The Best Travel Safety Products for Families: Reviews & Pricing Info for the Top 50 Travel Safety Gear and Gadgets
by Erin Raub | Last Updated Jul. 15th, 2014
Whether it’s summer vacation, a leisurely road-trip, or on-the-go journeys to see family and friends, family travel is always equal parts exciting and stressful. For most parents, the most anxiety-ridden aspects are the unknowns: unfamiliar dangers, possible thievery, lost luggage (serious emergency!), and accommodations that lack the comforts – and safety features – of home.
We get it. As parents, we’ve all packed too-full bags stretched to the seams with doo-dads, doohickies, and all the other thingamagigs that were advertised to make travel simpler and safer for our families.
Invariable, we’ve all learned that too much of a good thing is not a good thing – it’s simply too much. So we’ve pared down our list of might-want-it to just the really-worth-it – 50 travel safety products that will make your travels with kids safer, easier and more enjoyable.
- On-the-Go Babyproofing
- Planes, Trains & Automobile Safety
- Anti-Pickpocket Gear
- Luggage Security
- Safe Play
- Safe Sleeping
Snap a cover over any standard doorknob to keep kids out of areas you deem “off-limits” – hotel hallways, your mother-in-law’s bedroom, or the basement stairs. Simple, inexpensive covers install in minutes and are temporary and easily removed. Plus, adults can open cover-equipped doors with a simple squeeze, making this a fuss-proof way to childproof on the go.
Bottom Line: If you don’t want to impose on your hosts but need to keep kids out of unsafe areas, pack a few doorknob covers in your luggage.
2. Travel Gate
When you’re on the go, whether it’s visiting family or bunking in a hotel, you may want to cordon off safe spaces for young children. A travel safety gate is just the ticket, offering an easily transportable baby gate that installs in seconds and requires no hardware.
Bottom Line: If you need baby gate security without drilling holes or making your hosts regret their invitation, pack a folding travel gate in your luggage.
Also Try: Evenflo Soft N Wide Gate
Prevent your kids from sticking limbs and heads (and toys) through deck and patio slats with a portable, temporary safety barrier. Deck guards are especially useful on hotel balconies, beach house decks, and condo terraces – all perfect spaces to play, once the safety issue is handled.
Bottom Line: If you’re traveling anywhere with a balcony or deck, and plan to spend time outside enjoying the view, pack a deck guard so your little one can join in the fun.
Also Try: Safety 1st Railnet
There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than taking your mobile baby to an un-childproofed hotel room or family home: the outlets, the sharp edges, the slippery tiles, the minibar – they’re all stressful. On-the-go childproofing packs the basics into your suitcase, so you never have to worry.
Bottom Line: You could tough it out (and say goodbye to carefree vacation memories), or you could carry along a simple travel childproofing kit. We recommend the latter.
If you’re visiting family or staying in a vacation rental, chances are your travel digs aren’t babyproofed. Young walkers and awkward toddlers can encounter serious trouble with sharp table edges, making edge bumpers a necessary addition to your luggage. Grab an elasticized version for easy installation.
Bottom Line: Edge bumpers prevent your littles from crashing into dangerously sharp table corners.
For car travel, camping, hiking and other off-the-beaten-path adventures, a snap light flare is absolutely essential. They’re lightweight, waterproof, non-toxic and non-flammable, so they’re safe around your family – and they keep your family safe, in case of emergency or unexpected happenings.
Bottom Line: Stock up on long-duration flares for your trunk, camping pack, daypack, and other travel gear.
Go Boy Scout on your road-trip plans with an emergency road kit – you’ll always be prepared! These useful collections include a little bit of everything you could need, like jumper cables, batteries, rain ponchos, screw drivers, fuses, flash lights, first aid supplies, and more.
Bottom Line: Don’t hop in the car for extended travels without outfitting your trunk with a fully equipped car emergency kit.
8. Car Seat Bag
If you plan to take your car seat through the airport but don’t want to take it on the plane, be sure to pack it in an approved bag. Universal fit ensures that any seat will be safe and secure, and a shoulder strap makes it easy to carry your seat in and out of the airport.
