As a super Auntie who loves to shower her nieces and nephews with gifts, coming up with ideas for travel gifts for kids was so much fun.
It also gave me tons of ideas of gifts I could give her for Christmas and her birthday for years to come.
But, I’m here to help you find cool travel gift ideas, not me.
So let’s get to my recommendations.
Keep reading for my top travel gifts for kids for kids, from babies and toddlers to tweens and teens.
Kids that love to travel don’t want boring luggage.
They want luggage that is THEIRS, whether it be their favorite color, adorned with their favorite cartoon character, or splashed with their monogram.
Give them some airport cred (that’s a thing, right? like street cred?) with a new piece of luggage.
For toddlers, the absolute coolest luggage comes from Trunki.
This fun suitcase doubles as a ride-on toy, which will keep them entertained and occupied in a busy, boring airport.
For elementary school-aged kids, aim for kids luggage with cartoon characters, kid-approved prints, or their favorite color.
They’ll feel so cool and proud that you won’t have any problem convincing them to tote their suitcase themselves.
For tweens and teenagers, go for trendy prints, bright colors, or a smart suitcase to keep their tech gadgets fully-charged at all times.
Aim for something that can take them into young adulthood without feeling embarrassed to run through the airport with it.
One of my favorite stocking stuffers for kids that love to travel is a fun luggage tag. Think bright colors, metallics, quirky shapes, and fun sayings.
Luggage tags also make great gift toppers!
Travel can be rough, especially on kids. Props to those of you who travel with multiple kids in tow!
If the flight or car ride is going to be long or around their bedtime, avoid extra crankiness by bringing a kids travel pillow.
They’ll rest better and therefore hopefully wake up without any crankiness.
I like this option because the back of the pillow is flat and therefore won't push the neck and head forward, like most other travel pillows, avoiding strain.
For a more budget-friendly memory keeping gift, a travel journal is perfect.
I absolutely adore the Lonely Planet Travel Journal for Kids (pictured above).
It includes prompts to get the creative thinking skills going. Plus, by the end of their journey, they’ll have a fun scrapbook-like journal to remember their trip by.
For a fun alternative, how about a subscription to a travel journal app?
Digital cameras are becoming more affordable as the years go by.
Some of the digital cameras created specifically for kids are better than my 2000-era digital camera in a lot of ways.
Here are my favorite cameras for kids:
The VTech Kidizoom Digital Camera is perfect for toddlers through elementary school age kids.
It’s super durable, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking easily or needing lots of maintenance.
And while the quality isn’t on par with professional cameras, it’s pretty decent for a toy!
Another fun camera for kids is the FujiFilm Instax Mini camera (pictured above).
It’s basically the Polaroid camera for the current generation!
This camera comes in fun, candy-like colors, as does its instant film and accessories, like carrying bags and straps.
I recommend this camera for tweens and teens.
Last up, for older kids and teens that are expressing interest in photography or videography, spring for a GoPro HERO action camera..
The quality is on par with many dSLR and mirrorless cameras, but it’s durable and travel-friendly.
Plus, there are tons of fun GoPro accessories available for capturing unique shots.
Check out my post about custom photo gifts for more fun photography-related gift ideas.
Another big ticket gift that would be great for encouraging memory keeping, travel photography, and learning in general is a tablet.
My top 2 favorite tablets for kids are any version of iPads and the Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition (pictured above).
Both products have built-in parental controls to help keep kids safe while they browse the internet and use apps.
You can also set up time limits so your kiddo isn’t on their tablet 24/7.
A globe for daydreaming about all the places in the world they can travel to is a gift that will last a long time.
There are even globes that include educational games that teach about each region or country.
My mom has one at her house for my nieces and nephews to play with.
They love to tap on a new country to learn about it, especially when I'm traveling somewhere new and they want to learn about where I am.
LEGOs were one of my favorite toys growing up. After all, back then my hometown was the North American headquarters for LEGO!
LEGO continues to come out with the coolest sets, including the LEGO Architecture series. This series features iconic landmarks from around the world.
Whether it's a place your kid dreams of visiting or somewhere they've been, these make a great gift!
Here are some of my favorites, in addition to the Statue of Liberty set pictured above.
