Looking for the best travel gifts for kids? Find our best recommendations for kids’ travel gear, gadgets, cameras, backpacks, learning apps, books, travel toys, and more travel gifts for children of all ages. Find recommendations for every budget including stocking stuffers to luxury gifts for kids.
As a traveling family, we love to buy travel gifts for the kids! We like travel gifts that are practical, fun, and often educational plus come in many forms and budgets. However, my beef with many kids travel gifts is that they’re not built to last. That’s why we always strive to think out of the box and utilize regular toys as travel toys/gifts.
In this post, I’m happy to share several ideas for perfect travel gifts. Some of these items are fun toys to use on the plane, others are practical items that the kids will use while traveling, but I have also included several inspirational and educational travel gifts that will encourage the kids to be curious and learn more about the world that we live in.
Best Travel Gifts for Kids
You will find a variety of gift ideas for children of all ages from babies and toddlers to kindergartners and tweens. For travel gift ideas for teenagers, read this post now. Here are our favorite travel gift ideas for kids of all ages that you can reuse trip after trip.
Both my kids have developed a love for photography and want to hold the camera whenever I’m shooting something – yes, even our toddler girl! I finally got my preschooler his own camera and he lets his baby sister hold it at times. I definitely plan on getting our daughter her own camera once she turns another year older.
There are many kids cameras on the market but we got the one by VTech – because we have a lot of VTech toys and love their excellent quality and durability. The camera is pretty awesome – and has a lot of fun effects and frames to keep the kids happy. Other great ones are the Kidwill Kids Camera or this budget Kids Camcorder.
Another great option is to get a Polaroid camera for older kids. Kids instinctively love Polaroids as they can see the picture immediately – and yes, it’s a lot of fun even for adults. You can buy either this one by Polaroid or the Fujifilm Instax – it comes in great colors and options. We would reserve this gift for special trips such as a birthday trip or trip to Disney to meet your favorite characters! How cool it would be to take a picture with Mickey Mouse and then hand it over to Mickey for an autograph?! If you are traveling to Disney, you have to check out our post on Best Gifts for Disney travelers.
We travel a lot and frequently visit national parks and natural areas. Just before our Pacific Coast Highway road trip, I bought a pair of binoculars for my son. During our trip, he loved watching whales, sea otters, dolphins, and even distant ships with these powerful binoculars. While I didn’t get kid binoculars, I got one that was budget-friendly and could be used by all of us. If you are looking for kids binoculars, then try these.
Ride on kids luggage
Kids luggage makes a great travel gift. We got our son his own bag just before his first trip to Disney and he was so excited to pack it up. There are several types of kids carry on suitcases. We love the series by Skip Hop and have the giraffe rolled carry on suitcase. Trunki’s Ride-on suitcases are also a great idea because kids can simply sit and zoom on it while transiting through airports. Giving your kid’s luggage also makes them responsible.
Backpacks and day packs
Kids love carrying their own backpacks filled with goodies. I usually pack a water bottle, a cooling towel (for summer travel), snacks, a change of clothes, and travel toys in my son’s backpack while traveling. Carrying his own backpack on smaller trips has prepared our son for longer hikes and during our last trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, he climbed all the way to the top of the Clingmans Dome with his Osprey daypack. I love carrying a packable daypack for him, that way if he gets tired we can accommodate his backpack in ours, check out our favorite packable backpack here.
Themed Luggage ID Tags
Tag your kid’s luggage with their favorite kid’s ID Tag. This is a great way to ensure that bags don’t get lost plus have something cool that your kids can relate to. American Tourister has great ID tags for kids that come in many characters – the Minnie/Mickey tags are perfect for a Disney trip while other popular themed characters include Captain America Shield, Star Wars – Darth Vader, and so on. These supersized colorful luggage tags from Travelon come in colorful pictures such as donuts, cacti, beach ball, etc and are perfect for a tropical vacation. You can also get these super cheap set of 4 unicorn luggage tags for young girls. If your kids love superheroes, then get the Avengers set which comes with Captain America, Iron Man, Spiderman, and Thor.
A practical travel gift! We love waterproof packable jackets because they can be easily folded and stashed in luggage, are useful for rainy days, plus double up as outerwear for cool nights. Plus when we layer them with a shirt and sweatshirt, we can even use them for Houston’s mild winters. Packable jackets come in all sizes – I recently got an 18-month size pink one for my daughter.
Travel Activity Bag
Combine a lot of fun, small travel gifts in a bag and what do you get? A travel activity bag! You can either make one on your own by buying cool travel toys from this list or save the trouble and order one right away! Our kids love opening such surprise activity bags and stay engrossed for at least half an hour – which for a toddler and a preschooler is a lot!
