Coolest new travel gear you must pack for a family trip

The coolest new travel gear for families that your kids will actually use - and studd you're best leaving at home

What extra gear should you really pack travelling with children (and what to leave at home!)

Whatever your family is up to this summer – from hiring a rental home to camping in the great outdoors, we’ve been scouring the Net to come up with some of the most original and fun new pieces of travel kit that you need to take on your summer journey (and the items we think are a complete waste of time!).  

Packing space is precious on a family trip so we only recommend items that we really think will benefit you in your travels, come take a look!

In this post we cover

Flying Essentials

We all know that sleeping on long haul flights is crucial, the quicker and easier you can get kids comfortable, the more chance they’ll sleep and you’ll all arrive refreshed.  There have been plenty of new entrants into this market, so why not try one of these for size?

Kids Leg Pillows for Planes

Product NameImageStyleWeightHow it WorksWhere to purchase
Leg Rest Travel Pillow by 1st Class Kids Leg Rest Travel pillow by first class kids travel product review flying with kidsInflatable Leg Pillow0.5kg (1.1lbs)Can be rolled or folded. Inflate my mouth or from ceiling air ventAvailable on Amazon US
Fly Away Kids BedLeg Rest Travel pillow by first class kids travel product review flying with kidsInflatable Bed1.3kg (2.8lbs)Inflatable bed with fully flat mattress and inflatable leg supportAvailable from the supplier
Fly TotInflatable Leg Pillow1kg (2.2lbs)Folds flat and inflates with a foot pump - this adds bulk but saves timeAvailable on Amazon US
Plane Pal by The Happy Travel CoPlane Pal Travel Pillow -flying with kids travel product reviewInflatable Leg Pillow1.2kg (2.6lbs)Folds or rolls into its own bag, can buy with or without the foot pumpdirect from the supplier in Australia or Via SkyTots in the UAE
Kooshy Kids Inflatable Leg Pillow0.8kg (1.8lbs)Roll or fold flat in a carry bag. Foot pump comes separately - adds 300g. See our full product reviewAmazon US or direct from the supplier in Australia
Stokke Kids BedBoxHard Box / Ride on Suitcase3kg (6.6lbs)Versatile as a kids ride on suit case as well as leg rest with mattress - see our full review hereOn Amazon US or Direct from supplier
ANIMOR Kids Travel Partner Ride-On SuitcaseHard Box / Ride on suitcase4.4kg (9.73lbs)Ride it through the airport and fold it out for a bed On Amazon US

Important things to consider with a leg pillow / flying mattress

  • How easy is the item to transport? Can you easily slip it in your existing carry-on (size and weight) or use it as an alternative kid’s carry on item?
  • How quick and easy are they to inflate (and will they stay inflated) – or is a hard box with mattress better?
  • Will your airline allow the item to be used? Whilst the manufacturer’s websites for these products might claim they are safe for use, some individual airlines have now banned their use – you can see which airlines in this post.

Our Globetrotters complete guide to Flying with Kids

Infant Flying Products

If you are looking to travel hands-free, the SkyBaby Travel Mattress might be the go.  We had our reader trial one of these last summer and she reported back that although she ended up with a bassinet seat, it made life much easier for lifting baby in and out during the flight and gives you more flexibility to use your hands.  The design is ultra lightweight (0.3kgs/0.66lbs) and can simply hang off your carry-on baby bag.

The mattress attaches to your infant loop seat belt provided by the airline or can be rested on your knees. I went to use with my then 8 months old and decided he would be too big so I would suggest appropriate up to 6 months.

Our best advice with a baby is to always try and get the bassinet seat. This is the seat in the bulkhead that has a wall immediately in front of it which you can hang a bassinet from.

If you are worried about the disruptions, try a CoziGo bassinet cum stroller cover (formerly called a Flybabee).  Not only are these great for on the plane but it doubles a sun cover on your stroller too.

CoziGo Infant Sleep Cover fits over a standard airline baby bassinet picture © CoziGo
CoziGo Infant Sleep Cover fits over a standard airline baby bassinet © CoziGo

Have you read our infant ultimate guide to baby bassinets? essential reading for baby flying

Travel Stroller Essentials

The “in thing” for infant travel is to take your stroller with you  – not just checked at the gate, but ON TO THE PLANE! Now how do I do that I hear you say?

There’s a new elite class of ultra-compact travel strollers that can do so much more these days, folding small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of a wide-bodied aircraft.  The leading brands currently in this field (for both comfort, quality and looks) are Mountain Buggy Nano, the BabyJogger City Tour and Baby Zen YoYo.

You can see a full comparison of these stroller products here, but also take a browse below at our favourites.

What to look for buying travel strollers

  • See our complete guide on how to choose the best travel stroller for your needs here.
  • The biggest thing you give up in choosing a compact stroller over a traditional stroller is wheel size.  If you think you will be off-roading or on rough surfaces, just think if a compact will be suitable for all your travel needs or are you just buying it for that airport convenience?
  • There’s also a great new range of compact double strollers available these days – small but technology still hasn’t made it quite so far that you can fit a double on the plane.

