Best Travel Gifts for Kids: Travel Gift Ideas from Toddlers to Teens

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Looking for a holiday present? Or is someone’s birthday coming up? Either way, if you need inspiration, we have a great list of travel gifts for kids — from toddlers to teenagers. If you’re searching for travel-friendly gifts for kids, then there’s a good chance you’ll find some ideas here. The best travel gifts make family travel better, easier, and more fun. Whether it’s travel-related birthday presents for boys or Christmas gifts for girls on the move, let’s talk about kids’ travel gift ideas.

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Best Travel Gifts for Kids

We were slow-raveling full-time for six years (2013-2019), and now that we’ve moved back to Japan, we still meet lots of families who travel. Of course, travel-friendly gift ideas for kids is often a topic of discussion. With both a son and a daughter, every year we’re pondering Christmas gifts for girls, birthday gifts for boys and vice versa. But in general, we want our gift ideas to be ready for the road.

In other words, Christmas gift ideas for kids who travel might not be the same as what you’d get for any child. Indeed, there are many factors to consider. For example, kids’ travel gifts might not sit in a bedroom, a toy box, or a walk-in closet. They have to be lightweight, mobile and packable presents. After all, you or your kids are going to have to carry this from place to place. A great travel gift is going to make the journey better, not hold you back.

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Table of Contents

Re: Teen Gifts VS Gifts for Young Kids

I’ve divided up this list of travel gifts for kids into sections to make it easier to browse. Most of the categories are by age, but every kid is different. For instance, what may be listed as “best gifts for teen girls” may actually be a perfect gift for boys age 10 or younger. By the same token, I’ve listed binoculars in the “best gifts for kids under 10,” when I’m sure there are some teens out there that would love some good binoculars — perhaps better than the child versions I’ve suggested, however. In other words, many of these travel present ideas are great for kids of any age.

Re: Travel Gifts and Gender

Okay, so before I start blabbing on about boys’ and girls’ gift ideas, let me make something clear: I may use phrases like “gifts for boys” and “gifts for girls,” but please understand that these categories can overlap just about anywhere. Most of these toys are fairly gender-neutral, but I don’t think they have to be. Some toys are pink. Some toys are blue. Boys and girls should choose whatever they like. For instance, some teen girls may want a jewelry case. Some boys too. Fine with us. And if your daughter wants a pocketknife or walkie talkies, then give them to her.

In my gifts for travel lovers post, I talk about travel gifts for men and women, but age and gender may not have anything to do with personal interests. For example, in our house, my wife is the one who sets up the wifi network. She’s the mechanically-0minded one who enjoys fixing and repairing stuff. Hell, my parents gave her a tool kit for Christmas — not me. 

Best Travel Gifts for Toddlers

He’s not a baby anymore. And she wants some freedom and autonomy. Traveling with toddlers is different than family travel with babies. For example, now they can move around on their own, and they’re developing their own personalities and interests. They need loads of stimulation and begin to exert their own desire for free will. The best gifts for toddlers will address these new aspects of their young lives.

Collapsible Beach Bucket

Any kids heading to the ocean will enjoy some beach toys. These silicone buckets are some of the best travel gifts for toddlers because they take up less space in luggage. They’re great for sandcastle-making but just as nice for water play. The material is BPA-free and easy to clean. Great travel toys for toddlers, but just also a useful travel gift for adults as well. 

Collapsible Beach Bucket - travel gifts for toddlers

Check Prices: Collapsible Bucket Set – Beach Gift Ideas for Toddlers

Skip Hop Toddler Backpack

If you’re about to travel with a toddler, giving him/her their own backpack can be an early lesson in responsibility. This Skip Hop Backpack is one of the best travel gifts for toddlers because it allows little ones to start carrying some of his/her own things. There’s room for an outfit, some diapers or training pants, some snacks, crayons, and maybe a towel or swimsuit. A front sternum clip secures the two shoulders straps across the chest.

The Skip Hop Toddler Backpack comes with a detachable leash, as well. Parents have different feelings about the child leash, so the backpack gives you the choice of whether or not to attach it in crowded places. This great travel gift for toddlers comes in nine different characters that kids love: Dogs, Owls, Unicorns, Dinosaurs, and more.

Skip Hop Toddler Backpack - travel gifts for toddlers

Check Prices: Skip Hop Leash & Harness Backpack Gift for Parents of Toddler

Lumipets Nightlight

Sleeping in new places can be scary for some kids. That’s why night lights like the Lumipet series are great travel gifts for babies and toddlers. Lumipets are soft and use LED light so they never get hot. Kids can choose from a variety of lit settings and even carry them from the bed to the bathroom if they want. They’re not as compact as some children’s travel gifts mentioned here, but worth it if it gives kiddo some consistency and security in whatever hotel room you’re in for the evening. Easy to wash and easy to charge, as well. 

Lumipets Nightlight - Travel Gifts for Kids age 10 and under

Check Prices: LumiPets LED Silicone Night Light Toddler Travel Gifts

Smart Travel Tray – Ideal Gift Idea for Toddlers

One of the tricks to traveling with toddlers is keeping them engaged. Long flights and road trips can be a challenge because kids have to sit still much longer than their bodies and minds want to, without enough stimulation. They like drawing and looking at picture books, but dropping them on the floor leads to frustration for everyone involved.

