The holiday season is almost here, and if you’re anything like 107 million of your fellow Americans, you’ve likely got some trips planned. This means you’ll soon be tasked with the colossal challenge of getting lots of stuff (clothing, presents, kid gear, your sanity) into your luggage or vehicle of choice. But don’t stress! Whether you plan to travel by plane, train or automobile, we’ve found a slew of compact travel gear to help you out. Read on for our picks.
Jujube Breast Pump Bag
Pumping mamas will be happy to see that this stylish bag is dedicated to carrying their beloved breast pump. It's got four mesh pockets and two zippered pockets in the main compartment and is designed to fit most standard pumps. It's also got an easy-reach cell phone pocket, an insulated cooler bag, a wet bag and a lightweight changing pad. Plus, the entire interior has been treated to resist bacteria and mold—a plus when you're dealing with liquid gold.
Cost: $199 on Amazon.
If your kid doesn't want to strap into a stroller but is too young to walk freely around airports, train stations, or theme parks, the Micro Trike is the perfect solution. It's like a push-tricycle, but there are no pedals, so your tyke just has to prop her feet up on the adjustable footrests while you push. The one-handed hold and easy-gliding wheels make navigating the trike a cinch. The best part? The whole thing folds easily and weighs less than 5 pounds. New for this year, Micro also offers an upgraded Trike (featured above) that has an anodized finish and larger wheels (that one weighs a whopping 6 pounds).
Designed for kids 18 months & up (with a 44-pound recommended weight limit).
2-in-1 Go Potty with Travel Bag
When little ones have to go ... they usually have to go ... RIGHT NOW. So for those times when an actual restroom isn't going to happen, you'll be thankful to have this portable potty on hand. The foldable, lightweight seat comes with disposable bags to catch all those emergency stops—and the seat can be used as a potty seat on toilets should a real restroom make an appearance. The legs fold inward, so the whole thing fits into the included travel bag, making it easy to keep the potty in your car or diaper bag.
Cost: $19.99 at oxo.com.
Lil Gadgets Folding Headphones
Whether your kids are listening to music or having serious on-the-go screen time, headphones are must when traveling. Not only do they make it easier for your little listeners to hear their game, music, etc.; they also keep everyone around you from having to deal with an annoying blast of toddler tunes, Youtube videos or movie soundtracks. These colorful padded headphones make things even easier because they fold up to a neat little package that'll fit in your kid's backpack or your purse. Volume-limiting speakers keep your kids' eardrums safe while studio-grade technology delivers clear sound so they don't miss a thing. Plus, there's a "Share Port" so your kids can listen to the same thing without the need for splitters.
Cost: $22 at lilgadgets.com.
The Nido Travel and Play Tent by bblüv
Got a hotel stay in your plans? A long airport layover? This easily-collapsable tent with three dangling toys will keep your tiny tot safe and happy for playtime or naps. Plus, it has a removable canopy and bug net so you don't have to worry about the sun or any mosquitos getting in.
Note: Designed for babies under six months old.
Cost: $79.99 on Amazon.
Moondo Parent Backpack
We know you how much you carry in your diaper bag, and this (fully-funded) Kickstarter backpack claims it can hold all your gear—and then some. Calling itself the "most functional parent backpack" ever, it does everything from store (and charge) your laptop to provide quick access to wipes for kids who need cleaning, stat. To keep things in their place, it's got 12 external and 15 internal pockets including quick access hidden security pockets so you can grab things like ID and credit cards without opening up the whole bag. It also comes with three removable pouches so you can just grab a small bag to-go when it's time to take the kiddo for a bathroom break on the airplane.
The backpack is in production and, according to its Kickstarter page, is expected to start shipping soon.
Cost: $89.99 & up on kickstarter.com
GB Pockit+ Plus Stroller
Strollers can be such a drag. Literally. Take a load off and get wheeling with this compact, completely foldable stroller that's officially been recognized by Guinness World Records as "the world’s most compact stroller." The newest edition of the gb Pockit+ folds down to a "handbag-sized package" that's small enough to bring onto a plane or train and even fits into an airplane's overhead compartment. It also has an adjustable seat that reclines so your traveling tot can snooze on-the-go; plus one-handed steering that makes jet-setting with stroller wheels even easier.
Cost: $229.95 on Amazon.
WAYB Portable Car Seat
Amazon Fire Kids Edition
When it comes to using tablets on planes, trains or automobiles, we say all bets are off. Trust us—your fellow travelers would rather your tot be tuned in to YouTube than having a tantrum in the aisles. That said, we love the Kindle Kids Edition, which has oodles of handy parent settings so you can give your kids as much or as little screen time as you see fit. You can also set limits for particular kinds of media—say, 30 minutes of app time, 15 minutes of video time; and 15 minutes of internet time. Once kids hit their limit, the screen says, "You're all done for today," which means your kids can't get mad at YOU when the screen shuts off.
Read our in-depth review of the Kindle Fire Kids Edition here.
Pssst: If you don't want your kids to have access to apps or the web, you can also opt for the Kindle e-reader, which only allows your kids access to books (and thousands of them!).
Cost: $99.99 & up at Amazon.
Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle
See that little disk dangling from this kid's backpack? It's a water bottle! Just take the collapsable accordion-ish bottle out of the 1" case, stretch it out, then unscrew the cap and fill it up! When you're done, just squish it back together to store. The bottle has a wide, removable mouth for easy cleaning and is BPA free, dishwasher safe and odor free. The most-recently released (volume 2) version of the bottle comes with a carbon filter to remove bad tastes and odors plus a freshly-designed cap lid with flip-up handle and improved spout. The bottle is available in 18 and 21-ounce sizes; a 28-ounce bottle will be released this spring.
Cost: $18 & up at hydawaybottle.com
Chicco Lullago Bassinet
Pack-and-plays are great for tots that need a portable place to sit or sleep—but do you really need to lug that behemoth around when you've got a wee one? The Lullago travel bassinet is a perfect to-go crib for babies under six months: It lifts your baby off the floor so you can keep her right next to you in bed—and it can be disassembled and folded in under a minute. It's also significantly smaller than a pack-and-play and fits conveniently into a matching carry bag.
Cost: $99 & up at chiccousa.com
Tidy Snap Packing Aids
If you've ever let your kid attempt laundry-folding or asked her to pack her own clothes for a trip, you know the mess that is the standard "kid fold." Enter Tidy Snaps, plastic bands that snap closed around your clothes to keep them neatly rolled and super-compact so that it's easy to see and arrange your clothes in a bag or drawer. The snaps are fun for kids to attach and make it easy to grab, handle and transfer clothes without making a mess of the rest of your stuff (Hint: They work great in drawers, too!). The snaps come with an included folding pad that helps attach the bands so even little kids can do it themselves.
Cost: $24.95 & up at thetidycompany.com