Bottom Line: Protect your precious car seat from dirt, grime and damage by packing it in an airline-safe travel bag.
Also Try: Jeep Car Seat Travel Bag
If you can’t take a car seat on your travels, pack the next best thing: a seatbelt vest for kiddos. These smart vests make sure that car seatbelts are correctly positioned and kids are safely secured, even in taxis or shuttle buses. They provide upper body restraint and some impact protection in case of accident.
Bottom Line: If you’re traveling without a car but plan to frequent taxis or shuttles, keep your kiddos safe with seatbelt positioning vests.
Also Try: Ride Safer 2 Travel Vest
If your children are old enough to ride in booster seats but you don’t have enough room to pack their car boosters, grab an inflatable version. They’re compact and easy to fit into your luggage, and provide the safety features you trust to keep your kids secure in a taxi, bus or rental car.
Bottom Line: Portable boosters make it easy to always have the right car safety equipment, no matter where your travels lead.
Once your child requires his or her own airplane seat, it’s time to think about how she’ll travel: will you bring your car seat on the plane, or will your child sit in the seat solo? If you check your car seat, consider grabbing an airplane harness – a specially designed extra for the airline seat, so your child is not only safe but also comfortable.
Bottom Line: Young flyers from 22-44 pounds will be much happier and more comfortable in an adjustable, kid-friendly harness.
12. Car Sun Shade
For road trips and rental cars, sunshades come in handy. These light, roll-up auto accessories deliver positionable shade from the sun: just install your car seat and adjust the sunshade to guard your little one’s eyes. If your child is still rear-facing, buy a few to account for increased shield real estate.
Bottom Line: Keep your kids safe from UV rays and discomfort with simple, suction-cup sunshades.
The easiest way to take your car seat on the plane – and roll your kiddo through the airport – is with a car seat luggage strap. This handy little accessory converts any rolling luggage into a rolling car seat, so your toddler can motor through the airport in comfort and style while keeping your car seat safe from checked-luggage bumps and bruises.
Bottom Line: If you plan to take your car seat through the airport, keep it super safe and carry it on.
Also Try: Go-Go Babyz Kidz Travelmate
14. Belt Wallet
Forget old-fashioned money belts that hide beneath your waistband: new belt wallets are actually housed in your belt. Belt wallets look like normal belts, but – surprise! – house secret, zippered pocket compartments where you can store cash, passport copies, and other important items. Bonus: the non-metal buckle won’t give you problems at airport security.
Bottom Line: If you wear a belt, you cannot go wrong with this secure and inexpensive way to hide your cash.
Also Try: Eagle Creek All-Terrain Money Belt
15. Neck Wallet
If you don’t wear a belt, or are simply looking for a way to carrier larger valuables, check out the neck wallet. Wear it around your neck and under your shirt, slung over your shoulder, or even around your waist. Most neck wallets have compartments for cash, credit cards, international passports and other goodies. Deluxe versions offer RFID protection.
Bottom Line: Keep your money and passport safe and dry with a moisture-resistant (read: sweat-resistant), quick-dry body wallet.
16. Leg Wallet
For the ultimate in security, albeit not for on-the-go accessibility, a leg (thigh) wallet is the best way to carry extra cash, cards and travel documents. Elasticized, adjustable straps secure the wallet to your thigh – out of reach of even the most talented pickpockets.
Bottom Line: Gear up with a leg wallet to carry extra cash and cards you don’t need to access quickly.
17. Bra Wallet
Ladies, if you don’t want a belt, neck or leg wallet, try out the bra wallet – a breathable, silk alternative to stuffing extra cash in your actual bra. It’s so lightweight you’ll forget it’s there, but it will keep your valuables safe from marauding fingers.
Bottom Line: If you like to keep cash in your bra, you’ll love having an extra “pocket” attached to your straps.
If you like to keep your money really, really close – and who doesn’t? – you’re going to love the new breed of pickpocket deterrent: theft-resistant underwear! These ingenious undergarments incorporate zippered compartments to store cash, cards and your passport.
