backpacking with kids in Sri Lanka

Travel Gear: Our Expert Picks for Family Travel and Adventure

Let’s talk travel gear, products we have loved and items you will need for your family travel adventures. There is this urge to restock and purchase a huge array of new things, or that really cool item that says it will do that really cool thing which makes your life really cool, well the good news is, we have created a list of what you ACTUALLY need. Cool hey?

We have been travelling full time with two kids since 2022, most of the items and travel products we recommend will be suitable for all and any style of family travel.

We know how difficult the process of gearing up for your adventures can feel, difficult decisions need to be made and it can all feel pretty daunting, overwhelming, and likely to result in a few tears (we won’t judge, we’ve all been there).

Travel smarter, better, and cheaper, without being burdened by expensive non-essential travel gear and accessories. Skip the mistakes we made and stroll off with your bags into the sunset.

 You won’t find any items on this page that we haven’t personally used or wholeheartedly recommend. From gadgets to backpacks to packing cubes, these are best picks that will have you strutting through airports like a seasoned pro. 

Buy less not more

But hey, as advocates for the environment, we also recommend you to channel your inner eco-conscious traveller and embrace the mantra of “buy less, not more.” 

Think about alternative options like second-hand gear, DIY creations, or even borrowing from your travel buddies. It’s amazing what a difference you can make when you think outside the suitcase!

While browsing this page, you may come across some affiliate links, which, if used, result in us earning a small commission. But rest assured, we only add the links because we think they are quality, cost effective products.

Family travel gear


We don’t think that you actually NEED a lot of things when you set off on your adventure, but not all travels are created equal so we will start with our essentials before we get into more specialised gear.

These are the items that we love, enjoy using, pack well, are durable, low cost or wouldn’t travel without. 

In the vast world of travel gadgets, gear, and equipment, there’s so many items that are not really needed, or don’t perform well. Fear not,  we won’t suggest purchasing those unnecessary items, promise. Don’t feel obligated to buy something simply because it is well marketed or an enthusiastic travel blogger (including yours truly) insists that it’s a must-have. 

Ask yourself, “Do you NEED it?”

Yes? Pack it. 

No? Leave it on the bench for now.

Let’s get started.

The Essentials for Family Travel

These essentials are the first things to go in our bags for each international travel adventure.

  • Wash bag
  • First aid kit
  • Travel towels
  • electronics (laptops, phones, kindles, camera, power banks) with adaptors and plugs depending as needed.
  • Electronics organiser
  • Compression packing cubes
  • Regular, multi purpose clothing
  • sunglasses (we highly recommend this brand – here’s why)
  • Appropriate footwear (more on this later)
  • Insulated water bottles
  • Card games, 
  • Stationary and notebook
  • Travel document organiser documents, passports,travel insurance,  money
  • Masking tape (random I know, but actually very useful for adults and kids)
  • Tea bags and coffee maker 

And of course you will need a good bag to pack all your gear in. We love the Osprey Farpoint (his) and Fairview (hers) 40l bags as they are small enough for carryon size but roomy enough to fit in all of the above and more. Read our full review below.

Kids Enjoying Adventure

When it comes to choosing luggage for your family travels, you’ll find a variety of options to choose from.

 Traditional suitcases with wheels are still a popular choice, offering ample storage space and easy manoeuvrability through airports but when it comes to travelling with kids we find hands free is the best option. 

Duffel bags can be lightweight, offer flexibility and can be easier to store when not in use. However, we would always go for backpacks that distribute weight evenly across your shoulders, leaving your hands free to handle the little kids, tickets, or your inevitable extra bag of snacks.. 

Backpacks provide greater mobility and are ideal for carry-on purposes. Soft-sided luggage, such as duffel bags and backpacks, tend to be more ‘squishable’ when it comes to fitting into overhead compartments. They offer versatility and are often lightweight, making them convenient for family travel. Based on our experience, we highly recommend opting for backpacks and soft luggage that comply with carry-on size restrictions, ensuring a hassle-free journey with your entire tribe.

A shout out for best  family travel backpack goes to

Ladies and Gents, let me present…

As a full-time travel family  we’ve been using the Osprey Farpoint 40L (his) and Osprey Fairview 40L (hers) bags for quite some time now. We wanted to share our thoughts on these bags and why we’ve grown to love them.

