Planning a vacation can be such an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful time. It’s not easy to plan a trip for the family. You have to be budget-conscious, plan family-friendly activities, make sure the kids have everything they needs, etc. A lot of these tasks typically fall on the momma bear. I can relate, ladies.
To make the packing and planning process as seamless as possible, I love to browse the internet for vacation planning checklists. They seriously make thing so much easier on me.
A few sites that I’ve printed checklists from are:
There are lots of “out of the box” essentials that we recommend for family vacations, too. See our latest list of recommendations below. You can also view previous recommendations using these links:
ETY Kids Headphones ($39+)
However kids choose to entertain themselves on long trips, they are almost certainly incorporating portable mobile devices. A relatively inexpensive upgrade to the supplied earbuds or perhaps off the shelf “cheapies,” are Etymotic’s ETY•Kids Safe Listening Earphones.
If parents can hear music from the backseat when kids are using headphones or earphones, then it’s just plain too loud! An easy way to avoid the argument and automatically put concerns about excessive sound levels to rest is with ETY•Kids.
Etymotic’s ETY•Kids Safe Listening Earphones seal the ear canal and kids naturally turn the sound down when wearing them. Over the ear headphones and earbuds “leak” sound and kids turn them up in order to achieve greater fidelity. With ETY•Kids’ tight seal in the ear, there is no leak. And, if kids insist on turning it up, ETY•Kids will govern excessive sound, keeping sounds and music in the ears optimal sweet spot for best fidelity. Vacations are for relaxing, so why not let parents rest easy knowing their child’s safety is in good hands with ETY•Kids?
Available at etymotic.com, Amazon, and select retailers, ETY•Kids cost $39. When it comes to cumulative and irreversible hearing loss, what’s the price of healthy hearing?
Hello Kitty Sun Care Products
|Australian Gold Hello Kitty Mineral Faces SPF 45 | SPF 50 | SPF 30 Lip Balm | Frozen Aloe|
Sunscreen for a summer vacation is a must-have. I know lots of kids that HATE having sunscreen put on their faces because it burns their eyes. The Australian Gold Hello Kitty Face SPF 45 does not seem to burn our eyes and Charlotte doesn’t mind putting it on. The Frozen Aloe spray is amazing, too. What an awesome invention.
Hello Kitty SPF 50 Lotion ($8.99, National drug stores/AustralianGold.com)
This safe and gentle mineral lotion formula that is perfect for kids (and adults!) and features a unique, cool fragrance to make sun care fun! Australian Gold combines cutting edge sunscreen protection with Asian skin caring ingredients, Yomogi and Butterfly Bush, to deliver sun protection with exceptional skin care. Signature Hello Kitty design and custom fragrance adds special appeal for Hello Kitty fans.
Hello Kitty SPF 30 Lip Balm ($1.99, National drug stores/AustralianGold.com)
Treat your lips to a tropical vacation with the NEW! Australian Gold combines cutting edge sun care with skin caring ingredients like Jojoba, Sunflower Seed Oil, Pomegranate and Vitamin E to deliver sun protection with exceptional skin care. Signature Hello Kitty design and custom fragrances add special appeal for Hello Kitty fans.
Hello Kitty Frozen Aloe After Sun Cooling Spray ($6.99, National drug stores/AustralianGold.com)
This new launch dispenses cooling, white flakes that instantly soothe sun burned skin. The aloe formula moisturizes dry, sun parched skin and helps minimize blistering, peeling and chapping. Australian Gold combines cutting edge sun care with Asian skin caring ingredients, Yomogi, Butterfly Bush, and Green Tea to deliver sun protection with exceptional skin care. Signature Hello Kitty design and custom fragrances add special appeal for Hello Kitty fans.
Hello Kitty SPF 45 Faces Lotion ($8.99; Drugstores nationwide & AustralianGold.com) is a safe and gentle mineral lotion formula that combines cutting edge sunscreen protection with Asian skin caring ingredients, Yomogi and Butterfly Bush, to deliver sun protection with exceptional skin care. Hypoallergenic. Water Resistant (80 Minutes). PABA-Free. UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum Protection. Fragrance-Free.