Bottom Line: Zipper-pocket underwear lets you thwart pickpockets without any add-ons to your wardrobe.
19. Security Socks
Another alternative for keeping your money and cards safe and close, security socks feature hidden pockets to store small packages, like a roll of cash or keys. Choose a cotton blend for comfort and breathability.
Bottom Line: If you don’t like body wallets, keep your valuables safe stashed away in your socks.
20. Portable Safe
If your hotel doesn’t offer in-rooms safes (or you don’t trust the ones they do have), bring your own. Portable safes are small and compact, but provide plenty of room to stash cash, cards, identification, jewelry and other small valuables while you’re out and about. They’re also waterproof and shock-resistant.
Bottom Line: Be absolutely sure your valuables are safe in your own, portable vault.
Also Try: Vacation Vault
21. Anti-Theft Purse
If you prefer your anti-theft measures with a side of fashion, check out the latest line of robbery-resistant bags. Available in hobo, tote, messenger and other styles, these awesome accessories use internal chain-link construction to prevent thieves from slashing, cutting and otherwise ripping you off on the street.
Bottom Line: Don’t sacrifice form for function: stay fashionable and safe with an anti-theft purse.
22. Hidden USB
You know that you should always carry copies of your ID, travel documents, credit cards and other sensitive information, but have you ever considered carting around a digital copy? A hidden USB key is a fantastic gadget that allows you to do just that, as it conceals digital files in everyday objects and jewlery.
Bottom Line: Keep your important documents safe, even if you’re robbed on the road.
If you have experience with DIY home security, travel door alarms will be second nature. Compact and ultra-portable, these handy alarms arm any door with an extra level of security. Simply slide the sensors between the door and the doorframe, and an alarm will sound when the door is unexpectedly opened. Bonus: if your little ones know how to open doors, an alarm doubles as a babyproofing mechanism.
Bottom Line: If you’re traveling in unknown areas or just want an extra layer of hotel security, throw one of these travel gadgets into your bags.
Door jammers are a variation on portable door locks, easily fitting to any hotel door to jam it securely shut. It’s discreet and simple, but will prevent strangers or unwanted hotel staff from wandering into your room. In case of emergency, it’s easy to quickly kick or pull the door jammer away from your door.
Bottom Line: Keep people out of your room with an inexpensive jammer.
25. Doorstop Alarm
For the security conscious, a doorstop alarm provides double-door security: the built-in stopper jams the door shut, no tools or installation required, and an ear-piercing alarm warns you when someone tries to get inside.
Bottom Line: If you’re traveling to dicey areas or budget lodging, keep your family safe with a two-in-one door jammer and security alarm.
Portable door locks keep you safely ensconced in your hotel room, and keep the door closed to housekeeping and other staff that normally has access to your room. A quick-release allows for much-needed and fast emergency exits.
Bottom Line: If you plan to stay in roadside motels or budget lodging, equip your luggage with a secure door lock.
Also Try: Super Grip Lock Deadbolt Accessory
Slash-proof bags are the latest anti-theft accessory – and they’re worth every penny! These bags, which maraud as everyday backpacks or daypacks, employ mesh armor to create slash-proof body panels, cut-proof straps, and other thief-resistant measures to keep your belongings safe.
Bottom Line: If you’re traveling to areas known for pickpockets and petty thievery, invest in a bag that will keep secure your possessions.
28. RFID Wallet
Anyone who’s ever dealt with identity theft (or contemplated the possibility) can appreciate the utility of an RFID-blocking wallet. This special gear blocks your bank debit cards, credit cards, ID, and passports from potential identity thieves, and still manages to incorporate handy compartments for cash, receipts, and everything else you store in your wallet.
Bottom Line: Pickpockets do not steal just cash alone: don’t travel without protecting your identity.
29. Cable Lock
Cable locks are a great solution to many locking needs, from luggage to bicycles to valuables you leave behind in your room. The key is the 3-foot retractable cable that adjusts to the length you need, to loop around and secure almost any object. The combination lock is especially convenient for travel, since you won’t need to carry a lock key.
Bottom Line: A cable lock is an invaluable travel tool to keep your valuables secure on-the-go.
