Heading out on a long family road trip or flight? Keep your kids happy (and you sane!) with the best kids travel tray for a car or plane. Below you’ll also find awesome DIY travel tray ideas, too.
Now, there are a LOT of kids travel trays out there. Some are quality and some are cheap. But other than that, the best kids travel tray for you will depend on how you want to use it and the age of your child.
What To Look For in a Kids Travel Tray
So, what should you look for when choosing the best kids travel tray? Here are three key questions to consider:
- First, WHERE do you want to use it? If you’re using it mostly on planes or trains, look for travel trays that fold up super light and compact. Or, ones that store all their stuff when it’s folded up. For road trips, look for travel trays with strong buckles and sturdy trays.
- Second, how OLD is your child? Younger kids don’t do well with elastic bottle holders or fussy zipper closures. They might also have a hard time reaching certain pockets. (Mine also hated buckles and having the strap wrapped around him. Who knew??)
- And third, how big is the device you might want to use while traveling? Most kids travel trays fit a 10-inch tablet, and some can fit bigger. Will you want it sitting within arms reach on the travel tray, or hanging from the seatback?
Now, with those questions in mind, take a look at these great kids travel tray options below. Don’t miss the awesome DIY travel tray ideas at the end, too!
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BEST Kids Travel Trays for Car and Plane
1. Best OVERALL Kids Travel Tray
Among the most popular kids travel trays out there is the travel tray from Kenley. Its 4-inch sides, clear tablet holder, and large padded tray are super sturdy. The variety of pockets, including removable ones, keeps everything organized. A rounded, padded edge against your child makes it a great fit while keeping things on the tray. And it has large heavy-duty buckles, a removable strap, and a full-sized zippered exterior pocket to access stuff when it’s folded up.
Plus, it’s waterproof and comes with lifetime warranty. Available in three tray patterns and fits over pretty much any car seat.
2. Runner-up OVERALL Great Kids Travel Tray
Reviewers love their DMoose kids travel tray. Its quality is well-respected, with a well-padded base, sturdy tablet holder and variety of pockets, including stretchy and a large zippered mesh pocket. Buckles are robust and the strap is removable. And it’s waterproof.
3. Best Kids Travel Tray for the PLANE
If you’re looking for the best kids travel tray for airplanes, check out this Jumbo Ears Origami kids travel tray. It’s super versatile, with a large tablet cover you can hang up, a table with lots of pocket options and sturdy sides to hold devices, and a toy organizer you can snap to either one. The surface is waterproof and stain resistant, and it folds up nice and compact. Use the carrying bag or stuff it in your pocket!
Includes an activity book and free monthly activities when you register your kids travel tray. Note that this tray doesn’t include straps, which makes it best for planes and trains.
What should your kids pack in their suitcase, carry-on or road trip backpack? Check out this Kids Vacation Packing List. Includes packing lists for summer camp, the beach, and family road trip essentials.
4. Best MINIMALIST Kids Travel Organizer for the PLANE
For something a little simpler, consider an airplane tray table cover from Mimi Sews It on Etsy. When the tray table is down, the cover keeps the surface clean for little hands. And when it’s up, there are two pockets to keep their toys and activities in easy reach. You can also have a Velcro closure on the large pocket to keep things secure.
Available in lots of cute patterns.
5. Best DISPOSABLE Kids Travel Tray for the PLANE
Now, if you just want a kids travel tray for airplanes that’s super easy and light, consider the TrayMask disposable tray table cover. The design includes a USA coloring map, tic tac toe game, and a word search that’s better for older kids. It’s safe to eat off of, and comes in a tiny package that fits easily into your pocket or carry-on luggage.
Comes in a package of 10 or 20. Recycle when you’re done!
6. Best Minimalist BACKSEAT Travel Tray for Cars
One of the frustrations of my youngest child was the need for backstraps to keep our travel tray in place. When he wanted it unbuckled, he wanted it gone NOW. Tough to do when driving solo!
This simple backseat travel tray from My Specialty Kids Shop would be ideal for him. Hang it from the backrest and use the exterior tablet pocket for shows. Its hanging buckle is on the outside, so it doesn’t pucker like other styles. Or, unzip the tray to access the interior mesh pockets and use it as a table. Includes a carrying strap and comes in bright fun colors.
Sometimes, simple is best!
7. Best Kids Travel Tray for CAR LOVERS
This Coolmum lap tray is SO great for little car lovers like my boy! The surface has a mini town map to keep your car-lover busy and happy. Plus, a large side pocket for a waterbottle and a variety of elasticized and zippered pockets. Including one that fits a small tablet and underside pocket for coloring pages.
The belt buckles are on the sides, too, making it easier for a grownup to reach back and unbuckle for young ones.
8. Best DRY-ERASE Kids Travel Tray
This collapsible lap tray from MENZOKE is another versatile option with lots of great features. I’m a big fan of the dry-erase tray, which is also a pocket so you can swap out the three boards that come with it or put in your own worksheets. The tablet pocket is large and sturdy, and includes a convenient hole for the charging cable. You also have plenty of handy pocket options, including a cooler pocket for hot and cold drinks.
Detach the belt if you’re using it on a plane or train. And then fold it up and lock it with the buckle when you’re done.
9. Best Kids Travel Tray for Simple QUALITY
Now, Lusso Gear is a well-respected brand that also makes a simple but quality kids travel tray. The entire tray is a plain white dry-erase board, which is super versatile no matter what your child is interested in. It has a variety of pockets, including a touch-sensitive tablet holder that’s collapsible and detachable.
You can also detach the belt and buckle it all together when you’re done. Lusso Gear comes with a lifetime warranty.
Put them to work AND get them excited for your family trip! Check out this Kids Packing List with Pictures. Even preschoolers can use it!
