Favorite Items for Traveling with Kids – Busy Toddler

Favorite travel items for family vacation by Busy Toddler


Favorite travel items for family vacation by Busy Toddler

What are the best items for traveling with kids?

Let’s talk traveling with kids, shall we? I mean, you clicked this link. I’m assuming this is something you are (at least) marginally interested in.

I don’t have all the answers for traveling with kids, but I do have some thoughts from my years in this “game.” I’ve had some hits and I’ve had some misses taking my kids on trips and vacations, but it always comes back to this one tip.. so let’s start here:

Think it through.

My first (and best) tip for traveling with kids: think it through

As you plan this vacation or trip, think about your life. Your kids. Their days. What makes them tick, what helps life run smoothly, what does each day on vacation look like with your kids?

This doesn’t mean overthinking (where we spiral into a parenting black hole of elaborate “what if” considerations…).

This also doesn’t mean over packing (which sometimes makes vacation life overwhelming).

There’s this middle ground in the packing and planning for vacation with kids game, and I like to stay right in the center. I don’t over pack, but I’m not a minimalist. I don’t over complicate things, but I do look at every angle possible to help us have a successful trip.

Traveling to Disneyland with Toddlers? This is the BEST post - how to travel with toddlers; disneyland tips and tricks with kids; taking kids to disneyland; Disneyland with young children; Busy Toddler
Check out my post from 2018 on Disneyland with Toddlers

Here’s my list of favorites to take on vacation with kids

This list is not exhaustive.

It’s a few random items that help my family on vacation and ways we set things up to keep life running vacation-smooth (which is always different than “home-smooth).

My families most recent vacation (a five day park hopping trek through Disneyland and California Adventure) was an epic success for us… and I give myself and my husband a lot of credit for how we packed, what we brought, and how we set things up for success.

The items on this list are ones that we travel with often, whether it’s a road trip to grandma’s or a plane ride to an amusement park.

I sincerely hope these can help you as you plan and consider packing for your next vacation with kids. Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be a stressed out nightmare… but it does take some solid time of just thinking it all through.


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The Zipper Pouches

MVP of vacation: the zipper pouches. These pack easy, hold a ton, and come in different sizes. For our Disneyland vacation, we used these to pack:

  • Kid toiletries
  • Sunscreen
  • Masks
  • Snacks (with an extra zipper pouch for day-to-day snacks)
  • First aid
  • Electronic cords, cables, etc

Packing Cubes

Get on this train, NOW. Packing is 100x easier with packing cubes. We have a set for every member of the family and mix n’ match each vacation. I had no idea how much these would change my life.

They make packing, unpacking at the hotel, and packing to come home the simplest process.

Double Umbrella Stroller

There was a double umbrella stroller my friends and I passed around years ago. When it died, I bought a new one which got passed around again for travel by many families. It finally died so we got this new one.

It’s perfect for travel when you absolutely need a stroller but don’t want to bring your “good one” (I didn’t want my good one stolen or damaged in flight).

Talk to your friends. This is a great item to go in on together and share.

Video camera

Laugh all you want, but consider this. Our childhoods were not recorded in 15 second clips on phones. We have long family movies of vacations, birthdays, and celebrations.

I want those minutes long videos for my kids and for future me. We bought this camera back in 2016 and it’s been a joy. We have so many LONG memories saved and easy to access.

This is the one that we have but it’s currently unavailable online. I’ve linked to it anyways so you can see the specs.

Wake-Up Clock for Kids

We travel ALWAYS with a wake-up clock for our kids so they know when they can wake up in the hotel room. No one wants a 5 am “good morning” on vacation. This brings a bit of normalcy and routine to my kids – it’s what they are used to at home.

It may seem like a “big” item to pack, but the few times we’ve forgotten it…omg. I can’t even talk about those times…

If you aren’t familiar with these clocks, they turn green when the child is to “wake up” and get out of bed. It’s an amazing visual strategy for helping kids in the morning.

Portable sound machine

If your child is used to a sound machine at home, bring it with when you travel. Hotels are loud. Rentals aren’t home. Help your child sleep better on vacation by bringing this part of home with. You won’t regret it.


These are our favorites. I haven’t tried others so I can’t say anything more than “We’ve had them 4 years and they are fantastic.”

Tip: Before your first trip with headphones, make sure to practice at home…a lot…

Kid Backpacks

We love having our kids carry a few items in their backpacks, and this began around age 2. We’ve used a few different back packs over the years, but I love these two sizes. One is perfect for big kids (school sized) and the other is smaller for our little ones.

Kid Water Bottles

We bring water bottles for the kids on every vacation that they can have in their bed. That way they aren’t coming to us for 47 drinks or trying to navigate a hotel room or rental when they’re thirsty.

These are also great for airplanes because they won’t spray water everywhere like the stray kind do.

Kid “entertainment” supplies

Travel is long, hotel rooms aren’t home, and kids get antsy in lines. Here are a few items we often bring with to help with some of the down time (we don’t bring all of this every time – this is a list of what has worked):

Kids Fit Bit

Super random travel item but my kids LOVE to bring these on vacation. For kids who have a concept of large numbers (think preschool/kindergarten and older), this gives them a way to tell time, to understand how far they’ve walked, and it’s something to “look” at and be invested in. Kids love this “data.”

My daughter walked 40,005 steps on our last day at Disneyland. What a champ!!

This is not to be used as a weight loss tool.

Portable Cell Phone Charger

I travel with a back up battery ALWAYS on vacation (but especially at places where I need to use my phone lots and won’t have plug in options).

Carrying one of these was enough to keep both our phones charged up in 12-14 hour days at Disneyland. That Disneyland App is a battery-drainer.

What’s your favorite item for traveling with kids?

Comment below and we’ll have a whole list of them to help other families.


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