Do you have kids who love to travel? Are you looking for the best Christmas gifts for kids this holiday season?
It’s easy to get tired of the same plastic toys, games, and bikes. Our children are growing up with a wider access to the world, and a deeper connection to experiences waiting for them.
Travel is a wonderful way for them to look beyond the toys piling up in their room and learn more about themselves and their role in this ever changing, yet exciting world we live in.
Why not consider Christmas gift ideas for kids that will inspire them to travel more and create better memories!
We have kids who travel, a LOT.
They actually do that more than anything else, so we know exactly what they need to inspire, empower, and record their precious memories.
These are the best gifts for kids who have the adventurous and creative spirit.
Hint: All kids do, but sometimes they may need a little portal to help grease the wheel.
The below holiday gift ideas can be given to any kid in your life: child, sibling, nephew, niece, cousins, close friend AND can actually be a gift to give at any time of the year!
These are travel gifts we know kids will love and will enhance the travel experience for them. We know this from experience.
We haven’t just collated a bunch of irrelevant Christmas gift ideas for kids who travel based upon what looks cute on Amazon. As so many gift guides represent.
Really? A piano mat? Travel?
Back to travel with kids reality.
We ran these ideas by our two girls (aged 12 and 8), who are full travel professionals and they agreed this was a fun, unique and interesting Christmas gift guide for kids and DEFINITELY things that would enhance the experience from beginning to after.
Kalyra (12) insisted we include a phone and computer.
I mentioned to her that most people wouldn’t be traveling full time, but taking shorter family vacations and probably don’t want to take too much technology with them!
Do you agree?
Gifts For Kids
First thing we recommend as the best Christmas gifts for kids is a travel experience.
Memories hands down beat possessions!
Your kids might not quite get that concept until they’re actually riding that horse through spectacular mountain scenery imagining they are on a unicorn and all their dreams have come true.
What are your kids passionate about?
We recommend buying them a travel experience (think tour, attraction passes, volunteer opportunities, educational trips) etc. that help fuel the fire for their passions and their unique gifts and talents.
Check Out Some Cool Travel Experiences on Get Your Guide.
You know this has to be one of the best Christmas gifts for kids when they jump up and down with excitement and want to sit down together to do it straight away!
Our girls received these scratch maps of the USA states and USA national parks after we returned home from our USA road trip.
They were excited to scratch each map off that they had visited sharing a “oh yeah I remember” that moment from each one.
I loved the learning exercise incorporated in it for scratching off the capitol city for each below it and the magnetic stickers they could attach representing a special memory.
They were surprised by how few national parks we explored once they saw how many there actually were.
And now they are inspired to visit more national parks and states.
These scratch maps are a super fun way to engage kids in their travel experiences and to motivate them to have more. You can’t ask for anything better as a gift for kids who love to travel.
The quality of the maps from Tripa Trips Travel are exceptional. Check them out here.
We can’t recommend any other from personal experience.
This world scratch maps gets raves reviews for details, quality and vibrant colors underneath the scratch.
Hydration Hiking Backpack for Kids
Nothing will drive you mad more when traveling with kids is the constant pull back on your shirt to give your child water.
ESPECIALLY when you’re in the middle of a steep climb and know that stopping will kill your momentum and possibly take you out of the adventure.
Enter a hiking backpack with hydration!
These handy backpacks contain a water bladder with a drinking tube that comes out the front strap of the bag. Feel thirsty?
Pick up the tube and take a drink. No need to stop, unload, unzip and unscrew.
These hydration backpacks can have a funky taste to begin with. You can get rid of this by soaking the bladder with lemon water, but it takes time.
Do that first or it will turn your kids off.
I love how these hydration hiking backpacks for kids teach them responsibility and independence.
They can look after their own water needs, plus carry their own snacks and have a place to put their sweaters, and even their cameras.
You can definitely use these for city travel as well.
