Shopping for kids can be nerve-wracking. Will they like it? Will they toss it aside and declare that their stepmom’s present is way cooler? It’s especially tricky when they’re about to hit the road and your gift has to be travel-friendly.
If you want to find something that’s cool, memorable and portable at all once, here are just a few ideas for travel gifts for kids.
38 Travel Gift Ideas for Kids
To Keep Them Comfortable: Animal Travel Pillow for Kids
Nothing will ruin a trip faster than a cranky, sleep-deprived kid, so do yourself a favor and invest in a soft and comfortable pillow to accompany them on their travels. These ones are shaped like sweet, cuddly animals, so whether they want to snuggle with a panda or curl up with a dinosaur, they’ll have options.
The pillows even come with removable covers that are easily tossed into the washing machine after long journeys on planes and buses!
To Laugh at What Mom and Dad Used to Play: Handheld Retro Game Console
Today’s game consoles are fancy things with lots of buttons and controls, but there’s still some magic to be found in handheld devices like this one. Not only does it have a retro-style joystick and console, but it also comes pre-loaded with hundreds of vintage games that include Super Mario Bros, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Legend of Kage and more.
It can even be hooked up to televisions with the help of an AV cable! The whole thing is such a blast from the past that parents might wind up stealing it from their kids, but who can blame them?
To Liven Up Their Trip: Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game for Kids
Can you spot a yellow house? Are there any cars with license plates that have the letter Z? These are just a few things that kids will be eager to locate with this travel-focused scavenger hunt game. Since it’s a visual game, children of all ages can play, and it can keep them entertained for hours as they press their noses against the window and look for joggers, flowers, restaurants, tow trucks and people walking their dogs.
To Start Lots of Arguments Among Siblings: Bop It! Micro Series Game
Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of trying to twist it, pull it and bop it. These are the only three instructions, but since they speed up with every round, it gets harder and harder to follow them without messing up.
The game can be played solo or in groups, and it doesn’t require leg movement, so it’s great as backseat entertainment for the kids. Just know that parents might strangle you when they start hearing “Bop It!” in their sleep.
To Save Them From Airline Peanuts: Customizable Bento Box
With their individual compartments and child-friendly portion sizes, bento boxes are a favorite of parents and kids alike. They’re basically lunchboxes with an extra dash of organizational efficiency. This one also comes with a blank, flat surface that kids can customize however they want, so they can make the bento box their own with markers, stickers, decals and more.
If you’re looking for travel gifts that will make your own life easier as a parent, this is it!
The Only Slap That Parents Will Approve Of: Huggers Sloth Plush Slap Bracelet
A stuffed animal can be a necessary comfort item for a child, but it can also take up a lot of room in a suitcase. One solution is a “hugger” plushie with extra-long arms that are designed to wrap around objects.
Your little one can attach it to a suitcase, wear it like a bracelet or hang it on a stroller or car seat. This particular plush looks like a soft, fuzzy sloth, but you can also order them in the shape of a dog, monkey, elephant, tiger, panda or shark.
To Help Her Make a Statement: Two-Piece Polka Dot Upright Luggage Set
With pink-and-white polka dots on a black background, this luggage set will be fashionable and functional for young girls who are ready to travel like a queen. One piece is a rolling suitcase with an extendable handle; the other is a carry-on duffel bag that can fit into most airplane compartments.
She can stash all of her essentials in cute and stylish luggage as she heads off to a new adventure.
To Bring Out Their Creative Side: Wikki Stix Traveler Playset
If you’ve never heard of Wikki Stix, they’re basically pipe cleaners without the unsafe and uncomfortable wires. Soft and flexible, they can be arranged in all sorts of shapes, so the sky is the limit when they’re combined with a child’s imagination.
They can be turned into everything from colorful sunglasses to towering buildings and bridges. Kids can play with them for hours without getting bored!
