Yes, flying with children can be a challenge. But, no, it’s not always the gigantic stop-and-really-think-before-you-go-through-with-this event many parents like to make it out to be. Do a frantic terminal, rogue luggage carts, judgemental passengers and the thousand other possible hiccups make the daily parenting battles a bit more strenuous? Sure. But if you’re prepared, it’ll all be fine.
The key to successfully flying with kids boils down to three things: getting the airport early, planning ahead, and packing the right gear. (Also, extra snacks.)
No, we can’t drive you to the airport or make sure you built in enough time to go to the bathroom before boarding. What we can do, however, is share this list of travel gear that makes the art of traveling a bit easier. From a backpack stroller, to a suitcase that turns into a baby bed, to a toddler safety harness, these 11 items help make that next flight much less stressful for you and your kids.
Trunki is a hard-sided suitcase with wheels (and steering horns!) that kids can ride or, more likely, you can tow down the jetway. It comes in one 12 colorful characters/themes (bumble bee, Hello Kitty, a double decker bus), holds up to 75 lbs., and converts to a bedroom storage trunk when your little road warrior isn’t headed to Des Moines for a big sales conference.
2. BRICA COVER GUARD CAR SEAT TRAVEL TOTE
Look, you didn’t pay hundreds of dollars for a car seat only to let the baggage handlers beat the hell out of it. (Oh yeah guy, I can see you from the jet bridge.) The BRICA Cover Guard makes it easy to haul your convertible/forward facing seat through the airport (thanks to both wheels and backpack straps) and safely gate check it (or use it on the plane). Thanks to an easily accessible pocket, you can also stuff it full of whatever snacks that didn’t get stuck in the seat cushion.
3. WATER WOW! ON THE GO TRAVEL ACTIVITY
If you don’t already know about it, the Water Wow! is pretty much the greatest coloring book ever invented. And for good reason: there are no markers, paints, or crayons involved. Here, kids paint with a giant water brush and each stroke reveals part of the hidden image. When the page dries, the picture disappears and they can start again. So hours of in-flight coloring entertainment. There are a bunch of books to choose from ⏤ animals, vehicles, fairy tales, etc. ⏤ and they only run $5 a pop. Fill up that carry-on.
4. JETKIDS BEDBOX
BedBox is a hardshell ride-on suitcase for kids that converts into an in-flight bed once you’re airborne and free to move about the cabin. All you have to do is flip the suitcase’s lid, extend the plastic bed plate, and roll out the mattress. The bed is designed to be used by the window (although it works in the middle seat too) and allegedly fits every type of plane seat (Spirit is probably thinking “challenge accepted.”) For added safety, you can attach the seat belt under the child’s armpits to keep them from knocking into your tray table. And, of course, when you have to return your seats to their full, upright, and locked position, bedtime is over.
5. GB POCKIT STROLLER
Parents often want to bring a stroller on vacation ⏤ even if just to use in the airport ⏤ but would rather not haul an unwieldy convertible through airport security. Pockit Stroller is crazy small when it folds up and is still comfortable for your kid.
- Folding champion: With its innovative two-step folding technique, you can switch from pushing to carrying in seconds
- Self-standing when folded: Cleverly designed to stand alone when folded, it can be conveniently put aside at your favorite cafe or restaurant
- Small but strong: Built using durable materials and expertly designed, it might be small, but the Pockit is built to last
- One-hand push: Convenient pushing and steering
- Adjustable harness system: The secure safety belt with protective comfort pads can be set at different heights and fastened or loosened for a cozy and secure fit
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