20+ Travel Essentials That Will Save Your Sanity

Jun 21, 2021 | Baby and Kids, Lifestyle, Travel

Are you hitting the road? Whether you're planning to take a trip by plane, train, or automobile, make sure you have these travel essentials handy. They're game-changers, you guys!

family taking selfie on a trip, from Fun Cheap or Free

Whether you're traveling with one kid or eight, entertainment is key! And let's be honest, adults could use some ideas for helping the time pass on long road trips or flights, too. So today, we're sharing some genius products and hacks that will help make your next trip smooth sailing.

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From car organization to games and more, these travel essentials will leave you wondering how you ever lived without them! We've got ideas for all ages, and all modes of transport, so let's just dive right in, eh? Here we go, you guys!


mom and baby on airplane, from Fun Cheap or Free

Hopping on a flight with kids in tow is such a relaxing experience! Said no one. Ever. But before you stress yourself out too much, take some deep breaths, then read this post full of tips for flying with kids.

Okay, are you feeling any better? Good! You've got this, mama. Now, let's talk about some travel essentials that will make the whole experience even easier. If you're flying anytime soon, these products might save your sanity:

  • Neck Pillows – If you can get your kiddo to nap on a plane, that's basically the best hack ever! Neck pillows make it a whole lot easier. Check out these BCOZZY kid's travel pillows! They're a little pricey but machine washable and come with a travel bag. Scoop them up when they go on sale!
  • Umbrella Stroller – Save yourself the hassle of lugging around a big stroller and invest in a portable umbrella stroller that's great for travel. You can use it at the airport and your destination and fold it up with ease. Walmart or Target usually have these for pretty cheap!
  • Headphones – Make sure you're prepared for that in-flight entertainment. Noise-canceling headphones are fabulous for naps, too.
  • Backpack – We recommend bringing a backpack for every family member. It's the world's easiest carry-on and the best way to transport snacks and entertainment, along with a change of clothes. Trust us on that one.
  • Bag Bungee – These genius little bag bungees make it super easy to lug your bags around.
  • Portable Chargers – Not all airplanes have outlets, so come prepared!
  • Purell Wipes – No explanation needed, right?
  • Disposable Placemats – We're obsessed with these brilliant travel placemats for kids. Put one on the seat tray table and let snack time commence!

And make sure you pack plenty of snacks for the kids and a tablet or two for entertainment. Calories and screen time don't count in the air. 😉


Sister and brother playing with digital devices in the car

Loading up the family roadster for the next big adventure? Check out this post full of road trip tips. When you're done reading, you might want to stock up on a few of these travel essentials:

  • Travel Tray(s) – This travel tray will help keep your toddlers and kids busy for hours without making a huge mess!
  • Car Organizer + Headrest Tablet Mount – We have a car organizer that includes a built-in trash can and a behind-the-seat tablet holder. Let's just say we don't know how we ever lived without it!
  • Handheld Vacuum – Messes will happen, so preparation is key! We don't leave home without a car vacuum.
  • Reading Light – If you'll be traveling at night, these little reading lights are life-savers!
  • Blankets – Someone will always be too hot or too cold, so be sure to bring a few blankets for the road! Minky Couture blankets are our absolute faves.

Oh, and if you're traveling by car, be sure to pack plenty of food! We have road trip food tips, plus easy vacation meal ideas to share. Looking for more advice that will help you keep your car in tip-top road trip ready shape? Check our roundup of car hacks and essential things to keep in your car.


kids playing together in the back seat on a road trip, from Fun Cheap or Free

Whether you're traveling by plane, boat, car, or train, you've gotta keep the littles busy. Everyone's sanity is at stake! So, aside from the standard books, coloring books, and tablets, check out these genius products:

  • Headphone Splitters – If you have multiple kids, bring headphone splitters! You'll cut arguments over tablets and movies in half.
  • Magnetic Games – Did you grow up playing magnetic games in the car? Thinking about it gives us all the feels! Scoop up some magnetic car games for your kiddos, too.
  • Would You Rather Game Book – You might have just as much with this Would You Rather?” book as the kids will.
  • Mad Libs – Mad Libs will help pass the time and keep the kids giggling.
  • Paint by Sticker Books – Bring the craft project on the road with one of these super fun paint-by-sticker books!

Why didn't they have those paint-by-sticker books when we were kids?! Genius, huh? Since you probably have FOMO now, we came up with a few ideas for the grownups, too. Here we go!


adults traveling the car, from Fun Cheap or Free

Hey, grownups get bored on trips, too! Wanna make your next trip a lot more fun? Here are a few travel essentials the adults in the group will love:

  • Conversation Cards – This “Our Moments” game is pretty awesome! Want to go the thrifty route? We've got family conversation starters galore! We also love this Tabletopics for Couples card set.
  • Trivia – You can find trivia cards for just about any topic on Amazon, so choose your favorite! We've seen 90s music trivia, American history trivia, and even Golden Girls trivia cards. Commit to a theme and go all out!
  • Audiobooks – If you're driving overnight, traveling across country, or taking a long-haul flight, audiobooks can keep you entertained for hours!
  • Car Karaoke Microphone – Why not host your own karaoke party on the road? You can with this handy Bluetooth microphone!

We're ready to plan our own Carpool Karaoke road trip now! Who's with us?!


woman using travel clothing steamer in hotel, from Fun Cheap or Free

We've offered tons of tips that will make getting to your destination more bearable, but what do you need to bring to have the best time once you're there? Check out these travel essentials that are perfect for hotel or rental homestays:

  • Hanging Toiletry Bag – Keep your hotel room neat and tidy and make your mornings less stressful with a hanging toiletry bag.
  • Emergen-C – Late nights, crowded airports, and the stress of travel can take a toll on your immune system. When we're traveling, we make sure to take Emergen-C every morning!
  • Handheld Steamer – We always pack a handheld steamer in our suitcase! It's faster than using an iron and good to have a backup if your hotel or rental property doesn't have one.
  • Laundry Bags – Keep all that dirty laundry organized and away from your clean clothes! These laundry bags make life on the road so much easier (and less smelly). You can also bring clean trash bags from home for this!
  • Sound Machine – Sleeping away from home is hard enough. Make it a little easier with the soothing sounds of a sound machine.
  • USB Wall Charger – Never fight for an outlet again! Bring one of these USB wall chargers so you can charge multiple devices at once.

From organization to convenience, these things just make life on the road a little bit better!


Hopefully, these products will help make your next family vacation, girls' weekend, or couples' getaway a little bit easier! Now that we've shared our travel essentials picks, we want to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share your favorite travel products or hacks!

Image with text that reads "travel essentials" from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for more genius products that we love?

Bon, voyage!


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