That’s why travel trays are such a great travel gift idea for toddlers. They work in cars and airplanes and gives toddlers a table with walls around three sides so they can’t lose their books, crayons or toys as easily. There are generous zippered pockets to hold everything — even as large as A4-sized books. This travel tray also has a slot for a tablet if you so choose. And it’s plastic, waterproof and easy to clean.

Smart Travel Tray – Ideal Gift Idea for Toddlers Girls

Check Prices: Kids Travel Tray for Toddler Car Seat and Airplane Travel

Reusable Sticker Sets

When our kids were toddlers, some of their favorite travel toys were reusable sticker books. In fact, the stickers are more like small vinyl cut-outs that adhere to the colorful background images — but don’t stay fixed to them. These are some of the best travel gift ideas for toddlers because the stickers can be used over and over, giving the kids the opportunity to create new stories and images with each sticker configuration. Sticker sets from Melissa & Doug are great gift ideas for boys and girls, providing over 150 stickers in each set. There are sets for multiple interests: everything from dinosaurs to dolls & dress-up.

Fairies, Princess Castle, Play House, Dress-Up – 680+ Stickers

Reusable Sticker Sets - gifts for girls age 5 and under

Check Prices: Reusable Sticker Pads Set – Fairies, Princess, Dress Up

Dinosaurs, Vehicles, Space, and More – 500+ Stickers

Reusable Sticker Sets - gifts for boys age 5 and under

Check Prices: Reusable Sticker Pads Set – Vehicles and Wildlife

Reusable Water-Reveal Activity Pads

These activity pads are another great traveling gift for toddlers from Melissa & Doug. Why? Because they provide hours of drawing, coloring, and writing practice without the mess and subsequent cleanup often required with markers or crayons. The big, easy-to-hold “pen” that kids write with uses water, so no stains or scribbles on the car door or airplane seat. And it’s refillable. The pages are simple black-and-white drawings when dry, but change color when wet. Their size and spiral-bound top make them great for travel with toddlers.

water pens - road trip gifts for kids age 5 and under

Check Prices: Melissa & Doug Reusable Water-Reveal Activity Pads – road trip gifts

Travel-Friendly Gifts for Kids Under 10

Looking for Christmas or birthday presents for kids under 10? Here are a few gift ideas. Traveling with kids under 10 is one of my favorite ages. They are still forming their own tastes and ideas about the world in ways different than travel with toddlers or travel with teens. You can nurture that natural curiosity and bravery with unique gifts for kids under 10.

Coloring Pencil Set

I remember my own Crayola crayons and colored pencil sets. They’ve been around for a while, haven’t they? This Create & Color set comes with 24 pencils, a sharpener, and 40 pages to draw on. And it all fits nicely in a hard plastic container with a handle, making it easy to keep organized and mobile. And excellent travel gifts for girls and boys alike. 

crayola - Travel-Friendly Gifts for Kids Under 10

Check Prices: Crayola Create & Color Travel Art Set – Artistic Travel Gifts for Kids

Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game

Ideal for long car, train, and bus rides, the Scavenger Hunt travel games for girls and boys keep them occupied for hours. Cards have objects that the kids must search for (someone on a bicycle, a red car, clothes on a line, etc). Whoever sees it first gets the point. These cards are excellent travel gifts for kids under 10 years old, but it’s important that they can see out a window to play. If your child is small or has his/her vision obstructed (ie. sun shade over the window) then it’s hard to play.

scavenger hunt cards - best travel games for kids

Check Prices: Travel Scavenger Hunt Cards – Travel Games for Kids

Foldable Volume-Limiting Headphones for Children

Is digital learning and entertainment part of your kid’s life? If so, then volume-limiting headphones are one of the best gifts for him and her. Volume limiting headphones are one of the best travel gifts for kids — especially younger ones. They ensure that kids listen to music, movies, and audiobooks at appropriate audio levels. These volume-limiting headphones from Noot fold to make packing easier. They also have a tough, five-foot cord made of nylon cable. And because they’re for traveling kids, they can take some abuse and also come with a 24-month warranty.

Foldable Volume-Limiting Headphones - Travel Gifts for preschoolers

Check Prices: noot Volume Limiting Headphones – Musical Gifts 

Trunki Rolling Suitcases for Kids

This kid’s rolling suitcases are fun and great starter luggage for little travelers. Travel days can run long. First, you wait at the gate. Then you walk down long terminals. Once you arrive at your destination, you have to get to the hotel and carry everything to your room. The Trunki line of suitcases is a great travel gift for kids (and parents!) because it makes travel days easier.