First off, these bags are seriously durable. We’ve lugged them around airports, thrown them into overhead compartments, and dragged them across all sorts of terrain, and they’ve held up like a champ.

But durability isn’t the only reason we like these bags. They’re also super comfortable to use. The straps are well-padded and adjustable, so we can customise the fit. Plus, they have a mesh back panel that helps reduce the waterfall of sweat that pours from your back when moving around tropical climates.

Another thing we appreciate about these bags is the amount of organisation they offer and the compression straps on the sides help us to squeeze them down for airport carry on.

One more thing we have to mention is the gender-specific fit. It’s a small detail, but it really does make a difference in terms of comfort on a longer walk. Essentially this means the backs are different.

Kids Backpacks

kids travel in London

No kid actually enjoys carrying a backpack but if they dont moan much about it when they are wearing them, then that’s a thumbs up from us. 

If you’re looking for a backpack for your kids, we recommend the Quechua Children’s Hiking 28 L Backpack MH500 from Decathlon. Our 9 year old used this comfortably and with an adjustable height selector for the back it should last her a while. Our 6 year old uses the slightly smaller 18L versions to pack all her crap, I mean, treasures in while we travel. 

The straps are well-padded and the back panel is breathable, so they don’t get too sweaty. Plus, the chest strap helps keep the bag secure and in place. Worth finding your nearest decathlon store and trying them on for yourself.

If possible always test out the backpacks on the kids, it might take a small amount of bribery to try out the bags in a few stores but in the long term it is definitely worth it for hassle free family travel. We tested a few outdoors and then ordered online to get the best deals. 

We also pack a couple of tote bags, like these cute ones our kids made, for shopping, snacks, laundry etc.

backpacking in Lake Como

When selecting your daypack, it is worth considering your intended use.  For city use, trains, buses and hostels take a look at the anti theft packs. For light hiking, you will need a dedicated trekking daypack. If you are doing a bit of everything, like we started out, then you need a good multipurpose option. Either way I would highly recommend having a waterproof cover to protect your bag. 

We packed the bulk of our electronics in our day pack for travel days so it needed a dedicated laptop section, make sure this has protection on the underside, it also needs room for the camera and kindles.

The Lowe Alpine Flex 25l has proved worthy of our selection so far, they were very affordable at the time and proved a sturdy and efficient choice. (*UPDATE) Unfortunately I can’t find a link and maybe they have discontinued that bag, here is the link to similar products.

I would suggest checking the main compartment provides enough room for packing essentials, with plenty of pockets and compartments to keep everything organised and easily accessible. You also want a durable and weather-resistant material to ensure that the backpack can withstand the rigours of family adventures. Try it on, load it up and see if it is comfortable before you buy.

Packing lists for family travels

Packing lists can be a useful way to keep track of what you need and what actually ends up in your bag. We have a packing essentials that are the first things on our list for most travels, then the rest is added depending on where we are going and the type of trip.

It can be useful to sketch out a list of what you need to prepare for your trip, and then add the clothes that you like to take. We have an empty template that we all use to note down what we want to take, the kids like doing this to and keeps them involved in the process.

 Travel clothes for all the family

Bring along the clothing that makes you feel confident and comfortable; there’s no need for special branded travel attire or underwear. Such items are often unnecessary for most types of travel and nothing screams “tourist” more than zip off trousers/shorts and an all weather shirt.

TOP TIP – When it comes to family travel, packing enough clothes for a week to 10 days is our standard. Nearly every destination you visit has same day laundry or if not clothes can usually be washed in the sink and dried in 24hrs.

Plus when we travel we usually tend to pick up a t-shirt , dress or pair of boardshorts we like, so packing on the light side will leave room for the inevitable shopping purchases.

Clothing that DOES come in handy though is:

  • A hat for sun or cold
  • A large cotton scarf, multi-purpose, for men and women and kids to build a den..
  • Coordinating top/bottom outfits that can be rotated and suits the climate your visiting
  • Clothing that can be easily washed

comfortable shoes that you can wear anywhere plus flip flops. We love the all weather Birkenstocks, super light, comfortable and durable.

Here are just a few reasons that will make you pack less and travel light. You can read my full rant here, as I try my best to encourage you to pack light.

As seasoned backpackers, we’ve learned that there are a few items that seem essential but actually take up valuable space in your backpack.

