If you are keen world travellers or you know a travelling family, you’ll like our ideas for travel gifts for kids and families. Buying travel gifts for kids is tricky, will they take their gift with them, or leave it at home through lack of space? We’ve been given some gifts that have made it and plenty that have had to be culled as we’ve been on the road for 3 years . You could buy practical travel gifts that will earn their place in a child’s luggage, or travel toys, books and novelties that will sty at home and enhance the child’s wanderlust.
We know what gifts have worked with our kids and which travel gifts we’ve gladly received as a family, from expensive main presents to stocking fillers.
Here are out best travel gifts for kids like ours and travellers like us.
Buy Them The Gift of An Experience
Tickets to the zoo, a cultural attraction or entertainment venue. You can buy an experience gift for just about anywhere in the world using resources like this one. Click through and get some ideas on what’s available for kids and families.
Travel Gifts for Kids to Take Travelling
Of all the travel gifts my children received before we started travelling, the small card games are the most used and most loved. They are also educational gifts, young kids pick up numbers and reading through playing card games like these. We were given travel Monopoly, travel Scrabble and travel chess, they were too small and fiddly and had too many tiny pieces to blow away or fall. I’d recommend avoiding those, go with the best travel cad games instead.
In our family Uno is the ultimate travel Card Game. It’s always in my day pack for quite moments in airports and bus stops. It’s great for all ages and it’s how little Boo originally learnt his numbers. We’ve worn out our first pack, a lovely friend just bought us a new one. Big thumbs up for UNO!
Had enough of UNO? Try Skip Bo , we haven’t got this one yet but everyone tells me how great it is.
Another compact card game, but one with a surprisingly educational twist. Playing Top Trumps Doctor Who really helped both my boys when they were learning to read and understand decimals, now I look for packs that help with history or general knowledge. This is the one we’re playing at the moment, they love it!
Have a look here for more Top Trumps games, pick a subject to suit their interests.
Monopoly Deal Card Game is our latest favourite. We play this one almost every day. It’s like regular Monopoly, without the huge box or the time commitment. It’s purely a card game, no other pieces involved, ideal for travel.
A Scratch Off Travel Map, Leave it at Home or take this Travel Gift on the road
These work for adults and kids, I want one! You could buy the smaller travel version, Luckies of London Scratch Map Travel Edition , which comes in a tough carrying tube so that you can pop it in your backpack, or a Large Size Personalized Scratch-off World Map Poster Travel to keep at home.
I love these, fun, education and a permanent record of your travels.
What boy ( and often girl, I love mine) doesn’t want a pen knife? If you’re going to get one why not get an iconic Swiss Army knife? Victorinox Swiss Army Super Tinker Pocket Knife. We have 3 Swiss Army knives with us, my husband says both of his are essential and of course mine is, it has the cork-screw!
You can find a very ladylike Swiss Army knife with a corkscrew here. Shame it’s not pink.
Older kids, probably girls, might dig packing cubes. I have a set and they’re great. I boughta set of three eBags Packing Cubes in small, medium and large. The small one takes all of our electrical leads and chargers. I love that it’s tough enough to cope with all the pointy metal bits.The small sizes would also be great for younger kids’ toys. The medium one takes all of my tops and shirts and the large one holds a load of spare winter clothes and gear.
My boys have little pouches for their toys, Boo in particular loves his, he’s an organiser, a small packing cube could be just the thing. Maybe fill one with little toys, sweets and toiletries to make a cool going away gift.( click the image to see the smaller size).
I absolutely LOVE these things. Mine goes everywhere with me, on planes, trains, buses and in my handbag every time I leave the house. We have a full post on travel organisers here, or you can click the image below.
Rubik’s Twist or Snake
We have two of these Rubik’s Twists with us and they’ve seen a lot of use, click the image or the link to buy one on Amazon. They work for most ages and are a great “fiddle” toy to keep hands busy. The boys convert them into snakes, dogs, guns, all sorts of things.
If you know a child who loves books a Kindle is essential travel gear. I preloaded ours with kids’ books before we left, picture story books for little Boo (6), reading books for D (8) including the whole Harry Potter series ( books or book vouchers for Kindle make a great gift, too), it has seen a lot of use, particularly on buses and trains. We have a Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ ( click through to see latest special offers, this version is often on sale) because it’s easier on the children’s eyes than other reading devices, I love being able to enlarge the text for my elderly eyes too. The battery life is amazing, it’s small, light and easy to carry. I want a reading device that’s purely for reading, if it plays games too, there would be a whole lot less reading going on.
