Best Travel Gear for Families

Since we are usually on a trip somewhere, we always take gear with us. I have come to realize that not all gear is the same. Below you will find some items we have used our last few years and always go with us on family vacations. Here is our vote for the best travel gear for families.

Luggage general

Travel Backpack

This hiking day pack is excellent! It is very lightweight and water resistant (which always comes in handy with rain or spills). The kids have one each and use it as their road trip or plane carry-on bag. It comes in a variety of colors and has a couple of compartments. I love the two side pockets for water bottles!

Packing Cubes

Ok, I am sure you are probably thinking “I don’t need this”. You may not NEED it, but it is very useful to have. Here’s why packing cubes are a great item to have while traveling. You can pack outfits neatly (very helpful especially for kids), or organize all of your pants in one cube or even your socks. They are essentially like drawers inside your suitcase. This means that when you get to your hotel, you don’t have to hunt through layers of clothes. You open up one of the packing cubes and your item is there! People laugh at me, but I love them! Click here to read why you need packing cubes for travel and the best size packing cubes to buy.

Carry-on Backpack

My husband swears by this backpack. This is more of a travel backpack as a carry on or as a hiking backpack (for longer trips). It is very comfortable and really does fit a lot! There are compartments everywhere (which is helpful when things are dirty or when you just want pockets to stuff things in). He has used it in Peru several times when hiking everywhere and has taken it as his luggage to Disney and many other trips too. If you would like to read more about this and other luggage, here is our post: Most Durable Luggage.

Merrell Sneakers

I had no idea what I was missing before Merrell shoes. I have always been a Nike sneaker person on my travels, but was told about this brand by someone who knew hiking and comfort. So, I tried it out and I was not disappointed! They are the most comfortable shoes I own. I do wear it on every hike due to the traction at the bottom, but always wear them to Disney and any trip that I know I will be doing a lot of walking. I bought them in blue, but they do come in a variety of colors. I highly recommend an investment in a pair of Merrell sneakers.

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Hydro Flask Water Bottle

These insulated hydro flask water bottles are spectacular. Once I used one of these, I have never put water (or any other liquid) into a regular water bottle again. They keep your liquid as you intend – hot or cold (I only use it for adult drinks or water – meaning very cold). At first, I wasn’t sure about spending $20 for a water bottle, but trust me… it is very worth it! The kids take it to school on a daily basis and for their after school activities too. They also come in a wide variety of colors (sure to make everyone happy). Once you use a hydro flask, you will wonder why you didn’t buy one sooner.


I have never been a fan of spending more than $10 on sunglasses, but Shady Rays sunglasses have changed my mind. They are lightweight, and comfortable around the nose and ears. They are also polarized. I also did not know how great polarized sunglasses were, but now I can’t go back! In addition, they will ship you a new pair if you lose/break it. Do yourself a favor and if you are in the market for a new pair of sunglasses buy some Shady Rays. Click on the link below for $15 off!

Shady Rays

Splitter Port

A very helpful travel accessory when you have kids is buying a splitter port. Sometimes they want to listen to the same song or watch the same movie…instead of fighting, they plug this in and are both able to watch/listen to the same thing.

Lightweight Pants

These are my husband’s “go to” travel pants from Eddie Bauer. According to him, they are the most comfortable pants he owns. He says they are water repellent, have a stretchy dri-fit material and come in a variety of colors. They are great in cold temperatures yet still cool in warm temps. He also says the side zipper pockets are very useful.

I have my own pair of dri-fit type pants that I use for hiking. I have one long pair and capri pants from Columbia Sportswear. They are usually my “plane pants” or my “long day in the car pants”. There are many different styles available, but all offer the same lightweight material that is versatile for travel.

Toiletry Bag

I just got this for Christmas and didn’t know what I was missing. The fact that this toiletry bag hangs is a game changer. It has so many compartments to stick things in. If you need an upgrade to your old one, Check out more options on why toiletry bags are a necessary travel accessory

Travel Pillow

There have been many “updates” to the travel pillow market in the last few years and to me, they are all pretty strange. While, I can’t say that I have tried them, I love my travel pillow. It is soft, easily washed and a must when I travel. Check out more options on support neck pillows and sleeping travel tips

Multiport Charger

Let’s face it, our society is always connected. I don’t know how many times after we land from a flight or wake up early to get in the car for a long road trip, and something is not charged. Whether the kids forgot to charge it, or for some reason, it wasn’t plugged in correctly, devices are not charged when they are supposed to be. This multiport charger for the car has been a life saver! We still remind the kids to charge their devices, yet if someone forgets, now we can charge it in the car.

Other Great Travel Gear Recommendations

If you are looking for some other travel gear ideas, check out these eco-friendly travel accessories and products or these 12 essential travel items for every adventure. If you are planning to travel for a longer period of time, you may be interested in these carry-on essentials for a long haul flight. You may also want to consider these antitheft backpacks and bags, or if you have an SLR camera, this review of the best travel camera bag.

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