Little kids love these cute rolling suitcases. They don’t hold a lot, but kids can begin to learn responsibility by packing for themselves. Then they can roll them through the airport, and when they get tired, they sit on the Trunki or “ride” it for a break. Trunki rolling suitcases are excellent Christmas presents for kids traveling somewhere special in the new year. They’re also great birthday gifts for boys and girls heading somewhere after they blow out the candles.

trunki - Travel Gifts for preschoolers

Check Prices: Trunki Rolling Suitcases – Travel Gifts for Toddlers


Okay, so these may seem to break a few of my usual rules of what makes a great travel gift for kids. Binoculars tend to be heavy, and even the nicest ones are breakable. Yet there are many small and light kid-friendly binocular sets that would be the ideal travel gift for girls and boys heading to a place they can use them. Looking for howler monkeys in Costa Rica? How about orangutans in Sumatra? Binoculars can make the trip even more special.

binoculars - Travel Gifts for boys age 8 girls age 7

Check Prices: Dreamingbox Compact Shock Proof Binoculars for Kids

Bago 25L Packable Backpack 

There are lots of travel backpacks for kids and adults, but I’ve chosen this one as a travel gift for boys and girls under 10 for the sake of the adults. Why? It’s packable. That means if the kids are tired one day and don’t want to carry it, then you can easily fold it up and put it in your own pack. It’s a little large for some younger kids, but others will enjoy its light weight and handy pockets. 

Bago 25L Packable Backpack - travel gifts for boys age 10

Check Prices: Bago 25L Packable Lightweight Backpack

Osprey Youth Jet 18 Backpack

If you’re looking for travel gifts for hiking and camping kids, then Osprey’s Youth Jet 18 Backpack is the way to go. This is designed for more strenuous outdoor adventures. There are loads of great interior and exterior pockets to keep everything in its place. For example, that includes a stretchy mesh pocket on the back for quick access to rain jackets and snacks. Expect nice padded shoulder straps with a mesh waist belt. The chest clip has a built-in emergency whistle. An excellent hiking gift idea for kids under 10.

Bago 25L Packable Backpack - travel gifts for girls age 10

Check Prices: Osprey Youth Jet 18 Backpack – Gifts for Hiking Kids

Sloth Hooded Animal Travel Neck Pillow

Okay, so maybe this isn’t the Christmas or birthday gift girls and boys have thought of…yet. But they’ll thank you later once they’ve been able to sleep on an overnight flight to Tokyo or Barcelona. Travel pillows are great Christmas gifts for kids — on their own or coupled with a larger travel gift for children. Aside from being adorable, this sloth-headed travel pillow supports the neck while providing warmth and shade for their eyes. Only seeing real sloths at the Jaguar Rescue Center would make this a better travel gift for kids under 10. They make a panda one, too (see below).

neck pillow - travel gifts for boys age 10

Check Prices: SLOTH Hooded Animal Travel Neck Pillow

neck pillow - travel gifts for girls age 10

Check Prices: PANDA Hooded Animal Travel Neck Pillow

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Travel Gifts for Tweens

Here’s where travel presents for kids get tricky…at least that’s our experience. Looking for travel gifts for tweens can be a challenge even when you know the child well. Their tastes can change suddenly. They don’t want to be treated like a child but often still like childish things. When searching for travel gifts for tweens, keep this in mind.

Walkie Talkies

At around this age, kids want more freedom to wander around without Mom or Dad around. Add some walkie talkies to the mix and you can keep them (virtually) close while allowing more freedom. These walkie talkies from Floureon say they have a 3000-5000 meter range, but that’s really in open spaces like the parks, forests, markets, and town squares. Once you have a few walls between you (ie. hotels, shopping centers, etc) the reception range drops, but they’re still a great travel gift for teens, tweens and even younger kids. 

walkie talkies - Travel Gifts for tweens

Check Prices: Kids Walkie Talkies FLOUREON – Travel Gifts for Tweens

Activ Life Flying Rings

Frisbees are a classic kids’ gift for travel or any holiday time, but not all frisbees are ideal for all kids. Some are hard and/or heavy, while softer ones may not fly as well. These Activ Life Flying Rings are lightweight yet soar for long distances when thrown correctly. Their lightness and design also make them easier on the hands when catching. They float too, which makes them great beach vacation gifts. Just don’t use them to play fetch — dogs will chew them up fast. They come in a variety of colors. We prefer the glow-in-the-dark model. 


frisbees - Travel Gifts for tweens

Check Prices: Activ Life Flying Rings – Tween and Teen Travel Gifts

Luggage ID Tags

No matter what pack or suitcase they carry, it’s important that children’s luggage is tagged appropriately. Lots of kids enjoy having some kind of luggage tags that represent their personality. For example, my nerd-leaning daughter has had both Star Wars and Marvel-themed luggage tags for different bags. Harry Potter is another teen/tween fave. Unique luggage ID tags can also make it easier to identify your check-in suitcases at the baggage claim.

luggage tags - Travel Gifts for tweens & teens

Check Prices: Lizimandu PU Leather Luggage Tags 

American Tourister Character Luggage Tags

luggage tags - Travel Gifts for tweens & teens

Check Prices: American Tourister Character Luggage Tags

Luggage for Tweens

By the time most kids hit 10 or 11 years old, a new sense of responsibility and property can develop. At this time, they can really start to manage their own luggage and be responsible for their belongings. With practice, of course. A new backpack or suitcase can be a great travel gift for boys age 10 and up. Girls too, of course, but in my experience boys tend to need a little more practice keeping things organized 😉

Osprey Packs Daylite Shoulder Sling

Instead of a backpack for day-to-day use, try a shoulder bag like the Daylite. Sling bags are another gift idea for tweens and teens because they look cool and are a safe option for travel. For example, they can be pulled from back to front without taking them off. The Osprey Daylite is built to withstand the treatment that traveling teens and tweens may inflict on it. Yet it’s comfortable and doesn’t get you sweaty even when worn right against the body. Available in seven different colors. 


sling bags - travel gift ideas for teens girls boys

Check Prices: Osprey Packs Daylite Shoulder Sling

More Sling Bags & Shoulder Bags

Want to look at more sling bags and should pack options? We’ve written an entire post on them, along with our preferences and experiences. 


