What are some great gift ideas for travelling kids?

I often see this question pop up on the travel forums and pages that I follow. I also get asked the same question a lot at Christmas time and birthdays by family members who know I’m not keen to fill the van up with heaps of “stuff.”

The other day I posted a response to someone else with the same question and mentioned a couple of my faves like the inflatable body boards and sticker books that our kids have been given in the past.

Then I thought, why don’t I chuck all the other ideas I’ve seen mentioned into a post to help the next person out? I figure no one is gonna have a better answer than a bunch of other travelling parents 🙂

So here they are, a list of great gift ideas for travelling kids, from the parents of travelling kids.



Inflatable body boards –

These were a massive win for our kids. We have the Wahu brand boards and they are super tough and have lasted the test of time. They’re also great for a wide range of ages, our preschoolers love them but so do their 12 and 13 year old cousins.


Portable mini solar panel – 

These are great if you have kids who have their own devices. It allows them to be responsible for charging their own device. They can be chucked on the dash while you drive or in a sunny spot at camp.


Slack line – 

I keep seeing these on instagram posts and a couple of times in the flesh at camp sites I’ve been to recently and it looks like so much fun! Not to mention that it keeps the kids entertained and tires them out pretty effectively. A slack line is the next thing on my list I reckon.


Head torch –

Practical, small, easy to pack away and super handy when you have a kid who needs to get to the loo late at night. It’s also great when it comes to helping parents not lose kids at a camp site after dark.


Digital camera –

Perfect for the older kids who can be responsible for their stuff. They can document their travels and do up travel journals with their pics later on. I also mention a digital camera in the ten ways to entertain your kids on a road trip post, they are perfect for making a long drive day a little more interesting.


Audiobook voucher – 

I’m a big fan of Audible and you can give books as gifts to non members. But there are a bunch of other places to purchase audiobooks. It’s a great way to keep everyone entertained on a rainy day or for a long day in the car. If the kids have headphones (which also made this list) they can listen to their own books in peace.


TAWK quiz book –

This is a quiz book written by a travelling mum for her kids originally and designed to work for a wide range of ages so the whole family can enjoy it. You can get your hands on a copy at www.travellingaustraliawithkids.com  and you can have a read of their list of gift ideas for travelling kids here, they are a great resource for anyone on the road with kids.


Goggles and snorkle –

Anything involving play and water is probably going to be a winner for any kid on the road. It’s a bonus that they pack down small and are suitable for a wide range of ages so they should last the receiver of the gift a long time.


Microfibre/turkish towel – 

I am a big fan of microfibre towels and have given my two kids a bright colour each that is their special towel on the road. They dry super fast, pack down small and don’t take up heaps of room in the washing machine. I mentioned them in the gear for vanlife & camping – my top picks post. If you are not that keen on the feel of microfibre towels then a Turkish towel will do the same sorta thing.


Bluetooth head phones – 

I mentioned  audiobooks a little earlier on and this is a great gift for anyone who doesn’t want to have to listen to The Wiggles or Harry Potter for hours on end. Blue tooth versions are super handy as you can play them from your phone in the front seat of the car and you know exactly what the kids are listening to. I’ve done a few posts about my favourite audiobooks and podcasts for road tripping, check out perfect podcasts for family road trips or apps for road tripping with kids (that don’t involve screens) for some ideas.


Scratch off Australia map – 

This is another on my list, it’s such a great way to get the kids interested in the journey and heaps of fun revealing the places you have visited. It’s a map of Australia that is a bit like a scratchy where the kids can scrape off the coating over each place as they visit it to reveal what’s underneath. You can get the ones I’m thinking of online at Kaleidoscope World.


Torch –

So simple, so practical! My kids still treasure their first torches (which are magnetic and can stick to the front of the fridge in the van.) I figure as the kids get older the torches get fancier and everyone’s happy.


Bird watching book – 

I was given a bird watching book when I was about nine and I still remember being so super excited to get out and start ticking off birds. A great way to get the kids enthused about getting outside.


Travel journal – 

Somewhere for kids to record their trip, keep photos and drawings and just create a great keepsake for reminiscing over later. I’ve seen some great travel journals on the Caravanning With Kids website, check them out here.


Go pro – 

Every kids dream come true, haha, ours aren’t quite old enough yet. But, although you need to fork out a bit for this one, the whole family can use it for the trip. Our mates get some amazing shots from the surf and when they are swimming. It makes for a great photo op and great memories, watching the videos of everyone out in the surf was really cool.


Are We There Yet by Alison Lester (book) – 

Our kids were given this for their birthday recently and it is such a great book for anyone but especially those looking at doing a lap of Australia with kids. It details the adventures of Alison and her family as they travel around Australia in their camper trailer and it mentions a lot of the popular must see places along the way.


Frisbee –

We were given one of the beach frisbees from Wahu. It’s such a simple thing but it makes for hours of fun and it hardly takes up any space in the van. I like the soft version a bit more than the old school ones we had as kids cos the chances of someone losing a tooth are a little lower.


Kindle – 

I’m a total book addict and would take my entire collection with us but, alas, no can do. A Kindle is perfect for anyone who loves reading and doesn’t have the space to carry real live books around. It’s also perfect for reading in a tent or a van with others trying to sleep as it’s backlit and you don’t need to have any lights on.


Uno – 

Good old Uno, one of the only card games I remember how to play! I spent hours and hours sitting in a tree house playing Uno as a kid. Perfect for long car trips, rainy days and quiet time at camp.


Pocket knife – 

Nothing says intrepid explorer quite like a kid going camping with a pocket knife. Perfect the the older kids and it’ll probably come in handy when the grown ups lose their scissors, or tweezers or any of the other stuff one finds in the fancy pants pocket knives you can get these days.


Walkie talkies – 

A few people I know swear by these. They are great for older kids when you are camping so that you can send them off out of sight but still be able to get in touch with them to make sure everyone’s safe.


Sticker books –

Still one of my faves with our two who are currently 3 and 4. They spend hours in the back sticking stickers to stuff while I drive in peace and if you get the ones that have 1000+ stickers they last for AGES.


Camp chairs – 

You have probably seen the crazy shark and monkey camp chairs in our photos. Well, they are the prized possessions of our two. They were super cheap at BCF and perfect for preschoolers. Then there are some awesome options for the older kids with waterproof phone holders, drink coolers and side tables among other things.


What’s the best thing your kids have been given while you were on the road? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!


Check out road trip & camping toys that don’t take up too much space and gear that makes camping with kids easier for some more ideas.



Lily x


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