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So here you are, with the 1st week of December already behind you, but the holiday presents for the globe-trotting kids in your life are still unpurchased. Here are the best last-minute gifts for traveling kids and some of them don’t even require shipping. (As of the time of writing, all of these can be delivered by Christmas). All of these gifts are actually useful and all of the images are clickable links! Enjoy 🙂 P.S. There is a FREEBIE at the end of this post!
Keep the Little Travelers Comfortable
An inflatable leg rest
I know it sounds a bit ridiculous but these things are amazing. We bought one this summer to try on our China-US-China flights and loved it. The kids were able to stretch out their legs, and we were, too! From what we understand, some people successfully use them on road trips as well.
The most expensive item on this list, these are still rather affordable as wireless headphones go. The added bonus is a SharePort that allows to plug another pair of headphones into this set without needing a splitter.
If you are looking for a good pair of wireless headphones in adult size, check out our review of JBL noise-cancelling headphones.
Our family swears by Contigo bottles. Whether you go for kid-sized ones, or the adult-sized ones, they are simply wonderful.
Keep Them Entertained
I am looking forward to the day our kids can use travel journals. This particular one is aimed for 7-12 year-olds and includes not only journal and photo pages, but also puzzles, maps, and games.
And this one is meant for kids as young as 4 and includes both stickers AND postcards to send!
Lonely Planet publishes a wide range of excellent children’s books for different ages, many of them available in Kindle editions. The Travel Book is meant for older kids (9-12) while Let’s Explore Jungle will be great for kids aged 5 and up.
Road-Tested Toys and Games
We tell people about WaterWow! pads a lot because they have been our kids’ favorite for almost 5 years now. The idea is brilliant: a refillable brush, cardboard pages you color with water, dry, and color again!
We like virtually everything made by Janod. Our kids own a couple of different Magnetibooks and love both bringing them on road trips and playing with them at home.
SmartGames create multi-level single-player logic games. They all start rather simple but get harder and harder as one progresses. We currently own 5 different ones and while they are wildly popular with our 3 and 5-year-olds, some of the puzzles are hard enough to keep us, parents, busy. Both of these pack small and are road-friendly.
This wooden memory game is a bit big for us to take on the plane but it’s a perennial favorite on the cross-country road trips.
This Faber-Castell travel kit is a dream-come-true. It can be used as an easel, a blackboard, a white board, and a lap desk and comes loaded with art supplies like crayons, pencils, chalk, markers, and more that all fit inside of the case when not in use.
In our family, the iPad is the absolute last resort and doesn’t come out of the bag much. However, our kids do have their favorite travel-themed apps, and these are some of them:
While this last one isn’t exactly travel-themed, it involves 4 interactive books by Sandra Boynton, which are always, always a good idea.
Keep Them Organized
Both of our kids have owned Skip Hop Zoo backpacks their whole lives (and you can them sporting them in this post). They started with the tiny harness ones and moved on to the regular-sized ones. These bags are perfect, whether your little one is flying across the world or is going on a field trip to the local museum.
Full disclosure: we haven’t tried these adorable roller suitcases yet, but they are on our own shopping list 🙂
We do have one of these, however, and the kids fight for the right to roll it. Pro: it can be a backpack OR a roller and the toy is removable. Con: it doesn’t have an outside pocket.
Nice (and cute) wet bags always come in useful, whether you use them for cloth diapers, swimsuits, or those awesome rocks your kid pulled out of the lake.
Some kids will enjoy having their very own TSA-approved toiletries kit. Who doesn’t love pastel-colored penguins?
Give Them a Memory
Sometimes, the best thing you can give is an experience. If you are struggling to find something awesome for a teenager who travels a lot, consider getting him or her a gift card to GetYourGuide – a platform that allows travelers to book tours/experiences/transfers/etc. all over the world. To give an experience as a gift, click on a tour that sounds interesting (like this Segway tour of San Francisco), then click on “Give this as a gift” under the “Book Now” button. Voila!
Another option is giving a photo book (or a gift card to make one). As a matter of fact, here is a link to make a FREE hardcover 8×8, 20-page photo book on Shutterfly (you pay shipping). The offer is valid through the first week of January, 2019.
We hope this 2018 gift guide comes in helpful. Do let us know if any of these are popular with the traveling kids you know!