Last month, we sold our Dallas ranch house and ventured off to live as Americans in Freiburg, Germany, taking the long way with two dogs and the majority of our lives’ belongings in six suitcases. It all seems more like a dream to me as, before this big adventure, air travel was hardly our thing. We love taking road trips from Texas to Colorado and to roadside motels in the American Southwest.
So, when considering how to get this circus “up in the air,” with all of us needing more TLC than ever with this big move but confined to new limitations on what to take with us and how to get it there, I thought of one of my favorite quotes from the life-altering read Atomic Habits, “We do not rise to the level of our goals. We fall to the level of our systems.” From there, I thought of my favorite internet BFFs, The Home Edit – it’s a system!
I started stress-relief scrolling for little necessities and frivolities to make life on the road more like home. They were so life saving on our migration, it felt like the perfect time to share them for those of you who need family travel gift ideas.
This is the final edit – what our family of three would tell you that you need and deserve when taking your show on the road. After living out of suitcases for three weeks straight, we think they’d make the best addition to your travel team or a thoughtful gift for someone planning to get out of town in 2022 (woohoo!!).
BEST TRAVEL GIFTS FOR FAMILIES
Doll Carrier Backpack – As you can imagine, the pre-moving toy edit and school friend goodbyes were emotional for all parties involved. We are quite lucky to have our doll and dog as companions, and I love how easy it is to pull our doll into an airplane or restaurant seat with this backpack that has nice space for books and a pencil bag inside. After all, she is part of the family. It’s a small carry-on bag and the best for grabbing to go to a restaurant for table entertainment.
Cozy LOVE Sweats – The elevated cut and fun, quality detail on these sweats made me comfortable with wearing them through the airport. They’re like wearing a blanket on the plane, and I’m excited to wear them as a mid-layer over my workout set, because I promise I’m going to go to pilates and try to meet more people in town after the holidays.
Travel Backpack – When I say we moved our whole lives over on our backs, I mean all of our family tech, our passports and our marriage certificate were in this backpack. Markus is always a new bag away from getting his sh*t together (frankly, I am the same), and I think we found “the one.”
Kids Bluetooth Headphones – Asking a child to watch an iPad for two hours is hardly a challenge, but I’ve been surprised at how headphone comfort can really throw that for a loop. We love that these are Bluetooth, noise cancelling and memory foam, making them the first pair in our family to be worn for hours without complaint.
Travel Adapter – Loved being able to charge or use everything at once. Besides my hair dryer – don’t do that.
Sleep Mask – I bought this for a girls’ trip to Palm Springs earlier this year and wished I had invested in this years before. It’s so comfortable and the gentle weight lulls me to sleep.
Equestrian Travel Wrap – My favorite travel capsule wardrobe addition. I want to gift someone this so bad. So chic and comfortable.
Battery Chargers Set – Lifesavers.
Kids Travel Pillow and Eye Mask Set – Putting on the eye mask on long flights was always a nice scene changer. This set is adorable.
Delsey Luggage – This was a Christmas gift to me a few years ago that’s held up so well. The clam shell is so helpful.
Travel Jewelry Organizer – I loved knowing everything from my wedding rings to costume sunnies were secure and not tangling into a mess while traveling. I love this as a sister gift!
Packing Cubes – Thank God we did this! Getting dressed in the morning has been so easy. We have matching mother and daughter sets in different colors to keep them straight. Monogramming these for someone would be so luxe!
Travel Duffle – This was a quick, quality replacement when my long term bag didn’t arrive in time and would be a great college kid gift.
Luggage Scale – I thought Markus was crazy for buying this but it saved us a lot of money and panic! Super cute stocking stuffer for the traveler.
Activity Books – I kept these on a slow drip as we were traveling over multiple days. They would be cute in a stocking, especially if you’re traveling to grandparents shortly after.
Wikki Sticks – Everything for our toys that we didn’t get to bring with us has been able to be made with these. I wish I had doled them out a lot earlier in the trip.
Vaccine Card and Passport Holder – Dad is black, Mom is brown, kid is rainbow. It’s a system.
Sheet Masks – The perfect box to put a bow on for White Elephant or break up for a group of friends. They slid so easily into my bag and were heaven in the hotel bathroom at night.
Clear Travel Pouches – A pouch for everything – dogs, chargers, skincare, N95s – and everything in its pouch. The road is my home now and I will let go of many things but not my dignity. Just say no to your fancy lady skincare living in a Ziploc bag.
What are some of your family travel essentials? Share them below!