Real question: Why isn't traveling with kids an Olympic sport yet? We really need to be giving out gold medals for getting through airport security or a cross-country road trip with a toddler (or teen who sometimes acts like one). Thankfully, it doesn't have to be a complete nightmare. As parents, we've learned that preparing for the worst is better than hoping for the best. Read on for our best tips to keep your entire family more comfortable and less cranky when traveling from point A to point B. 

Tip 1: Keep Luggage Kid-Friendly

photo credit: Stokke

What do you call luggage that quadruples as a ride-on toy, foot rest, and lay down seat? The most genius carry-on for kids, ever. Sure, the Stokke BedBox is an investment, but the multipurpose aspect is worth every penny. Yeah, there should be an adult version; we thought so too.

Tip 2: Pack Extra Clothes

Accidents can happen at any age. Airport bathroom lines can be long. Gas station bathrooms can be unusable or miles away. And you know someone always seems to spill ketchup down their shirt. These are just a few of the many reasons why packing an extra set of clothes for each kid (and even yourself) is the smartest decision you'll make. Shirt, pants, underwear, we're talking the whole nine yards. Fold everything neatly and store in separate packing squares so you can easily grab and go at a moment's notice.

Tip 3: Build Your Own Binder

Calling all LEGO parents! Let us guess, your kid has been begging you to let them bring their favorite set on the plane or road trip. Before you say no again, here's what you are going to do: Set aside five minutes in your day for some good old fashioned arts and crafts. This LEGO binder is easy to make, and will allow your kid to build their heart out in a contained setting while you sit back, relax, and enjoy the silence. Here's what you'll need to achieve this level of travel tranquility:

Step 1: Measure the baseplate against the inside of the binder, and cut to size using the X-acto knife.

Step 2: Place command strips on all four corners and middle of the baseplate, and press down on the binder to secure.

Step 3: Add in the pencil pouch and customize with adhesive letter patches and stickers.

Tip 4: Streamline Your Screen Time

As far as we're concerned, the issue of "too much screen time" doesn't exist when it's the only thing that keeps your kid quiet and content for hours at a time. We suggest these specific headphones because they are wireless to prevent tangling, and stay charged for up to 180 hours (or in other words, over 300 episodes of Bluey!). But even better, these are built with SharePort technology, which means if you only have one iPad for two kids, you can connect multiple headphones to one device without a splitter.

Tip 5: Supercharge Your Snack Selection

It always helps to make the travel day feel like a special treat. How, you may ask? Designate a "Travel Tackle Box" and let them fill it with all their favorite snacks. You might as well make one for yourself, too. Just saying.

Tip 6: Bring In Backseat Storage

It's smart to use vertical storage in any space, even in your car. These over-the-seat organizers are the easiest way to keep your backseat from becoming a cluttered mess. There are compartments for everything — iPads, water bottles, stuffed animals, games, and more. To install, just strap the buckles around the seat and head rest, and give yourself a gold star for being a literal genius.

Tip 7: Lighten Up

Remember how we said traveling with kids should be an Olympic sport? Well, toting a car seat and stroller around gives you an automatic place at the podium. Thankfully, the ones we dive into below take away most of the heavy lifting. Let's start with the car seat, shall we? The Pico Portable Car Seat is FAA-approved and has everything you want in terms of safety features. It also weighs eight pounds, making it super easy to install and carry, with or without the add-on storage case. Yes, there's a storage case. Sure, this car seat comes at a high price point, but you get a return on investment.

Now, let's talk about strollers. Alyssa on our team raves about the gb Pockit Travel Stroller, which is so compact and lightweight, it can be folded into a handbag shape in seconds. (Side note: We're sharing even more travel tips from our team down below, so keep scrolling!)

Tip 8: Support Their Sleep

As parents, there's no better feeling than when your kid finally goes to sleep. But the staying asleep part? Yeah, that can be an even bigger struggle. That's why, if you want them to remain soundly snuggled in, you need a neck pillow with some structural integrity and supports their neck and chin.

Plus extra tips from The Home Edit team:

  • "Set expectations incredibly low for travel days, so you can be (potentially) pleasantly surprised. In addition to ample snacks and toys, bring an extra outfit for yourself because the kids will destroy you. Lastly, when in doubt, hope for a nice flight attendant." - Alyssa

  • “Each kid has their own backpack with smaller bags inside that house the following: Electronics (charger and headphones with cord wraps to keep them from tangling), snacks (sharing only ends in disaster), must-haves (ex. coloring books and erasable colored pencils for my toddler, beauty products for my preteen daughter), and iPads for all.” -Krista

  • "If traveling by car, we always throw in 'rainy day' backup entertainment — compact boardgames, art kits, and one book per kiddo — for survival. External battery packs for dying devices are also a must." -Crystal

  • "Tiny baby in the car? Travel at night! We wait until bedtime to hit the road in hopes our child(ren) will sleep and not cry for hours on end." -Caitlin

  • "My toddler is constantly taking her shoes on and off, so slip-ons, like Crocs, are a must." -Susan

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