Fall is usually the time when I start looking at new travel gear, partly because I like to give useful, practical items away as Christmas presents, and also because I don't mind receiving those kinds of gifts myself!
Here are some travel items that caught my eye recently that look both useful and practical for parents and kids.
A cross-body travel bag
When I travel by myself with my kids, I always like to keep my most important items right on my person at all times: things like tickets, passports, credit cards and cellphone. That way I know that the things I can't do without are always within reach, and that I won't misplace them or forget them on the way. This bag by Lewis N Clark looks excellent and comfortable to wear. It also holds tablets and e-readers, which is an added plus.
I know many people just tend to use their cell-phones as the camera of choice these days, but if you're like me and you're a big fan of the beach, a water-proof camera seems like it would be an excellent thing to have.
A portable charger for your phone
Traveling with cell-phones and other electronics means you are always looking for places to recharge those devices. The iGO Power Trip is a portable battery that you can charge with a USB-connection and that can then charge your phone or tablet on the go. This one is compatible with several brands, including Samsung, iPhone and iPad, Blackberry and Nokia.
Fun travel games
Games specifically designed to be easy to bring along for travel are always a good thing when you're traveling with kids, and these two look fantastic. I first saw the magnetic Curious George game over at the Travel Tot site, and I'm definitely keeping it in mind for our next trip! Hasbro's travel-sized version of Guess Who? looks great too: my kids really like that game, and bringing it on a trip would give us a fun way to pass the time.
A portable travel bed
If you're traveling with a baby or a toddler, a portable travel bed can really make your life easier. The PeaPod from Kidco looks fantastic for travel and for the beach, and Brica's Fold N' Go Bassinet would be wonderful for babies on the go.
A collapsible cup
Whether you're traveling by car or plane, or just going for a hike or a picnic, these collapsible silicone cups could come in very handy for snacks or meals.
A solar-powered charger
This is the ultimate dream when it comes to charging up all those electronics I travel with: a solar powered charger. This particular charger, the Freeloader, can be used for cameras, e-readers and more.
A kit that organizes all those cables
Last time I traveled with the kids, I brought a small bag full of nothing but cables and wires for all our various devices, chargers, and converters. This handy little roll-up kit does a much better job of keeping those kinds of bits and bobs organized!