Do you know a family planning international travel with children five and under? Here are some great ideas for gifts for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners (and their parents) getting ready to travel internationally for vacation, adventure or to visit family for the holidays.
Take a look at this list to help you brainstorm some amazing presents for the globetrotters on your gift list!
Or, are you the one getting ready to hit the airport for some international travel with small children?
If so, take a look at this list of suggestions to help prepare yourself and your little ones for the upcoming adventure…
If you make a purchase using the affiliate links below, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see detailed disclosures here.
A backpack for mom – Especially if traveling with kids solo, mom will want to have hands-free as much as possible. My backpack is no longer available, but this model is very similar.
For my travel, I emptied my purse, and packed the non-essentials in checked luggage.
Everything else (either needed on the trip or valuable) was split between a clear gallon ziploc and a spare makeup bag, similar to this, and packed into the backpack.
Kid backpacks – The Pottery Barn Kids backpacks and lunch boxes do wonderful double-duty for school and travel.
In anticipation of an international trip the following summer, my daughters (then ages 3 and 4) received new backpacks and lunchboxes a few Christmases back…
They continue to use them for preschool and Kindergarten, nearly two years later.
Four sizes are available, so you can find the size that works best for you and your travel needs.
Although our children were in preschool at the time, I selected the small (not Pre-K) sized backpack, knowing that we needed the additional room and compartments for travel.
The Small backpacks provide a chest clip that helps the child carry heavier loads (like when loaded up with travel activities on the airplane.)
We’ve carried these backpacks on several plane and road trips. Both backpacks and lunch boxes are still going strong and looking good, once in a while just needing a quick swipe with a wet cloth.
Tip: if you are able to plan ahead, catch the backpacks and lunchboxes on clearance in late fall / early winter.
Card games – Even at ages 3 and 5, my girls really enjoyed playing card games. We didn’t always play by the official rules, but it kept us all occupied!
Even a standard stack of cards would keep them occupied for 15-20 minutes, with the children sorting the cards to match colors, shapes and numbers.
For anybody visiting family overseas, it’s nice to have some simple games for children and adults to bridge language barriers.
In our case, Skip Bo Junior was a surprisingly easy game for our 5 year old to join in and play with our elderly relatives, and even our 3 year old was able to “help.”
Uno and the traditional card game set are also good ideas for inclusive activities regardless of age or language compatibility! The Busytown card game has continued to be a hit in our family, even after our travels.
Before a Long Trip
Tablets – Check out suggestions for tablets, headphones, cases and screen covers in Family Gift Guide: Air Travel Edition.
Headphone splitter – If more than one child is traveling, you may end up deciding to take multiple devices. What happens if one charges down, gets lost or breaks while you’re traveling? (Hopefully that doesn’t happen, though!)
As part of our just-in-case travel arsenal, we took along this headphone splitter.
If one device powered down (or got semi-locked up after an update), we were able to add the splitter to the other device, and both children could watch the same show. (I know, first world problems. But, more than once, I was glad to have this splitter!)
More Apps – In addition to any favorite apps on your child’s tablet or iPad, consider loading up with a few new applications before the trip. One of our favorites are the many drawing and art apps as well as the Kids’ Puzzles apps.
Audible subscription – Pay for an audiobooks subscription, there are selections for children, youth and adults.
Digital downloads – Before you leave the contiguous U.S., download as much digital content as your device will allow. Once you are abroad, you may discover that (even on WiFi), your devices will no longer stream certain content from services such as Amazon Prime.
Amazon Gift Card – If you don’t know what to buy, a gift card is always appreciated.
Other Considerations for the International Traveler
Seasonal variation – While some things will be obvious (such as a preferred sunblock for a sunny destination), don’t forget to pack seasonal allergy medications or topical creams for skin, especially if triggered by temperatures or environmental conditions.
Keeping medications cool – For summer travel, keeping items cool can be challenging during international travel and outdoor activities. While Epi-Pens (epinepherine, emergency medication for allergic reactions) do not need refrigeration, they should not be in high temperatures.
The FRIO insulating bag has been our family’s go-to solution for keeping medications at room temperatures.
Deliver Gifts to the Foreign Destination
If you are providing a gift (like diapers) that will be used or consumed completely at their destination (and is not needed during travel), consider if circumstances allow you to have Amazon ship the items directly to the destination.
The duration of the visit, family preference and lodging arrangements will help determine how realistic this option is for the family. Definitely only go this route after speaking with the family, to be sure this is as helpful as you intend it to be! You’ll also need to determine the cost for you to shop on the foreign amazon site.
Going to Canada? Shop on www.Amazon.ca.
Going to the UK? Shop on www.Amazon.com.uk.
Do you have some more ideas for the family travelers in your life? Do you see something missing in this list? Tell me your favorite must-haves in the comments, and let’s make gift-giving easier for our loved ones (and the next reader!)
I’ve packed these gift guides chock full of our family’s entertainment and survival items from our trips in the car, by air and solo (just mom and 3 month old baby!)
P.S. Before you buy, do a quick search of Amazon’s Wish List feature (I talk about it here) to see if the family in question already has a public wish list!
If you’re shopping via Chrome browser, take one more minute to download the Honey extension to price check. Check out tip #2 here for my screenshare of the Honey extension at work.
Have you already checked out my other Gift Guides for the working mom or traveling for the holidays? I have a lot more ideas over there!
Want to receive updates from me about ending your career break? Updates about new content, resources and events for moms returning to work? Sign up for the newsletter, like my Facebook page, or join the Facebook Group so we can stay in touch!