10. Best Kids Travel Tray for POCKETS
There are three rather unique things I like about this ZEAZU travel tray. The first is the super-handy tissue pocket. Second is the regular zippered pocket (not just mesh), that’s strong enough for books. Mesh is great for stretch and visibility, but not so great for durability. And third, the pockets on the tray are slim, but still fit a fast-food cup.
Plus, it’s waterproof, has a dry-erase board, and has a nice big tablet pocket. Folds up nice and slim with buckles to secure it. Includes a carrying bag and available in four colors.
11. Best Kids Travel Tray with LARGE TABLET Pocket
Are you looking for a kids travel tray with a larger tablet pocket? Travel trays with on-tray pockets tend to sacrifice the tablet pocket size. This travel tray from Beloved Belongings has slim tray pockets, leaving a 11.5”-wide tablet pocket. It’s secured with a zipper and removable.
This travel tray is waterproof, easy to wipe clean, and has a lip at the bottom to keep toys on the tray. Available in pink and black/orange.
12. Best Kids Travel Tray for STORAGE
If on-the-go storage is what you’re after, check out the BE Family travel tray. It has all of the great pocket options you love, including a PVC touchscreen tablet pocket, mesh pockets and zippered pockets. The tablet section can detach and hang over the headrest. Plus, a full-sized zipper pocket stores books under the tray, which also makes it sturdier for coloring and drawing.
And then when your flight lands or you reach your hotel, all their stuff folds up nice and neat into a messenger bag they can carry themselves! Features quality zipper pulls and snaps, wide buckles, detachable backstrap, and thick adjustable carry strap. Available in four colors.
Also available through Etsy.
13. Runner-up Best Kids Travel Tray for STORAGE
Here’s a very similar kids travel tray to the one above, but with slightly different pocket combinations and style. The Jungle Feels carseat tray has lots of pockets and a detachable hanging tablet section. When you reach a stop on your road trip, simply zip up the tray to the headrest and it’s easy to get out.
Includes a coloring book and crayons. Available in grey or green.
14. Best Kids Travel Tray with a HARD SURFACE
I read a lot of parent frustrations with flimsy kids travel tray tops. If you really just want a firm surface, consider the Cloocci kids travel tray. It has a solid top that opens for storage, plus the firm fabric sides for pockets and a tablet and a removable strap. You can store up to 7lbs.
Note that the legs are not intended for use in the car, as they likely won’t fit with most car seats. Available in two bright colors.
15. Best SEAT ORGANIZER Travel Tray
You might also just want a great seat organizer next to your child, either along with a tray in front of them or instead of one. The High Road CarHop organizer is pretty great. Inside is an insulated cooler with a movable divider, so you can easily separate snacks for two kids. It has padded edges around the top to keep things from rolling off, two cup holders that also convert into a simple pocket, and four different types of pockets on each side. Two kids can keep their stuff separated and tidy!
Includes a strap to carry it to your picnic table and to secure it to the car. Folds down for storage. This can be the perfect solution when used with a diy kids travel tray below!
Best DIY Kids Travel Trays
16. Cookie Sheet DIY Kids Travel Tray
Cookie sheets are awesome!! Such a simple, clever way to keep toys and snacks accessible to your child. Plus, some creativity with magnets or chalk paint quickly turns them into a travel play center. Their short sides keep things from rolling off. And they’re a sturdy flat surface, perfect for drawing, coloring and writing.
Somewhat Simple has lots of fun ideas, including how to make the most of magnets to keep things in place. Glue a cheap pillow or rice pack to the bottom for comfort. Great, right?!
17. Muffin Pan DIY Kids Travel Tray
Muffin baking pans are great for kids that love organization. Think: Large beads, Lego or snacks, like these ideas from Red Stick Mom. Six-cup pans work great on top of a cookie sheet, so your child still has a flat surface for building stuff. And if you get one with a lid, it’ll keep all those little pieces from spilling all over your car.
Tip: You can also turn the drive-thru cup holder into the same thing!
18. Pie Plate DIY Kids Travel Tray
Metal pie plates are also great ideas for mini play centers. They’re perfect for playdough or clay, or anything else that’s a little messy and benefits from a taller edge. You can get pie plates with covers, too, to keep it all contained when you’re traveling.
19. Dry Erase Board DIY Kids Travel Tray
If you really just need something for your traveling artist, why not get a dry erase board for your DIY kids travel tray? This works especially well if your child already has a cup holder for markers. Or, get a portable dry erase board with a clip outside to hold paper in place and a storage compartment inside. Perfect!
20. Binder DIY Kids Travel Tray
On my 4-day moving road trip with three under seven, I prepped a travel journal binder for my two oldest. They ended up with these binders on their laps just as much (if not more) than the actual kids travel trays. Cupholders held their pens and markers, and they were happy for many (long!) hours.
Get a binder with pockets for each child, plus a binder zipper pouch for pens and a package of sheet protectors. Sheet protectors turn travel printables into dry-erase activities they can use over and over. Woohoo! Position landscape printables pointing out so the rings don’t get in their way.
And put extra pull-out activities in binder pockets. I printed out pretty paper as stationary to write letters to their friends back home. Muse Printables has lots of beautiful options.
21. Box With Lid DIY Kids Travel Tray
Any container with a lid (preferably attached) can become your best friend on a family vacation. Use it to organize toys or snacks, like we see from See Vanessa Craft. Or, turn it into a DIY portable dollhouse or lego kit, like Mama Papa Bubba. So fun!
You may also like:
- Best Road Trip Games for Young Kids: 15+ Free Printables
- Kids Vacation Packing List
- Kids Travel Journal for Early Readers
- Free Printable: Road Trip Banner-Map
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Featured photo credit: Lusso Gear on Amazon.com.