Create Your Own Keepsake: The Ultimate Travel Journal For Kids
Who needs a scrapbook when you could have The Ultimate Travel Journal For Kids: Awesome Activities for Your Adventures? Filled with everything from word games to coloring sections, it’ll be a great all-in-one resource for kids going on a trip.
Prompts will ask them about sights that they’ve seen and foods that they’ve tried; games will keep them entertained by asking them to look for specific objects or fill in the blanks about special experiences.
Best of all, it can be used for four different trips, so their first adventure is just the beginning!
For the Best Treasure Hunt Ever: 12-Pack Carabiner Belt Clip Compasses
Perfect for field trips, summer camps, scout meetings and other things involving large groups of children, these compasses are bright, colorful accessories that are sure to be a hit among young explorers.
Each dial is attached to a carabiner that can be clipped to belt loops or backpacks. They’re toys rather than fully-functioning compasses, so they won’t give precise directions, but they reliably point north.
They also come in a pack of 12, so you can distribute them to whole classes or teams without leaving anyone out!
When They’re Feeling Like Mariah: Kids Karaoke Machine With Microphone
A cute singer deserves a cute karaoke machine, and with its big, bashful eyes and multicolored hair, this one definitely qualifies. It’s portable enough to travel to all sorts of hotels, beaches, campgrounds and athletic games, but despite its small size, it packs a lot of power in terms of technology.
You can stream songs from pretty much any smartphone or Bluetooth-enabled device. A microphone is already included with the speaker set. Kids will be able to sing their hearts out to all of their favorite tunes!
To Steady Their Hand: Crayola Dog Plush Lap Desk
A good lap desk can be used anywhere and anytime, and despite its cute, cuddly shape, this desk is ready to go to work. It folds right out to provide a flat surface for writing, drawing or doing homework, and the stuffed dog has an internal pouch that can hold pencils, stencils, crayons, gel pens and more.
The dog is even machine washable if there are any sticky spills or accidents during travel!
For a Blast From the Past: Spirograph Travel Set
Inspired by the geometric art sets from the 1960s, these “spirographs” are just like the ones that mom and dad used to play with, but they’ve been compressed into a miniature size for ease of travel. There are six wheels and two pens that can be used to create all kinds of designs, and thanks to a portable frame with a built-in notepad, everything that they’ll need for their artwork is right there in the box.
They can rip it open in the car and get started right away!
So That They Won’t Spend $500 on Candy Crush: KidiZoom Smartwatch DX2
If they’re too young for an iPhone but too old for a plastic watch with a cartoon character on it, this smartwatch could be a nice compromise. It has a touchscreen with basic functionality for pictures, videos and games, but it doesn’t connect to the Internet, so they can’t get into any trouble.
They can just take selfies, play with filters, load a pre-approved game, fiddle with the time or run around with the pedometer activated. This is a fun smartwatch, but it’s also a safe one.
When Their Passport Has More Stamps Than Yours: United States Scratch-Off Travel Map
If they’re a pint-sized adventurer with lots of stories to tell, this is a map that can chronicle their journeys. It features all 50 states and their capitals, and each one comes with colorful, region-specific pictures such as state flowers and major industries.
They’ll learn a little something even as they scratch off each new destination that they visit. You can also order scratch-off maps of the world if they’re tiny little globetrotters.
To Make Packing Fun: Four-Set “Not Your Bag” Luggage Identification Labels
Cute and quirky, these luggage tags say “Not Your Bag!” and “No, It’s Not Yours!” in big, colorful prints. They come in a pack of four, so each child can get one, and they’re easily attached to everything from duffel bags to upright suitcases.
They’ll add a bit of fun to a boring grown-up thing like luggage identification. You might even teach your child a valuable lesson about travel safety if you play your cards right.
When They’re Headed to Disney World: Mickey and Minnie Disney World Vacation Gift Set
A trip to Disney World is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most families, and you can hype it up with this vacation gift set. It contains several essentials for a fun time, including a headband with Mickey Mouse ears and a blank autograph book that they can fill with the signatures of costumed characters.