Protecting your Travel Gear

If you are checking in your stroller or car seats for flying, I thoroughly recommend putting it in a protective case to prevent damage. I always look for this as an added perk when purchasing a stroller.  The branded ones will, of course, fit best, but otherwise look for a generic cover like these:

You can see our complete guide on how to select the best car seat covers here and the best stroller gate check bags here

Road Trip Essentials

We are slowly graduating to a stage where the big bulky car seats do not need to come with us on every trip, depending on what sort of car we’ll have at our destination and local laws.

(NB if hiring a car in some countries, like Australia you will need to comply with local car seat laws which require boosters to have a back. These rules are flexed in taxi’s but not if you are hiring).

Most Popular Travel Boosters

The best new travel booster product I have seen come on the market is the mifold Grab & Go Booster Seat (Grab a 10% discount if you buy direct here using the code GLOBETROTTERS).

They are the absolute slimmest and most compact travel product I have seen and will genuinely fit in your bag. You can use the belt guide to adjust for different sized children – suitable from 100-145cm.

See the latest pricing for mifold

And our next contender, although not that new on the market, is the reliable Bubble Bum.

The Bubble Bum is an inflatable seat that rolls very flat to fit in its own drawstring bag that kids can easily carry or handbag size.  Suited for 4+, 15 to 36kgs and up to 150cm.

See latest pricing for Bubble Bum

We talk in more detail about all the best portable booster seat products to make family travel easier here.

You can see more car seat comfort ideas on our Kids Travel Pillow page

Protect your car seats

See our note above about car seat covers, if these are coming with you on a plane before undertaking a road trip, make sure they are well protected to prevent damage in baggage handling, unfortunately, an all too common occurrence.

The other thing we do to keep car seats protected is to use a Piddle Pad – – accidents can still happen on longer road trips, this will help you rest a little easier about making it to the next toilet stop.

See more advice on how to handle potty needs on the go

Sleeping Travel Essentials

Toddler sleeping

Have you discovered The Shrunks yet?  Especially if you have only recently transferred from cot to be or are not sure how your tot will handle sleeping in a new place, these are a superb solution to your infant travelling woes!  They are inflatable, so fold fairly flat in your luggage. Being low to the ground, infants can’t roll out too far. The handy side rails are attached by velcro.

If I’m perfectly honest though, if its infants rolling out of bed you are worried about, try putting some pillows or towels around the side of the child’s bed – tucked under the fitted sheet if possible.  

If pulling the mattress on to the floor isn’t possible, pack items around them.  (They can escape from a pillow barrier alone – we have had more than our fair share of middle of the night thuds!)

Portable infant cots

If you want something a bit more substantial for your tot with sides, we’ve tried and tested the phil&teds Travellerone of the most lightweight infant sleeping solutions.  

It is also closely compared with the Lotus and the Baby Bjorn which we have heard equally good things about. Good for indoor use or outdoor camping, they all come with optional sun covers for over the top too.  

I would choose these portable cots any day over the much heavier “pack and play” style travel cribs – just for the size and weight alone!

See our full travel bassinet and toddler crib review here

Blackouts and sleep aids

We also have a lot to thank of the years for helping us with toddler sleep and recovering from jetlag to the Gro Company.  An awesome range of goods that help train kids on day and night.  

The Gro Clock is a trusted favourite.  If you need help adjusting for jet lag and time differences, getting them to trust in their Gro Clock really helps.

We’ve also found making the room as dark as possible really helps especially for summertime travel.  It’s so important for getting sleep cycles in check it’s one of the things I now always check before booking accommodation – or take a blackout curtain option with you.

Another soothing aid to help little ones adjust to a new environment is a white noise machine. Now available in some really handy portable models you don’t need to worry about wattage and plugs – just remember the batteries!

International travellers tip; Always check wattage when travelling with electronics! You could save yourself some valuable packing space if your electronics wont work overseas

Baby Travel Essentials

Don’t forget to check out our more extensive list of baby essentials for travel over here – we talk you through our tried and tested travel items that you MUST pack – and a few you might just want to save your luggage space and keep at home.

If you are heading anywhere hot, you may also want to check out our guide to helping baby keep it cool in the summer, we give you our best sun protection advice by age group and how to keep that delicate skin protected, as well as avoiding other common heat annoyances like dehydration and rashes.

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Coolest new travel gear for kids - that will actually get used! (and what we definitely don't recommend you bother with)


Have you seen any other new and innovative travel products this year? We love reviewing and testing any gadgets that help your travel journey with kids!

Disclosure: Our Globetrotters participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  Some of these products contain affiliate links which may earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you. We have not been paid to mention any of these items, however, we have been provided with some products free of charge by the manufacturer. As always, all opinions are our own.  See our full disclosure statement.

© Our Globetrotters | Product Images Amazon Associates

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1 thoughts on “Coolest new travel gear you must pack for a family trip

  1. Emma says:

    This is an awesome post! It lists down everything parents would need when travelling with kids. We travel a lot so I’d know LOL

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