On-The-Go Summer Outfit
|Dress: FabKids | Shoes: Cienta | Wristlet: Carter’s | Lip Balm: Disney | Boombox: eKids|
You all know how much my daughter loves FabKids. It seems like that’s all she’s wearing these days. FabKids outfits are easy for her to put on and are easy to match. Learn more about FabKids here.
Cienta Sneakers – These kids shoes from Cienta are super easy for my daughter to get on and off. The textile upper part of the shoe is super breathable to air out those little pickles and the durable rubber outsole and toe cap protect the foot when kids are playing. Though they have rubber on them, they are still very lightweight, at just 4 ounces. $35.99 on Amazon.
Carter’s Wristlet – Since mommy carries a wristlet on vacation, Charlotte wanted to have one, too. This wristlet holds all of her necessities. Chapstick, pretend money, etc.
On-The-Go Fun for Kids Book ($7.85 – Amazon)
For older kids, an on-the-go book is just the ticket for making a long car ride or plane flight go by faster. This book has more than 250 activities to keep little ones busy and happy. You’ll find activities like brain teasers, crossword puzzles, “state the states,” and even shopping trip games.
This book is not only great for vacations. It’s perfect for dining at a restaurant, visiting the doctor’s office and even shopping trips. I’ve even gone through and done some of the activities out of curiosity. If I wasn’t so overwhelmed with mommy duties on a plane flight or car ride, I would LOVE to do some of these activities to help make the trips go by faster.
National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography ($14.99 – shop.nationalgeographic.com)
National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography is the most comprehensive, up-to-date guide to covering every facet of photography and photo equipment: from smartphones to point-and-shoot to SLR to even underwater cameras. Presented in a kid-friendly format, this fun, fact-filled book is packed with all the essentials for budding photographers.
It’s always important to me to get great photos on vacation. My daughter is now learning how to use my old point-and-shoot camera and this book will make it fun for us both to learn a thing or two about photography.
Enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below!! We will choose a winner after 7/27/15!
Monster Superstar Bluetooth Speaker ($75.67 – Walmart)
Lightweight and compact
Designed to fit in pocket, briefcase or backpack
Super-clear microphone for conference calls
Two front full-range drivers
One front bass radiator is built into this Monster Superstar speaker
One rear bass radiator
This little speaker packs a BIG punch. We love to take a bluetooth speaker with us on family vacations. It’s great to sit on the balcony of your cruise stateroom or resort room and listen to a little music as a family. What I love most about the Monster Superstar is that you really don’t need to read any instructions to use it. There is a narrator on the device that tells you exactly what’s going on when syncing it to your music player/phone.
Monster SuperStar™ may be purchased at Walmart or Walmart.com from $75.67
To give you a little headstart towards the purchase of your own Monster Bluetooth Speaker at Walmart, we’re giving away a $25 Walmart Gift Card. Enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below. We will choose our winner after 7/28/15.
Delta Children LX Double Umbrella Stroller – $
This Green/Gray LX Side x Side Stroller has a unique design and maximizes both safety and comfort. It features a five-point harness with shoulder pads, two large storage bags, a removable large cup holder, and an easy to use soft carrying handle. The LX Side x Side stroller has a lightweight frame and is perfect for strolls in the park or trips in amusement parks. Meets all JPMA requirements, exceeds all ASTM standards and conforms to all applicable CPSC standards.
If you have two kids, a double stroller is ideal. You probably aren’t always on-the-go with another adult so a double stroller helps keep the kids wrangled. I’ve been using this Delta Children’s double stroller for over a month and it’s really come in handy. My four-year old still fits in it and my eight-month old fits, too.
The straps are fully adjustable and come with shoulder pads for protection. Each seat has it’s own foot rest and canopy and stationary seat back. I have a love/hate relationship with the canopies, though, because they aren’t large enough or mobile enough to block out the majority of sunlight.
I do wish the seat backs reclined for nap time. Both of my girls are good nappers, especially in the stroller. I really rely on reclining, lightweight strollers on family vacations so it’s a bummer that this stroller is missing that important feature.
When purchasing this stroller, be sure to look for the LX models that have the a canopy that is connected to the back of the seat. This will help prevent sun exposure.