Kids will love the stickers and flat penny containers; parents will appreciate the colorful lanyard to hold their park passes. It’ll be a win for the whole family!
To Build a New Skill: On the Go Origami Animals Craft Activity Set
Perfect for older kids, this origami kit has simple instructions that are easy to follow, but it’s packaged in a way that won’t embarrass them with kiddie designs or logos like “Baby’s First Origami Kit.
” They can learn how to create dozens of animals, but they’ll feel like a cool and experienced crafter as they do it. All supplies are already included in the box, so it’s just a matter of opening it up and making use of the travel-friendly “on the go” materials.
For Razzle and Dazzle: Create Your Own Water Bottle Craft Kit
Hydration is important, especially during a long trip away from home. Help them remember to drink their water with this DIY water bottle kit. With stainless steel materials and vacuum-sealed insulation, it’s a high-quality container, but it also has the potential to be a really fun one.
Your little girl can customize it with dozens of gemstones and sparkle stickers until it’s bedazzled just the way that she wants it!
Because Chess is Overrated: Magnetic Travel Checkers Game
A good game of checkers can really pass the time during a road trip, but you’ll need a special board to ensure that the pieces don’t fly off with every bump and pothole. Fortunately, this magnetic checkers set is up to the task! The game board folds out from its small, easily-stashed box, and the pieces magnetically attach to it.
The manufacturer also makes other magnetic games and puzzles like chess, backgammon, solitaire and Sudoku. If you’re looking to keep the kids quiet on a long trip, buy something fun and simple to operate.
For Fun in the Sun: H2OGO! Pool Play Game Center
If you know a little swimmer who’s headed to the beach, you can make their day with this inflatable play center. A basketball hoop sits in the middle, and three rings can be tossed at the handles that encircle it.
It’s small enough to be inflated or deflated within minutes, and it conveniently folds into a lightweight bag that can be stuffed in a suitcase without taking up lots of room. All in all, it’s perfect for a summertime vacation with splashing and squealing!
To Indulge in a Timeless Toy: Lego Classic Creative Suitcase
This isn’t a gift that you’ll want to pull out in the car, but once you’re safely settled in the hotel, it can entertain the kids while you’re busy with other things. It comes with more than 200 Lego pieces in multiple sizes, shapes and colors, so they can build pretty much anything that they want.
When they’re done, they can just toss all of their supplies into the bright yellow suitcase with big red latches. It’s quick, simple and fun, and it’s easily identified among all of your luggage. There are definitely worse options when it comes to travel gifts for kids.
When You Can’t Tell If It’s a Bird, a Plane or a Flying Man: Obuby Binoculars for Kids
Available in several snazzy colors, these portable and lightweight binoculars are perfect for children aged 3 – 12. They’re easy to use thanks to their simple controls and comfortable, flexible grips, but they don’t skimp on the magnification power.
Kids will be able to see the leaves on a tree from 1,000 yards away! When they’re done looking at cars, birds, landscapes and other fun things, they can simply toss the binoculars into their backpack and go.
Since the product is made for kids, it can withstand rough handling.
To Be a Guiding Star: North Star Wooden Key Chain
No matter where they travel, the North Star will always help them find their way home. This is a promise that you can make to a niece, nephew, cousin or grandchild who is headed somewhere that you can’t follow.
You might be separated by physical distance, but they can always look at this key chain and remember your love. They can keep it for years as they progress from locker keys to house keys to car keys and more.
To Let Them Get Into Some Mischief: Kids’ Walkie Talkies
Made with fun, bright colors, these walkie talkies are deceptively cute for all of the power that they offer. You’d never guess from their appearance that they can access 22 different channels across a two-mile radius on land, air and sea.