Fanny packs or waist bags are a great way to let the kids carry their own stuff. They are less heavier than backpacks and are more accessible. While we do not recommend letting kids carry tickets or documents like passports, fanny packs are perfect for stuffing maps, stickers, snacks, and other small items like tissues, hand sanitizers, sunglasses, etc. Some even come with handy water bottle pockets and are perfect for little hikers. We like that kids can also wear fanny packs as crossbody bags for better comfort. For kids, you can buy glitter fanny packs or mermaid packs or even cute character ones including dinosaurs, kittens, and more. For toddlers and younger kids, try these cute kitten or monkey ones. We also love the reliable Jansport fanny packs for older kids.
Most children naturally love maps and globes. They make a perfect introduction to visually learning about the world and developing a sense of place. Globes come in all sizes and budgets – we would recommend getting one that suits kids’ age. Preschoolers and tweens will like a smaller globe with basic information while older kids will want a big globe that has all the countries and capitals listed on it. You can also buy an illuminated globe that doubles up as a night light.
Just when you thought a globe couldn’t get any better! These interactive smart globes are more expensive than a simple globe but they come with apps that have tons of information and are perfect for little adventurers. We love the Shifu Orboot globe so much that it’s pretty high up on our list of Christmas gifts for kids. Some other great options include the Oregon smart globe learning toy and the Oregon Explorer Globe with the Bluetooth pen.
We are a family of readers. Our kids love to sit and look through books that are far beyond their age and ask questions about the content. We have both, the National Geographic Beginner World Atlas and the National Geographic Beginner US Atlas, and our son loves looking through them. Post-trip, we find the places we visited in the Atlas and discuss everything that we saw. Some other great Atlases include Lonely Planet Kids: Amazing World Atlas and the Atlas of Adventures – which was gifted to our son by his uncle. The World’s Most Adventurous Kid by Atlas Obscura is another great book.
If you travel a lot internationally or have families spread across continents like us – then a world map makes a perfect gift. Every time we visit India or a new country, my son loves tracing where we are going to fly on the map. I point out places that we will be visiting – that always goes off into a discussion about places we have visited in the past and what we experienced there – thus, our trips are always fresh in his memory. You can also buy a scratch-off world map – these are quite popular nowadays. If you travel more within the US, then I would recommend buying a cool USA states map. You can also buy really cool Travel Tracker Maps which are like scratch-off maps but they come with stickers and customization options.
Books about the world
We have a lot of educational books about Marine Life, Bugs, Planet Earth, Solar System, etc. Most of them are illustrated and for ages 8-10 but we enjoy reading them out to our preschooler – he quickly grasps onto ideas and even remembers names of places and animals. We always try to refer to the information in the books whenever we are traveling. Other great buys are the Big Book of Why book and the book of 5000 Awesome Facts. Most of our books belong to the National Geographic Kids series – we also love their science kits.
Lonely Planet Kids Books
We love Lonely Planet travel guides for our trips; we also love the Lonely Planet Kids series for our kids. They have a lot of awesome books with a load of information in a child-friendly format and plenty of illustrations. We love America’s National Parks book: it’s a wonderful introduction to the country’s national parks. We also like the Travel Book and Adventures Around the Globe books, they are more suited for international travel. Lonely Planet also has cool books on Airports, Cities, and more and make perfect gifts for young travelers.
Magnetic travel games
Travel games are a really fun way to spend time while waiting for your flight, on a layover, or while on a road trip. We especially love the magnetic travel game set – no lost pieces to deal with! Our kids are small to play most of these games and we originally bought the game for ourselves but the set is a perfect gift for older kids. Take N’ Play Anywhere also has great magnetic travel games. We also like the Disney Eye Found It card game for traveling. Some of our other favorite travel games and toys include Water Wow or Water Doodle, magnetic slate, WikiStix, etc. To read our recommended list of over 30 Awesome Travel Toys including crayons, stickers, activity books, and more read our post now.
Kindle Fire Kids Edition
We have the Kindle Fire for Kids for our children and love using it on a plane. Sure, travel is a great way to spend quality time with the kids and connect with them but when you travel as much as us – even the parents need a break or catch some sleep or just want some peace. The tablet is really handy at such times. Another way we use the Kindle Fire tablet is to deal with jetlag. If our kids start feeling sleepy in the middle of the day, then watching a cartoon or reading a book on their tablet is a surefire way of keeping them awake for longer – thus making jetlag more manageable. You can also get a Galaxy tablet or an Ipad, only these are much more expensive than a Fire.
