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Useful and thoughtful travel gifts for parents

Useful and thoughtful travel gifts for parents

If you’re looking for that perfect travel gift for a parent, perhaps your better-half who is equally travel-obsessed as you or your travel-loving child who has just become a parent themselves, then we’ve compiled some thoughtful ideas for you.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click to purchase, it is at no additional cost to you, and I receive a small commission.

Here we focus on travel gifts for mums and dads that are useful for them, not their kids, because trust us, most travel items they buy are for their kids. These are travel presents to show that you understand them and have put some thought into it (you don’t have to let them know you read this article, that can be between you and me).

Plus, these ideas come from parents (that’s Jay and I) who have travelled extensively with our kids over the past decade. We know what’s useful and what’s not, and the majority of these parent travel gifts listed are tried and tested by yours truly.

So if you’re wondering what to get another parent for Christmas, birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or just to say ‘thank you for being awesome’, here are some useful travel gifts for mums and dads.

These are all items that can be purchased on Amazon. Whilst I know some people try and avoid spending money on Amazon and like to spend in their high-street shops, that’s absolutely fine. This roundup of travel gifts for parents will hopefully give you some ideas. But if you do use the links provided, I earn a small commission and you will still be supporting a small family business (that’s us).

And if you’re needing inspiration on travel gifts for kids

Reading kindles on the train from Bangkok to Malaysia

USEFUL travel gifts for kids

As a family who travel and move around a fair bit, I always prefer travel gifts for kids over regular toys as I know we will get a lot of use out of them. Here we share the perfect travel gifts for kids that are useful and will stand the test of time.

1. Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack

VSNOON Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack, 15.6-17.3 inch Business…
  • 【Anti-theft backpack】The business laptop backpack is designed with a combination lock and double…
  • 【Large Capacity & Multiple Compartments】The travel backpack has separate laptop compartments for…
  • 【USB 2.0 Upgraded Charging Port】The upgraded USB charging port and headphone jack can help you…
  • 【Durable & Breathable Fabric】The laptop bag is made of durable polyester, high quality…
  • 【Multipurpose Work Backpack】19.5x 12.5 x 5.3 inch laptop bag for laptops up to 17 inches. It is…

For short trips where you’re limited to carry-on baggage only, the VSOOON Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack is my go-to bag. I’ve also used this as Ryanair under-the-seat baggage.

There’s a padded section in the main compartment for my laptop and lots of different pockets with zips to conveniently separate all my belongings. There’s also a little socket to plug in a battery pack and headphones. The zip-lock that level of security and peace of mind.

It sits comfortably on my back and has fitted in everything I needed for recent trips to Essaouira and Andalucía. It’s also used as a day bag for our longer trips, such as the 10 weeks we spent backpacking around Southeast Asia, as it secures my laptop safely and all the different compartments are handy for snacks, passports, headphones, kindles etc.

The VSOOON Anti-Theft Laptop Backpack is great value and comes in five different colours. I have it in both the grey and black (I had to buy a second when Jay started using it too).

Jay using the VSNOON backpack in Granada, Spain.

2. Kindle

Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition | 32 GB with a 6.8″…
  • Get more with Signature Edition: everything in the Kindle Paperwhite, plus wireless charging,…
  • Purpose-built for reading: with a flush-front design and 300 ppi glare-free display that reads like…
  • More reading time: a single charge via USB-C or compatible Qi wireless charger (sold separately) now…
  • Adjustable screen: now with adjustable warm light and auto-adjusting front light for a personalised…
  • More books in more places: with 32 GB store thousands of books, magazines or audiobooks, and take…

My Kindle is an absolute travel essential and comes on every single trip with me. I absolutely could not be with it. Why? Well it’s the ultimate space-saver for book lovers.

Whilst nothing quite compares to the feel of turning pages with your fingers and holding the weight of all the words in your hands, if you’re travelling for more that a week, the weight and size of books just can’t be justified, especially if you’re minimalist packers like us.

Kindles come with an adjustable backlight, so you don’t need an extra light on for reading, and the battery life is superb (even with regular reading, mine can go weeks between charging). Plus with 32GB of storage, you can fill your kindle with enough books for a year of travel without needing to connect to WIFI (though it does connect to WIFI if you need it to).

3. Travel Journal and Planner

Clever Fox Travel Journal – Vacation Planner with Budget…
  • FULFILL YOUR TRAVEL DREAMS: If you are dreaming of seeing the world, Clever Fox Travel Journal is…
  • A TRIP WORTH BEING REMEMBERED: This travel journal helps you experience your trip to the fullest and…
  • CAREFREE JOURNEY: This traveling Journal includes safety tips, helpful travel info, and a packing…
  • A5 FORMAT & PREMIUM QUALITY: This Travelling Journal measures 14.5 x 21cm and has an eco-leather…
  • 60-DAY MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE – We will exchange or refund your travel Journal for women, men and…

I still use a paper diary to note everything down, whether it’s the day-to-day chores of home life or details of booked accommodation and activities when travelling. I know this can be stored on the phone, but I much prefer everything on paper.