There are book exchange shops in most backpacker towns but the range of children’s books is always tiny and it’s not a cheap option. We wouldn’t travel without at least one Kindle, at the moment we have three.
Kindle Case for Paperwhite
If they’ve already got a Kindle,maybe they could do with a snazzy case to keep it safe on their travels? I love my Pink Neoprene Kindle Case , it keeps my Kindle safe in my day-pack. D, now 9 has long since taken controll of my Kindle, so I guess it’s his pink Kindle case now. I once used it as an insulator for antibiotics, it’s multipurpose.
A Surprise Entry, The Nintendo 3 DS
I’m very anti-hand-held-gadget but I bought one of these for D ( now 10) after months of begging. It’s surprised me, it does things I never imagined, beside play games. He takes 3D photos and makes his own movies and stop/start annimations, listens to music and uses some nifty built in image and audio manipulation tools. I’m a convert. Because games have to be bought individually it’s never been such a time sucker as tablets or online games, so overall, I’m pretty pleased with this. We got D a black one but the pink is cool!
You can browse for a DS here, there are lots of models available, if you click the image above you’ll go straight to the lovely pink one.
Kids love playing with head torches, sometimes they use them for reading in bed, other times playing outside in the dark, they’re very handy for power cuts too. You could get them a sensible one, or you could get them a super cool LEGO Darth Vader Head Lamp. I want one.
A more powerful head torch is a great piece of kit for older children who spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. The older the kids get, the more they like having top-notch gear of their own. We’ve always used Petzel head torches.
My boys love their Combination Padlocks for their day packs. Do I have weird kids? We do have Hello Kitty , but they’re blue. These are cool little stocking fillers.
Books are Great Travel Gifts. We Loved This Book!
The only book that made it into our pack when we left was this one Explore!: The most dangerous journeys of all timebecause it was a truly exceptional book. It covered a lot of educational bases and was great fun to read. Even if the book doesn’t travel it’s a great preparation for, and introduction to, our amazing and exciting world. If you stop by Haad Salad villas you will find ours there, it was too heavy after Chef’s surgery, or you could just buy your own.
There are now two more books in this series, Eureka! The Most Amazing Scientific Discoveries of All Time and Genius! The Most Astonishing Inventions of all Time.
National Geographic Kids Infopedia, Highly recommended!
This National Geographic Kids Infopedia 2016 has been rocking my kids world for the last couple of weeks , they’ve both read it cover to cover and not only is it fun, it’s SCHOOL! It has useful facts and snippets on just about every topic, photosynthesis, time zones, animal classification, volcanoes, you name it, it’s in there. It’s cheap at under 7 pounds and small enough to pop in your day pack.
Lonely Planet ( not-For-Parents) Kids Travel Books
Not For Parents London: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know is in our library here in Romania, it covers some not-so-usual topics and ones kids will enjoy, along with the usual history. We like this book a lot.
This series includes a whole range of destinations, buy Paris here, or Rome here. Better yet, buy them all! They’re fairly small paperbacks and at just $11 you could build up a whole library.
Give an Experience Gift Rather Than a Thing
If you don’t know exactly what a child or family have or haven’t got already, you could be throwing your money away on stuff that will never make it into their suitcase or backpack. A gift we received recently, which we loved, was a half day experience from Tinggly. Tinggly can provide your friends and loved ones with a ready-made excursion, activity or meal, anywhere in the world. We had a morning at London’s Shard ( famous in my boys’ eyes from Doctor Who) followed by lunch. It was a fantastic treat and we’d love to receive more of these gifts, it was great to have a break from organising everything ourselves. Check out Tinggly’s gift experiences on their website or click through to read more about our Shard day out.
Was that any help? I hope so. This is the second Christmas that I’ve had this headache and this list is evolving over time. Shall I tell you what I’m buying the kids?
Archery lessons and theatre tickets, because both are things we want to do in London anyway before we leave, so the expense may as well be a Christmas gift. The kids are a year older,the need for toys and “things” is growing less. More Lego, which we will leave behind. A new DS game for D and I think some sort of new computer or tablet is in order, now they’re both doing Minecraft Homeschool we’ll need the extra connectivity. Then of course a new pack, trekking gear, cool Doctor Who and Minecraft T shirts to ease the pain of receiving clothes, chocolate, jaffa cakes ( they’re obsessed!), bits and pieces. We’ll work something out.