If you have older kids, who can read well then consider a Kindle e-reader over the tablet. That way you don’t have to worry about screen time – the e-ink in e-readers doesn’t hurt eyes plus you encourage them to read. I definitely plan to replace my kid’s tablets with an e-reader once they are fluent readers.
If you are getting a tablet for the kids, you might as well get them a headphone. After all, no one in the plane wants to listen to Baby Shark or Blippi videos for hours together. We prefer to get kids their own headphones which are foldable, adjustable to smaller heads, and come with built-in max volume control to protect kids from loud noises.
Travel journal, notebooks, and planners
Chances are if you are on a long multi-destination trip, then the kids will keep asking ‘when will we go to the beach’, ‘when will we go to Six Flags’, etc. from the moment you leave the house. I have come up with a great solution to these persistent questions – gift them their own travel journal or planner. I write every single thing they are looking forward to in the book and voila, they have stopped asking the questions. My son feels pretty important checking in his own notebook for his travel schedule. At the end of the day, we write his favorite parts of the day in his notebook to make the trip even more memorable. For older kids, you can consider a cool travel notebook to inculcate a habit of journaling. The Polaroid camera photos come really handy here as you can immediately add a photo to the notebook as well.
Drones come in every budget and the basic ones are great travel gifts for tweens and older kids. Many of the smaller drones come without cameras which are great as a toy but not really useful as travel gifts. For camera drones that are still low budget, try this foldable drone or this one with HD camera. This drone with real time video feed is another great option.
Pocket light, swiss knife, compass, and other kid’s travel gear
Pocket lights, junior swiss knife, compass, emergency whistles, and other travel accessories make cool travel gifts for boys. These are perfect for little explorers and adventurers to get more involved with planning and safety aspects of travel. Get the mini LED flashlight – its size is perfect for little hands or the kids pocket knife for older kids. Travel compass also makes a great travel gift for camping or hiking expeditions. We also have the carabiner compass which is useful for hanging water bottles to backpacks and so on. Or get the ultimate outdoor adventure kit with binoculars, compass, magnifying glass, and a flashlight.
Toy camping set
Looking to get the kids excited about their first camping trip? Buy this 20 piece toy camping set which costs less than your average family tent. The set has everything from a kids tent to camping utensils, pretend camping foods, lanterns, binoculars, and more. This is a really cool way to introduce the kids to camping basics like setting up the tent, cooking on a campfire, and more.
Another fun gift for an outdoor hiking or camping trip. Kids love to talk on walkie talkies and they can use these outdoors as well as in the house for some fun. We love the Retevis Walkie Talkie set – it is small, lightweight, and easy to use plus there is no interference and our 4 year old can use it without issues. You can also get this 3 pack walkie talkie set which comes with a built-in flashlight – perfect for camping.
Travel pillows and blankets
Travel pillows and blankets make the perfect holiday season gifts for children. While kids are excited about the destination, they don’t really like the time spent traveling cooped up in a car or plane. That’s why we always try to make travel as comfortable for the kids as possible so they will be rested and feel ready to explore once we reach the destination. Travel neck pillows and blankets go a long way in ensuring kids sleep. We love these animals themed matching neck pillows for our kids. Another cool option is the Marvel neck pillow – choose from Elsa, Captain America, Moana, Star Wars, and other favorite themes.
Car backseat organizer and kick mat
One of the must road trip gifts for kids! We love these back seat organizers and kick mats since they save our white leather seats from constant kicking, digging heels, and dirt plus the kick mat has organizer pockets where we store books, tablets, snacks, and travel toys. Our son can reach it easily, and if not, we can always hand over whatever he needs.
Smart travel tray
Another essential item when road tripping with kids. The smart tray is a type of organizer/tabletop and works in multiple ways. It gives a firm surface for the kids to draw, play, and eat while at the same time has pockets where kids can store essential things like water, snacks, as well as toys. Many also come with tablet pockets. The trays can be secured to the child seat with a buckle. Think of an airplane tray for your car!
Collapsible water bottle
Water bottles are such a useful travel gift – kids are always thirsty and my son tends to keep breaking or losing his bottle, so new ones are always welcome. You can always get a regular kids bottle but these collapsible water bottles are so much more fun plus occupy less space. We fold and stash ours when on the plane and fill it for days spent outdoors. My son likes to see it fold and I have noticed, he always drinks more water from his collapsible bottle to empty it faster – and then folds it up! No more dehydrated kids on the trip, win-win!
We hope you liked our ideas for travel gifts for children. Do you have any other suggestions for gifts for kids that travel? Leave us a reply below!