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Read More: Best Sling Bags for Travel Gifts

Rolling Backpack

We mentioned backpacks and daypacks earlier, but for some traveling kids, a rolling suitcase is an even better travel gift idea. Rolling suitcases keep the weight off their back and can be an ideal carry-on suitcase for any trip. The Driver 8 series from Jansport make it easy to go back and forth from carrying on their back to gliding across the terminal. There are water bottle pockets and a laptop/tablet sleeve. And it’s made from the same tough nylon fiber that regular Jansport backpacks are made of. A great birthday or Christmas gift idea for kids under 13, but also a great as Christmas presents for teens, as well.

rolling backpack - travel gifts for teens girls boys

Check Prices: JanSport Driver 8 Core Series Wheeled Backpack

American Tourister Star Wars Hardside Luggage with Spinner Wheels

Large suitcases can be best for family travel in cars and on cruise ships. If you’re looking for something big and tough as a gift for teens or tweens, then the Star Wars-themed hardside luggage from American Toursiter is worth considering. The rugged exterior can take a few blows, and the interior is lined and has a zipper separator and pockets for organization. It comes in R2D2, Storm Trooper, Vader and BB8.

star wars suitcase - travel gifts for tweens boys girls

Check Prices: American Tourister Star Wars Hardside Luggage

Camping Hammock with Tree Straps

This great travel gift for tweens is also an excellent travel-friendly gift for campers of all ages. Lightweight and easy to set up, this camping hammock gives tweens and teens their own space to read, nap or fiddle on their phone. It’s big enough for two people, actually, but if your tween needs some space, then this is the way to go. The hammock straps make it easy to set up and adjust, all without tying knots on ropes over and over.

It’s an excellent Christmas present idea or birthday present idea for tweens and teens who love camping, road trips, music festivals and more. In fact, if you’re visiting Merida or other towns in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, you may discover hammock hooks in your house or apartment rental. Hammocks are a part of the Mayan/Yucatecan culture, and we found that many of our Airbnb and other accommodation had hammock hooks already anchored on patios and in the walls of bedrooms.

hammock - travel gifts for teenage girls boys

Check Prices: Camping Hammock with Tree Straps

Travel Gifts for Teens

This is when buying travel presents for kids gets interesting. Now that you’re looking for travel gifts for teens, you’re also thinking about what they can use longer-term. Could this travel gift be used at college, or whatever your teen decides to do later on? Most travel gift ideas for teens are similar to what I’d suggest for college students and young adults. Nevertheless, buying a Christmas present, birthday present or other gifts for teenagers can be tricky, so think about who they are and what they’ll get the most immediate use out of.

JanSport Fifth Ave Fanny Pack

Yes, believe it or not, the fanny pack is back. I’ve had multiple fanny pack-type bags over the years, but I probably got my first one in the late ’80s as a teen. Fast forward a few decades and MY teen asked for one for his backpacking trip to Europe. The JanSport Fifth Ave is a classic in the fanny pack genre: simple in design, yet rugged and reasonably priced. It’s how he carried his cash, phone, and ID around, but apparently the way to wear them now it across the shoulder — not on the waist. Get with the times, people.fanny pack - - travel gifts for teens girls boys

Check Prices: JanSport Fifth Ave Fanny Pack – Teen Gift Ideas

More Fanny Packs 

Want more fanny pack gift ideas for the teens and tweens in your life? We’ve written up reviews of a variety of designs here.

COVER best fanny packs for travel PIN

Check Prices: Top Fanny Packs for Teen Travel Gifts

Xenvo Camera Lens Kit Pro

Most teens with a smartphone spend some time on Instagram. Want to expand their photographic opportunities? Get them an attachable lens kit and their smartphone potential grows exponentially. I mentioned a higher-level phone lens kit in my recommendations for travel gifts for men and women. Yet in my opinion, I’d start kids off with this one and if they take to it, then upgrade later.

This smartphone lens kit from Xenvo works with iPhones as well as Android and Samsung devices and some tablets. You simply clip if over the camera lens and suddenly you have a wide-angle or macro lens for new perspectives. I’ve been using an Olloclip for years and love it, but it takes a few steps to attach properly and I need a new Olloclip with each new iPhone I use. I like how this Xenvo lens kit fits most devices and is ready to shoot quickly. One of the best travel gifts for teens who take selfies and other pics with their phones.

iphone lens - - travel gifts for teenagers

Check Prices: Xenvo Camera Lens Kit Pro – Photography Gift Ideas

RFID Blocking Travel Passport Wallet

Young travelers will appreciate ways to keep track of their passport, money, and other travel documents. We like the specialized pockets for boarding passes and SIM cards.

passport wallet - travel gifts for teenagers girls boys

Check Prices: Zoppen Travel Passport Wallet

Jewelry Organizer by Case Elegance

An excellent travel gift for girls or any young adults who wear jewelry and want to keep it organized. The case is made from vegan leather and has plenty of room to keep necklaces, rings, and bracelets in their place.

jewelry purse - - travel gifts for teen girls birthday

Check Prices: Jewelry Organizer by Case Elegance – Gifts for Teen Girls

Luggage Gifts for Teens

Good backpacks are ideal presents for teenagers or any kids about to go on a big trip. It’s what they’ll carry with them through the entire journey, and is some of the most important travel gear they’ll ever own. Below are a few packs that would make great travel gifts for teens with big travel plans.