My favorite use for this double stroller is for trips to the mall. Since it’s indoors, I don’t really have to worry about the canopy size. My four-year old stays unbuckled so she can quickly hop out when she sees something she loves at her favorite stores. I keep this stroller in my car at all times and use it just about every day. I bare with the negatives because the fact that this stroller is lightweight and easy to use is good enough for me.
Kurumi Ket Baby Carrier Cover – ($49.99 – Amazon)
|Kurumi Ket Multi-Use 5-in-1 Baby Carrier Cover|
This multi-use baby carrier cover from Kurumi Ket takes the place of multi products. It’s great for not only a baby carrier cover but it works well as a nursing cover, stroller blanket, poncho for kids or even a blankie. I’ve used it mostly as a stroller cover and a blankie for my kids but I love that I can just leave it in the car and have it on hand for multiple uses.
It’s machine washable and weighs just 1.2 pounds.
Okiedog Kids Suitcase – ($59.95 – okiedog.us)
okiedog’s latest edition to their diaper bag portfolio are children bags. With innovative ideas and new bag styles they want to bring more fun into kids’ lives. They cater to ages 2-6 years old and have childrens’ unique needs in mind. Their styles range from cute animal characters for the very young ones to bold and bright colors for older kids. They’re bags comply with all safety standards and are made with high-quality, durable materials. Their bags are PVC, Phthalate, AZO and BPA-free.
We’ve struggled, in the past, with kids luggage being too heavy. We’ve also ran into issues of the luggage not fitting into the overhead bins on Southwest and Airtrans flights. This okiedog suitcase is considered their “large” model but is perfect to use as a carry on bag. It’s very lightweight, weighing in at only 41.15 ounces.
Size: 17.72 x 13 x 6.3 inches
My daughter loves bringing her own luggage on our trips and we love that she rolls it through the airport by herself. At just four years old, this suitcase is the perfect size for her and rolls very easily.
Enter to win your own Large Rolling Suitcase from okiedog using the Rafflecopter form below. We will choose one winner after 7/29/15. Good luck!
Sphynx Travel Razor – $14.99
Have you ever gone somewhere, and suddenly realized that you missed a spot while shaving your legs? The Sphynx Travel Razor solves the problem with its compact 3-in-1 system. This great little system spins in its own case to reveal a refillable water reservoir with sprayer, soap, and 2 razors. No shower or tub needed! When you are done, just rub the soap in and it works as a moisturizer. Sphynx Travel Razor fits easily in a purse or cosmetic case, and comes in white, black and Smooth Sailing (light blue & white striped). Sphynx also has 8 really cute designs and color combinations coming out for 2016. At only $14.99, I think this is a summer travel must have!
Keeping shoes away from clean clothes in a suitcase just got easier with Shoe Kraze. Shoe Kraze is stretchy neoprene shoe bag with vented sides and heavy duty zippered closure. I personally fit 3 pairs of flip flops and 2 pairs of sandals in it (which are all fairly flat), but normally it will probably hold one pair of mens dress shoes, or 2 pairs of women’s heels. Shoe Kraze is washable and has a cool carry handle with a snap so you can attach it to your suitcase, backpack or gym bag. Aside from shoes, you can use Shoe Kraze for all sorts of things. It’s perfect to carry small kids’ toys, or even coloring books and crayons to keep little ones occupied on road trips.
No sink or shower available for cleanup when you’re out and about? Action Wipes are generous sized (9″ x 10″), individually packaged wipes (also come in a 30 count pop up package) that contain tea tree and eucalyptus oils. These are nice sturdy wipes made of cloth that can be washed and reused several times. Great for the environment! Action Wipes are great for wiping off oily sunscreen after a day at the beach, or freshening up after the gym. They are plenty big enough for a full body wipe down. These would be great for hiking and backpacking, or washing smelly hands after fishing.
Did you know a 10 minute shower will use about 25 gallons of water, and most people take much longer showers. If you live in drought stricken California like I do, you know the importance of saving water. Why not use an Action Wipe once a week and do your part in conserving water?
