Spring break will be here before you know it — and in some places, it’s already upon us. If you’ve don’t yet have plans, it’s not too late to find good deals on both flights and hotels. (We’re looking at you, $203 round-trip fares to Puerto Vallarta!)
Once your plans for your family’s spring break trip are set in stone, you also need to make sure you have everything you need for a successful trip. Just keep in mind that spring break essentials vary depending on the type of trip you’re taking — whether you’re going on a cruise, embarking on an epic road trip or spending the week in a hotel or resort. And, those spring break essentials may be different for traveling with a family compared to traveling with friends.
What spring break essentials does every family need? We break down the most important family-friendly items.
Everyone knows kids need plenty of drinks and snacks, and we all know the day can become messy in a hurry when they don’t have them. The Flpsde Water Bottle With Snack Storage provides a solution to this problem by letting parents pack a drink and a snack in one dual chamber bottle with space for each. This water bottle provides enough space for 20 ounces of your child’s favorite beverage and up to 7 ounces for snacks like crackers or pretzels. Not only is this bottle BPA-free, but it features a handle cap with a carrying loop for easy transport. Just be sure the bottle’s not full of liquid before heading through airport security!
If you’re planning a week at the beach in a vacation home or condo, chances are good you’ll be on your own when it comes to getting comfortable in the sand. The GCI Outdoor SunShade Backpack Beach Chair is perfect for spring break at the beach since you can fold it up for hands-free carrying. Plus, it comes with its own cup holder and shade umbrella. This chair even comes with a few storage compartments for sunscreen, your wallet and keys, snacks and more.
The Matein Travel Laptop Backpack is ideal for parents who need to bring their laptop along with them on spring break — and it’s one of our favorite backpacks for travel. The interior of the backpack boasts multiple compartments to keep you organized, and the dedicated tech sleeve is large enough to store up to a 15.6-inch laptop. There’s also an anti-theft pocket for storing your valuables as well as a USB charger outside and built-in charging cable inside so you can stay charged while on the move.
Families that are planning a long plane ride during their spring break travels may want to bring a travel pillow — or several of them — along for the ride. In our testing, the Cabeau Evolution S3 was the best neck pillow option since it’s firm enough to support your neck yet soft enough to fall asleep on. For example, you can use the pillow to rest your head against the side of a plane on a long journey.
When it comes to road trip essentials, hardly anything is more important than a first aid kit. This is especially true if you’re hiking or camping, and if you’re going to be traveling far away from a major hospital or town. This first aid kit from Amazon comes with ample emergency supplies to address a wide range of injuries, and it’s all neatly stored in a handy carrying case. If you don’t use it for spring break, this kit becomes a must-have for your car or home.
Spring break with a baby in tow becomes considerably easier to handle when you have a travel crib you can bring with you. The Lotus Travel Crib is ideal for families on the go thanks to the fact it folds into an easy-to-carry backpack with an average weight of 13 pounds. This portable crib is easy to set up in minutes, and it’s the perfect size for babies and toddlers. A side zipper door even gives you hands-on access to your baby without uncomfortable leaning.
Traveling with phones and tablets for everyone in your crew? Make sure you’re prepared for the inevitable low battery signal with a portable charger. This portable device charger from Anker has enough power to charge an iPhone 11 two and a half times, and we dubbed it the best overall portable charger in our testing. It also comes in four different colors — black, blue, red and white — and it’s affordable enough to get a couple to keep each kid’s device fully charged throughout your trip.
When it comes to travel toiletry bags, there’s a nearly endless number of options available. We like the Luka Toiletry Bag from Calpak — especially for family travel — for a few reasons, including the fact it comes with a water-resistant lining so you don’t have to worry about spills. This toiletry bag also features a hidden zipper pocket and several interior pockets that help you keep your travel essentials organized and safe during your trip or at home. You can order the travel toiletry bag in nine different colors, including rose quartz and kale green.
Whether you’re planning a getaway to the beach or you’re plotting out a road trip, having your own cooler makes a lot of sense. After all, you can save some cash by packing your own drinks, and your cooler can ensure they always stay cold. The Soft Pack Cooler from Rtic Outdoors is a great fit for spring break since it can hold up to 30 cans plus ice and comes in nine different colors plus a camouflage design. In addition to space for all your favorite beverages, this soft-pack cooler features an exterior zipper for your car keys, cash or credit cards.
$34 $29 at Crane & Canopy
These Turkish cotton towels from Crane & Canopy will be a major upgrade to your family’s old beach towels. Turkish cotton is known for being lightweight, absorbent and quick-drying, which makes these towels perfect for a spring break getaway that involves time at the beach or a resort pool. Available in blue, yellow or coral with a few different designs, you can purchase these towels separately or as a bundle in a variety of sizes.