They even offer privacy codes to keep others from listening to your conversations! Whether you’re playing spy games or looking to keep in real contact with the kids for safety reasons, these walkie talkies can get the job done.
For the Girl Who Has Everything: Flamingo-Patterned Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag
From the outside, it looks like any other handbag or clutch. When you open it, however, you’ll be dazzled by multiple compartments that unfold vertically into a hanging display case. Every compartment has a zipper, and they’re made with see-through mesh for easy viewing and organizing.
If you know a young girl who loves to show off her bath products and beauty essentials, this bag will be perfect for her vlogs.
For Boys With Strong Stomachs: Would Your Rather? Eww Edition
Would You Rather is a time-honored road trip game, but the “Eww Edition” takes things to a whole new level of ooey-gooey and creepy-crawly. For example, would you rather clean a litter box with your bare hands or clean a cat with nothing but your tongue? Kids will delight in the gross yet strangely creative scenarios, so this book will definitely pay for itself in terms of long-running entertainment.
Each new page has fresh and disgusting mental images!
Educational Fun: Portable 90X Refractor Travel Telescope
If they love looking at the night sky but hate lugging around a big, bulky telescope, this is the model for them. It can be compacted into a ridiculously small size for travel, but when they extend the tripod legs and set up the lenses and eye pieces, they’ll be able to see celestial objects like they’re right there in front of them.
Whether they’re interested in far-flung stars, colorful planets or glittering galaxies, the 90X magnification is more than enough for observation.
To Bring Back a Classic: Guess Who Game
In terms of vintage games, it doesn’t get much better than Guess Who. This beloved classic has been around for decades, and while some editions have played around with different themes or famous movie characters, the best version is definitely the original.
You can introduce a whole new generation to Guess Who when you pass along this gift! Even very young children can play, so it’ll be fun for kids of all ages.
To Shut Them Up for a Half-Hour: Four-Pack Cat and Dog Sleep Masks
It can be difficult to wrangle a child into a sleep mask, but these are so funny that they might even look forward to bedtime! There are four in total, and each one depicts a cat or dog with a hilarious expression.
For example, one kitty is clearly grumpy about his interrupted nap, and one puppy is side-eyeing a squirrel in the distance. The kids will look hilarious even as they’re getting some much-needed shuteye during busy travel.
For the Artist on the Move: Carry and Go Drawing Stencils Set for Kids
Art sets are a great way to keep kids occupied during a trip, and this set comes with pretty much everything that a little Picasso needs. It includes stencils, pens, papers, colored pencils and even a sharpener, and there’s a nice carrying case to keep it all organized as well.
The carrying case even comes with a handle for easy transport to hotels, planes, campgrounds and other places where a tiny artist can let their imagination fly.
When They Want to be the Very Best: Classic Pokemon Chapter Book Collection
There’s a trick to getting kids to read: You have to give them books that they’ll enjoy reading! This Pokemon set starts at the very beginning of Ash’s adventures, so they’ll get to revisit all of the characters and settings from the animated series but in a book format.
They’ll strengthen their literary skills and keep things quiet on the plane. You can’t ask for more from a travel gift.
A Notepad of Many Colors: Rainbow Scratch Off Mini Art Notes
Anyone can scribble on a post-it note, but how many people can create crazy and beautiful rainbow art on a post-it note? With the help of these scratch-off papers, kids can write, draw and doodle in technicolor brilliance.
It’s deceptively simple: Instead of trying to juggle a bunch of differently colored pens, kids can just use a stylus to scratch off a black matte coating from rainbow card stock. The end result will be fun and colorful artwork on a portable, travel-friendly platform!
No Assembly Required: Lip Smacker Avenger Party Pack
It’s easy to let things fall by the wayside during a busy vacation, including everyday essentials like putting on chapstick. Thankfully, the Avengers are here to save the day. Each of Marvel’s main heroes is represented in this eight-pack of lip balm, so whether the kid is a fan of Iron Man, Spider Man, Captain America, Black Widow or the Hulk, they can hydrate their lips in style.
