If you are keen world travellers or you know a travelling family, you’ll like our ideas for Christmas travel gifts for kids and families.
In this post we include travel related gifts, often educational, as well as small gifts to pack in a suitcase or backpack for children and families on the road. We have practical, fun and useful gifts for kids who travel or love to travel.
Buying travel gifts for kids on the move is tricky, will they take their gift with them, or leave it at home through lack of space?
We know what gifts have worked for our kids and which we’ve gladly received as a family, from expensive main presents to stocking fillers, from toddlers to tweens and teens.
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 over 4 years . You could buy practical travel gifts that will earn their place in a child’s luggage, or travel toys, games, books and novelties that will stay at home and enhance the child’s wanderlust or education.
Here are our best travel gifts for kids like ours and travellers like us.
Travel Gifts and Travel Related Gifts for Kids or Families
1. Buy Them The Gift of An Experience Anywhere in the World
Tickets to the zoo, a cultural attraction, theme park 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.
We recently enjoyed the gift of a visit to an attraction followed by lunch, as a family, it was a lovely way to spend the day. The site above ( Get Your Guide, click through) has many more experiences all over the world.
2. Travel Gifts for Kids to Take Travelling
A Travel Journal
A travel journal can be a whole-family projects, or something for each child to complete themselves. Either buy a lovely travel-resistant journal, or a dedicated travelogue like the options below.
I’ll warn you here that a lot of kids HATE the idea of journaling, my boys would be very unhappy if I forced them into it. Know your audience!
Kids’ Character Neck Pillow for Little OnesCritter Piller Kid’s Neck Pillow, Brown Dog
A loveable, huggable, soft squishy friend for planes, cars, trains and buses.
Cute Passport Holders
Protect their passport, help them identify it in a pile and help them be the cool kid with one of these beauties.
Travel Games and Card Games, the Right Ones!
Of all the travel gifts my children received before we started travelling, the small card games are the most used and loved. They are 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 card games instead.
UNO, Skip Bo, Top Trumps and Monopoly Deal
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, London, 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, Deluxe, Personalized Scratch-off World Map Poster to keep at home.
I love these, fun, education and a permanent record of your travels.
Special Luggage for Special Kids can Make a Great Gift
Trunkies for Toddlers and Young Children
The beauty of these trunki bags isn’t just in their wheels and the way little ones can pull them along behind them. They also make a perfect seat for tired legs in check in queues. They come in many colours and characters, see above.
A Perfect Backpack for Tweens to Teens
This is the bag my 11 year old now has. It’s a bag for life with an incredible lifetime guarantee and will fit him right into adulthood. It has a laptop sleeve and plenty of room for his toys and clothes in an abundance of organiser pockets.
It’s from Osprey, they are a great brand, seriously good quality and this bag is perfect carry on size for European airlines. We’ve also used it on Air Malaysia and Air Asia multiple times with no difficulty. We can’t recommend this bag highly enough for kids or adults.
Pen Knives for Older Kids
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? 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.
Practical Items : Best Packing Cubes and Organisers as Gifts
They are certainly a great gift for adult travellers and kids who like to organise would dig them too.
We organise clothes, toys and electronic leads in our cubes and I love that they are tough enough to cope with the pointy metal bits. 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.
Travel Organisers, for Leads, Passports, Toiletries and Personal Items
I absolutely LOVE travel organisers, from the above model for leads, passports, personal items, USB sticks, you name it, to the new generation of flat travel wash bags.
Brands like BUBM and Ebags are creating stylish, light, genuinely useful products for today’s traveller.. Mine go 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, including storage for toiletries, electronics, i pads, documents and passports, or you can click the image above to go to Amazon.
Electronic Gifts for Kids Who Travel
Kindle Paperwhite an Absolute Essential
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. Be sure to buy them a Kindle case or cover too, to keep their Kindles drop-proof. They are remarkably robust, but it helps.
Tablet, Laptop or Phone?
It’s a tough call. I prefer my kids to have laptops because they’re not as portable. I want them to read, so the Kindles are the only electronic devices in our day-packs and the laptops stay at home base ( hotel).
It helps reduce the gaming and increase the book loving.
The problem is, as they get older the hand held devices become more and more useful to them. A phone is all the camera you need these days and kids can make their own YouTube videos with ease.
Also, of course, they want to play Pokemon Go around the world, this game really enhances their travel experience and interest, so don’t dismiss it as any sort of waste of time.
These days we have laptops and one child has a phone. It depends on the child and what they need. As they get older their laptop requirements change too and we’ve found that the kids need better laptops than we do.
