When parents travel – especially if the trip involves multiple hours in some sort of vehicle – they’re always looking for ways to make it easier, for them, for their kiddos and for fellow passengers. Here are five items to have on hand the next time you make a cross-country or cross-ocean trip.
You know that moment when you go to take a picture of your kid going snorkeling for the first time or posing atop the Empire State Building and then your phone pops up with the dreaded “Not enough storage” message? Picture Keeper Connect ($119.99 and up) helps you avoid that particular snafu. This backup solution plugs into your smartphone or tablet, then stores your photos until you get the chance to transfer them to your computer. And best of all, it doesn’t require an internet connection to work, so you can back up your photos from the Grand Canyon parking lot, then snap those once-in-a-lifetime pics without any fear (except the obvious, of course).
Napping on an airplane (or in a car) is never very comfortable, but this travel pillow makes sleep just a little bit easier. The 1Voice Hooded Neck Pillow with Built-In Earphones ($64) is made of a cotton fleece material that most closely resembles your favorite sweatshirt, especially when you consider the hood that allows for a little additional privacy from fellow passengers … or your own offspring. The memory foam pillow is extra comfy, and the attached earphones mean you don’t have to remember to pack even one extra thing. Word to the wise: If you plug in to the armrest on an airplane, remember to unplug before using the lavatory. (Not that we did that or anything.)
File this under: Why didn’t we think of that? This brilliant seat keeps you from having to lug your bulky boosters on a plane or to grandma’s house, adjusting the adult-sized seatbelt to fit a child. mifold ($44.99) is designed for kids who weigh 40-100 pounds, but is an especially smart choice for those kids who think they’re too big for a booster, government regulations to the contrary. Plus, these ultra-portable seats weigh less than a bottle of water and can be set up in less than 30 seconds (and come in a rainbow of colors). As for safety? mifold conforms to the most universally accepted global booster car seat regulations.
Between checking directions, snapping pictures and Googling the best fast food near you, your poor smartphone is exhausted. But bad battery life shouldn’t condemn you to the dark ages known as the 1990s (seriously, what did we do without our phones?). Enter the HubMini ($49.99), a small device that provides up to 22 extra hours of power for your iPhone or Android. The portable charger includes not one but two charging cables (one micro-USB cable and one Apple Lightning cable) and restores your phone to full power before you even start to panic. Best of all, it’s small enough to keep in your purse for whenever you happen to need it.
During a 10-hour plane trip this summer, I honestly didn’t think my legs were going to make it. I’m prone to restless legs, and being trapped in a middle seat on an international flight didn’t help matters. If only I’d had ATN Compression Socks ($34.95), knee-high socks that help with achiness and swelling and prevent the formation of blood clots in your lower legs (Deep Vein Thrombosis, be gone!). But these aren’t your mother’s compression stockings – they come in super-fun, colorful patterns (I’m loving the Pumpkin Spice) with a little surprise on the bottom. And beyond travel, these socks are great for anyone who spends all day on their feet (I’m looking at you, nurses!), athletes, and even moms-to-be.