Related Read >>> Our Full Guide to Best Travel Backpacks

Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack

These stuff packs from Osprey are great as a primary day pack. Yet they pack so small that they’re great as backup storage as well. They hold 18 liters, but they weigh less than 5 ounces and fold down to the size of my fist. Our son brought one to Europe during the summer of 2019 and found it useful for carrying dirty laundry and repacking for weight at the airport check-in. It comes in 4 colors.

osprey stuff sack - travel gifts for teen boys birthday

Check Prices: Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack – Practical Gifts for Teens

Lily Bloom Carry-On Luggage Carry On Spinner Suitcase

My daughter is a big fan of Lily Bloom products. They have freaky-cool patterns and are made from cloth made from recycled plastic bottles. They’re rugged too and can take the strain of travel well. This roller suitcase is a great gift for teens to carry on the plane with them. It has 360º wheels and a fully lined interior. Undo a zipper and it expands by 4 liters. A great travel gift for girls of any age. 

Lily Bloom rolling suitcase - travel gifts for teens girls

Check Prices: Lily Bloom Carry Luggage With Spinner Wheels

Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack

Whether it’s for backpacking, hiking or camping, Kelty’s Redwing backpacks are excellent gifts for teens ready to blaze a trail of their own. Kelty has a great weight distribution and suspension system, so you can walk with it on your back for longer. I also like their organizational pockets and the extra stash pocket for quick access to rain gear and other items. A great gift for travel-loving teens and adults alike.

kelty redwing backpack - travel gifts for kids, students and young adults

Check Prices: Kelty Redwing 50 Backpack – Gifts for Backpacking Teens

Osprey Packs Meridian 75L

If your teen has a big trip ahead of him/her, then consider one of Osprey’s big rolling backpacks. The Meridian 75L has plenty of room for everything they need to carry, along with a detachable daypack with a 15″ laptop sleeve. Keep in mind, however, that this travel backpack is huge and can get pretty heavy when fully loaded. Therefore, it’s only a great travel gift for teens big and strong enough to carry it. Then again, you can always roll it.osprey meridian - - travel gifts for kids, students and young adults

Check Prices: Osprey Packs Meridian 75L – Gifts for Long-Haul Travel

More Backpacks

These are just a few luggage gift ideas that teens may enjoy. Depending on their needs and tastes, here are more backpacks worth considering. 

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Related Read >>> Our Guide to Best Travel Backpacks


Headlamps are great Christmas presents for boys and girls. You don’t have to be a hiker or camper to appreciate headlamps. For example, many great places to travel don’t have the same kind of infrastructure as the USA, Japan, or Australia. Sometimes the power goes out, or a street is poorly lit at night. There are other times where you need to look for something in the dark so you don’t wake others in the room. We use our headlamps everywhere.

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp

One of the most reliable names in headlamps is Black Diamond. I’ve used their gear for over a decade and still recommend them all the time. The Storm line of headlamps is waterproof, dust-proof, and can be dunked in water for up to 30 minutes. We also like to have headlamps with a red LED as well. That way you can walk around a dark room without waking others as easily. The Black Diamond Storm headlamp has Red, Green and Blue night vision modes, as well as many others, which are easy to cycle through using only one hand. Great gifts for campers, hikers, and travelers.

black diamond headlamp - camping gifts for teens

Check Prices: Black Diamond Headlamps – Gifts for Camping & More

Electronics & Computing

We started the Epic Education site with the motto “Using Travel and Technology as Teachers.” Why? Because those were the two pillars that we all based our learning on. We had the lessons of the road: experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, practicing resourcefulness, tolerance, resilience, patience, and gratitude. For other aspects of education, it was through technology: online homeschooling platforms, Youtube, and more. Reliable electronics are some of the best travel gifts for everyone.

MacBook Air

Yeah, this is a heavy-duty gift for a teen, and it ain’t cheap, but man-o-man is it a powerful tool. Far beyond email and the ‘gram, teens can learn photo editing, movie making, working with presentations and spreadsheets, and more. Some schools use MacBooks in the classroom. Some even require them. That’s what happened to us when we returned to Japan. The MacBook Air is an incredibly powerful and durable machine. We have three in use in our home now (wife, son & daughter…I have a MacBook Pro). My only other advice is to spend the extra cash for the 3-year AppleCare program. This ensures that if something goes wrong, then you’re covered and Apple will fix or replace your device in many situations. We’ve used AppleCare many times over the years and it has paid for itself a dozen times over. 

macbook air - educational gifts for students - computer gifts

Check Prices: Macbook Air – Best Travel Gift for Boys, Girls, Teens, and Adults

Acer Chromebook 14

I can’t believe we waited as long as we did to get one of these. Chromebooks aren’t as versatile as a full-on laptop, but they do so much for a fraction of the price. We now consider them one of the best travel gifts for kids who travel and learn as they go. Chromebooks are a much more affordable computer gift for teens, and they’re pretty powerful as well.

