The 5 Things You Need For Your Next Family Vacation

The family vacation always makes for a memorable experience — for better or for worse. But regardless of whether the trip will be remembered for yells or for laughs, a rising share of families are signing up for the experience. According to the Family Travel Association, 87% planned on taking a vacation in 2015, up 5% from 2010.1

Families that hit the road together have their own set of logistical challenges, especially if they’re traveling with young kids. Packing gear that’s durable, affordable and, of course, highly portable is key to a successful trip. Here are five things worth taking on your next family getaway.

1. The Right Stroller

When traveling with an infant, it’s critical to find a stroller for travel that’s full-featured but as compact as possible. Umbrella strollers fold to fit into extremely compact spaces, but they can be flimsy and scant on storage. A better alternative is a compact stroller that folds flat but still has a sizable “trunk” underneath, like Baby Trend’s Passport model. If you you’re traveling by car and using a car seat, one option is a so-called “travel system,” a stroller and car-seat combo (the car seat fastens directly into the stroller). Yet ironically, these systems are often too bulky to travel with conveniently. Instead, try a car-seat carrier such as the Baby Trend Snap-N-Go. It’s compact and has a cavernous storage space at the bottom. It has a suggested retail price of $69.99; a double model that holds two car seats is also available.

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2. A Giant Duffel

Too often, parents check their infant car seat as luggage without placing it in any kind of protective cover, leaving it vulnerable to wear and damage. Counteract this by packing it inside a large duffel bag so it stays clean and its straps don’t fall victim to the airport’s baggage-handling equipment. Use the duffel to save space in the rest of your luggage by adding bulky items such as winter coats, beach towels and pool toys. You should be able to find a suitable duffel bag at most sporting goods stores for under $50. REI sells an extra large duffel bag for $45.

3. Air Sickness Bags

There is another extremely useful piece of gear that you should never be without when traveling with an infant, and the airlines offer it for free. Air sickness bags are a sanitary place to temporarily store used diapers and wipes — and all the other messes that crop up when traveling with kids — until you reach a trash can.

4. The CARES Harness

Another way to travel light is to use a the CARES harness on airplanes instead of a traditional child safety seat. This product is a child’s seat belt that fits over most airline seats, but still folds up to a very small size.

5. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

If you have room in the backpack, and your budget, consider a tablet and noise-cancelling headphones, which can provide nearly infinite entertainment for long trips. And perhaps more importantly, these might be your best shot at keeping the peace between siblings on long rides. To save money, look for a new or used tablet that’s a generation or two old and a generic noise-cancelling headset that will likely work nearly as well as name-brand models.

Resources:

1 http://www.travelagewest.com/Travel/Family-Travel/9-Major-Trends-in-Family-Travel/#.V0RaKWgrLPt

Legal Disclaimer: The articles and information provided herein are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice. 

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