It’s all about a dedicated graphics card, this will have it’s own separate memory to handle the large amount of RAM that games require without this they won’t have a decent gaming experience and will be totally unable to play some games. The computer CPU also needs at least 8 GB of RAM, minimum.
A selection of electronics below that we find good enough for their needs.
Of course, they need a laptop for all things “school” too. My aspiring YouTuber also needs a laptop of this quality to handle all of our video editing. His blogger mum has a very old, battered Acer that still handles my relatively simple needs well. We’ve not fans of tablets, we’ve bought them and we were glad when they broke, which happened very quickly.
Laptop for Kid Gamers
Acer Aspire VX 15 Gaming Laptop, 7th Gen Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 15.6 Full HD, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, VX5-591G-75RM Has everything your kid gamer needs, it’s one of the most popular, lower cost, gaming computers on the market for 2017 and we swear by Acer. It has all the features we mention above.. Check prices and availability below, this is a premium piece of equipment and you’ll find little cheaper with these specifications.
A Phone, For Photography, Video, Skype and Pokemon Go
You could really pick anything here, we tend to go for cheaper phones for the boys but just think about what they’ll use it for.
The average phone has a 2 year lifespan, if your 13 year old is interested in photography or video making, maybe spend more to get better features in that department so that the phone will still be suitable for your 15 year old.
After days of research, this is the phone I chose for myself, the new Moto x4 . It was the only phone I could find that was waterproof, had gorilla glass and had a top notch camera. It absolutely has to be tough and waterproof to travel with us. The 2 cameras to the front give depth ( similar to low aperture shooting) and a wide angle effect. I’ve ditched my DSLR and the phone is handling all of our video and photography now. It’s cheaper than the new Samsungs, which are waterproof, but don’t have the other 2 features. I’m not an i phone girl.
Action Cameras and Go Pro
Now we’re onto the toys of dreams, Go Pro action cameras and drones, these will be our next investment as technology marches onward and our children grow into teens. The model below is the latest, greatest Go Pro Hero 6. I’d be tempted to buy the best as we are a family that makes YouTube videos with a child that loves to edit them.
A Kid Priced Drone
Sometimes the travel takes second place to what will make the child happy. If that weren’t the case we wouldn’t be travelling with endless Pokemon cards in nice, heavy, tins, sonic screwdrivers and Harry Potter wands. But tech these days is what my older kids want and next on the list is a drone. Some are more travel friendly than others, the top model is child priced, the bottom model isn’t, but it’s possibly the best drone on the market for travelling videographers. It’s our business and what we enjoy, these are the tools of their future businesses, maybe, so we invest.
The Best Drone for Travellers
This is the drone we will be buying. We intended to buy it in Bangkok last week but prices there were significantly higher than online. ( Laptops and phones were cheaper, we bought both).
We’ve weighed up the Mavic Pro v the Mavic Sprite and the Pro wins by a long way.
By the time you’ve bought the extra controller for the Sprite, the price isn’t that much different and the better camera, performance in wind and much longer battery life, make the Mavic Pro the drone for us. The Pro is regularly voted “best drone for travel” and folded down it is incredibly compact, hardly bigger than the tiny Sprite.
But of course, do your own research, I’m just telling you what I think. Our hotel promotion clients absolutely want drone footage these days so it’s for business as well as family fun.
A Family Video Project, Best for Travel, DroneDJI Mavic Pro
A Surprise Entry, The Nintendo 3 DS as a Useful, Fun, Gift
I’m very anti-hand-held-gadget but I bought one of these for D ( then 10 now 13) after months of begging. It’s travel sized and 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 animations, 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.
Head Torches and Flashlights for Kids
Kids love playing with head torches and flashlights, 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.
Books and More! Gifts Related to Travel for Travel Lovers or Educational Gift Lovers
OK, I admit it, we’re those weird homeschoolers and worldschoolers that you read about. We love books and anything educational and a huge chunk of the kids’ education comes from amazing books such as these.
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 time because 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,
For Little Ones, A Day at The Airport
National Geographic Kids Infopedia, Highly recommended Stocking Filler
This National Geographic Kids Infopedia 2017 magazine-style book 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 educational!
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
The Lonely Planet Travel Book
Lonely Planet Kids Series, City Guides and Trails
This one 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.
The Lonely Planet Kids series includes a whole range of destinations, buy them all and build up a travel library.
The 50 States, Explore the USA Book
Give an Experience Gift Rather Than a Thing #2
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 fourth Christmas that I’ve had this headache, Christmas on the road can be challenging 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.