Travel gifts for kids that they AND their parents will love
Not too many people think of getting travel gifts for kids.
When thinking of what to get for children, dolls, cars, and soft toys usually come to mind.
But, if the family likes to travel, there are certain things you can get that will make the trips more enjoyable both for the parents and the kids themselves!
These items are small so that they can fit nicely in luggage, and engage the kid so that they are busy for as long as possible when they need to be.
After travelling with Emma, I found this list rather easy to make, haha, at least for toddler aged kids.
Some of the gifts on this list will be more suited for older children up to 10-ish years old, and some are better for toddlers. But, of course, each child has different preferences, so I’m not separating the gifts by age.
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Travel gifts for kids
So, let’s dive in! As I said, I’m gonna mix the travel gifts for kids of all ages together.
Hope you get some good travel gift ideas out of my list!
Books – travel-themed and not travel themed
Of course, books! It’s so important for toddlers to read and learn about the world this way. It might not inspire their wanderlust just yet, but at least, when they travel somewhere, it’s possible to tell them “Remember, we saw this thing in the book, look how it looks like in the real world!”.
For example, Emma loves seeing animals and different things like sailboats that she’s seen in the books or cartoons (thanks, Peppa Pig).
A good travel gift for kids would be an atlas. National Geographic kids has atlases for kids of all ages, including the youngest – 3-year-olds!
If you’d like to get a book that would keep the kid busy during travelling, check out some interactive books, like the lift-the-flap type for older or slide-and-seek ones for younger kids.
E-reader or a tablet
Before getting this one, talk with the parents if they’re ok with it. So many parents try to limit screen time for their children, and I completely understand them.
But it definitely can be a fun travel gift for a kid (and for mom and dad as well!). And definitely a lifesaver for the parents on those long trips where nothing seems to keep the kid happy.
For older children who love reading, an e-reader such as Kindle is a good choice. It holds loads of books and doesn’t take up a lot of space. For example, the new Kindle Paperwhite allows them to read in a dark room or in the sun with much less strain on their eyes. Plus, the parent can use it as well!
Another choice is a tablet, which would give a much wider choice for entertainment – movies, games, books, well, you know. It’s definitely a lifesaver for many trips when the kids are already really tired.
Depending on the age of the kid, there are different options at different prices available. For the older ones, some higher-quality options are probably a good idea, but for younger ones, something like Kindle Fire Kids would be enough.
If you add in a Kindle subscription with the e-reader, you’ll definitely make the kid’s day!
Related: Best gifts for travelling dads
Why not inspire the kid’s wanderlust with some travel-themed games?
Board games are both educational and fun travel gifts! The kid can learn about continents, countries, capitals, and so much more while playing games.
I think that’s a great thing and makes for a great gift for the whole family.
Maps and globes
I think that everyone who likes to travel likes the pushpin or scratch off world maps. They are fun and can definitely ignite anyone’s wanderlust!
So, if the kid likes travelling, this quintessential travel gift is definitely a great idea for him.
A globe, though, is a great gift for any school-aged kid, even if they are not crazy about travelling. There are even floating ones and augmented reality ones – seems like a bit of magic, doesn’t it?
Or, you know, you can just go for a good-old educational map for the kid. There are some very interesting options available.
Related: globes and other great travel gifts for moms
If you would like to get something more unusual, you can consider kid’s travel gear! Anything from suitcases to collapsible water bottles!
Show me a kid who doesn’t like feeling grown up by carrying his own things in his own cute suitcase!
If you want to make the gear a fun travel gift for kids, make sure to buy it with the kid’s favourite cartoon characters printed on it.
There are loads of gear options to gift the little traveller.
You can get collapsible water bottles, backpacks, or even sunglasses and hats!
One thing I really regret not getting for Emma on the last road trip is a travel tray. Would make playing and snacking while driving so much easier for her.
Subscription travel box for kids
Subscription boxes are basically a gift that comes again and again!
These boxes can contain different things: information about different places, games, maps etc.
The boxes can have different themes as well, such as oceans, landmarks, animals and others.
Help the kid learn more about the world with the travel subscription boxes. If you’d like to gift them only one box, don’t forget to cancel the subscription, though.
Travel gifts for kids to use on the road
Toddlers are most often little moving machines with never ending energy. It’s hard for them to sit still even for a few minutes, so travelling for them – driving or flying especially – is akin to torture.
That’s why it’s hard to go wrong with gifting them something that will help them keep busy on the road to the destination itself.
