Top 10 Lightweight Family Travel Products
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We recently wrote Lightweight Travel with Kids: Easier Family Vacations to give you some ideas for simpler trips with your family. Well, many of you asked about specific solutions and lighter alternatives for products you’re using now. So, we decided to share our very favorite lightweight family travel products to help you and your family travel easily.
Lightweight Sleeping Arrangements
If you have an infant, you’ll need a portable crib for him or her to sleep in while traveling. We found two options that are lightweight and perfect for traveling with kids. We’ve included an exceptionally lightweight option for older kids and toddlers to enjoy as well.
The Lotus Travel Crib and Baby Playard is incredibly portable and offers an extremely fast and easy set-up. The manufacturer boasts a fifteen-second set-up time, but it may take closer to a minute the first go around. It disassembles just as easily, and actually fits back into the bag it came in. The carrying bag has a handle on the outside to be carried in one hand, as well as backpack straps for when you need to be hands-free.
The Lotus is very well made; the sides are constructed entirely of breathable mesh, and the mattress pad is easily wiped clean in the event of an overnight diaper leak. It weighs in at eleven pounds, which is heavier than we’d like, but is still much lighter than a traditional pack and play. The thin mattress is padded and comfortable for baby to sleep on; it attaches to the bottom of the crib with Velcro tabs to ensure it won’t move with even the squirmiest babies. While not the cheapest option on our list, the Lotus Travel Crib is a solid investment; and it’s 100% worth it for traveling families due to its ease of use and set-up.
Phil&Ted’s Traveller Crib weighs a mere six pounds! It is the epitome of lightweight when it comes to travel cribs. The lack of weight does come at a convenience cost though; this crib takes a little while to assemble and disassemble.
The Traveller Crib mattress self-inflates and rolls up into the carrying bag, along with the other pieces necessary for assembly. The Traveller’s lightweight air mattress is compact but not very padded. This could be problematic for older babies or toddlers who prefer to sleep on something a little more comfortable. Like the Lotus, it has entirely mesh sides, guaranteeing baby can breathe easily if they roll against the wall. It has a duffel-style carrying bag, with a long enough strap to put it over your shoulder. It’s also conveniently small enough to fit into a suitcase. Phil&Ted’s Traveller Crib is usually less expensive than the Lotus as well, making it a strong contender. If you’ve got time for set-up and want a super lightweight option, this may be the travel crib for you.
For toddlers and older kids who tend to roll, we prefer the KidCo Peapod Plus tent. This lightweight portable tent is great for toddlers who aren’t quite ready for their own bed. It’s also useful for older kids who struggle with rolling out of bed. If you’re looking for something lightweight and easy to assemble, look no further!
The PeaPod Plus weighs a mere three and a half pounds and can be folded up into a carry bag that will easily fit in your luggage or backpack. It has a detachable sleeping pad that snaps to the underside of the floor, and can remain attached while folded and put away. This means that there’s no assembly required and no headache for you! It is completely surrounded by breathable mesh, and has anchor straps for ground attachment if you need it for outdoor use. This is the least expensive travel sleeping option we’ve shared, and it’s also the lightest. It’s also a tent! How cool is that?
Lightweight Car Seat Travel
As parents, safety is a huge concern when traveling with our kids. Unfortunately, car seats aren’t usually top of mind when thinking of lightweight family travel products. We’ve found a few products that are guaranteed to make traveling with a car seat easier. Plus, we’ll include an option to keep kids safe during your travels without one.
The Cosco Scenera NEXT weighs only seven pounds. It will fit a rear-facing child from five to forty pounds, and forward-facing child from twenty-two to forty pounds. The seat is certified for airplane travel, so you can be sure your little one is safe in the air. The seat pad is easy to clean so there’s no need to stress about the inevitable mess either. It has a five-point harness that easily adjusts from the front, with five strap heights and three buckle positions to get the best fit for your little one. This is the lightest convertible car seat we’ve been able to find. Compared to a lot of other options, this model is very reasonably priced. In fact, we believe it’s one of the most economical seats around.
