Most families I know are anticipating an upcoming trip, whether a long weekend road trip in the spring, week-long summer vacation or (the always popular) Disney adventure.
No matter what kind of traveling you do, there is always something you need for an upcoming trip. We are huge proponents of versatile, purposeful gifts – so I’ve found that the holiday season is a perfect time to get your kids stocked up on what they need for their trip! Opening a gift to use on our next vacation builds so much excitement and anticipation for my kids.
Got a family vacation coming up next year? Here are some of our favorite items when we travel that would make fantastic Christmas gifts for your kids!
Amazon Kindle Fire Kids Edition. If I had to choose one thing from this list, this would be it! Our kids absolutely love their Kindles, and they provide hours of wholesome entertainment and learning both at home and on the road.
What I especially love is that with the FreeTime program, you get access to thousands of children’s books, videos and apps, and parents can easily add controls to the screen time. You can set maximum amount of time spent on the device, or if you want your child to have 30 minutes of reading time before video time, you can do that too. (Amazon has a month free trial of FreeTime – you can sign up here. Then it’s just $2.99 a month after that.)
Kid-friendly camera. Our kids both love taking their own pictures. One of them will likely find this cool camera under the tree this year – shhhh.
Headphones. Headphones are a parent essential for car rides or flights! For Connor, we have these headphones, but they hurt Brenna’s ears because her skin is more sensitive to tightness and pressure. So we found these amazingly soft animal earphones that are so comfortable for her – and double bonus, we can’t help but smile every time we see them! 🙂
Games. Games with a lot of tiny pieces are not conducive for traveling, so we usually try to bring card games that our whole family love. They’re great both for on the road and in the hotel room/Airbnb rental. Some of our favorites:
Art gear. These Melissa and Doug water activity pads are so perfect for road trips, and our kids both love to “color” with them. This Crayola color light-up tracing pad is another perfect gift for a young traveling artist.
Scratch-off map or globe. I shared in this gift guide post that a globe has been one of our favorite family gifts, and this year, I received a scratch-off map for my birthday. I’m so excited to have a visual to display which states our family has explored together – and which ones we need to add to our must-see list!
National Parks Junior Ranger passport book. If National Parks are on your radar (and they should be – such amazing places to take kids!), the Junior Ranger Passport book would be perfect. We picked one up on our trip to Mammoth Cave National Park and are excited to add more passport stamps to it as we learn more about our national parks system.
The Junior Ranger Activity Book, MasterPieces National Parks board game or National Geographic Kids Guide to the National Parks would also be exciting gifts to open before an upcoming trip to a national park.
Fun night light. We went on several trips when our kids were asking for a nightlight for our hotel room or in their Airbnb bedroom, so we picked up a nightlight to pack when we travel. If your kid also needs a sound machine, this portable sound machine/night light combo is amazing.
Subscription to Atlas Crate. Foster a desire to travel in between trips, and learn more about the world without needing to skip around the globe! We have tried several of these crates from Kiwi Co and been so impressed with them.
An upcoming trip is always a good opportunity to get new outerwear, shoes or swimwear, so why not incorporate that into the holiday gift list?
Carryon or luggage/ travel backpack. We’re totally in the market for new luggage this year with a big upcoming spring break trip, so I’ve been researching like crazy. I can’t make personal recommendations yet, but Osprey backpacks get great reviews for a kids’ carry-on bag. (if anyone has luggage they love – especially for kids – please share!)
Jackets/coats/hats. If you’re heading somewhere colder or with rain potential, it’s a great time to gift outerwear (possibly in a size up, depending on when your trip is!) We love the Columbia brand for fleece (Brenna’s favorite!) and rain jackets.
Boots. Snow boots, rain boots, hiking boots – traveling presents opportunities for new activities and therefore the need for new shoes! Connor has these kids hiking boots, and we’ve been really happy with them as a cost-effective pair he’s used while hiking on trips and camping with Cub Scouts. For Brenna, we love the brand See Kai Run and just got these waterproof boots; she loves them and says they’re very comfortable.
Travel pillow. After barely sleeping while trying to wrestle my coat into a pillow on a recent overnight flight, I am now sold on travel pillows. These animal travel pillows are adorable and double as a pillow and stuffed animal.
Swimsuit. Our kids get new swimsuits almost every year for either Christmas or Easter – they are way more exciting to kids than clothes, but practical too. Our favorite brand is SwimZip for cute suits that also provide a lot of coverage for Brenna’s skin. (We have this three-piece suit and adore it.)
Lastly, a fabulous gift idea for your kids would be an exciting experience on your upcoming trip!
Weekend road trip to a new city? You could gift museum admission tickets or an outing to the local waterpark.
Day trip? Tickets to a ballgame or zoo passes!
Anticipation is half (or more!) of the fun, so having an experience to look forward to makes it even more enjoyable! These experiences would also be an ideal present for grandparents wanting to gift something unique.
Do you have anything to add to the list that has made traveling with kids easier/more fun and would make a perfect gift? I’d love to hear it.
Happy family travels!
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