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My Top 10 Must-Have Travel Products For Family Travel

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Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Leslie Stroud

With over 30 countries under our belt with five kids in tow, we know family travel.  We know airports, red-eye flights, navigating new countries, and foreign languages.

What items do we not want to leave without?  Here are the 10 items I wouldn’t want to ever leave on a travel day without:


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Melatonin.  Such a simple item, yet one of the most powerful in our tool belt when traveling with children.  This all-natural sleep solution is what I reach for the most on an airplane flight, second only to our kid’s tablets. 

Quick facts about Melatonin: 

  • Our bodies produce it naturally and it is one of the primary components of sleep cycles. 
  • When taken, it has a quick shelf-life in our body.  This means it is broken down quickly. It only lasts about 45 minutes in total. 
  • It isn’t meant to knock you out and make you sleep for hours.  It is meant to help you drift off to sleep and then your own body determines if you should sleep longer.  Often our children, in the midst of travel excitement or a desire for tablet time, only sleep 45 minutes when we give it to them.  This is not a bad thing at all.  It’s a perfect reset time. 
  • It’s cheap and easy to pack. We buy this bottle and it lasts for months.  We never give anyone, including ourselves, a full tablet.  We do between 1/8 to 1/2 depending on the child, their size, and the situation.  If it’s supposed to be bedtime (as in a red-eye flight), we give more than just trying to get them a quick reset in the middle of a long travel day. 
  • Sometimes the kids don’t even fall asleep with it.  That’s OK.  I figure if their body is really tired, this will just give that gentle push over the edge. 
  • Melatonin is also our first weapon against jet lag.   Usually, a long travel day means we are plenty tired and going to bed easily, but if not, we use a little Melatonin to get our bodies on a new time zone.


The digital babysitter of our age. It’s a crutch, but a good one for travel days.

Grab an iPad or other tablet pre-loaded with entertainment.  Everyone and their grandma has a tablet, but pay attention to how to maximize this item’s potential. 

Travel goes wrong a lot.  Especially during Covid recovery, the travel industry is unstable at best.  Flights are constantly changing or being canceled.  We haven’t booked a single flight in 2021 that hasn’t had its flight times changed 1-3 times.  Even locations are changing, a new connection appears or current ones disappear.  It’s pretty nuts! 

This means a lot of instability and long hours for kids.  We are pretty strict with our screen-time rules and keep tablets for special occasions only.  Really this means only travel or another difficult situation. 

We do not whip these out for every restaurant, long drive, or boring wait time.   We force our kids to listen to audiobooks or be bored as much as we can.  This boosts the tablet power for when you really need it. 

Our kids LOVE long flights simply because it means access to the precious tablets they love.  The longer the flight, the more excited they are!  Fun fact: our kids did the flight from Auckland to LAX, a cool 14 hours, without a single incident or really any help from us!  Thank goodness for these tablets. 

Our favorite tablet for the kids is the Kindle Fire.  You can control the content by age, force “learning goals” before entertainment (think 1 hour of reading before any games of movies become available) and have access to thousands of books, games, and more through their library.  If using an iPad, check out our list of favorite games to download.

High-Quality Luggage

We absolutely adore our Thule luggage.  After much trial and error in our luggage journey over full-time travel, we got tired of broken zippers, wheels, and emergency luggage problems.  We invested into these bags and feel like they are worth every penny. 

In nearly three years, we have not had a single rip, broken wheel, broken zipper.  In fact, they look practically new! 

The best part of this luggage set?  It can act like a large rolling bag or instantly unzip into a roller and a duffle.  This means if you are overweight you simply unzip it into two bags and avoid the overweight fees!  Since we have enough ticketed passengers in our family of seven, we never have to pay an overnight fee or 2nd checked bag fee.

White Noise Machine

Our portable white noise machine

Simple, yet powerful, this little machine helps ease children off to sleep in any situation. 

If you don’t already use a white-noise machine to sleep it can take a little bit of adjustment at first.  However, once you are used to drifting off to dreamland with this steady sound, any new location will not interrupt your sleep. 

From a busy city like Tokyo to a noisy rainforest jungle in Costa Rica, your sleep can continue the same.  Have you noticed we are all about good sleep?  We are.  It keeps you and your kids healthy, happy, and traveling smoothly.

Travel Power Adapter

These slick bricks solve all your problems when it comes to charging your devices around the world.  With four different options for plugs, we can use these in any country. 

There is a place for four USB cords, so I keep three types of adapters and two of my most popular (the apple charger).  I can charge four devices at once and be prepped for any travel the next day.  Plus, you can plug another cord into the front, like your computer charger.  We travel with 4-5 of these at any given time!

