How to Handle Gifts when Traveling over the Holidays 10


If you’re traveling over the holidays, then you probably are facing the conundrum of how to handle the gifts.
traveling with gifts

Let’s look at your options.

If you’re going to be away from home for the holidays, there are a few questions you have to answer.

What is the plan for the gifts you are giving your kids?

  •  You could take ALL your gifts for your kids to your destination to be opened there. (Depending on how many gifts this amounts to and how large they are, and how you are traveling, this may not be a feasible option.)
  •  You could order the majority of your gifts online and have them shipped to your destination. (You’ll still need to decide how to get them home – see below.)
  •  You could have your kids open their gifts early, and they could choose a couple to take with on the trip. (You could save the Santa gift to be opened at your destination.)
  • If your kids are older, you could make their gift an experience instead of lots of individual items.
  • If you’re traveling back home immediately after the holiday, and you have older kids, or really really young kids, you could just wait to open your gifts after Christmas. (Make sure EVERYONE in the family is on board with this decision before settling on it.)

What is the plan for the gifts your kids receive from others (the people you’re visiting)?

  • You could ask family members to ship gifts to your home and allow your kids to open them early before the trip.
  • You could ask family members to only give small gifts and then ship them all home before you travel back from your destination.
  • You could save room in your suitcases or vehicle and bring home all the gifts your kids receive while traveling.
  • You could suggest family members give gift cards or experiences (for older kids).

What is the plan for the gifts you are taking to family members you’re visiting (not your kids)?

  • You have items shipped from the store to your destination.
  • You wrap and ship all the items yourself. (Requires advanced planning.)
  • You take the gifts with you as you travel. (Consider the available space in your luggage or vehicle.)
  • Suggest a “secret Santa” style gift exchange to minimize the number of gifts you’re responsible for delivering.
  • Make your gift(s) experiences or gift cards.
  • Shop for and wrap your gifts after you arrive at your destination. (Potential for last minute problems.)

For gifts you are transporting to the destination you’re visiting, when will you wrap them?

  • If you’re flying with wrapped gifts, there’s a possibility they will be opened to be inspected whether in your carry-on or checked bag. Consider packing them unwrapped, and wrapping them upon arrival.
  • If you’re going on a road trip, wrapped gifts can get jostled around a lot and possibly unwrapped. Pack the wrapped gifts in boxes or suitcases so they don’t come unwrapped or get broken.
  • If you’re going to wrap gifts once you arrive, be sure to allot time for that, and to make sure you’ll have wrapping supplies available.

There are a lot of different ways you can handle gifts when traveling over the holidays. We’ve done it differently each time. There’s no one way that’s better than the others. It really depends on your personal situation. Think about each of the options listed above and decide what will work best for you.

Safe Travels and Happy Holidays!

If you found this helpful, please pin the image below for others. Thank you!

mom traveling with gifts

For more travel tips, follow my Traveling with Children board on Pinterest.

You may also be interested in the following travel articles.

Tips for Flying with Toddlers

Entertaining Young Kids on Road Trips

What I Packed in my Toddler’s Carry-on


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 thoughts on “How to Handle Gifts when Traveling over the Holidays