A TSA-approved combination luggage lock is your best friend in keeping your luggage safe on its own travels. These locks are accepted by the Transport Security Administration (TSA), as they can use codes to lock and relock your luggage, meaning that even if your bags get checked, they’ll be relocked and delivered to you, safe and secure.
Bottom Line: If you lock your luggage for air travel, make sure to purchase TSA-approved locks.
31. Play Yard
Whether you’re inside or out, a play yard works as a portable safe space for babies and toddlers. It’s perfect for visiting family, at the beach, or even to set up at a campground, national park, or any other daytrip spot. You can purchase six- or eight-paneled play yards, not to mention extension kits to create larger play spaces. Sun shades are also available.
Bottom Line: For tiny tots that need space to play, a portable play yard ensures safety.
Give the tiniest family members quality outdoor time with a playmat-turned-SPF-turned-sunshield. From the most basic, which literally provide a shaded spot for tummy time, to the fancy versions with bells and whistles, these portable mats ensure your little one is protected from harsh UV rays and the hot sun.
Bottom Line: If you’re planning to spend time at the beach, the campground, a park or anywhere outside, bring along this baby-safe sun protection.
It’s a terrifying thought, but any time your kids play near the water they’re at risk of injury and drowning. A child immersion alarm keeps them safe – and puts your mind at ease – by sounding an alarm if it’s immersed. Note that most alarms work only in salt water pools (not the ocean).
Bottom Line: Buy yourself some peace of mind with one of these gadgets, so you can enjoy water time as much as your kids do.
Travel is exciting, especially for little ones constantly on the hunt for new places to explore – a whole new world of hiding spots and climbing opportunities. A child tether or child harness helps you keep toddlers and young children within reach, so they don’t wander off or get lost in unfamiliar crowds.
Bottom Line: When you’re traveling with young children to cities or crowded locales, a harness will keep them by your side – even when they don’t want to hold your hand (like during those inevitable temper tantrums!).
If your travel plans involve time near a pool, a pond, a river, a lake or an ocean, don’t leave home without a flotation device for each member of your family. Traditional life jackets are bulky and difficult to pack, but their portable counterparts, which can be deflated for pack and inflated for use, are perfect for compact packing.
Bottom Line: Keep your luggage small and your family water-safe with inflatable life jackets.
36. Child Locator
If you have an inquisitive (or quick) toddler, you probably worry they’ll slip away in a crowded city or attraction. A child locator provides peace of mind – and security, if you ever do get separated. It works similarly to a phone locator, emitting a high-pitched beep to help you locate your child. Just clip it to your little one’s shirt in the morning, and keep the activator with you throughout the day.
Bottom Line: For curious little explorers, a child locator provides an extra layer of security in crowded areas.
37. ID Tattoos
When you’re headed to crowded attractions or even wide, open spaces, it’s a good idea to anticipate what you’ll do if you get separated from your kids. One solution: let your children sport some bling – temporary tattoos complete with your contact information.
Bottom Line: Keep a few of these temporary ID tattoos in your purse, in the car, or in your wallet, so you can pop one on anytime.
38. Glow Stick Jewelry (Yes, Really)
Your kids may think glow stick jewelry is good fun, but you know it’s also a safety feature: when you’re out after dark, deck your children out in glowing necklaces, bracelets, earrings and glasses. Whether you’re at an amusement park, in the city, or out in wilderness, they’ll always be easy to spot in their glowing accessories.
Bottom Line: Make safety fun for your kids with easy-to-see glow stick jewelry.
39. Wearable Blanket
You can’t take your crib with you, but you can take the next best thing: a wearable blanket, a.k.a. sleep sack. These awesome little buntings keep your child warm but eliminate the need for bulky blankets (a.k.a. SIDS risks). Bonus: since they don’t have leg holes, they also help prevent your child from climbing out of the bed, cot, or hotel crib at night.
Bottom Line: If your travels involve chilly nights and infants/toddlers, don’t leave home without a wearable blanket or two.
