Do you know a family planning a road trip with children five and under? Here are some great ideas for gifts for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners (and their parents) getting ready to travel by car 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 travelers on your gift list!
Or, are you the one getting ready for a family road trip with one or more small children?
If so, take a look at this list of suggestions to help prepare yourself and your little ones for the upcoming adventure…
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Kids Activities in the Car
These are great ideas to give at any point before or during the trip, to provide entertainment at their destination or as a novelty item for the return drive home.
Sticker books – Sticker books are a great option for car time. Yes, smaller children might end up placing stickers as far as they can reach, but (good news!) their reach is limited because of their car seat 🙂
Mess free coloring activities – While pricier than their standard counterparts, I’ve been grateful to have these mess-free coloring options for car rides when my children were younger and when we were planning to visit relatives (so I could look away for a moment and not turn to see artwork all over a table…)
Buy one of the art desks, then a few of the coloring pads with favorite characters or themes. The extra marker pack is nice for longer journeys.
More coloring activities – Just add a pack of age-appropriate crayons or markers plus a coloring book (or ten) for entertainment.
Consider buying a “party pack” on a favorite theme, so everybody gets the same item – particularly helpful with multiple children.
iPad or other tablet – I don’t think most modern parents need to be told how helpful a little technology can be once in a while. If you already have a tablet, just take a few minutes to make sure it’s charging fully and operating well.
Solar charger – I shared a few more battery options here. I like having a solar charger as backup.
Once in a while, none of the other spare chargers has enough charge left, and I can just set this in a sunny spot (in the car, in the hotel, while picnic-ing, etc.) After a short while, we can top up our mobile or tablet battery.
Since prices are always changing, here are four well-priced top-rated batteries, very similar to my now-discontinued version.
Luggage tags – Why? To include emergency information (both parents names, phone numbers, child’s name, blood type, allergies, etc.) on the tag. Then, I hooked the luggage tag through a spare loop on the car seat (being sure not to mess with the safety of the seat!) In case of an accident, emergency responders can get information on the children if the driver is not able to respond. At least, that is my hope.
I can’t remember where I read this idea, but taking care of this task gave me some peace of mind. I hope nobody ever needs to read these tags! While for a serious purpose, I picked out one of these cute designs.
DVDs – If your vehicle has a DVD player, buy a few new DVDs to keep the kids entertained. Also a good idea if your destination has a DVD player that you can use. Save some money, and borrow a few DVDs from the library, as long as you’ll be back before the due date!
Freebies – In the weeks or months leading up to the trip, when buying kids’ fast food meals, tuck the toys away before the kiddos notice them… Repeat this a few times and you’ll have a goodie bag to bring along on your long trip!
Stay Healthy During the Family Road Trip
Remember the vitamins – do you want to remember the kids daily vitamins or medications during your trip? Instead of dragging along all the separate bottles, just grab a pill organizer and fill it up! (Just be sure to keep the organizer tucked away, securely out of children’s reach!)
If you use gummy vitamins, you’ll want to bring that bottle, though. The gummies don’t stay soft outside of a well-sealed container!
Insulin or EpiPen Cooling Case – we carry EpiPens, and need to be sure the pens remain at a comfortable room temperature during warmer months. I finally found these cases this year and have been so pleased with their performance.
Tick remover – I keep one of these in our glove compartment at all times. If you need it (during your trip or a random day at the park), you’ll be grateful to have it!
For the Hotel Stay
We’re officially in big-kid land… we look for hotel stays that include an indoor pool!
If your travel includes any hotel stays with pools, be sure that you have gear packed and that fits! And, a few extra luxuries to make living in a smaller space a happy adventure 🙂
Swim gear – Here’s what we make sure to bring (and that fits) before we pack for a hotel with a pool!
Favorite snacks – Since you’ll have your car, swing by a grocery store and pick up your favorite no-cook treats: popcorn, cookies, chocolate, or chips. Curl up as a family and watch a favorite show or movie. 🙂
Deliver Gifts to 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 for them as you intend!
However, if a family with small children is visiting a destination for more than a few days, this could be a potentially huge help in freeing up luggage space and stress!
A Few More Tips Before You Buy…
Most of the links above are for products available on Amazon.com.
Sometimes Amazon prices are the absolute best deal, and other times, Amazon is just the most convenient source (but best value, not so much.)
If you’re not sure about the family’s travel needs but want to surprise them, you can ask if they have an Amazon Wish List or try your best to buy something from an online retailer with a bricks-and-mortar store close to their home (or their destination).
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!)
Have you already checked out the Gift Guide for Family: International Travel Edition? Or, how about the Gift Guide for the Family: Air Travel Edition?
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!) So head on over and take a look for more inspiration.
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!