Category: Travel Essentials

Hot diggity, that’s comfortable

It started with two brothers complaining that their booster seats were uncomfortable; five years later, their parents run Diggity Kids, proud purveyor of American-made comfort travel systems for kids who need more cushy digs in the car. All three pieces–seat belt cover, neck pillow, and wedge seat cushion–are designed to make travel in even a hard plastic booster seat more comfortable. I’ve got a secret to tell you, though. The Keester booster seat cushion is nothing short of a miracle for those of us whose kids are really too big for a booster but still juuuuust a little too...

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The best travel friendly diaper bag? – Reader Q&A

Do you have a recommendation for a favorite diaper bag for plane travel with two young kids? -PII used to travel alone with both my kids quite often, and even do it now that I have three (eep!). Personally, I’m all for bags that are easy to clean, lightweight (so no leather), and have lots of compartments when I travel, which is not usually the case for the bags I carry every day.  I love Skip-hop diaper bags for travel, both the Duo and the Dash which is a bit wider. The canvas is easy to clean and they’ve got lots of pockets for easy access to extra...

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The inflatable toddler bed that just might get us all a better night’s sleep

Loved my ginormous collapsible playpen / portable crib when the kids were little. Loved. Though I admit to doing a happy dance when I no longer had to lug that thing around to hotels and overnights at the grandparents. But because we’re still big travelers, when I caught a glimpse of the Tuckaire inflatable toddler bed on at the ABC Kids show, I jumped at the chance to take a closer look. [Eds: The URL has been updated] In a word: awesome. Especially in these days of staycations and houseguests and single hotel rooms for whole families who might...

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Rolling with Dante Beatrix

We’re already huge fans of the kids’ backpacks from Dante Beatrix as we already revealed (again) this week, so it’s not surprising that they’ve got some new items we’re adding to the must-have-it-NOW-NOW-NOW list. First of all, their new wheelie bags for kids are an essential once your child is old enough not to make you carry all 700 lbs of his stuff through the airport. We first saw Dante Beatrix’s new kids’ luggage line at a children’s trade show earlier this year and couldn’t wait until they were available for sale so we could rave about them. The...

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Squiggle it, just a little bit

Now that I’ve put my foot down on the whole no-DVD-in-the-car thing (the same way Liz had mentioned earlier this week), I better have something to keep my three occupied on long road trips. So along with all the great kids’ music we play, I keep some attention-grabbing toys stashed in the van like RandomLine’s Squiggle On-The-Go pads. Part game, part art project, Squiggle On-The-Go is basically a thick notepad with a “squiggle” printed on each tear-off sheet and a spinner on the back that tells the kids which way to hold the notepad before they turn their squiggle...

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Table Topics cards: Road trip essentials

I am one of those moms who avidly resisted a DVD in the car until I finally broke down before a 10-hour car trip with two under three. Even so, I am a strong believer in looking out the window, playing word games, and singing along to music, with the DVD as a very last resort. Table Topics, which we raved about when they first launched, aren’t just for tables. In fact, these decks of provocative questions make rockin’ road trip and dinner table distractions. The Kids Topics cards and the Family Table Topics cards are a great way to keep all...

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The urban daddy diaper bag. Really, just let him have this one.

Whenever I buy a diaper bag I try to make it as gender-neutral as possible so my husband feels comfortable using it as well.  It never occurred to me to just get him his own so that I could have my cute and girlie diaper bag all to myself. Fortunately he’s all over the Urban Cool Collection of daddy diaper bags from Skooch. They’re all manly and big and tough with lots of pockets and plenty of patterns with nary a polkadot or paisley in sight. Did I say big? They are huge, so probably overkill for a quick...

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BIBS To Go – Genius! Genius!

We’ve all been there: You stop for an unexpected bite to eat with your babe, and find your only bib stuffed at the bottom of the diaper bag, crusted with food from a forgotten feeding last week. Enter BIBS To Go, a large tear-off pad of colorful, waterproof, disposable bibs and a ready-made neckhole. The fantastic illustrations come courtesy of SAMi, whose work you might recognize from some of the cooler board books out there. Though my kids are too old for me to realize the greatness of BIBS to Go, I plan to pass on my copy to...

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Flying with kids just got easier. Now if only we could each have a row to ourselves.