Obviously, toys are great for that. Those are the best travel gifts for kids if the family likes to travel longer distances, like on whole-day car trips. Kids tend to get tired and start throwing tantrums no matter how many times you stop to get them to spend some energy.
Try to find toys that don’t have too many small parts which could fall down. Speaking from experience here, it’s hard to find them in the black hole that is the space between the car seat and the door.
Emma really loved her magnetic drawing board on our last road trip. It was pretty much the only thing (besides Netflix) that kept her from throwing a tantrum at the end of our ride.
On the other hand, for the last road trip, we got Emma a magnetic fishing game, but it was really hard to use in the car – the pieces kept falling and the board itself was too big. So, that’s a game for home.
My friend, though, said that the bubble pushes sensory toy kept her toddler busy for more than half an hour in a row when they were driving! Sounds incredible, doesn’t it?
Plus, recently I saw some kids around nine years old be fascinated by them. So, you know, it’s good for older kids as well!
Travel-friendly board games
The traditional board games might take up too much space or have pieces that would easily go missing.
That’s why it’s a great thing that there are often travel-friendly options of them made.
Travel-friendly can mean that the games are magnetic or smaller, or maybe there’s a board attached that makes all the pieces stay in place, and maybe there’s even a sturdy case included.
There are even such games as “I spy” and travel bingo available – reusable and travel friendly. They have different themes, like number plate games, road trip bingo,
One of the most interesting games I’ve seen, though, is Story Cubes. I first came around them when I was still working as a flight attendant.
Basically, it’s 9 dice in a set, which have drawings on each side. Roll the dice, look at the images, and build up a story yourself. There are different sets available, like original, voyages, and actions.
Since there are 54 images in each set of cubes, the possibilities for the stories are endless!
Netflix, Youtube Premium, and Amazon Prime Video or any other subscription
This would be another gift that needs to be discussed with the parents prior to purchasing.
It definitely makes the trip much nicer, though, if there’s an option to calm the kid down with some nice cartoons or movies.
As much as we don’t like to give screen time to Emma, it definitely is less stressful for both us and her if she doesn’t scream from being overtired, but enjoys some Peppa Pig.
Netflix, Youtube Premium, and Amazon Prime Video allow you to download movies and videos to your device to watch through the app, so it doesn’t require data or wifi, which is pretty important. I’m not sure about other streaming services, as we don’t use them.
Related: travel gifts for couples
On the same note, there are travel themed and travel friendly colouring books as well.
I’m pretty sure every kid likes colouring things, no matter what age. And grown ups as well, for that matter.
As for a travel gift for kids, there are no-mess water-reveal colouring books which are perfect for airplanes. Noone likes to find out that their airplane table has been drawn all over, right?
Some of the books even include stickers, which is a cute touch.
Travel gifts for kids to use at the destination
You know, some things that kids like to use, but they usually take too much space.
What you can do is, find a travel-friendly version of the toys or whatever!
Toys and games
For example, if the kid loves playing in the sandpit and the family has a trip planned to somewhere at the sea, why not gift them a set of collapsible bucket and spades?
Or maybe an inflatable beach ball?
And there are different games available that can be used at any kind of destination and don’t take up much space in the luggage, from scavenger hunts to frisbees.
For the older kids, a kid’s travel journal might be an interesting idea. They can write down all the memories – document the journey. It’s so nice to look back at your favourite childhood memories when you’re older, so why not make it easier for them? They can use the journal from the getting-ready stages of the trip to the very end.
Of course, there are different options available – one journal for a single trip or for many trips, for road trips, train trips, and more.
Some even include travel tips and travel games to make the trips more interesting for the kids!
Not just travel gear, but something interesting.
An example would be binoculars – if the family is traveling to a destination that has a lot of interesting animals, it’s definitely great to have binoculars.
Going to a beach destination? Not just bucket and spades is a cool thing to have, but snorkelling gear, too!
Somewhere snowy? How about skis? Toboggans? Or those plastic things that go under the booty?
One of the most fun travel gifts for kids, though, might be a disposable camera! I had one as a kid, and it was so fun to use it! Gives the kid a great possibility to immortalize his vacation the old-fashioned way!
Options are endless!
Summary about travel gifts for kids
Here you have it – my list of travel gifts for kids.
Some of the ideas are similar to travel gifts that adults would love as well. That’s because I believe that kids don’t just love toys and mayhem, they like feeling all grown up.
Is there anything else you would add?