The 10 Best Travel Trays

Updated June 18, 2018 by Sam Kraft

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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. It's always those moments when you’re unable to devote your full attention to the kids that they find a way to wreak havoc — such as when they’re in the back seat of your car. Keep your little ones well-fed and amused without making a mess using one of these travel trays. They provide a stable space for toys, crayons, coloring books, food and more. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best travel tray on Amazon.

10. Disney Playground Pals

Built with solid plastic, you can rinse off the Disney Playground Pals easily in the event of any spills. It contains dedicated sections for holding things like games and drawing supplies, and it’s simple to stand on its own or position over your child's seat.
  • surface image does not fade or peel
  • cupholder only holds small vessels
  • tough to clean some crevices
Brand Disney
Model 64760
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. ZoomKit Activity System

The ZoomKit Activity System is a sturdy, lightweight unit with plenty of storage space for toys and trinkets. The box snaps securely shut to prevent things from falling out while in transport, and it features a convenient drinks holder.
  • legs pop on and off easily
  • storage compartment is removable
  • not as stable as many models
Brand ZoomKIT
Model 600 Fuschia
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. FunCo Road Trip

You’ll sure be thankful for the raised sides of the FunCo Road Trip when you make a sharp turn and the snacks and crayons on its surface don't go flying. It's super helpful in the car, but there’s no reason you can’t use it with a highchair or on an airplane.
  • 2 colors to choose from
  • weighs only 1 pound
  • not compatible with all car seats
Brand FunCo
Model P-LT-1
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Skip Hop Driven

For the budget-minded parent, the Skip Hop Driven is an affordable option that doesn't sacrifice on quality or functionality. It features a removable plastic insert that serves as a hard shell for stability, and it’s built without sharp edges for safety.
  • surface is ideal for drawing
  • edges are raised to contain items
  • does not have a cupholder
Brand Skip Hop
Model 282550-CNSZP
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

6. Driving with Kids Journey

The Driving with Kids Journey provides a tough, flat surface on which children can eat and play during road trips. It won’t weigh them down or create any discomfort as it sits on their lap, and it’s designed with straps and buckles for security, so it won’t tip over.
  • useful side mesh pockets
  • convenient 14-inch width
  • easy for items to slide off
Brand Driving With Kids
Model DWK#0023
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Tranquil Traveler Lap Desk

Whether you’re on the go in the car or you need a sturdy meal tray for movie night at home, the Tranquil Traveler Lap Desk is a simple solution to an age-old problem. The side pockets are large enough to store a coloring book and additional supplies.
  • attached straps are adjustable
  • includes a separate pencil case
  • sides are not very stable
Brand The Tranquil Traveler
Model pending
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

4. Kids Bright Play

Designed in a vibrant blue color, the Kids Bright Play is a charming little children’s accessory. One expansive multipurpose pocket can be used to accommodate a tablet or several small items, and a robust front rim prevents things from rolling off.
  • 2 zippered pockets
  • comes with a storage bag
  • folds up for portability and storage
Brand Kids Bright Toys
Model pending
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

3. My Specialty Organizer

Thanks to an intuitive design inspired by airplane trays, the My Specialty Organizer attaches to the back of your car's front seats, and you can close it up when it’s not in use to keep it out of your way. It features four easy-to-access internal pockets.
  • outer sleeve holds tablets securely
  • designed for kids ages 3 and up
  • 90-day satisfaction guarantee
Brand My Specialty Kids Shop
Model pending
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Babyseater Surface

A youngster with a lively imagination will likely find the Babyseater Surface stimulating and fun, which means his or her mind will be occupied while you focus on driving. With ample storage for coloring equipment, your kid can get to work as soon as you hit the road.
  • dry erase board
  • comes with markers
  • wet wipes pocket for cleaning
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. MayGree Snack Desk

Constructed with a durable combination of nylon and polyester, the MayGree Snack Desk can withstand a generation of playful abuse from little brothers, sisters and cousins. The storage pockets on the sides are removable for your convenience.
  • cupholder is very deep
  • can convert into a backpack
  • lightweight and easy to carry
Brand Maygree
Model MTT-17
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Keeping The Kids Happy On The Go

Childless adults may look askance at the parent who boards a plane with a bag overflowing with activities for their child, perhaps wondering if that plethora of books, the multiple boxes of crayons and pencils, and the many toys and snacks aren't perhaps excessive. But what the experienced parent knows is that when it comes to traveling with kids, the old maxim that "Peace at any price is no peace at all" goes right out the window. The savvy parent will go to extreme lengths to ensure a travel experience is calm and quiet, and those traveling near the family should appreciate the efforts of anyone so doing.