Time to ditch the weight and travel smart.

1️⃣ Too many clothes – We know it’s tempting to pack a different outfit for every day, but trust us, it’s not necessary. Pack only what you need and plan to do laundry along the way.

2️⃣ Bulky toiletries – Leave the full-sized bottles at home and opt for travel-sized toiletries and solid soaps, shampoo and conditioners.

3️⃣ Unnecessary toys – Consider leaving them at home and encouraging more time spent exploring and interacting with the world around them.

4️⃣ Multiple pairs of shoes – One pair of comfortable, durable shoes and sandals is all you need. 

5️⃣ Excessive snacks – While it’s always good to have some snacks on hand, packing too many can suck up space. Stick to a few favourites and plan to buy more along the way.

Rest assured that your destination will offer a treasure trove of tempting, climate-appropriate clothing options, so there’s no need to go wild on a pre-travel shopping spree.  Be mindful that the clothing industry has a significant impact on the environment, which is why it’s wise to resist and only purchase what is truly essential.


Arranging laundry when you travel is often a breeze, especially in South East Asia where little laundry services charge by the kilogram and provide excellent results. You’ll spot these services in most tourist areas and prices are often cheap.

 If you plan to include white garments in your packing, dont! We suggest avoiding white items altogether if possible. In Europe or the US, you’ll come across self-operated laundries or expensive hotel laundry services as alternatives.

 The only issues we had with laundry was in Sri Lanka and India, where it is still available but services were not as professional, with odd pieces going missing every now and then or coming back tiny.

TOP TIP – carry washing detergent sheets like these Earth Breeze Washing Sheets For Laundry here. They are small, easy to pack in a zip lock bag and mean you can do a quick wash wherever you go if needed.

We also pack these scented drier sheets to slip in with the towels, cloths, trainers etc. They keep us smelling a bit fresher than ewe actually look.

However, there are some items that may be hard to find or replace:

  • Swimwear and quality UV sun protection
  • Bras
  • Gadgets
  • Specialist medicines, prescriptions or birth control.

Wait a minute, I haven’t mentioned the first item in my pack yet.
All the best travel days start with coffee. There are a number of  great coffee gadgets available, read our comparisons here, but so far for us the Aeropress Go is a clear favourite.

Aeropress Go

Listen up fellow coffee addicts and frequent travellers. If you’re anything like us ( I mean Jak, I despise coffee), you know that a good cup of coffee can make or break your day. That’s why we always pack the Aeropress Go and grab a pack of fresh coffee at each destination. There are a number of great coffee gadgets available, read our comparisons here, but so far for us the Aeropress is the winner.

First of all, the Aeropress Go is super compact and lightweight, making it perfect for travel. It takes up hardly any space in our bag and weighs next to nothing. Plus, it comes with a travel mug that fits perfectly onto the Aeropress, so we don’t need to pack a separate mug.

But the real reason we love the Aeropress Go is the quality of coffee it produces. There is no way we would have travelled together so long if Jak had been drinking bad, or expensive, coffee every morning. So make sure you search for a local roaster for some fresh beans on day 1 of your trip.

The Aeropress Go is also really easy to use and clean. It only takes a few minutes to brew a delicious cup of coffee, and cleanup is a breeze. We just rinse it out and we’re ready to go.

Just to clarify, the most important item to pack is teabags. No explanation needed. Just pack the tea.

Ok, phew, I almost got told off for forgetting that one! Now, back to our list.


Good quality swimwear is well worth purchasing before your trip and keeping an eye on, most of our swimmers come from Decathlon which we find affordable, durable and a good fit. Jak loves his boardshorts and turns to the major surf brands for quality Amphibian shorts that can be worn as swimwear but still look smart out of the water. 

Our kids insist on goggles and snorkel sets that come into the specialist gear category that we might pack for a South East Asia trip for example or just hire if it is a one off.

Long sleeve rashies with a good UV rating are worth the investment for all the family and we would also recommend sunblock sticks to slip into each daypack. They offer great natural protection, are sensitive on the skin and are super handy to use on face, neck, ears and shoulders when out and about in the sun. We love the Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Stick with Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ and would stick one in each day pack before we travel.

Footwear for your adventures

When it comes to family travel, we believe in versatility and practicality. That’s why we pack one pair of trainers and lightweight sandals to cover all your bases.   Actually not any old sandals, we are huge fans of the EVA Arizona Birkenstocks for Mum, Dad and the kids.