- Himeji Castle in Japan
- Paris France skyline
- Taj Mahal in India
Stuck at home and can't travel? Play the Trekking the World board game!
In this fun family-friendly game, players race around the world collecting souvenirs. It's a super fun way to introduce your kids to different travel destinations, too.
There's also a National Parks version of the game!
If you've never played a game from What Do You Meme?, you are in for a treat!
What Do You Meme? consistently puts out some of the most hilarious games.
Some of them are just for adults, but in more recent years, they've been putting out family-friendly games, like Shotgun!, too.
This game includes all kinds of wacky cards that will keep everyone entertained, from trivia to dares, and more.
I love a good game pad for traveling. It's super portable and perfect for long layovers, delays, on flight, at the beach - pretty much no matter where you are!
The Knock Knock On-the-Go Game Pad contains several games in one pad and there are several different pads. I always take mine when I'm traveling with my nieces and nephews!
Mad Libs are another good option, with junior, regular, and adult versions available.
Books are one of my go-to gifts for kids.
There are so many directions you can go with this gift idea, depending on the age group.
You can get books about different cultures, books written in a language they are learning, travel guides for kids going off on an exchange program, and so on.
I love the Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for The World's Most Adventurous Kid.
It's a fun way to spark an interest in travel without being too edutainment-ish. Know what I mean? Some kids just aren't into that!
Here are a few more options:
- Lonely Planet Kids Hidden Wonders
- Little Kids First Big Book of the World
- 50 Adventures in the 50 States
Sure, you could pick up any old map puzzle.
But for something special, why not a custom 400 piece puzzle based on your hometown or a special travel destination that you frequently visit?
You can choose the regular survey version (as shown) or satellite photo, then enter your address. It's really that simple!
TIP: Since this is custom made, be sure to order ahead to provide enough time for processing, production, and shipping.
Another fun travel game is Sussed, where you ask and answer all kids of wacky questions. It's a fun way to interact and bond.
There are different themes available, but I like the Wild Green (Random World Adventures) option best.
Barbie is another one of my favorite toys from childhood and I love that she's having a big moment this year.
If your kiddo is also a Barbie doll fan, an excellent gift idea is a travel themed Barbie that comes with luggage and other travel accessories.
A luggage and travel accessory play set is perfect for imaginative play at home as a flight attendent, travel blogger, business person, or just vacationer!
If your kid hasn't clued you in yet, Ryan's World is THE premiere toy channel on YouTube.
After some time as a toy reviewer Ryan and his family launched their own toy line - including several travel-themed toys, like the Travel Case pictured above.
It's a tiny suitcase with sevearl globally-inspired dolls and accessories that your kiddo can either collect or play with.
I always get my nieces and nephews a book for Christmas and their birthdays as part of their gift.
And what better kind of book to get than an activity book!
This World Atlas option from National Geographic Kids is best suited for kids aged 3-5.
For kids aged 6-9, I recommend 50 Maps of the World.
Lastly, for kids aged 8-12, I recommend National Geographic Kids Puzzle Book of the World.
Little Passports subscription box
Subscription boxes are the gift that keeps giving year round, bringing joy every month.
I researched a ton of options, and there was one box that stood above the rest: Little Passports.
Little Passports has several subscription options to choose from, 3 of which are travel themed.
- Craft Discovery is designed for kids age 5-8 and includes a globally-inspired craft activity.
- World Edition is designed for kids age 6-10 and includes activities and souvenirs for a new country in each box.
- Kitchen Adventures is designed for kids 7 and up and includes a globally-inspired recipe.
All 3 options are a great way to introduce younger kids to the world around them in a unique way.
What are your favorite travel gifts for kids?
Last, but not least, the gift that any kid would absolutely love are travel experiences. From school vacations to a new destination or a Sunday Funday within a drive’s reach, you can’t go wrong!
Let me know which travel gifts your kids want this year or what Santa left them under the tree!
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About the author
Meg Frost is a Boston-based travel blogger that helps people embrace technology to make vacation planning and traveling wicked easy, affordable, and fun.
She holds an M.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University and B.S. in Communication & American Studies from University of Miami.
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This post was originally published September 29, 2017. It was last updated October 1, 2023.