We absolutely love to travel. Until recently, my hubby’s high pressure job necessitated that he decompress every six months. Even so, it would take him nearly a week before he could relax enough to enjoy himself while on vacation. While his work doesn’t permit us to world school on a full-time basis, we have become accustomed to traveling regularly for 2-3 week holidays.
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Travel Gifts for Young Adventurists
Traveling isn’t easy. There are frequent hiccups and unexpected delays that can lead to headaches and frustration. Over the years, we have learned a lot. We have become more savvy about what we need pack to assure we are comfortable and more flexible in how we pack to avoid potential catastrophes. Today, I share a list of gift ideas for young adventurists and travelers – things you will find make travel with young ones easier and more enjoyable.
Build Excitement Prior Departure
Over the years, we have surprised the kids with a trip to Disneyland, slowly built anticipation for Florida with clue envelopes, and done all the planning ourselves. What we have found works best for us, however, is that everyone is involved in the planning.
When the kids were younger, we subscribed to a monthly travel adventure from Little Passports. It was a fun way to spark interest in travel and engage them in a great learning activity. They loved following along with Sam and Sofia, marking their new location on the world map and “stamp their passport book”.
Now that they are older, they take a more vested interest in our travel destinations. We generally discuss our next excursion concurrently while on vacation. This helps to make the long flight hours and delays more endurable.
Once we’ve settled on a destination, we are each expected to research the attractions and activities we would most like to take part. We make a list and share our ideas at a family meeting.
Not only does this help to build their excitement, they learn a lot about geography and budgeting as they help to plan our excursions and are more invested upon our arrival.
When we first traveled abroad to Scandinavia, our luggage was delayed and we arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark with just one suitcase. The kids had their clothing but hubby and I had only our carry-on bags. Fortunately, our bags arrived the next day but we certainly learned a lot in regards to packing on that first trip.
We now split our things between our four suitcases – a few days of clothing in each suitcase. We use Eagle Creek packing cubes to keep everything nicely organized and to take the stress out of packing for these extended holidays
Hubby and I have two large garment folders each. Each one holds several days of clothes. The kids use the medium cubes and the small cubes are perfect catch alls for outlet adapters, chargers, batteries, our first aid kit, etc.
What I love best about the packing cubes is that they come in a variety of colors. We can easily identify whose cube is whose. Eagle Creek now has a lighter weight fabric and a wider range of color options in their new line of Specter Cubes.
Another product we love (especially the kids) are the colorful daypacks and gear by Cotopaxi. Lightweight and versatile, the daypacks are perfect for carry-on luggage as they fit under the seat nicely and have ample space for a change of clothing, your shaving kit or vanity bag, a jacket, and a few incidentals to keep you busy en route. Use this link for a $20 Cotopaxi discount
I love the green color of our Eagle Creek luggage (pictured above), making it more visible on the luggage carousel in baggage claim. We have not yet invested in new suitcases for the kids, however.
One quick and inexpensive way to distinguish your luggage from another traveler is to use tassels or pom poms on the luggage handle. Alternatively, luggage belts work well to secure the contents in case a zipper breaks in transport.
Gifts & Tips for the Departure
To keep the kids busy en route, we generally bring along the iPad and their Mandarin schoolwork. Often they are expected to journal about their trip in Chinese. They also bring along a puzzle book and a paperback book (evident in the first photo above) or two that they will discard along the way when they finish with it.
My son is now eleven years old. Unlike his sister, he is not an avid reader so it is rare to catch him reading quietly. He has always been fascinated with airplanes however, and will generally content himself with the inflight movie.
One thing we’ve found that works well for him is to carry a Lego mini-fig or two in his carry-on. His grandmother also gifted him with a small digital camera a year ago and he uses it to digitally journal his trip from the perspective of his mini-fig. It is so fun to watch him as he carefully poses his pocket size toy and carefully words captions and anecdotes in his journal.
Destinations & Experiences Upon Your Arrival
As I eluded to earlier, teens have a more vested interest in the trip when they have been given the chance to help plan the destination and the excursions you take part in upon arrival. This was never more evident than during our recent trip to the East Coast.
My daughter loves to visit art museums while my son enjoys air and space museums. We thereby did our best to alternate visits so everyone was happy. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t always have to do everything together. In DC, the boys spent an afternoon at the International Spy Museum while Geneva and I took our time at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Our advance research and planning paid off. While in New York, we purchased a CityPASS and saved money on admission fees and avoided long lines at the ticketing window. It was well worth our time.
Looking for more gift ideas? Hop over to the iHomeschool Network linkup for many more Christmas Gift Guides.