In South East Asia and warmer destinations We wear our EVA Birkenstocks all day. The trainers are reserved for exploring the city, sports, travel days and hikes.

Appropriate footwear

Choose trainers that you can walk , climb, explore comfortably in and consider the tread on the bottom for the activities you like to do when you travel. We like the trainers that dry out quickly and have found the Nike Trail shoes to be ideal for our travel needs. 

 We also have a pair of lightweight EVA sandals. Recently we have settled on a favourite and have no intention of looking back.

The Birkenstock EVA sandals are super lightweight, durable and suitable come rain or shine. Our kids love them so much that they will happily walk around a city all day in them, although this does end up in filthy black feet. They have lasted almost a year already of full time travel, being worn every day. 

I do have a pro tip recommendation for you though if you do go for this type of sandal. For the kids especially, choose the between the toe option, in the link, as they are much more suited to the way kids run, jump and play in their sandals. 

Back to the Essentials

Here is a quick run-through of our essentials and a few recommendations thrown in too.

Wash bag

We have repurposed our zip up laundry bags for toiletries recently as they help the backpack jigsaw of fitting in all the packing cubes we use. You can get those cool bags that unfold and hang up when you arrive at your hotel but ours was too bulky so we benched it for now. 

In the last year we have made the step away from taking bottles of anything with us at all. Instead we prefer the hair and body bars like these ones at Eco Warrior.

These bars are compact, lightweight, and easy to pack. Plus, because they’re solid, you don’t have to worry about any spills or leaks. And they last longer than traditional bottles of shampoo, so you can use them for multiple trips.

And let’s not forget the environmental benefits of using a shampoo bar. By using a bar instead of a plastic bottle, you’re helping to reduce waste and lower your carbon footprint. It’s a small change, but every little bit helps.

One of those things you pack because you think you should but hope you won’t have to use. However, trips, grazes, cuts, headaches, hangovers, tummy bugs and bumps are all pretty much inevitable when you travel with kids so it is worth being prepared. Often you can stock up easily in any destination. So our first aid kit packs the bare minimum and restocks as we go. It’s worth remembering that almost everywhere you go, you will have access to the things you need. Obviously if you know you are heading off the beaten path, prepare yourselves as needed.

Currently writing this post in Bali and we have had Bali belly or flu the whole time we have been here. That first aid kit has been used, restocked and used again. So I better go and restock. 

Travel towels

Boring but effective award goes to : The Eono Microfibre Towels

If you are one of those crazy folk who still pack normal towels then, these travel towels might be just what you need. We  have tried a bunch and they all do the job. Some develop a bit of a funk after a while but these Eono towels have held up well.

They are lightweight, which makes them easy to pack and carry with you. They also dry quickly, which is perfect when you need to pack up and go. 

The towels come in different sizes, so you can choose the perfect one for your needs. The smaller size is great for a quick dry off, while the larger size is perfect for lounging on the beach.

Top tip. Pack some scented dryer sheets in a zip lock bag and slip one in with your towels to keep them smelling fresh. Buy now and thank us later. 

Gadgets – laptops, phones, kindles, cameras, power banks…

Yes we have all of the above and more and they take up a good chunk of our hand luggage. Truth is we need them for work, worldschool, entertainment and content creation. Could we live without them, yes, of course but could we travel without them? Probably not.

Why we switched to Apple products

After much contemplation (and a few agonising hours in the tech aisle), we made a life-altering decision: we switched our phones and laptops to Apple products. And despite the small fortune and lost hours of my life, it was a game-changer!

One of the blessings of our Apple switcheroo was the simple harmony of our synced devices. iPhones, MacBooks, and iPads serenading each other with data transfers and app updates – it was like a synchronised swimming routine in the tech world. It was seamless, effortless, and oh-so-satisfying. Our gadgets were now in perfect harmony, just like our family’s questionable singing sessions in the car.

Oh yes, the great charger liberation! In the dark ages of our tech evolution, we carried a tangled mess of chargers and adapters, forever hunting for the right plug and praying for an available outlet. But with Apple, our charger collection slimmed down, and our packs lightened.


