7 Favorite Travel Gadgets for A Family Vacation

Every family has their favorite travel gadgets, but when you’re planning for a trip, the last thing you want to bring along is more gear. In our family we try to limit electronics on vacation because one, they add more bulk to our luggage, and two, they increase the likelihood of something getting lost. We like these travel gadgets because they are lightweight and easy to bring along when we hit the road.

Travel Gadgets-Kids Are A Trip

Favorite Travel Gadgets

Kindle Fire

The Kindle is our family device of choice for many reasons. Not only does it offer 33 million books, apps, movies, games, and music, it offers parental controls with its FreeTime app, which allows screen limits to be set for each child using the device. Amazon also allows for you to link devices so content can be shared and you don’t have to buy the same product twice. Durable (yes, we’ve dropped it and it survived, but now it has a cover), lightweight, and entertaining, the Kindle is perfect for traveling families.

Kindle-Amazon Kids Are A Trip

Fit Bit

In our family we use the Fit Bit not only as a motivational tool for mom, but a step tracking tool for each day of travel. Each day we try to surpass the number of steps taken the previous day. Last summer in Helsinki we walked 14 miles in one day and the kids didn’t even complain. They celebrated that we broke our record from the day before! Fit Bit will also track your sleep, calories burned, and active minutes, and their app has a food log to keep your daily calories. This little wristband keeps our family moving when we travel!

Selfie Stick

I know people love to hate the selfie stick, but you have to admit they’re everywhere these days. The selfie stick weighs less than a pound, securely attaches to your phone, and runs on a Bluetooth connection. This one stretches from 9 to 44″ allowing children of all ages to snag pictures of their latest adventures. Some of our favorite vacation photos happen when we hand the phones to the kids, so I can only imagine what fun we would have with a selfie stick.

Selfie Stick Needed-Kids Are A Trip
Wish we had a selfie stick for this photo!

Headphones for Kids

When you absolutely can’t listen to Sponge Bob another time, give your kids a pair of headphones. Unfortunately not all headphones are created equal and we have found that the over the head “old school” ones work better than ear buds. We will bring these on road trips and airplanes because honestly no one wants to listen to our kids’ music or video games. Look for headphones that feature a volume limit capability to protect those little ears like these ones from Kidz Gear.


Adventure travel is gaining in popularity and when we went on our ziplining tour in Puerto Rico I really regreted not having a GoPro camera to film all the action. When you mount it on a helmet, this camera allows you to videotape all of your fast action, high flying vacation stunts, and it can even go underwater. We will definitely have one of these along for our next adventure.

Go PRO Amazon-Kids Are A Trip

Leap Frog LeapReader

Each of our children had one of these Leap Readers when they were younger and they loved them. Not only can kids listen and read, they can practice writing skills as well. There’s a volume controlled headphone jack so if you don’t want to listen (or if your on a plane), just plug in some headphones and the kids are good to go. Leap Frog does a phenomenal job of keeping classic and popular titles in their library making this a great choice for budding readers.

Portable Battery Charger with Dual Outlets

With all of these electronics, it’s necessary to have somewhere to charge them. Every night you can charge them while you’re sleeping, but if the battery drains while you’re on the road, you want to have a portable battery charger with you. This charger has dual outlets, is compatible with Android and Apple devices, and doubles as a flashlight. Make sure you have one of these on your next vacation.

RAVPower Dual Charger-Amazon

I hate to admit it, but technology is everywhere these days and it’s difficult to escape, even when we’re on vacation. These are some of our favorites and hopefully you’ve found some new gadgets for your next trip.


  1. We have SO many of these and the chargers are a pain…we have a charging station too! The only one I CANNOT co sign is the selfie stick! Why not just get someone to take your pic?! lol! Great post and I just got my go pro….AMAZING! LOVE it!

  2. Love the sound of the Fit Bit – I think we might be investing in one of those! Sounds like a good way to stop the moaning when hiking (for our family anyway!!).

  3. I think I need to finally break down and get a Kindle! My boys definitely don’t go without their headphones. One thing we got about 10 yrs ago is a plug in charger. We used to take a mini tv with us and needed a way to plug it in so I bought one that takes a normal power cord and you can put into your car to charge. I also got a 3 way adapter so 3 things can be plugged in at once. I also want to get a selfie stick!

