When you travel for the holidays, there is always one big question with no easy answer- what about the gifts?! No one wants to haul suitcase after suitcase of gifts and worry about the luggage getting lost or smashed. But for many families, going no-gifts seems a little sad. So what can you do? We’ve got you covered with a number of strategies to make the traveling with gifts a little less overwhelming.
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Who doesn’t love an early Christmas gift? Having a faux Christmas a couple days before you leave is a great strategy to reduce the amount of Christmas luggage you need. The, after you’ve opened gifts, you can always unpackage the things you will use on your trip to bring along. But everything that isn’t usable will stay at home.
For very young children, Santa can just come early and they’ll be none the wiser. For older kids or anyone who just wants to receive a gift on Christmas morning, consider bringing a special Santa gift to open on your trip. If possible, chose a physically smaller gift for Christmas morning, and open larger gifts at home.
Ship Gifts to your Destination
This strategy is super helpful for minimizing the gifts you need to travel with if you are staying with friends or family. And we consider it a necessity if you are bringing gifts for anyone who does not live if you (i.e. gifts that will NOT be coming home with you). If you are purchasing gifts online, may as well just have them shipped straight to your destination. Even if you are purchasing locally, it may save money and hassle to package and ship them to your destination ahead of time. Ask a trusted friend or family member to stow your packages out of sight until you arrive. Just make sure you have gifts prewrapped or have a plan for wrapping once you arrive!
If you are staying at a hotel, check with the front desk. Often they can receive packages for you and will hold onto them until you arrive.
Of course, you will still have the issue of getting your gifts home. But on the plus side, you can save space by removing any packaging. If you wind up with a lot of gifts coming home, consider shipping it home. If may be cheaper than bringing it as checked luggage and saves you the hassle of dealing with extra luggage at the airport.
Looking for gift ideas for kids who love to travel? Check out our gift guide here.
Gifts that stay at your destination
This strategy may work well with younger kids, kid who have everything, or for anyone visiting a friend or family member who you frequently visit. Kids often love a toy just for a few days before they move on. So think about getting a something inexpensive that they can play with while you are on vacation, and then leave it behind.
If you are staying at a hotel or resort, you might find a similar aged kid to gift the toy to on your way out. If you are visiting a friend or family member, you can leave the toy for your next visit! We’ve done this for our kids and it’s worked out great. They love going back to visit and finding their old toys, and often they barely notice the toy has not come home with them.
Gift Cards and Gifting Experiences
Gift cards are such an easy gift. And its almost impossible to mess up since the receiver can pick out exactly what they want! And of course, they are totally travel friendly.
I’ll be honest- I giving gift cards feels a little impersonal and isn’t my favorite. But sometimes its the best option, so I make it a little extra special by a gift card inside a special Lovepop Card. They are so fun!
Gift cards don’t just have to be for buying something at the store. We also LOVE gifting experiences. Here are a few of our favorites:
- a gift certificate for a day at the zoo or aquarium OR a membership
- movie theatre tickets or a Regal Unlimited Pass
- TopGolf gift card (discounted if you are a Costco Member)
- Trampoline park passes
- A day at the arcade
- Tickets to a special event they’d love
- Subscription boxes for kids -we love Baketivity, Little Global Citizens, and Crunch Labs
- Subscription boxes for families and adults- We love Universal Yums and Atlas Coffee Club
- A booklet with special experiences like a lunch date with you, a picnic, a day at the park, etc.
- An experience that you can do on your holiday trip- just remember to reserve ahead of time since holiday activities do tend to book up quickly
Check out this amazing Christmas weekend trip to Vancouver, B.C. for inspiration!
Give Consumable Gifts
A another similar strategy is to give something that will be used up completely, or in part, while you are on vacation. For example, gift baskets of food and treats, special drinks, art projects, beautiful notebooks or sketchbooks, books or audio books (for older kids and adults who typically read a book only once), bath or home spa supplies, craft projects, or anything else your family would enjoy.
Consider giving less
It’s so easy to get swept up in the moment and buy piles of gifts for friends and family. But then right after Christmas, the clutter and all the stuff is so overwhelming. And even worse, you might be getting hit with a credit card bill bigger than you expected! If this describes you, it might be time to reconsider your holiday plan. The truth is many of us don’t need anything, and sometimes we don’t even WANT anything because we know it’ll clutter our homes
If you are giving a ton of gifts, try switching to the 4 gift rule for your kids: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. Or even the 5 gift rule where you also add one more special gift. For adults, have a conversation. Sometimes they truly don’t want anything, or at least not anything that will clutter the home. Consider agreeing to no gifts, or consumable gifts only with your adult friends and family.
Use a Combination!
For many of us, the best way to manage our gifts while traveling is to use a combination of all of these strategies! We hope that some of these will help you and your family better manage your luggage while traveling for Christmas.