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While we travel-loving parents might be hesitant to splurge on something for ourselves, the perfect products for the little ones we bring along on our adventures are a little harder to resist. Here are some of our favorite travel-related gifts and gadgets for pint-sized globetrotters, all available on Amazon right now.
Trunki: The Original Ride-on Suitcase
These ride-on suitcases are a godsend for any parent who’s ever had to coax their meandering child through an airport. This tot-sized hard-case piece of luggage is lightweight, durable and able to carry up to 75 pounds. It has carry handles for when you need to lift it, but also horn handles for the little ones to “steer” as you pull them along. When it’s not being hauled through a terminal, it doubles as a chair or toy chest. Trunki comes in a wide variety of colors, characters and styles and is great for kids ages three and up. Unfortunately, it can only be pulled in a straight line, but if that’s the worst thing about it, sign me up for two. From $50.
Teddy Bear Neck Pillow
Traveling with kids can often mean lugging around a ton of stuff. So when a product comes along that can serves multiple functions — like this neck pillow that folds out to become a cuddly, stuffed teddy bear — parents rejoice! The bear can be used for play or comfort while the kids are awake, then converts to a pillow to prop up little heads when they fall asleep. If bears aren’t your thing, the pillows come in all sorts of animals, including dogs, cats, giraffes and pandas. Little ones will love how soft they are and parents will love that it means one less thing to stuff into your suitcase. From $16.
White Noise Machine and Bluetooth Speaker
For infants yet to master sleeping through the night, white noise is essential — soft, constant sounds like waves crashing or rain drops can help lull them back to sleep when they startle. That, combined with a bedtime routine as consistent as Catholic mass, can mean the difference between parents getting six hours of sleep or two. This portable white noise machine and Bluetooth speaker is small, cute, portable and clips onto car seats or mini hotel cribs when you’re traveling. Unlike a lot of other portable machines, it has a continuous setting so you can leave it on all night — and because it’s rechargeable, it doesn’t matter if you do. From $50.
Aden by Aden + Anais Cotton Muslin Swaddles
These cotton muslin swaddles have a bit of a cult following among new parents, in no small part because the soft, light material can serve a myriad of functions: it’s a swaddle, blanket, burp rag, sun shade, diaper changing pad, nursing cover, napkin, you name it. Stretched out, these are roughly 3.5-feet wide, but can easily be rolled up tightly to fit in a purse or small carry-on or balled up to wash in the sink of a hotel bathroom if need be. And because they’re so light, they’ll dry super fast. And while these swaddles are especially helpful when you’re traveling, they’re an everyday staple in our house. From $35.
If cozier headphones exist, I haven’t seen them yet. These ultra-comfy headphones are made with soft fleece and thin speakers to better fit tiny ears and for kids who like listening to music or movies but don’t tolerate ill-fitting headphones or ear buds, they can be a real lifesaver. Choose from a wide variety of creatures, like monsters, frogs, puppies, or — my personal favorite, unicorns, because dreams really do come true. From $19.
A Foldable Travel Toilet Seat
Can we be real for a second? Traveling with a recently potty-trained toddler is the worst. Helping your little one hover over a public toilet is up there with re-watching episodes of Caillou as one of parents’ least-favorite activities. That’s where a portable toddler toilet seat can really come in handy. The Auoplus training seat fits most standard-sized toilets, grips to the sides so it won’t slide around and is super easy to clean. Best of all, it folds up to fit easily inside a small carrying bag that can be stuffed in the front pouch of your luggage. And while it might not be the most glamorous of travel items, it’s a must-have for any potty-training toddler. From $14.
Inflatable Leg Rest
When kids can nap on long-haul flights or car rides, everyone is just a little bit happier for it. But airplanes and cars aren’t exactly designed for comfortable sleep. Enter: the inflatable travel pillow. This blow-up leg rest can be set on the floor between seats to make it easier for children to spread out and get comfy. You inflate it by mouth, so it takes a minute to get it up to size, but because there’s no auto-inflater it’s extremely lightweight and portable. When you’re not using it, it deflates down to about the size of a large phone or small tablet. From $40.
Portable High Chair
Finding kid-friendly places to eat while traveling can be a challenge. When restaurants do have high chairs available, they are often the thing of nightmares — inexplicably sticky and covered in what can only be the plague in mucous form. This Totseat Chair Harness converts regular dining chairs into high chairs using just fabric and buttons, and when it’s not being used, it folds up to fit inside a pocket or purse. Babies stay away from germs and traveling gets a little easier for everyone. Win-win! From $29.
If you were to make only one buy off this list, it should be this. We’ve tried the Amazon Kindle Fire (from $99) and other tablets, but few even come close to the intuitive user experience that you’ll get with an iPad (from $349). It’s remarkable how quickly even a toddler is able to pick up on where to find their movies, books and game apps, allowing them to achieve that independence they so desperately seek. While not all kids need tablets to stay entertained on trips, having one certainly cuts down on what you need to pack, as it serves as a library, TV and toy chest all crammed into a small rectangle. Plus, features like Guided Access let you limit what app your kid gets to use and for how long. The downside to the premium usability of the iPad or iPad mini is that it comes at a premium price and such an expensive gadget in the hands of clumsy half-pints can be a dangerous proposition. If you’re wanting to cut costs, you can look for an older, certified refurbished model (from $190). Regardless, you’ll want to invest in a quality impact-proof case and screen protector (from $18).
What’s your favorite travel-related gear for kids? Let us know in the comments, below.
Featured image courtesy of KidStock via Getty Images.
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