They won’t even need a parent’s prompting to use them!
When a Little Rain Isn’t Going to Stop Your Vacation: Four-Pack Disposable Rain Ponchos for Kids
You never know when it’s going to rain on your parade, but when you’ve packed these ponchos, at least you won’t have to worry about the kids catching a cold. They’re made with a lightweight polyethylene material that won’t drag or itch, and they’re 100 percent waterproof to keep the little ones warm and dry.
Best of all, they’re decorated with animals, igloos, rainbows and other fun patterns that will let the kids splash around in style!
To Make Them Laugh: Not Parent Approved: A Card Game for Kids
Despite the name, “Not Parent Approved” is a fun, family-friendly game that can bring everyone together with embarrassing stories and fart jokes. It might not be appropriate for very young children, but teens and tweens will love it, and even mom and dad can get in on the fun.
It’s basically Cards Against Humanity for kids. While some topics might be a little off-color, it’ll mostly just result in big laughs for cards like “Dear teacher, would you please stop _____?” and “My parents really annoy me when they _____.
For Heroes in a Half Shell: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Retro Slumber Set
Are they camping in the wilderness? Or maybe they just want to sleep in the backyard under the stars. Either way, it’ll be easy to settle them down when they’re allowed to crawl into a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sleeping bag.
The material is soft and padded, and there’s a zipper on the side for keeping them snug and safe under the top cover. A matching sling bag will carry everything when it’s rolled up during the day. Outdoor living will be a breeze with sleep supplies like this!
So That They’ll Never Get Lost: Gold Compass Necklace
Beautifully crafted in gold, this necklace will be a sweet and sentimental keepsake for a child who is headed away from home. It might be a temporary vacation; it might be a permanent move. Regardless of the circumstances, this necklace will let them know that you’re always thinking of them, and the compass pendant will guide and protect them no matter where their path leads.
4 Tips When Buying Travel Presents for Kids
Kids can be some of the harshest critics when it comes to bad gifts, and they aren’t afraid of speaking their mind about it, either. If you want to avoid an awkward situation where Little Sally calls you out in front of the whole family, here are just four tips for buying something that she’ll genuinely like.
1. Keep It Fun
While there’s nothing wrong with sneaking some educational value into a child’s toys, a road trip isn’t the right time to insist on high-quality learning materials.
Parents are going to be busy and distracted; kids are going to be cooped-up and cranky. Would you want to be forced into a math lesson while stuck in the backseat of a car for six hours? Even worse, would you want someone snapping from the front seat that it’s a really fun game?
2. Beware Small Parts
Small parts are a mortal enemy to kids. It’s true in the home, and it’s even truer in strange places during a family vacation.
Not only are little plastic pieces easily lost in the hustle and bustle of travel, but depending on the size, quantity and construction type, they could pose a choking hazard to very young children.
It’s best to avoid them completely in travel gifts.
3. Get Parental or Spousal Approval
This applies to both parents and non-parents. If you’re buying something for a niece or nephew, you’ll want to check with the parents to make sure that your gift is appropriate.
If you are the parent, you’ll still want to talk to your spouse and get confirmation that it’s a worthwhile purchase.
For example, dad might want to buy a onesie that mom will instantly veto because it doesn’t have diaper buttons.
4. Think About What They Need
Toys aren’t the only things that you can buy for kids. If they’re headed into the mountains, for example, they might appreciate a camera for sightseeing or a telescope for stargazing.
If they love a specific cartoon character, you can find pillows, backpacks, sleep masks, phone cases and other travel-related goodies with that character on them.
You can fulfill a need even as you delight the kid with something cool.
These are just a few suggestions if you’re shopping for travel gifts for kids. What do you think of our list? Have we forgotten anything awesome? We love hearing new ideas, so don’t be shy and let us know!