10 Top Gifts for Families Who Love to Travel and Explore
With the holiday season upon us and our gift list growing, what do you buy for a big family? You could buy small individual gifts for the kids or you could get one gift for the whole family. For families who love to travel and explore, we suggest these top ten gifts that will help build family memories and won’t be shoved in the back of a closet.
1. National Parks – America the Beautiful Pass
For the family that loves to explore the outdoors, America the Beautiful pass is a great way to help them visit more than 2000 federal recreation sites. A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees, and day-use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children aged 15 or under are admitted free. The annual passes make great gifts! They come with 2 blank lines on the back so whoever you gift it to will sign the back and become the pass owner.
2. Hotel and Accommodation Gift Cards
Lodging can be a big chunk of a family’s vacation budget. Hotel gift cards can help extend the trip for another night. If you’re not sure which card is best but know of their desired destination, check out our list of big family friendly hotels to help you decide which brand to buy.
Airbnb – Individual gift cards can be purchased in amounts from $25 to $500. Right now, gift cards can only be purchased in US Dollars by individuals in the United States and can only be redeemed by users with a payment method that was issued in the United States.
Best Western – Give a travel card. Cards are accepted at over 4,000 properties worldwide.
Four Seasons – With the Four Seasons Gift Card, you choose the amount and they choose the gift: overnight stays, dining experiences, luxury spa treatments, and more at Four Seasons hotels and resorts around the world. Available as a gift card or e-gift card. Gift range $100-$10,000.
Great Wolf Lodge – Gift cards are available as eGift Certificates or mailed as gift cards.
Hilton Worldwide – Valid at more than 4200 hotels and resort worldwide. Use it to cover room charges, including purchases at on-property restaurants, retail shops, golf courses, and spas. No inactivity fees. Funds do not expire. Available in the $25-$500 range.
Hotels.com – Choose from over 150,000 hotels worldwide, including major hotel chains. Gift cards range from $10 up to $2,000 with no expiration date or fees. Available as an e-Gift card or by mail.
Hyatt – Gift choice includes a gift card, e-gift card, or check certificate. Available gift range $10-$1000.
Marriott – Choose from a mailed GiftCard or an emailed gift card. Gift cards range between $25 to $2000. Cards may be used at any participating brand location and participating hotel outlets: retail, spa, golf and food, and beverage. The card does not expire.
Mt. Olympus Water Park & Theme Park Resort – Available in $25, $50, $75, and $100 amounts, Mt. Olympus gift cards can be used for tickets, room reservations, or anywhere at Mt. Olympus Resort and Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park.
An annual zoo pass can provide for multiple visits for a year. For additional use, check to see if the pass has reciprocal or discount agreements with other zoos and aquariums.
4. Museum Passes
An annual pass to an art, science, or children’s museum is sure to be used repeatedly. Whether you buy for the local museum or buy passes to a planned vacation destination, this gift will be greatly appreciated.
5. Theme Park Gift Cards
Disney Gift Cards offer thousands of magical possibilities — from shopping to dining and from Resort stays to Theme Park visits — it’s good for practically all things Disney! Available in amounts ranging from $25-$500.
Universal Studios – Redeemable at most merchandise and food & beverage locations within Universal Orlando Resort. Available in $10-$500 denominations. The unused amount on the card never expires or has fees. Cards are reloadable.
Legoland California Resort – Use for admission, merchandise, and dining purchases at LEGOLAND California Resort. Gift Cards are available online with a $50 value.
Hersheypark – Make them Hersheypark Happy with a gift card for fun! The lucky recipients can redeem for season passes, admission tickets, or inside the Park to sweeten their day! Available amounts range from $25-$500.
CedarPoint – You can purchase gift cards by phone at 419.627.2309. You can also purchase them at all Cedar Point hotel properties, the Group Sales Booth, Bay Harbor Restaurant, Season Pass Center and Marina Office. Gift cards can be used at all food locations, merchandise shops, admission booths, hotel properties, Challenge Park and Soak City.
6. Airline Gift Cards
Easily a big chunk of a big family vacation, airfare adds up fast. Help out with a gift card to one of these airlines.
Alaska Airlines – Available in increments from $25 up to $500. Available to print off or sent electronically.
American Airlines – You can buy either a plastic card and have it mailed or a virtual card delivered via email. You can use up to eight (8) Gift Cards at one time toward the purchase of a ticket to hundreds of exciting destinations throughout the world. No expiration dates or fees. Available in amounts from $50 to $1500.
Delta Airlines – Choose to send as a Delta Gift Card or eGift Card and prepare for a big thank-you. All gift cards are sent with a personalized message and instructions for redemption. They can be used toward airfare at delta.com, at the airport, through Reservations, or by phone with Delta Vacations. Gift cards are available in $5 increments, a minimum $50 and a maximum of $1000.
Hawaiian Airlines – Gift Certificates can be purchased online and digitally sent to a recipient of your choice. Gift cards can be purchased in any whole dollar amount from $50 to $2,000. There are no hidden fees. Gift Cards do not have an expiration date and they do not devalue over time.
Southwest Airlines – Fly to 85+ destinations. Available in $10 to $1000 amounts. No fees or expiration. Available via email or overnight delivery. Redeem online, by phone, or at the airport.
United Airlines – United gift certificates are available in any amount between $25 and $10,000, and can be used toward the purchase of all types of air travel. When you purchase a United gift certificate, the recipient will receive a personalized email revealing your gift and providing all the necessary information to redeem the gift certificate for airfare.
Help buy admission to concerts, sporting events, and theater. Giving a Ticketmaster Gift Card is easy — see all the options and purchase yours here. You can give a gift card for as little as $25 or as much as $250.
9. Cruise Line Gift Cards
Everyone should go on a cruise at least once! Contribute to their cruise fund with these gift cards. Big families can cruise! See our list of ships with big staterooms or connecting cabins.
Carnival Cruise Line – Carnival Gift Cards can be used on almost anything: towards the purchase of a Carnival cruise and redeemed onboard toward the Sail & Sign account for gifts, drinks, and fun.
Celebrity Cruises – The value of the Card will be applied towards the cost of the cruise or via a reduction in price.
Cruise Direct – Why limit to just one cruise line? Gift certificates are available in $50-$1000 amounts.
Holland America – Gift cards may be used for purchases onboard Holland America Line vessels or applied as payment to a Holland America Line booking.
Princess Cruise Line – Choose from a variety of gift card designs and denominations. With easy and convenient redemption options, you can use these cruise gift cards towards a booking, an onboard service, and more.
Norwegian Cruise Line – Gift Cards can be used toward the purchase of a cruise or anything else Norwegian — like a relaxing massage, an adventurous Shore Excursion or a special night out. Available in denominations starting at $25 and up to $1000.
10. Strollers and Wagons
What’s the easiest way to move several kids? With strollers and wagons of course! These foldable selections are sure to help out on any trip.
Double strollers are great for families with many littles. This Summer 3Dpa CS+ Double Stroller only weighs 23 pounds and can handle two kiddos up to 50 pounds each.
Theresa Jorgensen is a mother to four children including twins. She recognized the necessity for a comprehensive resource of hotels that cater to big families with rooms and suites for 5, 6, 7, or 8 people in a single room while traveling with her own family. In 2008, she established SixSuitcaseTravel to compile a database of such hotels. Over time, the website has grown to include travel advice, itineraries, road trip suggestions, national park guides, and more. Theresa takes pleasure in assisting other big families in creating unforgettable travel experiences.