phase of life and decide to bring along a car seat on the plane (or gate-check it), don’t worry! We’ve solved that problem too. This car seat strap—just a couple of straps and clips— can make it seem like that 20 pound car seat is isn’t even with you. In just a couple moves, you can strap your car seat to the front of a rolling bag (it even works with the super heavy seat and a smallish carry-on bag), and voila, your most annoying, bulky (but necessary) piece of gear feels like it’s barely there.

Portable Folding Potty Cover



Portable Folding Potty Cover

OK, this may seem a bit extra, but so are our kids, right? If your kiddo has a hard time using a regular size toilet, this handy portable seat topper makes it a little less scary. It’s small enough to fold up into your bag and as a bonus keeps public toilet seat germs to a minimum.

Mesh Zipper Pouches

Mesh Zipper Pouches

When you’re traveling, keeping track of your own things is a challenge. Add in all the bibs and bobs kids cart around and something is bound to get lost. One easy way to give kids a bit more responsibility for their own belongings is to provide them a designated place to keep them. According to Motherly’s VP of Content Strategy Erin Lem, “We are at the stage where we have ‘cant leave behind, must haves’ for each kid with their stuffed animals, etc. So, I keep each of their things in these bags and they know which color is theirs. When we leave a place they know to put their stuff in these bags.”

Price is for a pack of 10.

Amazon Basics Packing Cubes

Amazon Basics


Packing Cubes

Similarly, if you’re packing for multiple kiddos, organization is key. With a color-coded set of packing cubes you can be sure each kid (and parent!) has everything they need without getting things mixed up.




Transforming 2-in-1 Hoodie

Hoodies are a travel wardrobe must-have for all ages. But what’s better than a cozy hoodie? A hoodie that turns into a loveable, snuggle-worthy pal. The brilliant two-in-one basics from Cubcoats are designed to tuck into themselves, transforming ordinary clothes into toys that are perfect for plane rides or road trips. Not only are too cool to leave behind, but they also make a comfy travel pillow! They come in a bunch of different animal designs in sizes 2T-10.

Baby quip

BabyQuip Baby Gear Rental

Why lug 800 pounds of gear you may or may not use? One of the slickest tricks to save you the struggle is to rent the things you need instead! Strollers, car seats, even cribs and toys can be delivered directly to your destination via the pros at BabyQuip. (They’ll even meet you at the airport!) Not only do they deliver it–they set up everything for you, and pick it up when you’re done—all at your convenience. All rental gear is clean, safe and insured so you can rest easy and just enjoy your vacay!

A version of this story was published July 26, 2022. It has been updated.