Unless you’re a digital nomad or rely heavily on online work, booking flights, and hotels can easily be accomplished on your phone. So, if you fall into that category and prefer the convenience of mobile devices, there’s no need to burden yourself with a laptop. Streamline your travel experience and save the weight in your pack.If you are shopping for your tech.  The Macbook M1 is awesome! .The M1 chip’s power efficiency is a godsend, allowing me to work, edit photos, and stream content for hours without worrying about draining the battery. And the performance is perfect too.  This little powerhouse handles tasks with lightning speed, making multitasking a breeze even while on the go. The brilliant Retina display brings my travel photos to life, capturing every detail and colour with stunning clarity. Whether I’m writing a blog post, editing videos, or binge-watching my favourite shows during a stop over, the MacBook M1 14 inch is my trusted travel companion.

Travel gear for photo and video.

As professional content creators we need to get this one right and have a lot to share on this topic so it is worth checking out other posts on photography and videography.


Gone are the days when we needed to carry an arsenal of gadgets while travelling. In today’s digital era, a smartphone has become the ultimate all-in-one tool for globetrotters. From booking flights and accommodations to navigating unfamiliar streets and capturing stunning memories with its high-quality camera, a smartphone has it all. 

It serves as our personal travel agent, translator, map, and entertainment hub, all conveniently packed into a compact device that fits in our pocket. With a wide range of travel apps available at our fingertips, we can effortlessly discover local attractions, find the best eateries, and stay connected with loved ones back home. 

We choose the iphones mainly for their awesome camera, the iphone 11 and 12 onwards produce blog worthy content and handle all our video creation needs in crisp quality. 

​​When it comes to capturing memories on the go, the iPhone 11 and 12 have delivered with their exceptional photo and video capabilities and if I had a spare $1000+  I would go and buy the new model iphone in a heartbeat. 

The iPhone 11 and 12’s do all the usual phone stuff and sync seamlessly with our other Apple devices. Their video recording capabilities are impressive, delivering cinematic footage with incredible detail and vibrant colours. Whether you’re documenting breathtaking landscapes or capturing candid family moments, these iPhones ensure that every frame tells a story. 

Interested in levelling up your smartphone videos? Check out Jaks Smartphone Video Masterclass here.

There are a couple of accessories that are well worth a mention. App socket, tripod and screen protector.

First, for your phone invest in a good case and if possible the gel screen protectors which I have found to be way more durable. 

Second, get yourself a pop socket for the back of your phone. It improves your grip for steady video, makes your phone more versatile, props up your screen on journeys and means you can let your kids take a few shots without worrying they will drop it at any moment.

The Pop Socket brand are great and you can choose all sorts of funky designs if that is your bag. Check the Pop Sockets out here.

Third, If you are into travel photography and videos,  I would also recommend a lightweight and flexible tripod that you can use with your phone or mirrorless/DSLR camera. You soon realise that you don’t have many photos of you and your family together but with the help of a small tripod you can hit the timer and catch some family pics.

Travel adapter

As a travel family it is likely that you will have a number of gadgets that need charging and you will inevitably come across a variety of plug sockets as you travel.

When it comes to selecting an affordable yet reliable travel adapter for worldwide adventures, a few key factors should be considered.

 First and foremost, ensure that the adapter supports the electrical standards and plug types of the countries you plan to visit. Look for a universal adapter that offers compatibility with various socket types, including the popular Type A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and I plugs. See the types and countries that use them here 

It’s also essential to prioritise safety features such as surge protection, overload protection, and built-in fuse systems to safeguard your valuable devices. 

Additionally, compact and lightweight designs are ideal for easy packing and portability. Look for reputable brands with positive customer reviews to ensure quality and durability.

This is our tried and tested adapter that served us well. 

Power bank to the rescue

This little device has come to the rescue a number of times. When you’re travelling with kids, nothing is worse than the MP3 player running out on a long journey or losing phone battery when you are trying to locate your hotel . Keeping everyone’s devices charged can be a challenge. So it is well worth having one power bank per family, I’d say that is enough, but maybe if you have power hungry teens they might need another between them. You can get great lightweight options now with lots of inputs and outputs. 

We have been using the Anker Power Bank, 325 Portable Charger and it has served us well. Small and light enough to slip into the daypack but with enough power to give our devices a boost until the next recharge stop.  It is worth looking at the input and output options and how much power you may need. As they get more powerful they get bigger and heavier so it’s worth finding a happy balance. 

