Holiday Gifts for Jetsetting Tweens and Teens

It’s already started.Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles calling and emailing to ask what my girls want for the holidays. We have a well-earned reputation (that we’re very proud of) for jumping on planes and going just about anywhere, thus holiday presents have taken on a travel theme, resulting in great gifts that make trips run smoother than ever.

Nancy did a post on holiday gifts last month. Here’s our list—many of our favorites are things we use in day to day life. Nothing’s sitting in a box collecting dust between vacations.


What was life like before computers? I don’t remember. One amazing little machine can do so much for an entire family on the go. From playing movies, to checking email, to that work thing. My 11-year-old loves being able to stay in touch wither her friends back home. Email seems to alleviate any concerns she might have about what she’s missing at home. Cost used to make owning a laptop a luxury. Luckily, as we’ve become more dependent on the convenience, the price has dropped as well. There are lots of deals out there these days. For less than $300 you can get a great netbook. Mine is bright blue with a nine hour battery. When it’s not on the road, it comes in handy for 6th grade history homework.


Looking for a cheaper alternative to a netbook? Look no further. For around $200 you can pick up an iTouch. From music, to television programs, to a quick game of checkers, there are unlimited options to keep the whole family entertained. And now that internet is available just about everywhere, the options truly are endless.

I’m not an electronics junkie, but I carry a netbook and a itouch when I travel. The itouch easily slips in a pocket or fanny pack. I’ve grabbed wireless signals on street corners and found everything from restaurant reviews to the closest clean bathroom.

Digital Camera

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in your living room or in front of the Eiffel Tower. Kids love to take pictures –hundreds of pictures. So give them a digital camera and let them go for it. You’d be amazed at the shots they get. A whole new perspective, often leads to fabulous shots. Granted, that must have shot may be hidden amongst a hundred shots of your son’s finger, but that’s what the delete key is for. The cost of digital cameras has come down considerably and most basic models are able to take the bumps that come along with young photographers. When we’re traveling, my kids love to upload their shots to the laptop and pick out pictures for their travel journal.

Swiss Army Knife

My youngest daughter lost a tooth on a trip to the Matterhorn. The ingenious tooth fairy left a Swiss Army knife under her pillow. Four years later, it’s still a must on every trip.I know what you’re thinking – kids and knives – not usually a great combination. My kids know it’s not a toy, it’s a tool. They both have one of the smaller, simpler knives. They come in handy when spreading things like jam and nutella on bread. But they get used for so much more than we ever imagined. Cutting tags off of souvenirs, removing those annoying wristbands that you get when you’re part of a tour, and removing splinters. The scissors also come in handy when cutting things out for a travel journal. Don’t let your kids pack it in their carry-on, it won’t make it through security, but Swiss Army knives are light and compact enough for kids to carry in a fanny pack.

Fanny Pack with Water Bottle Holder

Fanny packs are perfect for little ones jet setting around the globe. They’re big enough, and small enough at the same time. Big enough to hold the essentials:a digital camera, snack, small amount of money and water bottle. But small enough that you can’t over stuff them and make them too heavy. Attached around a waist, they’re hard for kids to lose. My girls tend to forget they have them on until they want something out of them. Buy a good one, with a pocket specially designed to hold a water bottle, and it will last for years of fabulous trips.

Relevant Links:

Holiday Travel Tips

Help Build a School in Cambodia

A Traveler’s Wish List

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