So this is why I love the Clever Fox Travel Journal. There are pages to list places you want to visit and things you want to do, packing checklists, an expense tracker, pages to journal thoughts, and so much more.

It’s perfect for creative people who love to jot down ideas and thoughts and keep everything in one place. It’s also the perfect memento for family travel adventures.

4. Compression Packing Cubes

Cipway Compression Packing Cubes Set, Ultralight Expandable…
  • 【Space Saver】Compression packing cubes via the exterior compression double zippers get more room…
  • 【Durable】We created the packing cubes set with Lightweight nylon fabric stands up to nonstop…
  • 【Multiple Function】Water resistant nylon materials with odor control for sweaty and smelly…
  • 【Dimensions】Compressed Size : 10 x 7 x 1.5 in (M) , 14 x 10 x 1.5 in (L) ; Expanded Size : 10 x…
  • 【Better Travel Gear】Compression cubes set keep your items organized for family breaks, business…

We’ve been using packing cubes for years now and we just wouldn’t travel without them. Not only do they save space, but they help to keep items organised when backpacking with kids and moving from place to place every few days.

The Cipway Compression Packing Cubes, one of the best packing cubes on Amazon, have an extra layer of compression by means of a zip. This is super handy for further space saving, but don’t overfill them as that then just creates stress trying to force the zip closed, and the whole point of packing cubes is to make travelling simpler.

5. Tripod phone holder

Victiv 72inch Tripod for Camera, Lightweight Aluminum Tripod…
  • 【Adjustable Tripod】4-section leg tube uses flip lock system to quickly extend the tripod from…
  • 【Ultra Stability】Premium anodized aluminium leg tubes provide 11.6 lbs better load capacity; Use…
  • 【Abundant Accessories】1+1 Extra universal 1/4 inch quick Release Plate for easy change among…
  • 【All-Round Shooting】 Support 360° horizontal rotation and 180° vertical rotation and give you…
  • 【Versatility 】Flexible non-slip rubber feet pad ensures sturdy standing on different types of…

Look through family photos of a trip and it’s extremely rare to find a snap of the whole family that isn’t a selfie. And more often than not, one parent is out of the photo and behind the lens taking the photo (that’s often me!)

The best way to record those family travel memories together is with a tripod for your phone.

I’ve used a few over the years and this is one travel item where I allow a little more bulk and weight for durability. There are a lot of flimsy tripods on the market that don’t stand the test of time, especially when backpacking with kids. Ensure you get one that’s both sturdy but also has a swivel head for maximum shooting flexibility.

Lazybeach, Koh Rong Sanloem
A rare photo of us all in the same picture and not a selfie. This was taken using a tripod.

6. Waterproof phone pouch

Pelican Marine Waterproof Roll Top Dry Bag
Certified IPx8 rated underwater submersion to a depth of 3.3ft (1m) for up to 30 minutes | Built in air cushions provide buoyancy for easier phone retrieval | Detachable lanyard helps to keep your phone secure | Clear window allows you to use your phone while inside the pouch

Water activities always feature a lot on our travels, whether it’s on a river safari in Borneo, surfing the waves in Essaouria, or jumping into swimming pools on campsites in France.

Back in the day, I used to travel with a GoPro, but I’ve stopped using it. It’s another thing to carry, I found the photo quality was no longer up to scratch in comparison to my phone, and it was a faff downloading the photos. Oh and then somehow, while snorkelling Thailand, I pressed the wrong button and deleted loads photos. Urgh.

So now I use a waterproof pouch for my phone, which has a touchscreen window so I can still use my phone when it’s in the pouch and a detachable lanyard to wear around my neck.

And it doesn’t just protect your phone from water, it’s also great for those beach days and preventing grains of sand getting where they shouldn’t.

7. KEEN sandals

KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal, Red Dahlia, 6 UK
  • TRACTION and PROTECTION: Multi-directional lugs with razor siping help provide superior grip on…
  • SUPPORT and COMFORT: Lace-lock bungee capture system provides a secure fit while offering a quick…
  • FIT and INSOLE: Built on a women-specific foot form that is wider than the industry norm for…
  • CARE TIPS: All KEEN water sandals are machine washable; Use a small amount of detergent, wash on…
  • ODOR-PROTECTION: Includes Eco Anti-Odor, a natural, pesticide-free probiotic-based technology for…
Sale
Keen Men’s Newport H2 Sport Sandal, Brown Bison Bison, 8 UK
  • TRACTION and PROTECTION: Multi-directional lugs with razor siping help provide superior grip on…
  • SUPPORT and COMFORT: Lace-lock bungee capture system provides a secure fit while offering quick and…
  • FIT and INSOLE: This style runs true to size; Non-removable EVA footbed with added arch support for…
  • WATER-RESISTANT UPPER: Washable polyester webbing featuring quick-dry lining for active use in and…
  • CARE TIPS and ODOR PREVENTION: All KEEN water sandals are machine washable; Use a small amount of…

For travels in warmer climates, whether it’s our Bongo trips in France or backpacking Southeast Asia, us parents live in our KEEN sandals. I’ve been wearing the same pair for years now (they really do stand the test of time) and they are ridiculously comfortable (we walk miles in them). And when home in the Peak District, we’re wear KEEN hiking boots for our outdoor adventures.

