5 Gifts for Families Who Love to Travel
By Tanya Collings
Cyber Monday is almost over, and I’ve been so busy traveling with kids that I just found time to write this post. Two weeks ago, I was so inspired while editing the rough draft of Bonnie’s article “Adventures on Purpose: Overcoming Stumbling Blocks,” that I packed my bags for two spontaneous vacations in a row.
The first trip was a visit to Boulder, Utah—a lovely town between Bryce Canyon and Capital Reef National Park—with my 2-year-old son Wiley. We met up with his dad and explored the sandstone and slot canyon wonderlands of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
After leaving Wiley with his dad to enjoy Thanksgiving together, I began a week-long road trip across Texas and the Four Corner states with my partner and his 7-year-old daughter Cali. This included long days in the car speeding by everything from Texas cotton fields to New Mexican sand dunes, Utah sagebrush flats to Colorado ponderosa pines. Cali, by the way, was the most cheerful road trip companion I’ve ever had. This is a hard rock song she wrote on the road:
I’ve always been a gypsy at heart; I love discovering new places. And this month I had the amazing opportunity to share these adventures with my son and Cali.
Over the years I’ve narrowed down the sharpest tools and tricks of the trade. If you are looking for a special gift for a fellow traveler on this Cyber Monday Eve (or whenever you read this. . . we almost titled this article “Cyber Tuesday: Online Deals for Procrastinators), here are my Top 5 Picks:
This Osprey pack is my favorite material possession. It is well worth the cost if your family hikes and camps as much as we do. My son practically lived in this backpack from 3-months to a year. When he was smaller, I was able to carry all the equipment needed (including his chubby-cheeked self) for a two-night backpacking excursion near Bryce Canyon. Now, at almost three-years-old, he still fits in his Osprey carrier, which he nicknamed “my walkie pack.”
The Osprey Poco Pack is equipped with an easy to open mesh sunshade to shield your little ones from the rain and sun. This is Wiley at 1-years-old. I tuck blankets next to his head in case he needs a trail nap.
Kids up to 48.5 lbs. can ride in the Poco Pack. It is also has adjustable shoulder and waist straps, so that both Mom and Dad can take turns. In this photo, Wiley and I spent the day with our friends at the park and ended up walking in the river.
Detachable Day Pack
One of my favorite features is the detachable daypack, just the perfect size for your little one’s to carry. On this particular day in Moab, UT, Wiley carried his favorite penguin in his pack and walked half the way by himself.
My last trip involved both cars and airplanes, which causes some major car seat complications when taking my monkey along. This Trunki Boostapak is exactly what the portmanteau implies: a booster seat and a backpack at the same time. This means you not only avoid bumping elbows with your big booty booster seat at airport security, your kid can actually fill it with toys and carry it on their own. It is also useful once you get off the plane and back into yet another car, taxi, Uber, or Lyft.
When we lived in a tent for 6 years, this Yeti Tundra was our only fridge. Once it kept ice cream frozen for 3 days on a camping excursion near Lake Powell. I also came home one night to witness a bear trying to pry open our cooler with her teeth. I didn’t have the wit to take a video, so this Yeti commercial will have to do.
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I just want you to take a close look at the photo above. This lovely lady is wearing a diaper bag. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is one good looking poo poo pack. It is intelligently crafted out of glazed coated canvas for easy cleanability and includes a PPB monogrammed changing pad and baby wipes case.
We were traveling so much when my son was a baby, those 50-pound deluxe everything-and-the-kitchen-sink highchair contraptions were not an option. Our friends recommended Phil & Ted’s Lobster High Chair, which we used both at home and on the road. Its sleek carry pouch and industrial appearance make me feel cool when I whip it out at a Denny’s. Not every restaurant on your next road trip will offer highchairs, but, hey, you don’t need them anyway, because you’re a cool, collected, self-sufficient parental unit.
This is a video of my son in his lobster chair at about 24-months. He is telling our dog to sit and then feeding him Annie’s Mac & Cheese as a reward.
What are your favorite family travel gifts? I really need some more input from the dads out there. On this last trip, the most needed item has not yet been invented. We snacked so much in the car I wish there was a built in fridge between the seats. Wait a minute, immediately after typing that I did a quick Amazon search. It does exist.
Happy Cyber Tuesday to all my fellow procrastinators!
Tanya Collings, TWM Managing Editor
Tanya has worked as an editor and writer for the past 12 years. Six of those years were spent living in a canvas tent in the deserts of Southern Utah. In her free time she enjoys exploring the United States with her dog and rambunctious two-year-old son.