This spring, the 2016 , produced by the Travel Goods Association, arrived in Las Vegas for three days dedicated to the best luggage, gear, and accessories. Featuring more than 500 brands from over 300 exhibitors from around the world, it’s no surprise that the show included a wealth of products geared toward traveling families.
Are you looking for travel gear and accessories to make your next family trip more convenient? Consider this round-up of unique products, from friendly, bendable flashlights and handy compression packing cubes to luggage that can help keep the kids entertained at the airport during long layovers or delays.
The Scootie by America’s Travel Merchandise
Combine durable, colorful luggage with a scooter and you’ve got a recipe for fun. The Scootie from America’s Travel Merchandise (ATM) can be ridden as a scooter or pulled like a typical rolling bag. The scooter portion folds up, making it a convenient carry-on that will fit into most overhead compartments. In addition to travel, the Scootie is a great option for picnics and park visits too. You’ll find that the bags come in a variety of fun designs, including some that feature popular cartoon characters. (Ages 4-9, scooter features a non-slip deck and a rear brake, available at atmluggage.com, suggested retail price: $99.99)
Compression Packing Cubes by Genius Pack
Packing for a family can be a challenge. In addition to remembering everything you need for your trip, organizing it in a sensible way and fitting as much as you can into one suitcase can be a real chore. Thanks to Genius Pack’s Compression Packing Cubes, you can organize your items by family member, type, or day—whatever works best for your situation. The cubes feature stretchable mesh and come in a set of three sizes: small, medium, and large. The smaller cubes can be used to hold items that you want to have access to during your flight, while the larger cubes can hold a surprising number of shirts thanks to its compression design. (Cubes come in red or black, available at geniuspack.com, suggested retail price: $38/set)
Seat Cover by 4 A Clean Getaway
These cleverly named seat covers can be used on most airline or train seats. You can even take them to the movie theater. In addition to protecting you and your family from germy seats, the covers can help keep you organized. Pockets near your feet offer a place to store your travel gear, like tablets, magazines, and snacks. This can be much more convenient than trying to rifle through the seatback pocket. An added bonus? The colorful patterns reflect different travel destinations, including Africa, the Bahamas, India, and the United States. (Machine washable, available at 4acleangetaway.com, $36)
BendyMan Flashlight by Walter + Ray
These charming, flexible flashlights double as smartphone stands, making them a multipurpose item that you won’t want to leave at home. And thanks to bendable arms and legs that can be used as hooks, the BendyMan makes a great reading light too, allowing you to enjoy your favorite book after the kids go to sleep, even when you’re sharing a hotel room. BendyMan features a friendly smile and is available in four colors: blue, pink, lime green, and black. (Button cell batteries included, available at walterandray.com, suggested retail price: $10)
Unite2 by Atlantic
When traveling as a family, one of the challenges that parents face is trying to navigate the airport, train station, or bus terminal while carrying multiple bags. If this sounds like a problem that you’ve faced before, check out the Unite2 series from Atlantic. These bags attach to one another back-to-back thanks to a handy strap, allowing you to wheel two pieces of luggage with one hand. The bags come in two colors—blue and black—and a variety of sizes, making it easy to customize a collection to fit your needs. (Available at atlanticluggage.com, suggested retail price: $80-$320)
If you’re looking for quirky, whimsical luggage that will help keep the kids entertained during long layovers at the airport, PlayLuggage has something for you. Their unique rolling bags each feature a game on the exterior. Options include backgammon, chess, and even magnetic darts! For artistic families, PlayLuggage offers the Paris bag, which features a plain exterior on which kids can draw using the included set of dry-erase markers. There’s even a bag with a textured surface that’s perfect for building with blocks. Lightweight and fun, these bags can make a great addition to your family’s luggage collection. (Available at playluggage.com/luggages, price varies based on style)
Double Dutch Cross-body Bag by LUG
From the newly launched Infinity Collection, LUG’s cross-body bag features a smartphone pocket, a soft-lined tablet pocket, water bottle holder, adjustable strap, and a pocket equipped with RFID shielding. A water-repellent finish helps make this an ideal bag for traveling with kids. Plus, you won’t have to sacrifice style for function. The Double Dutch bag comes in four stylish colors: black, walnut, olive green, and blue. (Available at luglife.com, suggested retail price: $69.99)