Sandals are true to size, so make sure you subtly check shoe sizes before purchasing for a surprise travel gift for mum or dad.

8. Family Passport Holder

VanFn Family Passport Holder Travel Wallet RFID Blocking…
  • RFID BLOCKING & WATER RESISTANT MATERIAL – Our passport holder is made with water-resistant &…
  • LARGE CAPACITY TRAVEL ORGANISER – Large capacity with 19 compartments in the travel wallet, 8…
  • CONVENIENT OUTSIDE POCKET – There is a quick-access outside pocket and a rear zipper pocket for…
  • WIDE APPLICATION & IDEAL GIFT – This passport holder is a great ideal for women and men. Suitable…
  • VANFN SATISFACTION GUARANTEE – Dimension: 24.5 x 15 x 2.5cm, Weight: 145g. Buy confidently with our…

Keep all the family passports in one place with a family passport holder. This one has space for 6 passports, slots for your travel bank cards, a pen (always need that handy to complete arrival forms), and a pouch for cash on arrival to your destination.

We also recommend adding dot stickers to each passport to identify which passport belongs to which family member.

10. Adventure scrap book

Creawoo Wooden Our Adventure Book Scrapbook Photo Album, DIY…
  • Love Memory Book: Creawoo Wooden Our Adventure Book will store your special experience and collect…
  • Wooden Adventures Scrapbook: With walnut color finished, the cover of this adventures scrapbook is…
  • Laser Precision Finished: Laser engraved with world map, balloon and compass on the cover. Unique…
  • Premium Kraft Paper: This travel journals book includes 80 pages (40 sheets), made from 200GSM…
  • DIY Warm Gift: This wooden photo album will be the best anniversary, wedding, birthday, Christmas or…

Perhaps the most thoughtful travel gift for mum or dad listed here – an adventure scrap book.

This takes a little time to prepare, so make sure you purchase the scrap book in good time to print photos and fill the pages with travel memories. Perhaps it’s a summary of your year, or all the travels as a family, or maybe even the travels pre-kids. Either way, have the tissues handy as there are sure to be a few emotional tears shed.

11. Personalised travel ticket box

Personalised Travel Ticket Collection Box | Adventure…
  • Quality engraved clear acrylic front
  • Removable back so you can organise and look through your keepsakes
  • Perfect for Couples travel memento collections, Family holiday keepsakes, Graduation gift for travel…
  • See other designs for wine corks, beer caps, date night memories, music gig tickets etc
  • Each Travel Ticket Collection Box is meticulously packaged to ensure it arrives at your doorstep in…

If Mum or Dad likes to keep all those tickets from buses, trains and attractions from the family adventures, this personalised travel ticket box makes for a lovely keepsake. Indeed, what a lovely thing to look through in future years when the kids have grown up.

12. Lonely Planet: The World

Sale
The World: A Traveller’s Guide to the Planet (Lonely Planet)
  • LONELY PLANET
  • Hardcover Book
  • Planet, Lonely (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 992 Pages – 10/13/2017 (Publication Date) – Lonely Planet (Publisher)

The Lonely Planet travel guides are always make for the perfect travel gift. If you’re unsure of where the next family travel destination will be or are looking for a travel gift for someone who just wants to go everywhere, then Lonely Planet: The World is perfect.

This guide sits in our home study, and whenever I spot flights to a destination we haven’t yet ventured, I grab this book and flick to the relevant pages to spark ideas.

With the whole world condensed into the one book, it obviously lacks detail, but it certainly ignites wanderlust.

13. Drone

Sale
Ruko F11GIM2 Drones with Camera 4k Professional, 64 Mins…
  • 【𝟗𝟖𝟎𝟎𝐅𝐓 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐥-𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞…
  • 【𝟒𝐊 𝐂𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐚 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐆𝐢𝐦𝐛𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝…
  • 【𝟔𝟒𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐬 𝐅𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞】: F11GIM2 fpv drone can fly…
  • 【𝐋𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥 𝟔 𝐖𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞】: Drone 4k…
  • 【𝐆𝐏𝐒 𝐃𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐞】: This drone will return to the take off point once battery…

A drone is something I’ve personally wanted for quite a few years now. But after crashing one into a tree over four years ago and breaking it, I never took the plunge. However, with big travel plans on the horizon (I know, we always have big plans), a drone is the perfect travel gift for this mum!

Santa was listening as I’ve recently been sent the Ruko F11GIM2 drone. Review to come soon! It has 64 minutes flight time and has good wind resistance, plus lots of clever features for video capture. Do check out the website for reviews and all the features.


You may also like to read:
The BEST family travel destinations
23 USEFUL travel gifts for kids
Family travel on a budget: how to travel cheap with kids in tow