To be clear, I’m not planning on solo air travel with three children anytime soon. However, I’ve got friends planning vacations (lucky dogs!) and on my recommendation list is the Portable Playtime backpack. This streamlined mom-designed pack allows kids to carry up to 20 toys along with snacks and other goodies with ease. Then once you’re airborne, it transforms into a tray mat for play time and germ-free snacking. Not only can your kids pack and carry their own toys, they won’t have to bug you to reach under your seat or worse, in the overhead compartment every five minutes. Anything that...

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Aaah toilet paper foam: Because you-know-what happens.

I will admit, there are times I am envious of my girls’ use of diaper wipes instead of regular old TP. What? It’s refreshingly indulgent! But of course, wipes aren’t flushable, they’re expensive, they’re terrible for the planet, and…well, yeah. They’re diaper wipes. Maybe in another 40 years for me. I recently had the chance to try something called Aaah, a “toilet paper foam” you pump onto the Charmin to make it more effective, absorbent, and soothing for you–or, if you prefer, turn it into a more eco-friendly alternative to wipes for the kiddos. The stuff is all-natural and...

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Traveling Overseas with Kids: Do you dare?

The last time I checked, becoming a parent didn’t mean automatic revocation of your passport, yet many of us with younger kids are extremely reluctant to leave the country. Not only do we have to make sure we have everything the kids need, it can be hard to determine where our offspring will be welcomed with open (and possibly stroller-friendly) arms. Dust off your traveling shoes and get ready to go abroad, thanks to two parent-savvy resources we’ve found. First, visit Baby-Friendly Boltholes, the “second baby” of British travel-agent-turned-parent Sian Williams. A clean, easy-to-navigate legend helps you find out...

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Your Very Own Family Travel Muse. No Resemblance to Sharon Stone.

You know those people who have a second home and visit it every vacation? Well, that isn’t me. If we are going to pack up our family of five and go somewhere, I need to figure out where we’re going, where we’ll sleep eat and what we’ll do once we get there. Travel magazines are fine if you’re not on a budget, and community websites are useful until you find a hotel that 90% love but 10% warn “do not stay here if you dislike bugs in your bed”. New to the scene is a website called TravelMuse, and...

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Summer Travel With Kids Just Got 10% Easier

As a wife of a pilot who takes advantage of the perks and does a fair bit of traveling alone with two kids, I’m always on the lookout for travel helpers that make the experience a bit more tolerable. First tip: A bag of jellybeans. Second tip: Mom Kathy Drury’s invention, the Tray Bien – a smart in-flight organizer that hangs over the seat tray turning it into a flying diaper bag. It took me all of two seconds to get past the punny name and onto the thoughtful design. It includes two front pockets for books and games, plus...

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JetHeads: Helping Kids Sleep Better On the Plane Without Benadryl

After reading a New York Times article about how often airplanes wash their blankets and pillows  and what exactly can be found in those seat back pockets…shivers. I may just have to reconsider my status as confirmed non-germophobe. And I may have to reconsider how excited I get when the airplane has one pillow left and they toss it my way. How brilliant that someone – a mom, of course – finally invented a disposable pillow case for airplane pillows. Called JetHeads, they’re inexpensive at $4.95 for a two-pack and they’re made of that soft fabric that those airline...

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Jimeale: Keeping The Things that Keep You Pretty, Pretty

When I first got my hands on Jimeale New York’s celeb favorite diaper bags, I was impressed with how sturdy and practical and not blingy and pretty much un-Hollywood they were. (Go Isla Fisher and Naomi Watts! You chose wisely, mamas.) Now that I’m checking out their new line of cosmetic bags and travel accessories, I’m raising my eyebrows and nodding and making that  high pitched “hm” sound that I make when I’m liking something. And that the sigOth makes fun of me for. The shiny pink styles are easily my favorite, and I especially like the jewelry or cosmetic case which comes with an extra zippered compartment and a little change purse sized bag inside that velcros in and out – great for earrings, rings, or even a spare binky for the kids. One more reason I’m liking the pink? 15% of all the profits from them goes to Boarding for Breast Cancer. Terrific. –Liz Congratulations to Megan K, winner of the Jimeale gift...

