Review: 6 products for easier family travel

Family trips can be complicated. Here's a review of six products to help relieve some of the stress associated with traveling with children.

Family trips can be complicated. Here's a review of six products to help relieve some of the stress associated with traveling with children. (NicoElNino, Shutterstock)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Traveling with the family is a great way to create lasting memories, but it always brings its own quirks and challenges. In most cases, those factors are only exacerbated when one of your kids is a baby or toddler.

As my wife often says: "It's not a vacation … it's a family trip."

This review looks at six products that might be helpful on your next family trip. From electronic devices to storage containers, they offer convenience that can hopefully relieve a little of the stress and complexity that come when traveling with the whole crew.

Etekcity Luggage Scale

GRADE: A

PRICE: $10

Etekcity luggage scale as advertised on Amazon.
Etekcity luggage scale as advertised on Amazon. (Photo: Screenshot)

Most of us have tried the old "stand on the bathroom scale holding your luggage" trick to weigh our bags before a flight. Overweight fees can really add up, after all, so you've got to make sure ahead of time that you're not going to incur the wrath of the airlines.

But what happens when there isn't a bathroom scale handy, or you're worried you'll do the math wrong? This handy scale from Etekcity saves the day. It's compact, lightweight, accommodates up to 110 pounds, and can toggle between pounds and kilograms for international travel.

Collapsible Travel-size Bottles

GRADE: A

PRICE: $5

Collapsible travel-size bottles, as advertised on Amazon.
Collapsible travel-size bottles, as advertised on Amazon. (Photo: Screenshot)

There are lots of cheap options out there when it comes to travel-sized containers. What makes these bottles special is that they're collapsible and have a leakproof design. Because they're made of silicone, they're flexible and can survive accidental drops. They're TSA-approved and can expand in size from 42 milliliters to 88 milliliters.

NOTE: Even though these bottles are supposed to be leakproof, you should always keep them in a resealable plastic bag just in case. Accidents can always happen.

Portable Sound Machine

GRADE: A-

PRICE: $24

The Sleep & Soother Portable Sound Machine.
The Sleep & Soother Portable Sound Machine. (Photo: Baby Brezza)

White noise is a precious commodity on a trip. You can use it to help your baby nap better on road trips, and it can be a game-changer when it comes to the whole family's ability to sleep in a crowded hotel room.

This Sleep & Soother, made by Baby Brezza, is one of the best on the market, with 18 different sound options. Additional features include a built-in nightlight with adjustable brightness and timer settings for the sounds and light. You can power it with AAA batteries or simply with the USB cord.

LEVEL8 Textured Carry-On 20-inch

GRADE: A

PRICE: $156

LEVEL8 textured carry-on 20-inch rolling 
suitcase.
LEVEL8 textured carry-on 20-inch rolling suitcase. (Photo: LEVEL8)

Traversing an airport with your family's belongings can be a frantic and miserable experience, but I've found that a smooth-rolling and non-tipping bag can go a long way toward making it easier. This carry-on luggage from LEVEL8 fits the bill, as it has four durable 360-degree spinner wheels with an anti-shock design. Seriously, this thing practically glides along like a hoverboard.

Beyond its great mobility, this luggage provides excellent protection for your items with its polycarbonate hard shell. It also comes with an integrated, TSA-approved combination lock, so nobody can go snooping through your belongings. And the telescoping handle extends higher than any I've ever seen, which is really appreciated by us tall folks.

DoAce C11 2000W Travel Voltage Converter

GRADE: A-

PRICE: $40

DoAce c11 2000-watt travel voltage converter, as advertised on Amazon.
DoAce c11 2000-watt travel voltage converter, as advertised on Amazon. (Photo: Screenshot)

This versatile unit from DoAce is ideal for international travel where you'll need to adapt to another country's socket configuration and voltage. Anyone who has ever struggled to charge their phone while abroad or has fried their hair dryer in a 220-volt outlet can attest that such a device is often worth its weight in gold.

The kit comes with three different adaptors and built-in surge protection, so you'll be covered on most of your travels. Additionally, the device has USB ports to that it's easier to power your various electronics.

Joolz Hub+

GRADE: A

PRICE: Varies by retailer

Joolz Hub+ lightweight stroller in navy blue.
Joolz Hub+ lightweight stroller in navy blue. (Photo: Joolz)

The Joolz Hub+ is among the best compact strollers available because it combines two of the most important features for a family on the move: mobility and comfort.

First up, the design is lightweight and stable, which means you can easily steer it with one hand. But it also has a narrow wheelbase that's ideal for public transportation and navigating tight aisles in stores. And once you've folded the stroller up, you can simply tote it around with the included carry strap.

As for the children who will actually be riding in the stroller, the Joolz Hub+ has an incredibly comfy seat. When they're dozing, it's easy to recline and there's also an adjustable footrest. And the four-wheel suspension makes for one of the smoothest rides out there.

A couple other features that deserve a mention are the large underseat storage basket and the integrated LED lights in the front and rear for added safety after dark.

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Grant Olsen joined the KSL.com contributor team in 2012. He covers outdoor adventures, travel, product reviews and other interesting things. He is also the author of the book “Rhino Trouble.”

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