An Expert’s Tips, Tricks, and 10 Suggestions for Family Gift Ideas While Traveling

Are you planning a trip during Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, a family member’s birthday, or an anniversary? Long gone are the days of needing to hide wrapped gifts in your luggage and pray that the recipient doesn’t find them! With Amazon Lockers, Walmart pick-up, and curbside pick-up all the rage it’s easier than ever to pick up holiday or birthday gifts to your vacation destination, or even delivered your resort front desk! When Anne at the Unique Gifter offered to share her expert tips, tricks, and advice for family gift ideas while on vacation, I jumped at the chance of having her here at Planner At Heart.


The Unique Gifter’s Family Gift Ideas While Traveling

If you’ve ever planned a family vacation over a major holiday or birthday, figuring out the gifts part can be a stressful part of planning. Thankfully, there’s actually some pretty cool ways to buy gifts for the family while traveling. While vacations are amazing, kids can get sad if they feel their birthday is overlooked! Us adults may be really happy with a gift of vacation, but you’ll want to make children’s birthdays memorable by making sure there are the all important presents as part of the equation.

Also, if you’re planning a trip to visit a family member and want to get them something, but don’t have the space in your luggage to bring a gift you could use all these ideas for that scenario too!

Family Gift Ideas While Traveling: Using Amazon Lockers

I’m surprised that more people don’t take advantage of Amazon lockers when they’re traveling. Not only are they great for gift giving, but also handy in general when you want things to be ready at your destination (baby supplies, aerosol sunscreen, or snacks) but don’t want to cram them in your luggage.

They’re located in most major cities in North America, certain European countries, and even Mexico and Japan! In the US they’re also seen in Whole Foods locations since they’re owned by Amazon. Some locations also support Amazon Fresh if you want to stop once for all your vacation supplies!

The cool thing about Amazon lockers is you can order all the gifts ahead of time and have them waiting at your destination to pick up. One downside to Amazon lockers, though, is that they’re often unable to accommodate larger packages. Which in this case shouldn’t be an issue because you’ll be opting for something smaller (and easy to bring home) anyway.

Family Gift Ideas While Traveling: Amazon Package Delivery

family gift ideas

When traveling, don’t forget that you can ship items to your hotel like you do at home! Try and schedule the delivery to happen during your stay or right before, though. Another tip is to make sure the name on your Amazon order matches the name on your reservation to avoid confusion.

If you’re unsure about this option, give your hotel a call! It might be a good idea to let the hotel know ahead of time that you’ll be sending a package. Occasionally, hotels have receiving fees and you don’t want to be caught with a steep fee you weren’t expecting. Some resorts only a certain number of packages for free, while some charge for every single one. Knowing this information will help you decide between the Amazin Locker or Delivery options!

Family Gift Ideas While Traveling: Big Box Delivery Services

family gift ideas

This is another super handy way to get gifts to your family while traveling. Most major cities and tourist destinations worldwide offer some kind of delivery service. Especially from big box stores like Walmart, and Target which have a wide range of toys for kids of all ages!

If there could be one upside to COVID, it’s that it completely revolutionized online shopping and delivery services forcing more companies to offer them. This isn’t unique to the United States, either. Mexico’s Liverpool, for example, offers all kinds of department store products including toys for curbside pickup and delivery.

For those vacationing in North America, though, you can also shop quite a few retailers using services like Instacart. Choose what you want on the app and then have someone else do the shopping and deliver the holiday surprise. If you’re looking for a specific electronic gift, you can even get an item delivered from Best Buy through Instacart.

Family Gift Ideas: Local Small Businesses

This is one of my favorite ways to buy gifts for family while traveling. Instead of ordering from Amazon or a big box store, I look at which small businesses are in the area where we’ll be staying. 

First of all, for adult gifting occasions like anniversaries, flower shops are almost always a great option. They unusually sell other small gifts like chocolates or sentimental items, too. Most have delivery options and are more than willing to accomodate delivering to a resort or hotel.