Keeping your iPod, iPad or iPhone power adapter together and organized with their corresponding USB cable can be a big mess when traveling. I usually end up with 2-3 different cables and power adapters in a tangled mess in the bottom of my backpack. I usually try to charge my phone before flights while sitting in the airport, and untangling that mess in my backpack to get the right cord is a struggle. CableKeeps by Nice are super cute little holders in the shape of sea creatures that hug a power adapter, with a cord winder section to hold the USB cable. The cord winder section also keeps the cord short and out of the way when you don’t need a long cord to trip over. If you travel with several devices, CableKeeps will keep you organized and stress free.
Here’s a great alternative to towel clips! TowelTopper can be used not only for securing towels on your lounge chair, it can be used at the top of the towel you wrap around your body after bathing or swimming, keeping your hands free for brushing your hair or putting on makeup. If you have ever changed clothes under a towel in a public place, you know how embarrassing it can be if that towel falls down! The TowelToppers’ nice stretch band connects with Velcro for easy adjustment, and comes in small, medium or large – order the same size you wear in a t-shirt. TowelTopper can be used with any towel, and comes in several colors and styles, some even with personalization!
Tip ‘N Split
Yes, we can use our cell phones’ calculator, but what if you can barely read the restaurant receipt because of small print, or you are in a dimly lit establishment? That’s where the Tip ‘n Split calculator comes in handy! You can figure out tip amounts easily, or total for diners sharing a check. Highlights of the Tip ‘n Split is the built-in light, and the 2.5x magnifying top section that lets you see the small print easily. Tip ‘n Split will fit easily in a purse or coat pocket. No need to get out your cell phone and open an app to figure out the bill.
Macadamia Professionals Travel Shampoo and Conditioner
Macadamia Professional Weightless Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner($10/3.3 ounce; Availability: Ulta/Ulta.com)
Macadamia Professional Weightless Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner is an ultra lightweight formula that won’t weigh down finer hair textures. It brings lift, body and volume back into fine hair with an ultra lightweight blend of the exclusive PRO OIL COMPLEX ofMacadamia & Argan Oils, plus Avocado, Walnut and Jojoba Oils. A combination of Collagen and Vitamins A, C, and E promote tensile strength. With continued usage, the Weightless Moisture Conditioner helps to prevent breakage in even the finest hair textures.
I prefer to bring my own shampoo and conditioner when traveling. Some hotels do provide them, but they can be pretty harsh and drying. I like something that will put moisture back in my hair, as well as control frizzies in humid climates, like this great set from Macadamia Professional Weightless Moisture collection. These have a terrific, almost coconut/vanilla, light scent. I love that you can actually order travel sizes on the Macadamia website (3.3 ounces) that should last about a week with daily washing. See all the luxurious Macadamia Professional products to see which formula is best for your hair type, with most available in the 3.3 ounce travel size!
Flyebaby Seat – ($39.95 – Amazon)
The FlyeBaby is a one-of-a-kind infant airplane seat designed for face-to-face interaction between you and your baby during the cruise portion of the flight.
(NOT for use during taxi, take-off, landing or turbulence).
FlyeBaby simply attaches around your waist and to the seat in front of you, creating a comfortable hammock-style seat that safely supports your child. FlyeBaby’s color-coded straps make it easy to set up. Its convenient hands-free design allows you to easily tend to your child while he/she relaxes or sleeps peacefully through the flight.
FlyeBaby features a 5-point restraint harness keeping baby safe and comfortable.
Upon leaving the aircraft, FlyeBaby folds up quickly and conveniently into an included carry bag, and attaches to most chairs easily, instantly converting them into a high chair.
I personally would not use this product on an airplane. While I can understand how it might be easier to place your infant in front of you, it just seems unsafe and impractical to me. I do, however, love to use this in restaurants and hotels to hold my eight-month old. I actually plan on taking it on our next trip to Cabo San Lucas. We stay in a 2,000 square foot condo with a full dining table. I will be using it to include baby Kendall at the table with us. It truly makes feeding on-the-go so much easier. Plus, it’s easy to clean. I just toss it in the washing machine on delicate and air dry it.
FlyeBaby is $49.95 and available for purchase at amazon.com; scsdirectinc.com and specialty retailers across the country.
We also recommend…
Ciao Baby Portable High Chair – Read our full review here!