Gifts for Family Travelers

gifts for family travelers

It’s Christmas season and that means it’s gift time. And with the big day less than a week away if you’re still looking for ideas for presents, you might be in trouble. Well, unless you’re a guy, or at least a typical guy. If that’s the case, you’ve still got a few days before you even realize it’s Christmas and that you have a significant other and three kids who would appreciate opening a gift on Christmas morning. These gifts for family travelers aren’t really the type one “opens,” per se, but they might be appreciated more than the latest gadget.

So I’m a guy and I just dissed guys and their present-shopping prowess. Who would want to take gift-giving advice from me?

And come to think of it, I haven’t bought any presents yet, other than ordering our son’s gifts online. Doesn’t take much work to just follow an 8-year-old’s list, pull up a website and order the more practical requests. So he might be disappointed when he doesn’t open that trip to Legoland in Carlsbad, Calif., he asked for, but how can I wrap a present that I haven’t even started to plan yet?

Anyway, I’m not all about telling you the coolest gadgets, video games and gear that will get you through next year’s great family vacation. I mean, no one offered to pay me to review their “fabulous” gifts, and honestly, I’m too lazy to ask them for products to review here.

I believe gifts should be experiences. So if you came here to learn about the latest Apple products, go elsewhere. Just do it. It won’t hurt my feelings.

gifts for family travelers


I’ll wait while you Google real Christmas present lists, you know, the 10 best gifts for travelers, or the hottest gift ideas for your guy friend, or, well, you get the point.

gifts for family travvelers


OK, so you’re still here? Fabulous (thanks mom for staying to read).

Here is my list of gifts for family travelers.

A Saturday morning with nothing to do. I have that right now as I type this. But then Colby wants me to watch him play Mindcraft, laundry from the past week has become a mountain, I have basketball practice to coach in an hour and a long to-do list for the afternoon. And that’s before attending a Christmas party tonight and maybe starting to think about presents to buy. Nah, it’s still too early to do that.

A car that is already cleaned and serviced before the night before a road trip. There is nothing like going out to load the car, remembering that I need to check the tires and discovering one of them is five pounds light and two others are one pound under. And I don’t have an air compressor.

So maybe a good gift for me actually might be an air compressor.

A little bit of help, please. Speaking of the night before a trip, someone to pack my suitcase would be nice. And the bags for the kids. But I only have one kid, so maybe a kid who doesn’t want to take so much stuff. Or is that my wife with all the stuff? Wow, now I’m really confused.

Speaking of that beautiful, patient, always caring person in my life, getting her to start packing before I want to go to bed the night before our trip. Just once. Is it really too much to ask? Oh, and maybe packing less stuff so I can keep more of what I want to pack in the suitcase to meet weight requirements.

And remembering that I still need to load the car, so it would be wonderful not having to lug three suitcases down the stairs to load the still-dirty car an hour after I want to be in bed. And damn it, I forgot to check the oil and tires! It’s always the tire pressure in one tire. One. Freaking. Tire.

See above request for an air compressor.

And no, you can’t bring your PS4, football helmet and football with us on a plane!!! Your outdated Nintendo DS with crappy games that you liked when you were 5 and no cool kid would ever dream of playing now will have to do for a three-hour plane ride.

I’d love to not have to pack, again. I mean, we just returned home a week ago and we’re already hitting the road again? What idiot decided traveling every weekend in June was a smart idea? Me? Oh, well …

Practical stuff we would never buy ourselves. So maybe one of the best gifts for family travelers might just be common sense that the idea of packing in several trips in a short span isn’t smart. In fact, it’s pretty ridiculous.

And one reason is all the laundry. A great gift for family travelers this season might actually be a few extra packs of underwear and socks that grandma gives and we quietly sigh and roll our eyes. Yes, mom, I’m talking about those “awesome” stocking stuffers of yours. Now that I think about it, 20 new pairs of socks and underwear are helpful when you only have three days between trips … no need to cram in all those extra loads of laundry.

Five extra hours in every day. And how about a vacation from the vacation to prepare for work? As a full-time freelance writer, my wife gets zero vacation days. If we travel for a week she has to make up the work before and after the trip. We were on the road the majority of the weekends last summer and for stretches in September and October. She is just now starting to feel like she is caught up. And that’s partly because one of the newspapers she writes for cut some assignments for budget reasons. So maybe the real lesson for us is don’t work for newspapers. Hmm …

OK, now you know I’m kidding. So maybe the real gift for us might just be to live life like the average American family. You know the routine: go to work, come home and get a crappy fast-food dinner because everyone is too busy, watch TV, go to bed, rinse, repeat and then spend a week at the beach in the summer. I’m all about that week at the beach, but honestly, I’d go insane if I didn’t have our other fun family travel adventures.

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