Car Seat Rolling Adapter

Car Seat Adapter.  There is a place for a good stroller, but over all the countries we’ve visited, we’ve learned it can be difficult to navigate strollers more often than not.  Hiking in the rainforest or taking public transportation in a big city are both impossible with strollers.  Plus, they are bulky and take up a lot of trunk room.  Instead, I prefer to use this attachment to our car seat that turns it into a type of stroller in the airport.  Then, we use baby carriers (up next) to get the baby around. 

Baby and/or Toddler Carrier

Leslie and Grace’s hiking using our favorite toddler carrier

Wearing your small children is the easiest and most efficient way to travel anywhere outside of an amusement park!  (For any amusement park visit, we rent strollers.  Easy and you aren’t lugging them back to the hotel or Airbnb with you after). 

Things I love: 

  • You always know where they are anyhow they are doing as they are right next to your ear! 
  • They love the feel of being against your body and can sleep or look around easily. 
  • With lots of practice, they look forward to being in the carrier and there is no fight.   
  • You can navigate stairs or uneven trails no problem! 
  • Getting on and off planes is super easy. 
  • I’ve even worn my babies in carrier in tuk-tuks and taxis in Asia. 

My current favorite carrier for my little toddlers is this one, but for younger children I’ve loved this one and this one.  For newborns, this is my favorite.

8 Pain medicine and Motion Sickness Meds

I’ve always got a pack of these chewable Children’s Tylenol handy.  You might not know a child has a mild ear infection until the flight itself.  Or the morning of your flight. 

Feeling a bit under the weather?  We pretty much only use a little pain medication and sleep to recover.  Even tumble on a hike or cut in the city can be smoothed over with a little pain medication. 

I have an entire medical bag we full-time travel with, but that’s usually in checked luggage or back at the Airbnb.  I can easily pack some pain meds for any activity we go on. 

Going along with this, if anyone in your family gets carsick, is Dramamine.  They have a kid’s version that you can chew.  We’ve literally been walking home in part of Asia and decided to hop on a boat instead.  I can pop a quick Dramamine to those kids that need it.  We often need it on windy road-trips and even flights.

Wifi Hotspot 

We are digital nomads, meaning we work as we full-time travel.  Wifi is our more critical element in where we stay.  You’d be surprised at how unpredictable Wifi can be around the world. 

We have two of these wifi hotspots and they save us on a regular basis.  You can have an unlimited, reduced speed plan or you can pay per gig.  We have one of each plan on our two hot spots so we can use whichever we need in the moment.

Passport Holder

A family of seven means a lot of passports. Juggling them around at security is a hassle. I love this passport holder for eight! I organize them by person, so I know just where to grab each child’s passport. It also comes with RFID blocking and is easy to keep everyone’s passport together in one spot.

Tip: I will order extra passport photos for everyone when we get them done. I keep these in this passport holder. These can be used for metro cards in Paris, visa applications in Bangkok, or do show a picture of a lost child (heaven forbid).

Don’t Forget The Snacks!

Appropriate snacks are critical when traveling with kids.  Sleep and hunger are the leading causes of meltdowns. 

Most of the time, especially with Covid, you are not getting any food on your flight.  Your connections might be tight or you might run late in getting to the airport.  Restaurants might be closed, you might get to your new destination very late.  In all these scenarios, kids are still hungry!  

I’ve learned to be picky in what snacks will take up my carry-on bag.  All snacks need to be hearty enough they can substitute a meal in a pinch.  My favorites:

  • Beef Jerky
  • Protein bars (our favorite here)
  • Apples (Note some countries won’t allow produce from another place inside, so eat these before customs)
  • Nuts (Same note as produce)
  • Chips or crackers
  • Sliced Deli meat
  • Trail mix
  • Yogurt on the go
  • String cheese
  • Rice cakes and peanut butter    


  • Candy (We used to pack a lot of candy as bribery, but it spikes their blood sugar and leaves them grumpy.  We don’t travel with it anymore).
  • Only carbs.  If you are having crackers, put some protein with it like deli meat.  I try to always pair a protein with a carb.

Pro-tip: Always pack about 30% more snacks, diaper and wipes than you think you’ll need!

Enjoy your travels!


Plan your next international trip and get fare deals from Booking.com, Skyscanner, Kiwi.com, or Expedia

Find a family-friendly hotel wherever you are from Booking.com, Expedia, or Vrbo, (we also love Tripadvisor and Hotels.com)

Discover more of the world through exciting activities from GetYourGuide, Airbnb Experiences, or Viator

Need to rent a car? Visit Rentalcars.com.

Get insured while traveling with World Nomads.

Want to have a photo shoot while traveling? Check out flytographer!

Capture your best travel memories as we do with a GoPro, Sony camera, or our favorite drones: DJI FPV, Air, and Mini

Check out your travel necessities from a comprehensive list of all the 7Wayfinders Travel Must-Haves. Click Here!

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