And of course, with all of our Christmas gift ideas for kids, you can use these when you are not traveling too.
These are perfect gift ideas for older children. You can also get some extra small hydration backpacks to make it a good gift idea for younger children.
- We have these ones from Teton, which fit our kids fine
- This Camelbak hydration backpack is designed for kids
- We also have these Unigear tactical hydration backpacks. The quality of these are excellent and I really love the unique tactical design. This is a great gift for older kids, especially boys!
Point & Shoot Camera
One of the best Christmas gifts for kids would have to be their own point and shoot cameras. I don’t recommend you travel without your child having a camera to record their own memories.
It’s wonderful to see them engage with travel in this way and to see their perspective on experiences and what they find memorable and interesting.
There have been times when I think Kalyra, our eldest, is not interested in other travel experience we are having, and then I see her whip out her camera to record something that has resonated with her and I realize she is finding the experience valuable and connecting to it.
Not only can the camera help your kids discover and record what they love most, it’s a fun and unique way for them to interact and engage with other kids.
We recently bought our youngest, Savannah, this Nikon Coolpix camera for her birthday as she kept taking our camera to record funny videos with her friends.
These are some of the memories they cherish the most when traveling.
The fun times they have with friends they meet on the road and now they’ll always have these videos to look back on, to remember the people they cherish the most and the special time they had with them.
That includes you – the person buying these special travel gifts for kids.
For older children, we still like to opt for a camera over a phone. We know phones are great multi-purpose tools that have good cameras.
But, we want our kids to learn the distinction between consuming all of life through one thing and having separate ways to bring about joy and your creative spirit.
A tool that doesn’t quickly distract you or keep you emphasized on, “just let me put this on Instagram and see how many likes we get.”
We feel a camera encourages creation for the joy of creation rather than for outside validation.
If they do shoot videos and photos on their phone, we recommend the free QuickApp by GoPro for putting together video memories super easily.
GoPro Camera (+ AKASO alternative)
What about kids who loves playing in the water? Or participate in some high action activities?
Of course they still want to record their memories, even more so as its high adventure and memory making stuff.
You know a GoPro can cater to any kind of activity to capture those memories.
Concerned a GoPro is a little to expensive for a child?
I get it. We lost one to the bottom of the ocean on Waikiki Beach when it fell of Kalyra’s surfboard. This was our fault for not securing it properly, not Kalyra’s.
However a cheaper alternative to a GoPro is the AKASO v50 PRO, which is receiving good reviews and growing quite quickly.
We have written an in-depth review on the AKASO V50 Pro action camera.
This is a fantastic gift idea for older kids. A travel gift idea for younger kids could be an cheaper waterproof camera. Savannah’s Nikon camera is actually a waterproof one.
For an even cheaper action camera, see this review on the AKASO Brave 6 Plus.
The Ultimate Travel Journal for Kids
My girls absolutely LOVE completing tasks and exercises in journals, books and things like Junior Ranger programs. Makes my homeschooling a breeze!
Travel journals are an excellent way to engage in what they are learning as they travel and why the experience is memorable and important for them
The Ultimate Travel Journal for Kids is one of the best travel journals I’ve seen which is why this one in particular is makes our Christmas gift ideas for kids list.
This travel journal includes activities for four trips is aimed for 6-9 year old’s.
The prompts and activities will guide the kids to record their hopes and dreams for their vacation, record highlights and new discoveries. As well as fun activities to keep them entertained. Perfect for long road trips!!
Grab your copy of the travel journal here.
Travel Journal for Older Kids
A special blank journal is a wonderful gift for older kids to record their memories and insights.
Kalyra loves recording her travel days in her journal often writing pages.
It’s wonderful for reflection, but imagine when she picks it up in five years time.
The delight she’ll feel in remembering experiences she could have possibly forgotten and reconnecting with the views of her younger self and how these travel moments helped create who she is in the current moment.