Our daughter used (and loved) her Acer and only gave it up when her new school required the shift to Mac. Sure, Chromebooks have some limitations (storage is online, limited to Google products, etc), but you can still do so much with them. As long as you have an internet connection you have all the Google apps at your disposal: Mail, Docs, Pictures, Maps, Youtube and more. A great travel gift for teens out on their own as much boys and girls on holiday with the family. 

Check Prices: Acer Chromebook 514 – Ideal Travel Computer Gift 

Bluetooth Speakers

I have a confession to make: we now have four portable Speakers. FOUR! We left Japan in 2013 with a Jabra Solemate (don’t think they even make that model anymore). Then the following year my sister gave us a Jawbone Jambox. When our son wanted his own Bluetooth Speaker for his birthday, we bought him a Sony SRSX2. Then when we bought the girls’ Chromebook, the retailer threw in a Google Home Mini for free. And we still use ALL of them.

Portable speakers are perfect gifts for travelers of any kind, but especially for slow travelers like us since we stay in one place for several months (or years) at a time. We put one speaker in the kitchen/dining area, one next to the shower and one in our bedroom/office. The boy has his speaker in his room, of course. Bluetooth speakers are also great travel presents for people camping and on road trips. You can listen to your music of course, but also podcasts, audiobooks, and language learning lessons, as well. 

The Best Travel Speakers Choosing the Best Bluetooth Speakers for Travel 3

Related Read >>> Choosing the Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers for Travel

Anker Soundcore 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

This is the smallest and most inexpensive Bluetooth travel speaker I’m recommending as a gift idea for teens. Great sound for the size and the price. It weighs less than 13 ounces and is smaller than a water bottle. Yet it’s weather-resistant and gives you up to 24 hours of playtime on one battery charge.anker speaker - travel gifts for boys teens adults

Check Prices: Anker Soundcore 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

UE WONDERBOOM 2 Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Small speaker, big impact. These little guys have a surprisingly rich sound. They can connect to multiple devices and stay connected up to 100 feet away. And they’re waterproof, so a perfect gift idea for teens heading to the beach.

UE waterboom 2 - travel gifts for boys teens adults - bluetooth speakers

Check Prices: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Out of the three speakers I’m recommending as gifts for teens, this has the most powerful sound. Expect a clearer high end and deeper bass. It’s also waterproof and shockproof, but the extra feature that counts here is that it doubles as a rechargeable battery station that can juice up your devices via USB.

JBL Charge 3 portable speaker - Travel Gifts for teenagers

Check Prices: JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Travel Headphones – One of the Best Travel Gift for Kids

Whether used for music or audiobooks, headphones are one of the very best travel gifts for kids. For example, our kids use them for iTunes & Spotify, as well as for their personal video time on an iPad or laptop. They even use their own headphones when watching movies on airplanes. Earbuds are ok, but our kids find headphones to be much more comfortable. We don’t recommend extended headphone usage for younger kids. However, as they get older and have their own tastes, it’s nice when they can listen to their favorite music or movies on their own.

Plantronics Backbeat Pro

Get up to 24 hours of play before recharge with these Bluetooth travel headphones. They have a built-in mic for open listening mode so you can still hear your surroundings. Conversely, their noise-canceling tech lets you dive deeper into the music. They fold up into a case for easy traveling.


plantronics headphones - Travel Gifts for teenagers

Check Prices: Plantronics Backbeat Pro – Gifts for Air Travel

Smart Devices

If the traveling kids that you’re buying gifts for don’t already have one, then consider a smart device. These are certainly some of the most practical and the most useful gifts for education and entertainment. It doesn’t have to be the latest iPhone or other expensive little slabs of glass. Even old refurbished iPods and Android devices offer a lot. You get games, a camera, maps and geolocation capabilities, educational apps and more. In fact, for several years, we used iPads as a crucial component of our homeschooling schedule. Just make sure to get unlocked devices if you plan to travel abroad.

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Apple iPod Touch
Apple iPad
Android Tablet
Unlocked Android Smartphone

Travel Gifts for Kids of All Ages

We’ve covered travel gifts for toddlers, tweens, and teens, but here are some travel-friendly gifts for kids of all ages. Adults too!

Kindle Paperwhite

This is, without reservation, the best travel gift for kids. And the best gift for adults, too! Why? Because reading is a big part of travel. And books are heavy. Despite the pleasure of reading from physical pages, paperbacks can fill your pack and weigh you down quickly. Definitely bring a physical book or two, but a Kindle is a must-have travel gift for kids. Traveling often involves waiting. You wait at airports, on boat docks, and in hotel lobbies. Whenever our kids have to wait, they should pull out their Kindles first. Our girl rarely leaves the hotel without her Kindle. Just in case. Different people like different models. That said, we prefer the e-ink models that don’t have a color LED screen. It feels more like reading from a tangible book and doesn’t emit blue LED light, which can mess with your sleep cycle. 