Now that you’ve found a lightweight car seat for your plane ride, you’re going to want a way to get it around the airport without it smacking you in the knee. Go-Go Babyz Travelmate car seat cart can spare your knees the bruises, and you the headache!
This cart allows your convertible car seat to turn into a stroller, making it much easier to navigate the airport. The seat attaches to the cart with a strap that feeds through the car seat; once it’s tightened down, you can place your child in their car seat and be on your way! It weighs a meager five pounds, and folds flat when not in use. It also has a fold down plate to accommodate larger seats, and soft razor wheels to provide a smooth ride for your little one. I think any parent who’s had to wrangle a toddler in an airport will agree, anything that gets them to the plane easily is worth a million bucks. Thankfully, you won’t pay anywhere near that. Do yourself a favor and order one today!
While the Go-Go Babyz Travelmate fits a huge variety of car seats, it may not fit all car seats. Go-Go Babyz does offer a guide that you can check prior to purchasing to see if this cart will work for you. If your seat is one of the few not compatible with the Travelmate, we suggest getting a car seat travel belt like the one from Alnoor USA. It’s a simple belt that attaches the car seat to your luggage, thus combining them into a stroller.
While it is considerably lighter and more compact than the cart, it may not fit all luggage or car seats properly. Alnoor USA does not offer a compatibility guide like Go-Go Babyz, so you won’t know if it will work until you receive it. But for less than $15, it may be worth trying if a travel cart isn’t the best option for you.
There’s nothing worse than getting your car seat back from the gate check and finding it scratched, dirty, and grimy. The Bebishi Car Seat Travel Bag helps prevent that with a stylish, durable bag. The high-quality Nylon straps have reinforced seams to ensure it won’t fall apart as you’re running through the airport. The sturdy Nylon is also mold and water resistant; no more worrying about that mystery liquid from under the plane ruining your seat! It weighs a mere eight ounces and can fold away into a small external pocket that doubles as a carrying pouch when not in use. When the bag is in use with the car seat, you can use the pocket to store toys, books, and any other small essentials. The Bebishi Bag is a solid investment in keeping your car seat clean and protected.
Sometimes bringing the car seat isn’t necessary. If you’re going to a destination where you don’t need a car seat, or if you plan on checking the seat at the gate, you should consider the CARES Kids Fly Safe Child Airplane Travel Harness. The harness is lightweight at only one pound, and attaches to any airline seat to ensure your child arrives safely at your destination, even with unexpected turbulence. It acts similarly to a car seat harness in that the straps go over the shoulders and buckle near the lap, and it utilizes a chest clip.
The harness is designed for kids age one year and older, weighing twenty-two to forty pounds, and up to forty inches tall. It is also the only FAA-approved flying child safety device, so you can be confident that your most precious cargo is safe. It is well worth the investment for anyone traveling with a little one in their own seat!
Miscellaneous Lightweight Family Travel Products
These are some of our favorite products that just plain make life easier when traveling with kids.
If you have ever traveled with kids you know that you need to keep toys, snacks, clothes, and diapers close at hand. The Jujube Be Right Back backpack style diaper bag lets you do just that!
Weighing less than two pounds when empty means it won’t be adding any extra weight to your travels. It has well thought out organization including five exterior pockets, four slip pockets, one internal zip pocket, and a card slot; all along with the large main packing area. An included memory foam changing pad fits in the back zipper pocket, plus you can store your laptop or tablet there as well. It boasts two insulated cup or bottle holder pockets on the sides. The padded straps and back provide extra comfort, and the backpack style means you’ll have both hands free to wrangle kids and luggage. And I’m sure you already guessed, but this bag is ultra-lightweight and according to Jujube can carry up to one hundred pounds!