You can use any notebook, but I recommend choosing a good quality one with a special color. The memories going in here are priceless.
Here are a couple of interesting ones I found on Amazon for you:
- I love this vintage blue with a compass on it. Great for also including sketches
- This is an awesome one for kids who also love to plan and record specific details
Destination Activity Books and Guides
Help kids pursue their dream destinations and engage with the experience by giving them specific activity books and guides.
This is how we did a lot of our homeschooling while traveling and the girls LOVED them!!
When they are begging you to buy an activity book on a national park, you are not going to say no to that curious and enthusiastic real life learning plea!
These are fantastic for road trips, long plane flights and down time in your hotel after a long day of exploring. This is one of the easiest and best Christmas gifts for kids.
Just research the destination on Amazon or Lonely Planet for kids and you’ll find something that relates.
- This Seek and Find City books is great for 6-8 year olds
- 101 Ways to Change the world is a great book for our kids (we need their help)
- I love the Leap & Hop travel guides. Kalyra has the New York one and enjoyed the activities.
- 12 Books for Kids About Maps
You can even find fiction books to inspire travel in kids. Who does not now want to go to Hogwarts? Check out this list: 15 Books to Inspire Kids to Travel
Greenlight Debit Card for Kids
Of course we all know travel costs money and sacrifices. It involves a lot of savings!
Kids will bug you a lot on your trip to buy this and that: ice cream, candy, souvenirs.
While part of a vacation is enjoying these things, it can be a little draining on your wallet soul and spirit to be constantly having to answer yes and no.
Why not let the kids be in control of their own money and learn some great money principles at the same time?
We love the Greenlight Card, and so do our girls.
It is very important to keep up the conversation with them so they understand that little piece of plastic is actually money and it’s not endless.
I talk to my girls how it is a debit card not a credit card and how important it is for them to know the difference. That is, you never spend what you don’t have.
I love the automatic ease of the Greenlight. It’s rare for me to have cash on hand, and it was so annoying having to find a to get the girls allowance every month.
The Greenlight makes it so easy with their app.
With a few clicks I can transfer money onto their card and easy check balances. I get notifications whenever they spend money and can give them permission to only shop at certain places.
I can set up automatic allowance payments to their green card. I can also set and track chores they are responsible for doing in order to get their allowance.
The feature I love the most is the ability to move their money into buckets, which is so so important to teach them from an early age. So every time they get “paid” we move 10% into each of these buckets: the savings bucket, donation bucket, dream goal bucket.
What they have left over is there’s to spend on their souvenirs with a lot of guidance from me, “are you sure that is going to bring value into your life?”
There is a monthly card fee of $4.99. I think that’s a good price for the value you get and the wonderful financial education and responsibility it offers children.
Ease, automation, independence, and important financial learning makes this one of the best Christmas gifts for kids.
Join via this link and you’ll get $10 after your first month.
Merrell Hiking Shoes
We hope that your travels with your kids involves getting out in nature and enjoying the abundance of outdoor activities on offer.
As a family we love to go hiking and are very aware of the importance of good hiking shoes.
The good news is that this Christmas gift idea can also be used for any type of travel, even walking around city streets.
You can also use these shoes in your neighborhood and hometown streets.
If there is one item you spend a little more money on, we suggest it’s a good pair of travel shoes for kids. (and you!)
We’ve tried all different brands of hiking shoes, and Merrell is the one shoe brand we love and trust the most. They are comfortable, hard wearing and so sturdy.
I LOVE my Keen sandals, but if I’m hiking a steep, slippery slope, I trust that my Merrell shoes will hold me up more. I’ve never had a slide wearing them once.
Our daughter, Savannah has a pair of Merrell hiking shoes and they keep her upright, steady and looking great!
I recommend getting a waterproof pair to prepare you for the many cool adventures you may find on an hike and outdoor activity. We have come across many creek crossings!