  4. I have had a Go Pro on my list for quite a long time. I had hoped Santa would bring it to me. I guess I was not a good girl. LOL

  5. so the selfie stick is like a real thing, huh? question… at what age are headphones okay? i’ve thought about this for my little girl; she’s only 3. i feel like any volume would be too much.

  6. The selfie stick, like I said, is something people love to hate. I find it hard sometimes to find people to take our photos, especially when we are off the beaten path hiking or what not. I guess that is where that would come in handy. What have you used your Go Pro for? Swimming with the sharks? Skydiving?

  7. Joy, the Fit Bit definitely lessened the complaining when we hike all over a new city. Granted we throw in some bribery to also keep them going, but the Fit Bit is an amazing little tool.

  8. You sound like you have a lot of electronics too! I think for the price, the Kindle really is a good choice. I have the Amazon Prime membership and I get a ton of “free” stuff along with it. We definitely think they’re worth it. Have a great weekend Mimi.

  9. When my daughter was little, she had a LeapFrog and another electronic that were her favs. When she was 3 we drove 6 hours to see my inlaws for Thanksgiving. When we got back, after 12 hours of driving, she was writing her letters. I think if she were still little, I’d get her the kids Kindle. She would have loved that!

  10. I’ve been wondering about the Kindle Fire vs. the mini iPad… we’ve got other iPads and my gut is just to keep on that train… but I love the timer application for kids… that alone makes me question whether we should go for a kindle.

  11. I love that fitbit idea! And also, I need that GoPro and charger. This is a great post. Lots of great ideas. We are tracking soon. This will be on my revisit list!

  12. Yes to all! My sister tried to make fun of the selfie stick until I reminded her how we’re always absent from family pics on trips and vacations because we’re behind the camera. Great ideas!

  13. Great list! I wish we had a selfie stick. At first I thought it was a weird idea but really they can help a lot. Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

  14. Hey Kirsten,

    We are a traveling family too. Road trips are our favorite, now that the girls are older, I love to be able to have the freedom of pulling over and exploring. This last year we took our biggest one yet from IL, to MO, TX, NM, AZ, to California all the way up the coast, on to Colorado and then back home. We took along the iPad, but rarely used it which surprised me. Music and books to read were the favorite time passers in the car. That and keeping our eyes open for places to explore. Don’t laugh but we also packed one guitar, and two ukeleles, two long boards and two penny boards, the girls are way active. IT was a crazy adventure, and one I would do over and over. Oh and the one thing on your list, we had and used ALL of the time. The GoPro, we love it and won’t leave home without it 🙂


  15. How cool! Would you say that Kindle has a nice selection of children’s books? Would love to hear your opinion as we’re thinking about getting one.

  16. I think headphones all depend on the brand. Some of them have limits where the kids can’t make them louder than a certain decibel level. I would certainly look for those. I think we started at 4 or 5 years old.

  17. Chrystal, there’s always next year right? Hopefully you’ve learned from this experience and can work harder. LOL

  18. I do think they have a good selection. Basically most books you can buy in a store you can buy on Kindle. They also have free ones you can download too and several of the classics are free as well. Many libraries also have an electronic book loan department. We use our libraries to get books for the kids on Kindle as well. We really love them.

  19. Ray, that is so cool to hear. You definitely have me beat! Our longest was IL, MO, AR, OK, TX and back through IA & KS. Your car must have been packed full! The nice thing is that you will all remember that road trip, the good and the bad. What a great experience to give your girls!

  20. Lovely post. Sad thing is I hear that the selfie stick is being banned in a lot of places. Love the ideas and agree with the technology aspect. We keep our son on a strict time limit for screen time verse reading time. Thanks for sharing on Merry Monday.

  21. Rachel, I did here that. I guess you can still use a selfie stick in the park or on the beach? We are very fortunate in that our kids love to read, sometimes I have to tell them to put the books down!

  22. Joanie Standridge says:

    We are looking into getting a GoPro for our adventures when we go to Alaska!

  23. Highly recommend. Takes pictures to a new level.

  24. I’m generally hesitant about bringing electronic devices along on family trips because I like the time away from all of that. But Kindle readers are great for downtime and cameras are a must to capture the memories!

  25. I agree! We love being unplugged on vacation!

  26. For me, portable battery charger is one of the most important things.
    Thanks for sharing.

  27. Same here. I never leave home without it!

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