Family Travel Gear: The 8 Most Essential Items

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Traveling with kids can be a challenging, to say the least. There are nap times to think of, a seemingly endless supply of snacks to provide and all manner of toys and games to stock up on. With summer vacation around the corner, now is the time to stock up on the right gear and accessories.

THE BED
The Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed: This inflatable kid-size mattress is not only compatible with standard size crib sheets but it also allows for sheets to be tucked in. The bed comes complete with an electric pump for easy inflation and is compact enough to fit in luggage.

THE BAG
Beatrix Wheelie: These little wheelie bags from the New York City company are made of heavy-duty nylon and fuse modern design with a bit of whimsy-think flying robots, smirking owls and toothy dinosaurs. Perfect as a carry-on, the bags feature an adjustable handle with multiple lock settings and an exterior pocket to stash away books, crayons and other goodies.

THE CAR SEAT
Clek Oobr: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated their car seat recommendations, advising parents to leave their kids in a rear-facing car seat until the age of two, not one. And they also recommend that kids remain in a booster seat until they are at least 4'9" and between 8 and 12 years old. For those in the second group, the Oobr is just what the doctor ordered--particularly for kids who think they're too cool for a booster seat. The seat is easy to install and comes in fun colors (think strawberry, blue moon, dragonfly) and rad designs courtesy of Paul Frank. It features an adjustable headrest (not to mention removable back feature), padded side bolsters, soft-touch armrests and reclining seat back to boot.

THE LOCK
Grab Guard: This handy little device, which features a steel cable, is perfect for securely anchoring a diaper bag, purse or laptop bag to the chair, the stroller or anything else all in one. It comes in a variety of colors and styles, from neon green to Italian marble and mahogany brown.

FOR THE SMARTPHONE
Woogie: There's simply no protective case strong enough to handle the clawing hands of children. That's where the Woogie comes in. The huggable, squeezable, kid-friendly case for an iPod or iPhone features a protective pocket that shuts with Velcro to hold the player securely in place, a touch-through screen protector and a built-in speaker powered by two AAA batteries.

TextHook: Featuring an easy strap-on design, this little gadget tightly secures a smartphone onto a stroller handlebar, shopping cart or bike with a 180 degree rotation.

THE DIAPER
Diaper Buds: Each individually wrapped diaper in sizes 2, 3, 4 or 5 is vacuum-sealed to take up less space (70% smaller than a loose diaper). Peel open the packaging and the diaper blooms into full size. These little buds are ideal for dad, who may not want to carry around a diaper bag and will instead stash a couple in a backpack or carry-on.

THE STROLLER
Bugaboo Donkey: Leave it to the Dutch to design yet another must-have stroller. In three clicks the Donkey transforms from a mono to duo stroller and back again (it can actually convert into 17 different positions). It also has a large underseat basket and removable side luggage basket. Though it ain't cheap, it's perfect for jetsetting active families and their goods



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