Getting your toddler to sleep can be hard enough; getting him to sleep in an unfamiliar, adult bed with no bedrails is nearly impossible (and anxiety provoking, to boot). Enter the portable toddler bed: an inflatable bed (takes just 30 seconds from zero to fully filled) that has built-in rails and is the perfect size for your opinionated little adult.
Bottom Line: Make your toddler feel special while you keep him safe in an inflatable, portable bed built just for him.
If you don’t want to pack an entire bed in your bags, at least throw in some inflatable bed rails. They work just like your toddler’s rails at home, so there’s no learning curve, but can be packed small and installed on any bed in just minutes. Bedtime solved. (Sort of.)
Bottom Line: No matter where you stay, portable bed rails ensure your toddler won’t fall out of bed.
42. Travel Crib
Travel cribs, or pack ‘n plays, do double-duty when traveling with newborns and infants. During they day, they give babes a safe place to roll and play; at night, they convert to safe places to sleep. Best of all, travel cribs fold down to stroller-size packages: throw the over your shoulder, tote around in the car, or even take them on the plane.
Bottom Line: With a travel crib, babies always have a safe spot to play and sleep.
43. Potty Protectors
Travel is hard enough for potty training toddlers and the newly potty trained: why make it any harder with complicated squatting or careful toilet-paper placement? Potty protectors create a sanitary barrier between your child’s skin and public toilets, making it easy for your kids to use the restrooms without giving you a panic attack.
Bottom Line: If you’ll be in the vicinity of public restrooms, these potty liners will save your sanity.
44. Baby Carrier
An ergonomic baby carrier makes travel easier with infants and young toddlers. These carriers comfortably distribute your baby’s weight evenly, so you can carry your little one (hands free!) for hours. Bonus: performance or sport carriers are made with lightweight materials that promote venting, so neither you nor babe will overheat on a hot day.
Bottom Line: If you have kids under 30 pounds, you’ll love hands-free carriers – especially on roads or terrain unfriendly to strollers.
45. Water Filter
Adventurous and outdoor families will love having a portable water filter – a handy device that renders river, creek, and even rainwater safe for drinking. A good filter exceeds EPA standards and removes a minimum of 99.99% of waterborne bacteria and parasites.
Bottom Line: If your family enjoys long hikes, camping, or other outdoor excursions, grab a water filter for on-the-go refreshment.
A lightweight, folding stroller is one of those life-saving devices that, once you have it, you won’t know how you lived without it. Forget the old-fashioned umbrella strollers that made awkward turns: today’s portable strollers are agile and tough, capable of hopping curbs and negotiating tight spaces.
Bottom Line: If you have a little one with limited walking stamina, a modern folding stroller is a must-have.
When you travel with an infant, bath time can be a challenge: huge hotel tubs, shower-only bathrooms, too-tiny sinks, and jetted bathtubs throw off your routine. An inflatable bathtub is very lightweight and folds down to almost nothing, but blows up to a full-size baby bath once you reach your destination.
Bottom Line: Save yourself bath-time headaches (and mishaps) with a portable kiddo bathtub.
When traveling anywhere you can easily get separated, outfit your kiddo’s backpack (or back pocket), your purse, or your wallet with current photos of your family. Mini brag books are the perfect accessory, allowing you to add a photo of each family member and any contact information you’d like to include.
Bottom Line: Help authorities spot family members in a crowd by arming every member of your family with current photos of everyone in your travel party.
Also Try: Pioneer Wallet Bound Photo Album
49. Personal Alarm
If you’re traveling without your car, you may miss the security of your keyfob’s on-demand alarm. Grab an inexpensive personal alarm and carry it with you everywhere: it will emit a loud alarm upon activation and, if required, you can pull the emergency release for 30 minutes of continuous alarm sound.
Bottom Line: Even if your car remote stays at home, your personal alarm can travel with you.
You can’t find booster chairs everywhere you go, but you can take your own everywhere. Innovative, portable booster seats take table restraint on the road, attaching to any chair to keep your little ones safely seated at a restaurant, rental house, or family’s home.
Bottom Line: Prevent mealtime escapees (and serious stress) with portable booster chairs.