Kindle Paperwhite - Travel Gifts for boys girls and adults

Check Prices: Kindle Paperwhite – Now Waterproof

Audible Subscription

A great compliment to eReaders, smart devices and physical books, Audible is Amazon’s audiobook branch. You order books through the website and then download them onto a smart device. Then you listen to them wherever you go: in headphones, on a portable speaker or through the car stereo on road trips. We’ve listened to some great books together, and the kids can listen to books even on their own when we’re on buses and boats — all without getting motion sickness.

Check Prices: Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Books & Other Printed Gift Ideas for Traveling Kids

Sure, we love digital gifts for kids, but we still love the feel and utility of paper. Carrying writing and drawing material can be a great way for kids to pass the time and document their travels. That’s why journals and sketchbooks are some of the best travel gifts for kids. They give children an outlet for expression, all while recording what they see and feel along the way. Whether it’s a travel diary, some drawing paper or an activity book, we think it’s important to interact with traditional books, magazines and other paper-based travel gifts for children. Here are a few of our favorites.

Travel Books

We believe reading is an essential part of family travel, so check through our picks for best travel books and choose something for the boy, girls and young adults in your life. While you’re at it, find something for yourself, and send me suggestions of what I should add to the list!

Read More: Best Travel Books for Kids and Adults

Strathmore Sketch Pads

Strathmore makes great general-purpose spiral-bound sketch pads for drawing while traveling. The acid-free paper is good for pencils, charcoal, pens, crayons and colored pencils. A perfect gift for traveling artists. 

sketchbook - artistic kids travel gifts

Check Prices: Strathmore Sketch Pads – Artsy Travel Gifts for Kids

Travel Journals

A journal or diary is a great way for kids to document their trip. It can also be amazing when they look back at their journal years from now to see what it says…and who they were. For teens with a nosy younger sibling, journals with a lock might be the right travel gift since they keep inquiring minds from snooping.

Travel journal - artistic kids travel gifts

Check Prices: Koboome A5-size Diary with Lock

Check Prices: Tree of Life Refillable Writing Journal

Check Prices: Combination Lock Writing Travel Diary a7 Mini Notebook

Check Prices: Reversible Sequin Journal – Travel Gifts for Girls Age 8 and Above

Best of Mad Libs

We also enjoy playing Madlibs — yes those Madlibs! I remember using Madlibs for hours of fun on long road trips as a kid. And I can tell you: they’re still fun! And for young ones and ESL kids, they can help with language arts as well since you have to know what nouns, adjectives, and adverbs are. This “Best of Mad Libs” is a great one to start with, but there are dozens — if not hundreds — of others to choose from.

mad libs - travel games for kids

Check Prices: Best of Mad Libs – Great Road Trip Games for Kids and Adults

National Geographic & Nat Geo Kids

My parents started a subscription to National Geographic before I was born. I grew up with shelves of these in my house, and it’s quite possible that they inspired some of my wanderlust. I didn’t read the articles until my early teens, but I spent hours looking through the images from kindergarten. National Geographic and Nat Geo Kids are great travel gifts for kids because they stir curiosity about the world from a young age.

National Geographic - Travel Gifts for Kids of all ages

Check Prices: 1-year subscription to National Geographic Magazine

Nat Geo Kids - travel gifts for boys age 10 girls age 10 and under

Check Prices: 1-year subscription to National Geographic Kids

Scratch the World Map

Gamify your geography lessons on this map. Now you can keep track of where you’ve been in a fun, hands-on way. Easily a great travel gifts for kids, but also one of the best travel gifts for parents, too. Borderlines are on both the scratch-off surface and below. Once you’ve visited a place, grab a coin, scratch away and reveal the color underneath!scratch off world map - Travel Gifts for teenagers and students

Check Prices: International Scratch the World Travel Map

Waterproof Cameras

More than anything else, the best travel gift for kids is memories. The second best is a camera to capture them with. Little ones often forget some of their adventures after a few years. Give them a camera to shoot what they see and experience, and the memories will last much longer. But make sure it’s rugged and waterproof enough to handle the hard knocks a child can dish out.

GoPro Hero7 Black

I probably don’t have to tell you much about these cameras. You already know that they’re one of the most popular gift ideas for travelers of all kinds. Their image quality and usability are great, and their rugged design can take a beating from kids of any age. Teens may get more out of newer models, but if you’re looking for gift ideas for kids under 13, then stick with the Hero5.

gopro - Travel Gifts for kids who have everything

Check Prices: GoPro Hero 7 Black Edition with Extra Batteries & SD Card

Panasonic Lumix Rugged/Waterproof Digital Camera 

The Panasonic Lumix line is also a great photo/travel gift for kids. We’ve had one of the early models and taken it canyoning, rafting, kayaking and more for years. And it’s still going! These are built like a tank, won’t break the bank, and takes decent pics and videos.