Specialist camera

Jak’s baby so I’ll hand this over to him.

I was tempted to just use the phone’s camera for photo and video but I enjoy the art of photography too much and could NOT leave without my mirrorless camera.

I downsized from my larger DSLR last year to a mirrorless Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV.

In my opinion, The Olympus E-10 Mark IV has a range of pros and cons worth considering, like with any camera really. 

On the positive side, this camera boasts excellent image quality thanks to its 20.3-megapixel sensor and TruePic VIII image processor. The built-in 5-axis image stabilisation ensures sharp and blur-free photos, even in challenging shooting conditions. The compact and lightweight design of the E-10 Mark IV makes it ideal for travel, allowing for easy portability without sacrificing functionality. Additionally, the camera offers an impressive 121-point autofocus system, enabling fast and accurate subject tracking. 

However, it’s important to note a few drawbacks. The E-10 Mark IV lacks an optical viewfinder, relying solely on its electronic viewfinder, which may not appeal to photographers who prefer a traditional shooting experience. The battery life, while decent, may require extra backup batteries for longer shoots. 

Overall, I love the image quality and portability, but everyone has their own budget, needs and preferences when it comes to specialist cameras.

Electronics organiser

Geek alert! This one is dull but super useful. If you’re not a fan of dealing with tangled cords and cables, you need to get yourself one of these – the BUBM Travel Organizer for Electric Cables, available on Amazon UK.

This little gem keeps all those annoying wires and cables tidy and ready to grab when needed. It’s compact and lightweight, but it can hold all of our electronic accessories and cables in one place. No more digging through our bags looking for that one charging cable we need! 

Trust us, once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever travelled without it. Here’s the link to check it out on Amazon

Carrying around stacks of books while travelling? No thanks. We don’t have space for that anymore. Book exchange shops are as rare as a unicorn on the backpacker circuit these days. So you need a Kindle, or better yet, two or three. With a Kindle in your backpack, you can download guidebooks, load up on your favourite first readers or young fiction, and even tackle some schoolwork on the go.

Both girls have their own Kindles with Kindle Kindle Kids Subscription and we regularly update with new books. When on the road, there occasionally comes an opportunity to join a local library for our longer stay destinations or we look for a local second hand bookstore to get some real life books into our hands but the Kindles offer an amazing alternative for life on the road.

Here is why we love our Kindles.

  • Portability of lots of books/ability to get more without needing physical copies
  • Lightweight
  • Built primarily for reading books
  • No other distracting apps/videos
  • Easy on the eyes (uses e-ink technology that’s much better than other screens)
  • No need to return physical library books
  • Long battery life
  • Encourages more reading when kids always have something interesting to choose from!

Downside, I miss the big fat lonely planet guidebooks that were great for getting rid of unwanted creepy crawlies in your room but now I have Jak for that, so Kindles win.

The newer Kindles have increased storage and are more waterproof, they’re pretty cheap too for something that will serve you so well on your travels. 

Compression packing cubes

Join the compression cube revolution!

Well it is not quite that dramatic but I would say that these should be top of your list if you don’t have them already. Packing cubes are great and you can find a combination of sizes to fit your needs. 

 These cubes are a game-changer for family travel and it’s so simple. Compression Cubes are designed to save space in your luggage, leaving more room for the important stuff: coffee maker and gadgets. They not only neatly contain your gear but provide that extra squeeze to reduce the size and space that they take up in your suitcase or backpack. 

These compression cubes make it easy to stay organised while on the go. They come in different sizes, so you can each have your own or to separate types of items. And a few smaller cubes for other items like swimwear, laundry and underwear. We even use the different sizes that come in the set for toiletries, snack bags, soft toys, anything basically that we can neatly package up gets the packing cube treatment.

Take it from us travel veterans, compression packing cubes are the way forward. They strike the perfect balance between space-saving and practicality, keeping our stuff organised and easily accessible.

We love these from Gonex – they are resilient and have survived lots of packs so far. They are made of durable nylon material that can withstand even the roughest of travels and aggressive tugging of zips. Plus, they’re water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your clothes getting wet. 

