Under the tree
TOP TRAVEL GIFTS 2018
10 Gifts for the travelers - both young and old - on your list
Every year, the staff at KidTripster comes up with our list of top travel gifts for the season. Some of the gifts on our list are meant to excite your child about travel. Some are gadgets to make travel easier. And some are simply meant to celebrate the world in which we’re able to explore.
We hope that you find something on this list for the traveler in your life. And if you find something for yourself, treat yourself! Don’t worry, we won’t tell.
1/BedBox & RideBox from JetKids by Stokke
The idea for JetKids started in 2008 when parents Christina & Halvor Holmgren experienced an all-to-familiar problem on a long haul flight with their young daughter: creating a comfortable space for her to sleep that didn’t involve lying across their laps. I’ve been there. My child eventually slept on that 9-hour flight, but I certainly didn’t.
BedBox starts as a fun, ride-on suitcase that fits as a carry-on underneath the seat in front of you on the plane. Once in the air, the suitcase transforms into a comfortable leg rest or sleeping pad, depending on the size of your child. To see how, click here. It also has a compartment to hold your child’s in-flight necessities. BedBox comes in three colors: Pink Lemonade, Green Aurora, and Blue Sky. Cost: $199.
If you don’t anticipate needing the sleeping space, you can opt for RideBox. The ride-on suitcase (which also can be pulled) has the same Scandinavian design as BedBox but with more storage. With this suitcase in tow, your kids will never complain about schlepping to your gate. Ideal for ages 3 to 7 years old. Cost: $149
What’s more fun than getting a package in the mail? Getting one filled with snacks! MunchPak is a subscription box service that delivers unusual snacks from around the world to your door. You can customize your order by choosing how often you’d like to receive a box (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly), how many snacks (5, 10 or 20) and what kinds of flavors you like (salty, sweet, spicy, and more). MunchPak also has a HealthPak and CheatPak option. And if you just want to send one box as a gift, you can do that, too.
My son and I enjoyed discovering what was inside our box. Each snack is labeled with its country of origin, as some of the labels are not in English. While the Doritos from South Korea were not a hit, the rest of the box was happily eaten! I especially liked the Bourbon Petit Soft Choco Cookies from Japan. Cost: Ranges from $17-24/delivery.
KidTripster Tip: I think that this is a particularly good gift for grandparents to give grandchildren who may live in a different city. Every month, it’s a nice, little reminder of Grandma and Grandpa and something that they can chat about on the phone.
We love how maker Dan Linden has used technology to create meaningful map art. He got his start by tracing the streets of his former neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, and then laser cutting the grid into wood, creating a piece of urban-laced artwork. Linden has expanded his Cut Maps collection to states and cities around the world, using the unique patterns formed by their streets, parks, and landmarks to create wall hangings and framed, stand-up art in both wood and stainless steel. He also crafts his designs into wooden cellphone cases and Christmas ornaments. Plus he’s added stainless steel city skylines, perfect accents for desks.
How does this relate to travel, you ask? We think these pieces of art are perfect ways to celebrate travel destinations that you or a loved one have recently visited. Or they could be a unique way to announce an upcoming trip that you may be giving as a gift. Or you can do what I did and select a wall hanging of my own city as a gift for my son, a college student, as a reminder his hometown. Cost: Starts at $15.
4/Coloring placemats, pocket maps & posters from OMY
I’m a sucker for anything that encourages kids to learn geography. That’s why I love the coloring kits from OMY. You can give your child a pack of 24 placements to color that highlights scenes from cities around the USA: Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. They’re perfect for playdates or occupying kids at restaurants. Or your child can focus on one city or country and color a giant wall poster. If you have an upcoming trip, stoke your child’s anticipation with one of the pocket maps: London, Paris, Barcelona, and beyond. Each project includes fun, whimsical scenes that promise hours of coloring fun. Cost: Starts at $9.50.
5/Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Volume-Limited Kids' Bluetooth Headphones
The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Volume-Limited Kids' Bluetooth Headphones passed the most rigorous of tests - my 11-year-old listening to music on his cellphone. Our KidTripster Tween loves that the headphones are wireless and comfortable. But here’s the best feature for me as a parent: the volume-limiting control. I can rest easy when he's using them because I know the volume is not too loud. The headphones also have noise cancellation and 18 hours of battery life. They come in a variety of fun colors. Cost: Starts at $69.99.
KidTripster Tip: Because of their size, these headphones are best for kids, ages 12 and under.
Overall, these headphones get two thumbs up from our cub reporter. That’s a big compliment, given his thumbs are generally tied up playing video games.