Lumix waterproof camera - packable gifts for kids

Check Prices: Panasonic Lumix Waterproof Digital Camera

O’Neil Rashguard

Whether they’re babies or budding young adults, keeping sunscreen on some kids is next to impossible. With a long-sleeve rash guard, you stop worrying about half their body broiling under the sun. We discovered rash guards about 10 years ago in Bali, and I could have kicked myself for not thinking of them sooner. These aren’t necessarily the best travel gifts for kids. Instead, they are more like the best gifts for parents who worry about sunburn. This youth rashguard from O’Neil is made from a stretchy polyester-spandex blend and has UPF 50 ultraviolet protection built-in.

rashguard - packable gifts for kids at the beach

Check Prices: O’Neill Youth Basic Skins UPF 50+ Long Sleeve Sun Shirt

Sun Hat with UPF 50+ UV Protection

Like the rash guard, a good sun hat can save you or your kids from days of sunburn misery. Look for sunhats that fold easily yet keep their shape. A chin strap is also useful. This bucket hat from Connectyle has all of this and mesh vents on the sides. It comes in nine different colors.

sunhat - - packable gifts for kids at the beach

Check Prices: Connectyle Kids UPF 50+ Bucket Sun Hat

Travel Game Gifts for Kids

The best gift for traveling kids is something to keep them entertained. Sure, you have kindles and other devices. But do you really want them looking at a screen while waiting at every gate, train station, and bus stop? Travel-sized games make exceptional presents for boys and girls on the move.

We always keep a few games handy for long airport waits and after-dinner fun. For example, we’ve played chess in airports during layovers. We’ve played Scrabble in Sumatra during rainstorms. As for Uno…well, we’ve played Uno just about everywhere. We love our devices and are not against screen time. But there’s something special about switching gadgets off and playing a game together. One of the best travel gifts for kids is a game that they’ll want to play over and over.

Card Games: Uno, Poker/Go Fish, Exploding Kittens, Etc

It’s hard to make something more packable than a set of cards. Uno is an ideal travel present for kids in that it spans language and age differences. Classic playing cards give you hundreds of different games to play. Then there are newer upstarts like Exploding Kittens. These may appeal to the teens and tweens in the traveling party.

Uno - travel games for kids - small gifts for kids

Check Prices: Official Uno Tin – Classic Game for Travel & Roadtrips

More Uno Versions

Marvel Uno - travel games for kids - small gifts for kids

Check Prices: Uno Card Games: Marvel, Disney, Dinosaurs, & More

Code Names (Card Game)

We love this game so much! This is a relatively new discovery for us, but it’s loads of fun as a travel game for tweens and teens. Maybe younger kids too, like maybe 10 years old and up. It’s hard to describe in a few words (follow the link for more info), but it packs fairly small, uses fun parts of your brain and has almost endless permutations. What I like about it is that the better you know the people you’re playing with (ie. your friends & family) the more possibilities there are. Great travel game for road trips, long-term travel or just for at home. 

Codenames - travel games for kids - small gifts for teens

Check Prices: Code Names Cooperative Spy Game Bundle w/Drawstring Bag

Magnetic Game Boards

Small, portable, and stable on moving surfaces, magnetic game boards are awesome. They make some of the best travel gifts for children because they can be used anywhere. Whether it’s Scrabble, Backgammon, Chess or Checkers, the pieces stay put even on turbulent flights and rocky boat rides. We’ve used them in crowded airports and insanely long immigration lines where playing cards would have never worked. Magnetic board games like Chess, Backgammon, and Scrabble add hours more of entertainment. We played Chess and Backgammon many times on rainy days in Vietnam, long train rides in Japan and on beaches in Mexico.

magnetic board games - travel games for kids - small gifts for kids

Check Prices: Mini Magnetic Board Games for Kids – Travel & Home


This fun dice-based game is versatile enough for all age levels. Tenzi is a numbers-based dice game. This can be adjusted to a child’s level and can provide hours of math practice fun! 😉

tenzi - travel games for kids - small gifts for kids

Check Prices: Tenzi, Dice Game – Great Travel Game Gift for Kids and Teens

Story Cubes

This is a great game and one of the best gifts for creative and imaginative kids. In fact, it’s also a great gift for kids who need to practice creative thinking as well. Story Cubes is essentially nine large chunky dice with images on each side. Players roll the dice and then must use the nine images they roll to create a story. A great travel gift for kids under 13 all the way up to aspiring teen screenwriters.

story cubes - travel games for kids - small gifts for kids

Check Prices: Story Cubes – Creative Travel Game & Gift Idea for Kids


We love playing dominoes with large groups: Chicken Foot is our go-to game. However, the weight and bulk of the pieces have held us back from carrying a set with us on the road. We’ve only picked up a set once we’ve settled into a place for a while (Penang, Valencia and now San Miguel de Allende). We bought this lightweight domino sets when we accidentally left our nice set in a taxi. The dominos in this set are smaller and lighter than regulation dominos, and they have the actual numbers on them instead of dots. Granted, these small dominoes without dots loses something for me aesthetically, but it makes it much easier to use with younger kids.

dominoes - travel games for kids - small gifts for kids

Check Prices: Mexican Train Double 12 Dominoes – Travel-Friendly Gifts

Tell Me More Great Travel Gifts for Kids!

When it comes to the best gifts for children who travel, this list is far from complete. What’s missing? Do you agree with my choices? What travel gifts will you buy for the ones you love? I need more gifts for boys age 10 and below. Gifts for girls age 10 and below too. Let me know!

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This costs you nothing, but we may get a small commission if you book a room or buy some travel gifts for girls and boys using these links. As always, my opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find the best travel gifts for children. 

Photo Credits via Creative Commons CC BY or other Royalty-free image sites. Some images may have been altered slightly via cropping or color enhancement: #19, #38, #41, #69