Sunglasses (we highly recommend this brand – here’s why)

We have been following the sun for the last year, actually no, the last 10 years really and sunglasses are a must for us. We have had expensive glasses, cheap glasses, lost them, broke them scratched them and tried all sorts of brands. More recently we have found that Goodr Sunglasses have been a hit for us. They are affordable, pretty cool (if I may say so myself) but also functional. There are loads of different designs to choose from and they do an amazing job.

Features we love:

  • non slip
  • non bounce
  • Polarized
  • have UV protection

The one place they don’t hold up particularly well is in the sea. The sea water strips off the polarised coating. So don’t be like me, keep these glasses out of the sea (Check out that rhyme!).

Insulated water bottles

We have been pretty lucky on our trips but the one thing we repeatedly ‘misplace’ is the water bottle. Obviously ‘we’ only references two small people in our family but anyway… So we prefer mid-range priced bottles that keep our water cool but won’t break the bank if we, I mean the kids, lose them again!

If you are headed off the beaten track would consider looking for an insulated water bottle that not only keeps your water cool, but also has the superpower to clean it for you. Yup, you heard that right—clean water on the go! Our travel buddies showed them to us recently and definitely something I would consider purchasing.

Water-to-Go UK Safe Drinking Water, Wherever Life Takes You

Let’s not forget our role as eco-conscious travellers—by opting for a reusable water bottle, we’re saying no to single-use plastics and doing our part to protect this beautiful planet we explore. 

Card games

Card games are a winner when it comes to travelling with kids due to several reasons. 

Firstly, card games are compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry and convenient for travel. They occupy minimal space in backpacks or luggage, allowing families to enjoy them anywhere, from long flights to road trips or even during downtime at the hotel.

 Secondly, card games promote social interaction and bonding among family members and friendly folk we meet along the way. Yes, you do have to play almost every time they ask.

Additionally, card games offer a break from screens and technology, encouraging face-to-face engagement and reducing reliance on electronic devices.

 Lastly, card games often incorporate elements of strategy, memory, and problem-solving, stimulating children’s cognitive skills and providing educational benefits in an entertaining and engaging manner.

Here are our favourites so far:

Uno– Uno was our starting card game, then came Uno flip and pretty quickly we got bored.

Paying cards– Well, the games you can play are endless. There is a cultural crossover where different nationalities teach each other new games, or epic battles commence over a slightly different rule allowance. 

Exploding Kittens– One of our newer games, a massive hit with the kids, a little bit of strategy and some pretty funny card art.

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza a game of quick reflexes which means Jak loses 97% of the time.

Coup – manipulate, bluff and bribe your way to power. Mwa ha ha ha ha! Another new one that is a winner with the kids.

Big life journal

As a full-time travel family, we’re always on the lookout for ways to support our children’s growth mindset and wellbeing. That’s why we were so excited to discover the Big Life Journal for Kids.

This journal is so much more than just a regular notebook – it’s designed specifically to help children develop a positive and resilient mindset. It’s full of activities and prompts that encourage self-reflection, gratitude, and goal-setting. Our kids love working through the journal and we love seeing them develop a more positive and confident outlook on life.

One of the reasons our kids love the Big Life Journal is that it’s really engaging and interactive. The activities are fun and creative, and they feel more like games than homework. The journal also includes inspiring stories of real people who have overcome challenges and achieved great things, which our kids find really motivating.

Arts and Crafts supplies

This changes as we move but we always have a notebook available with a pencil case full of the basics. At the moment, the girls are into making friendship bracelets so we also carry supplies for setting up a production line wherever we go.

Masking tape (random I know, but actually very useful for adults and kids). Oh we could write a whole post on the wonders of tape (watch this space) but seriously this has come in so useful. Here are 20 different ways to use masking tape when you travel with kids.

“Boarding pass please”

Your ready to go!

Wow that is one beast of a post to help you prepare for your family adventures. I will keep this page updated with new products, gadgets, reviews and ideas for you, so be sure to drop back in and check it out.

We hope you find the family travel gear post useful. Please drop us a message below in the comments and happy travels wherever your adventures may take you.

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Meet the author

Lisa is the founder of Boston Tribe Travels. She has lived and travelled abroad for the last 15 years, visited more than 30 countries and has done most of that with her husband and two children. As a full time travel family, they like to travel slow, worldschool and seek new adventures. From living in Borneo for 5 years to backpacking South America, Lisa shares a wealth of travel experience to empower more families to travel and learn together.

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