Long distance travel with small children can be a harrowing experience, and a bad travel experience can sour the entire vacation, the holidays or the visit with relatives. Whether you and your young child (or children) are traveling via automobile, rail, or airplane, if you are going to be underway for many hours, you will need to plan ahead to make the trip as stress free, and potentially even pleasant, as possible. For indeed if a child "decides" to throw a tantrum while you are traveling, there is no chance for you to take him or her out of the situation to calm down; you'll have to ride out the storm.

When planning for long distance travel with your little ones, you must first, of course, account for all the child's actual needs. That means ensuring you bring with you or have ready access to plenty of foods and beverages that your child will actually eat without protest. Smart travel also means bringing along items your child finds engaging and that, ideally, with which he or she can engage on their own and in relative quiet. (Examples of this are coloring books, lacing cards, and dolls or action figures.) And it means having any specialty items -- certainly including medicines -- such as a backup pair of glasses, a special toy or gift as a reward or incentive for good behavior, or a special comfort item close at hand.

One of the best ways to help a child stay calm and amused during travel goes beyond just providing them things with which to play and engage, but involves providing them their own personal play space. This can be achieved using a good travel tray.

Choosing A Travel Tray For Play And Learning

As you consider which travel tray will be right for your child, consider a few of his or her favorite activities, and use those as the starting point for your review. If you have a young artist in your family, then you should choose a travel tray with a firm, solid top that can stand up to the pressure of a pencil tip, a pen's nib, or a flurry of crayons bearing down onto it. Some travel trays -- particularly those that fold up the flattest -- have softer, flexible surfaces, and while these are fine for many purposes, they are not ideal for the graphic artist, as it were.

On the other hand, many travel trays that do feature those softer, more pliant surfaces are a great idea for use with smaller kids who might tend to flail their arms about a bit more wildly.

Always consider features beyond the surface of the travel tray itself, looking for units with pockets that might accommodate the type of toy or size of book your child likes, for example, and for those with walls around their perimeters that can prevent objects from rolling off.

And don't forget about your own needs, too: some travel trays fold up for remarkably easy transport and storage, while others tend to be bulkier and less convenient for the parent or nanny who has to install, remove, and carry the units. And make sure to check airline, rail, and other travel policies before you assume it will be OK to use a travel tray en route.

Choosing A Travel Tray For Mess Free Dining

Children tend to be messy when they eat. This is especially true for infants and toddlers, and it remains true for children well into their preschool and elementary school years. The lack of refined dexterity when it comes to using utensils and the lack of a general interest in attempting to be a neat and clean diner combine to create plenty of spills, smears, and general disarray.

Eating without making a mess can be all the more difficult for any of us when we are attempting to dine off of a tray folded down at a seat on an airplane or are eating off of our laps in a car, a bus, or on a train. This is especially true for a child predisposed to messiness in the first place.

A travel tray is a great way to serve your child his or her meal as it keeps the foods in easy reach of their hands and close to their mouths. Many travel trays also have attachments that feature multiple different sections, which can be perfect for dividing different foodstuffs up for easy eating and for preventing items like peas or berries from rolling away.

Many travel trays are made of plastic and can easily be wiped clean after a meal, which is another benefit when you are away from home. The easier the post meal cleanup process, the better. Using your family's own travel tray also helps to prevent your child from touching lots of potentially unsafe, unsanitary surfaces.

A travel tray is also a great "life hack" for a child's mealtime even at home or at a friend or relative's residence. On those occasions where your kid will be eating on the couch or when he or she is in a chair but can't quite reach the table, a travel tray provides them their very own dining spot even when you're not actually traveling.

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Last updated on June 18, 2018 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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