6/Motorola Outdoor Wave Bluetooth Speaker MS350 from Trekr Technology
I often find myself wanting my teenager to take out his earbuds and give his ears a break. It can be a tough sell. But he’s a big fan of the Motorola Outdoor Wave Bluetooth Speaker MS350 from Trekr Technology. This wireless speaker allows him to take his music anywhere. I especially like this speaker for the campground. We put it on a picnic table so that the whole family can enjoy some tunes. Cost: $79.99. Embarrassing dance moves from mom? Those are free.
7/The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid
I first heard about this book when the author was interviewed on the Frommer’s Travel Show podcast. I found it so fascinating that I immediately ordered one for my nephew. Rather than being arranged by country, it’s organized by related attractions. Explore Mexico’s glittering cave of crystals and then visit the world’s largest cave in Vietnam. Peer over a 355-foot waterfall in Zambia and then learn how Antarctica’s Blood Falls got their mysterious color. After you and your child read the Explorer’s Guide, be prepared to add to your bucket list. Mine is ever-growing. Cost: $13.50.
8/I Was Here travel journal & Everything & Everywhere book
I Was Here from Chronicle Books is a beautifully-made, colorful, travel journal. It’s full of creative and unusual writing prompts like “record everyday objects you come across that have slightly different signage than what you are familiar with" or "smudge this page with whatever you are drinking right now." Other fun ideas include unique souvenir suggestions, new ways to create daily itineraries, and a cloud identification guide. This journal is a great gift for creative types who enjoy some quiet time to reflect on their travels. It’s the perfect size for a purse or daypack. Once completed, it becomes a one-of-a-kind memento. Cost: $17.
Also from Chronicle Books, Everything & Everywhere is a fact-filled picture book for curious globetrotters with whimsical illustrations and fun tidbits about major destinations around the world. My 9-year old calls it her "cities book" and has made it her nighttime reading. Did you know there's a jade market in Hong Kong? Or lava cactus in the Galapagos? The books have piqued her interest and prompted a lot of "Mom, can we go here?” questions. Ideal for kids ages 6 to 12. Cost: $19.
9/Compression Socks from Vim & Vigr
I’m not sure how this came to be, but socks are a pretty traditional holiday gift. But these socks have a purpose; they’re compression socks. I know that may not sound sexy, but hear me out. Have you ever been on a long flight and experienced really achy legs or perhaps swelling? These socks are the solution for that! But unlike other compression socks that I’ve tried, these are actually comfortable. You can choose socks in one of four fabrics: nylon, moisture-wick nylon, cotton or Merino wool. They’re all made at a family-owned manufacturer in Taiwan that’s been in the business of compression socks for 45 years. Plus, they come in all sorts of fun designs! So even if you don’t need socks that provide compression, everyone can use a pair of really cute socks! Cost: Starts at $33.
KidTripster Tip: Pregnant? These compression socks are for you!
KidTripster TIp: Have a wide calf? Vim & Vigr makes socks to fit you.
10/Flight 001 Seat Pak
Have you ever bought something that you really didn’t need, but then once you owned it, you couldn’t live without it? That’s what happened to me with the Flight 001 Seat Pak. This bag that I never knew I needed is great for in-flight organization. With three zippered compartments on the front and a large one on the back, there’s a place to keep everything in-flight and on the go.
In the first section, I keep my personal care items like a small toothbrush, hand cream, wipes for cleaning my glasses, hair ties, mints, and Advil. The second section is where I keep my passport, boarding card, luggage tags, credit card (for any in-flight purchases), pen to fill out immigration forms, and my house keys (so I actually remember where they are when I get home!). The third section is for my digital stuff like my cellphone, charger, earbuds, and back-up battery pack. In the rear, zippered section, I keep Wet Ones, hand sanitizer, tissues, protein bar for when I get “hangry,” and a lollipop to bribe my kid.
The best part about the Seat Pak is that there’s a little fabric loop sewn onto the side of the bag so you can hang it right in front of you on the tray table latch. No need to get your carry-on down from the overhead bin or rummage through your bag on the floor. Cost: $28.
KidTripster Tip: Get one for everyone in the family but in different colors so there’s no confusion as to whose is whose!
At Christmas, editor Shellie Bailey-Shah gives her children gifts related to a particular theme, which is often tied to an upcoming trip. Read her advice about Giving the Gift of Travel to your kids. Writers Marcia Breen and Megan Moore Inchauste also contributed to this story.
Writers received some complimentary products for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions expressed are solely their own
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