Travel light essentials for children

Traveling with children involves a well thought out plan and the right amount of drive to make the plan work. Traveling with my two children since they were a few month old gave my wife and I a front row seat of the adventure that’s played before our eyes and the long night’s research in choosing the right items and luggages to bring.

Here are a few gears we have found helpful in our travel with the children and the beautiful art in packing, how we managed to travel the world carrying our closet for a few days to weeks at a time and the right amount of gear to bring.


When we go fly either domestic or international flights, we favor this compact and foldable stroller that can be stowed away in an overhead airline compartment. It saves tons of time while in transit. No waiting in line for elevators, waiting for strollers after disembarking from a flight and makes for a smooth TSA transition.

The gb Pockit folded up while boarding for our flight to Vietnam and in transit at the St. Pancras train station in London

Car necessities

When we rent a car or ride a cab we save money (and save our backs from lugging heavy boosters) by using these portable car seat for ages 4 and up (40 to 100 lbs, and 40 to 59 inches tall). They also come in handy traveling internationally as you can literally slide them in your backpack after a taxi ride.

An alternative for children 30 to 110 lbs (3 years above) is this ride safe travel vest you might want to consider.

For children 22-50 lbs this WAYB Pico Travel car seat can be a good alternative.

This magnetic car-phone holder is one of my favorite travel essential for switching between rental cars. Save money and never again rent a GPS unit. Use your phone to navigate. Slide this in to the car air vent and magnetically holds your phone in place.

There are plenty of navigation apps, from waze (widely used in the Philippines), google, and apple maps. Similarly using a cab can be a great alternative to driving. We have used grab, uber, and or lyft majority of our travel, depending on where we are in the world.

Baby Carrier

Taking quick nature photos while ‘holding’ the baby is possible. The portable shoulder carrier minimeis will let you do just that. Read my blog review here. I have been asked about it several time in many of our hikes and or a stroll exploring the city. This ingenious invention is a conversation starter. I have parents come up to me and ask about it. It really is that good. It is sturdy, well made and is safe for the little ones.

The Minimies in action, Big Island Hawaii | right: the Tula navigator carrier with India arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International airport

We also have a front/back carrier similar to this fruiteam that has 6-1 ways to carry with a hip seat. This carrier accommodates for babies from 3-36 month. I have used this similar carrier on our bus tour in Europe with my 1 year old daughter then.

Traveling with a baby?

When my son was only 10 month old we traveled a total of 12 hours flight to the Philippines and an extra two hour connecting flight to my City. I like to share a few things that might come in handy as you start your wonderful journey with your own children.

Click here to read more and learn how we traveled with our 10 month old.

Drawing pad for the win

Battery operated drawing pad for the kids in transit help for a clutter free activity and get them into a creative mode. This can go in their individual backpacks along with their selected small toys they carry. It is my favorite toy we all can share.

Children’s backpack

We have separate kids backpacks with tethers for safety. This has been incredibly helpful and safe when we traveled abroad. We have trained the kids early to pack light. They pack their backpacks with toys, drawing pad, small books (coloring or reading) and pencil. We’ve encouraged them to leave room for a day snack. This has helped us carry less bags and keep the little ones close by. It can also be used to hold souvenirs. These are small enough to stow away under airline seats and pull out easy in flight.

For safety

A great way to keep track of your kids in case they get separated from you is putting an apple airtag in their backpacks or favorite shoes. This is such a great idea passed along from a friend.

Digital scale

Compact and pocket sized digital luggage scale everyone should own. This will keep you in check with your luggage allowance before a flight. It comes in handy and is small enough to fit in any jean pocket.

Hotel room entertainment

Hotel rooms usually have limited children’s show on TV. Bring a google chromecast to connect to an HDMI output. Cast your netflix, hulu or youtube shows from your phone onto the big screen. This is a good way to enjoy a movie after a long day travel.

Love reading books to your kids?

I highly recommend the libby app. All you need is a local library card. Sign up and you can borrow ebooks for free wherever you are in the world. Reading to your kids at night is the best bonding time before they sleep and nurture that desire to read and fuel their imagination.

I use an ipad mini to open the app. It also help me to reward the kids a free time to play games. The ipad is also an editing tool for photos if I need to. It is an incredible alternative to a much larger and bulkier laptop. I use this portable and foldable keyboard that I can switch from my ipad to my iphone in a press of a button. This icrease my working screen as it can get crowded with the smaller ipad screen.

Board games

Playing hive pocket while waiting for dinner to be served

Slowly introducing the kids to board games for me is very rewarding and engaging during a trip. I started teaching the kids how to play chess. I have a roll up chess set that can be stowed away in any small backpack. We have also recently bought Hive Pocket as an addition. This was introduced to me by a co-worker. It is great and fun alternative to any board games. It is small, pocket size and portable. The kids really enjoy this game and its a great way to kill time when waiting for your food in a restaurant.

Thinking about children’s card game? Yes we have one too. It’s a best seller selling for only 10$. The taco cat goat cheese pizza is a fun game the whole family can enjoy.

What’s in the Camera Bag?

left: gear set up one, the fuji x100 F + 28 WCL, 35 TCL, traveled the world from Hawaii to Europe | right: gear set up two, Fuji xpro 1 + 2 manual lens(es), Southeast Asia adventure from Vietnam to Thailand.

I have been shooting mirrorless camera system for a few years now. After the kids were born I had to find ways to travel light and not compromise image quality. My fuji camera(s) do just that. I have narrowed it down to two bodies and usually pick one for travel with selected lenses (two lenses the most). I exclusively shoot prime lens(es) now. I began to see the world in two focal lengths (35 mm, 50 mm) and have favored them completely over any zoom lenses. They are light weight, small and the images are just as sharp (at times sharper). The restrictions and restraint in bringing limited gear spark for creative compositions. I shoot range finder style camera. I love the shooting experience it gives and saves a ton of battery life shooting through an optical view finder! Read more on the best light weight camera gear to travel with kids.

Here are the links to my camera gear if you are interested:

Fuji x-pro 1 (read my review here) | 7 artisan 55 mm 1.4 | 7 Artisan 35 mm f 1.2 | Voking 25 mm f 1.7
Fuji x100F | WCL 28 mm | TCL X 100 |
Flash q20 | travel router | gorilla pod | fujifilm instax share sp-2 (read my review here) |

I use the filehub travel router and a usb flash drive to back up photos on the go. This little gadget is also a power bank for emergency use. I bring it with me all the time. As soon as I have backed up my photos on my phone it also automatically uploads on to my amazon cloud when I connect to a local wifi. It serves as a second back up device. I learned these basic but very important steps from shooting weddings and events in the past.


Binoculars are great when visiting national parks or the zoo. Always have them handy for you and most especially for the children. There are plenty available online and can be purchased at a reasonable price.

ostrich farm, Solvang California

last but not the least

Bring few loose change for tips. I usually break down few dollar bills and exchange currencies before an international flight but mostly staff will appreciate tips in dollars as well. Few dollar bills goes a long way. Give cheerfully.

You can also recycle gift cards that are not used. Bring it with you and leave for the hotel staff.

This list will continue to grow as we find more ways to travel light, learn travel hacks and actually enjoy the process. Thank you for supporting this site and thank you for the coffee.

I am a Hyatt affiliate. Learn how to be a globalist here. I also earn as an Amazon Associate. Thank you for the support!

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