I’ve been amazed at how much they have kept my feet dry. I’ve had full immersion in a creek before and the shoes stayed pretty dry but my socks got soaked as the water did go in from above and through the socks.
See options for Merrell hiking shoes for kids here
We’ve just recently settled into a house and when the girls were designing their rooms, they both leapt at the globe to put on their shelf.
A globe is a wonderful gift for kids of all ages.
It will fuel their dreams, help them find their place in the world and learn more about countries, landforms and cities.
I remember as a child, spinning that globe and pondering curiously about the world would have had a HUGE impact on the 50+ countries I’ve visited spanning a 22 year life of travel.
You can also put a large map on their walls. However I feel a globe is a more fun gift idea for kids. You just can’t beat the spin factor.
Here is a classy globe I like and here is another.
Reusable Water Bottles
Boys and girls…there is no need at all for people in the Western World to buy single use plastic water bottles.
Companies are not selling water here, they are selling plastic. It’s time of us to travel more consciously and this is the easiest place to start.
Give the kids the gift of a reusable water bottle. Again the perfect gift ideas for kids even outside of travel.
They’ll be ecstatic to take these everywhere so they can always have water on hand and protect the environment – not to mention save you money!!
- We love our hydro flasks sports water bottle. It keeps the water cool for hours. See more here.
- My girls also wanted me to recommend these colorful alternatives. I would find the straw difficult to clean though so would opt for the wider mouth.
- For those traveling in countries where it is recommended to drink bottled water for health reasons, consider reusable water purifiers. This one by Grayl comes highly recommended for good filtration and removal. Don’t skimp out on having something that will clean your water and keep you healthy.
It’s amazing how much kids will love this gift idea.
A headlamp is not just handy when it comes to camping and nighttime walks. With so many cool caves to explore on your travels, you’ll be using them in the day as well.
Kids love to have these on their head and the path lighting up in front of them so they are still free to fun and explore
I know you probably don’t want them running much in a cave, but you know kids!
We could have used some of these headlamps with our lava river tube hike in Bend, and riding the 1.7 mile pitch black tunnel on the Route of the Hiawatha ride in Idaho.
I think a headlamp is better than a flashlight so the kids can be hands free. Our kids liked taking control of the campfire so a headlamp offered a little more safety for them.
I love the look and sound of the Go For Wild Rechargeable Headlamp on Amazon.
Reviewers love the motion activated switch – especially when wearing gloves – the bright light and easy charging feature. One reviewer said the design was durable and really well thought out!
It sounds like the perfect gift for kids AND an affordable gift as well.
We’re big supporters of teaching children to become independent travelers from a very young age.
We had our girls packing their bags and taking care of the boarding procedures when they were toddlers.
As a result, they’ve lawyers been incredible travelers and rarely now any direction from me.
So we think a fantastic travel gift idea for children are passport holders. This will encourage them to look after something very important and be responsible independent travelers
- This one is a travel gift for the unicorn lover
- Here’s a personalized travel passport for younger kids
- This one is a great gift for older girls. Luggage tag included.
Not just for planes, these headrest pillows are also ideal for road trips.
Our girls always pack them no matter what style of trip or family vacation we take. Therefore I could not leave them off this list of best Christmas gifts for children. If they willingly pack it, you know it’s good.
For younger girls, you can’t go past a unicorn neck pillow. Our Savannah is unicorn made and so is her best travel friend.
This Gund pusheen pillow is sure to be a hit. Even adults raving about it in the reviews!!
Older children will love this memory foam all in one travel pillow as a gift for Christmas. It’s a bundle that includes cell phone holder and eye masks and has rave reviews.
More Christmas Gift Ideas
Check out the following travel gift guides:
- 13 Exciting Travel Gifts for Her (for glam and organization)
- 50 of the Best Travel Gifts for Travelers You Love!
- Best Travel Gear for Kids – 30 Items to Keep Them Happy and Safe!
- 11 of the Best Suitcases for Easy Travel
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