Second, try getting in touch with small businesses in general. Even if they don’t offer delivery explicitly they might be able to work with you to coordinate delivery or pick up for a wide range of family gift ideas. Call your hotel before you stay and ask them for ideas for businesses in the area or near the hotel.

Family Gift Ideas While Traveling: Tips for Selecting Presents

  • Keep things small. Someone is going to be taking that gift back home so make sure it’s something that you can pack easily. 
  • Be mindful of transportation. Ordering the gifts online sounds great until you’re not allowed to take that back on the plane with you. Always check with airlines about what items are restricted, especially if you only have a carry on. It’s also a good idea to avoid breakable items.
  • Gift things they can use. Presents are nice, but it’s even better if you bring something the recipient will enjoy while on vacation or during the trip home. This is especially true for kids!
  • Don’t forget about gift wrapping. Either select gift wrap services during the checkout process or make sure to order a gift bag with your order!
  • Make sure you have batteries and anything else the gift might need to be operable. 
  • Avoid small pieces or gifts that have a lot of pieces like LEGO. 
  • Keep it small. Plan to only give one or two gifts . This can work both for your own family (especially kids) but also family members you’re gathering with (ship gifts to their home.) 

10 Travel-Friendly Family Gift Ideas

Need some inspiration on what items to buy? Here’s some of my family gift ideas go-tos!

1. Books

Books are the perfect all-age gift that most people will appreciate. Plus a vacation is the perfect time to fit in some reading! If you have more room in your budget a Kindle is always great too. Especially the waterproof kind if you’re going to be lounging around the pool.

2. Hard to Find Toys

Remember being a kid and playing with your Pokémon cards for hours on end? Those rare Pokemon cards or Beyblades that are hard to find would light up any holiday or birthday!As a bonus, they’re also usually small packages and easy to transport.

3. Digital Camera

You might want to give this one at the start of the trip so they can use it to take photos. The style you choose will depend on your budget and who you’re gifting to. An inexpensive one for kids is a great gift idea, or treat your spouse to a nicer DSLR. Don’t forget batteries and a memory card!

4. Handheld Gaming Consoles

These are especially great gifts for kids (or kids at heart) who are on vacation over major holidays like their birthday or Christmas. Both kids and adults love the Nintendo Switch. As a bonus it also gives them something to do on the way home! 

5. A Kids’ Smart Watch

I love this as a gift idea because it’s something kids could use over the entire vacation. Find one that tracks steps (if there’s a lot of walking) or takes photos. Plus the games are fun while waiting in the airport or in the car or when waiting for a table at dinner!

6. Small Board or Card Games

Board Games are great for unwinding in the evenings at the resort and don’t take up too much space in your luggage. For kids, look for simple card games like Uno, Monopoly Go, or Exploding Kittens. Adults might have more fun with something like Cards Against Humanity or Love Letter.

7. Headphones

These are great gifts for teens and adults, especially if they’ve been dying for an upgrade. They’ll use them during the trip, on the way home, and most likely every day after too.

8. Food or Drink Treats

I love consumable gifts because they don’t add to peoples’ clutter but are still appreciated while on vacation. Snacks or adult beverages also make great stocking stuffers that won’t necessarily have to fit in luggage on the way home!

9. Travel Accessories

If you know you’re traveling with someone who’s missing some handy travel items this is a great chance to give them an upgrade! 

10. Clothes or Accessories

Obviously, this one is personal – but can be super convenient when planning gifts for kids, teens, and even your spouse. The best part is if you know you’re giving them a new outfit or two halfway through the trip you can pack accordingly. Other fun family gift ideas include new hats, swim accessories, bags, or jewelry. 

Buying gifts for the family while traveling should be a fun experience. Hopefully, these family gift ideas will help you avoid some stress, including trying to figure out how to get all those presents home when the holiday is done.