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Ignoring Your Parents Just Got a Little Harder

Everyone knows that Jet Blue is God’s gift to traveling families. Even those who turn their noses up at TV for kids have to be at least secretly psyched for a few hours of Nickelodeon distraction. But I do admit a little hesitance to stick those earphones on my kids. And not just because I don’t know where they’ve been. Last trip we tried a pair of Air Drives kids headphones and at least some of that worry went away. They were a bit small for me and a bit big for my three-year old but that didn’t stop...

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Gate Checking Your Car Seat Just Got a Tad Less Nasty

Why why why why why oh why did no one tell me about the Car Seat Gate Check Bag until now? Oh, it would have been so handy on those flights where we were promised the airline would block the middle seat for us…and then didn’t. And then we gate checked the car seat. And then it came out on the other side filthy and dripping wet. And then we had to put my daughter in it anyway. Good times. It folds up into a teeny little pouch, and is just under $15 at Tots On the Go, which...

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Chalk Talk

I’m a firm believer that well-behaved children should also be allowed in restaurants that don’t encourage them to color on the tables. But if you’re willing to take that leap, then it’s up to you to keep the kids occupied in ways that don’t require a legion of busboys to clean up after them. Chalk mats are always a good idea, and I really like the new ones from CMP fave Bella Tunno. Called Designer Diners (ooh, swanky) they unroll to a cute laminated place mat on one side, and a handy toddler distracting device on the other. There...

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Just Say No to Airplane Blankets

Thanks to living far away from friends and family, I’m always on the look out for products that make family flights easier (or at least, less painful). Take the handy blanket and pillow sets from Lug, a smart company that creates products catering specifically to traveling broods. Inside the soft fuzzy zippered pouch you’ll find an inflatable pillow, plus a generous blanket complete with a pocket that will keep your iPod, cell phone, or Twizzlers (if you’re me) handy.  It fits easily into any carry-on or diaper bag, and folds back up in a snap. You’ll find it, along with...

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Gotta Get a Dwell

A reader recently emailed asking about cool toiletry cases for kids. My answer was that most of them are pretty lame, and you’re better off sticking with something basic from your local CVS. (Not that he knows it though – my email bounced back twice. Grrr…) But that was before I discovered the beautiful new DwellStudio travel cases at Giggle, like the transportation style shown here. (Get it?) There’s also a throughly modern animal print and each come in smaller sizes as well as matching canvas weekenders. Who knows, maybe a kid-friendly print like this will inspire your child...

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The Friendly Skies Just Got Friendlier

I’ve just returned from our first ever overseas trip with two children in tow. Thankfully (seriously, thank you powers-that-be) they were both exemplary travelers. While I’d like to think that my stellar parenting skills are entirely responsible, I have to throw a hat tip to the FAA-approved CARES restraint system. No traveling parent should be without this genius grandma-invented five-point belt that hooks around the back of the seat and keeps restless kids up to 44 pounds from aisle surfing during take-off. I’d bet it’s especially great for more rambunctious kids, along with the under-two set who can’t be...

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Baby Jail Makeover

As a fairly frequent flyer, I’ve always packed my own portable play yard because, well, you know why. The thought of using a hotel crib or that borrowed play yard that’s been growing mold in your friend’s basement for a few years gives me shivers on top of shivers. Well hooray for the briliance of mom Allison Costa who came up with safe and adorable covers for the things called, simply enough, Coverplayards. They are absolutely perfect for avid travelers ,or parents who are tired of that playpen fabric that was the best of what was available when you registered for it....

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Send The Kids Packing

I spent longer than I’d like to admit searching for a good overnight bag to send with the kid (now kids) to Grandma’s this summer. During that time I made use of old messenger bags, duffels that still smelled like daddy’s gym clothes and even CVS bags. Embarrassing, I know.

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Reinventing the Highchair

I’m pretty low-maintenance in the "carrying baby gear around" category. Okay, I’m pathetic. We rarely remember to bring bibs when we go out to dinner, let alone a portable high chair But as I’ve learned, it does make feeding her a little tricky in a hotel room or at the home of a friend with no young kids.

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A new twist on the coming home outfit

Plane rides with little ones can be a challenge, particularly for those of us who actually feel a modicum of sympathy for the childless traveler who gets stuck next to us. If you weren’t able to procure an entire row to yourself on the Jet Blue flight home from grandma’s this holiday, try diffusing the situation with a little humor.

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