A day at the beach becomes a struggle when you don’t have a bag for all your seaside essentials. The Sea Bags Surf Tote is made of recycled sail cloth that is water-resistant and features a roomy interior that makes it perfect for beach toys, towels, extra clothing and snacks for the kids. This bag is also machine washable and durable enough for everyday use. A beautiful design that mimics the ocean only adds to its appeal.
Hiking will never be the same once you purchase this lightweight backpack cooler from Rtic Outdoors. The cooler is perfect for families who plan to spend time in the outdoors this spring break — whether hiking, camping or heading to a scenic spot for a picnic. You can choose a backpack that holds 15 or 32 cans, and 11 different colors and designs are available. Several zippered pockets also provide a place to store your keys, wallet and other must-have items while you’re on the move.
Don’t let your kids ruin their — or your! — pricey smartphone during spring break. These waterproof phone cases cost less than $5 each, yet they help devices of up to seven inches in size stay dry when you’re in and around the beach or pool. A detachable lanyard makes this phone case easy to carry, and you have enough space for a phone along with cash, cards and keys.
Once you start packing your suitcase with the help of packing cubes, it’s hard to do it any other way. This ultimate packing bundle includes six packing cubes for clothing and other essentials: one extra-large cube, one large cube, one medium cube and one small cube, plus a shoe bag and a laundry bag. This combination of storage compartments will help keep your luggage organized while you pack for spring break and during your trip. Packing cubes also help you keep clean clothing separate from everything else, paving the way to better organized laundry when you get home.
This weekender carry-on duffel is perfect for parents on the go who need access to travel documents, snacks and other essentials. Unlike a traditional carry-on bag, The Everywhere duffel features an array of exterior and interior pockets to keep everything organized. This includes a padded laptop and tablet pocket, which can be crucial for kids who need a device to stay busy on the plane.
The My Gnome On The Roam Family Adventure and Creativity Kit can help your entire family create lasting memories during spring break. This kit includes an award-winning children’s book, a gnome for the kids to decorate, an adventure journal and a magical wooden pen. After decorating the gnome and planning out your adventures, the family adventure kit helps kids document their travels and learn how to share stories in a fun and imaginative way.
This Voyager Backpack was created by Marissa Goldstein who designed it for moms after traveling to 20 countries with twins. This backpack is ideal for spring break travel with babies and small children thanks to its roomy interior, two full-length side zippers and three interior pockets for storage, one of which is insulated. A laptop pocket is also included so you can bring work along with you as you travel. Stroller hooks on padded backpack straps provide one more way to carry this bag hands-free.
Parents who are in charge of all the travel details should consider the Eazymate Passport Holder Purse Organizer. This roomy travel wallet has enough space to carry up to four passports, your family’s boarding passes, all your credit cards and some cash. An exterior pocket also provides space and accessibility for your phone or important travel documents. This wallet can be carried as a wristlet or like a purse thanks to its removable shoulder strap.
If you’re in the market for a high-quality piece of carry-on luggage, consider the Aviator Carry-On Plus from Paravel. This hard-side bag comes with a TSA-approved lock, 360-degree rotation, steel axles and carbon steel bearings that help you navigate any terrain (or any airport) with ease. Interior pockets and storage compartments also help you keep your spring break travel gear organized during your trip.
Whether you’re heading to the beach or renting a mountain cabin for spring break, you should pack some games everyone in the family loves to play. This game combo set from Franklin comes with five outdoor games that can lead to hours of fun: badminton, volleyball, flip toss, horseshoes and a frisbee. While anyone can give these games a whirl, this set is mostly for families with children ages 6 and older.
You can easily bring your beach toys along on spring break thanks to this set with its own carrying case. The FoxPrint Beach Sand Toy Set comes with 16 different toys for sand play, including several multi-colored shapes and molds, two castle molds, a castle bucket and two round castles. The kit even comes with a watering can, a rake, a sifter that helps kids find hidden treasures among the sand and a shovel for digging.
Keep your kids safe this spring break with this life jacket vest from Speedo, which is a US Coast Guard-approved Type V personal flotation device. This particular option comes in multiple styles to suit your kids’ tastes, and it has both a life jacket and a water wing component. The Speedo Splash Jammer Life Jacket Vest is designed to come off and on easily in between swims, and shoulder straps give it a secure fit.
This Sun Bum Premium Day Tripper Sun Care Pack is perfect for a family trip. With its own handy carrying bag, the kit comes with SPF 30 sunscreen lotion, cooling aloe lotion and SPF 30 lip balm. The coconut scent of Sun Bum products pleases both parents and kids, and the products are both vegan and reef-friendly.
Renting a vacation home can help you save money by cooking at home, but you never know what kind of cooking supplies you’ll find when you get there. This Spice Brick provides storage and grinding capability for up to five different spices or herbs. Simply add your favorite spices to the individual food-safe jars, and you can bring your family’s favorites to the beach or camping.
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