While this bag does seem to have it all, it does come at a price. Thankfully, sites like Amazon and frequent sales mean you can usually get them for a bit less, but usually in an older color or pattern. You’ll quickly realize this bag was worth the money when everything you need for your carry-on is well organized and within easy reach.
If you need a lightweight stroller for your travels, look no further than the Pockit Lightweight Stroller. It is the lightest weight, and most compact folding stroller in the world. The Guinness Book of World Records says so! It weighs only nine and a half pounds, and the innovative two-step folding design allows it to collapse down small enough to fit into nearly any suitcase.
The Pockit is also sturdy. It will fit children as small as six months old and can carry a child up to fifty-five pounds. You can store an additional eleven pounds of gear in the lower basket too. It offers an adjustable harness to grow with baby, a sunshade, rear wheel parking brake, and padded handlebars for whoever is pushing. The price varies quite a bit, depending on your color choice. However, Amazon also offers great used models for considerably less. Whatever option you choose, you can’t beat the Pockit for a lightweight and easy to use stroller!
Packing for any trip is tedious, and more often than not by the time you arrive at your destination and open your luggage, your clothes are jumbled together. The Bagail Packing Cubes solve that problem by helping you organize all of your belongings! These cubes allow you to neatly pack each family member’s clothes. With 13 different color options, everyone can have their own, easily identifiable bag.
Each cube features a double zipper for simple and fast opening and closing. Plus, there’s a mesh top panel for easy visibility and ventilation. A set of six cubes contains three different sizes to meet all of your packing needs. Every cube also comes with its own carrying handle so you can use it as its own carry-on bag, if you like. The improved organization these bags provide makes them well worth the investment.
Every parent knows that when you’re traveling with kids they need to have something to keep them entertained. No list of lightweight family travel products would be complete without games! So, we’ve found a few options for different age ranges that are engaging, fun, and lightweight.
First up is Kanoodle! This game is for ages seven and up, and is fun for both kids and adults. Kanoodle is a puzzle game that uses combinations of colored connected beads to complete colorful logic puzzles in two formats: tricky 2D puzzles and twisted 3D pyramids. This game is guaranteed to keep your kids entertained and encourages creative and strategic thinking. However, the small pieces are easy to lose while traveling. Be sure to keep these pieces out of reach of smaller siblings. It comes with a pocket-sized carrying case – definitely a win for lightweight travel!
Who doesn’t love a classic game of Travel BINGO? It’s great for kids ages three and up, and works particularly well on road trips. Travel BINGO comes with four cards with various items on them for your kiddos to find (like stop lights, road signs, birds, etc.). Simply slide the plastic cover over each square as you find the items, and the first one to get five in a row wins! There are no small pieces to misplace, and each board is seven inches square. It’s pretty simple, yet engaging and it helps little ones discover new and interesting things along the road. All in all, this game is sure to please!
Next, we have Tegu Blocks. Tegu Blocks are wooden blocks that have magnets hidden inside of them. They are perfect for little ones ages one year and up that love imaginative play. With only six pieces in the set, your child can craft forty-nine different creations! The blocks come with a soft pouch to keep them all together when not in use. However, with six separate blocks, a toddler might easily lose one while playing, so keep an eye on them.
Tegu Blocks come in seven different color sets. They have a higher price point than other blocks on the market, but the embedded magnets, pocket pouch, high quality, and aesthetics make them well worth the money.
Our last game is a great STEM activity for ages two and up. The HABA Town Maze boosts strategic thinking in even the littlest travelers. It is an enclosed maze that requires colorful magnetic balls to be guided through the “town” and back to their matching colored garages. Players must navigate roadblocks, which encourage problem-solving along with fine motor skills. HABA Town Maze has no loose pieces, and it only weighs one pound. For the low price, this is a great lightweight choice for families with young kids who enjoy problem-solving.
You’re ready for your next family trip! With so many lightweight family travel products available, you will have everything your family needs for anywhere your travels may take you. Enjoy your adventures and please let us know what you think about these products. Don’t forget to share your journey with us!