Keeping Up Traditions While Traveling

There’s no doubt it’s a good day when your loved ones are old enough to enjoy receiving a vacation as a gift. Instead of cluttering the house with more toys, they’ll soon outgrow, or things that will soon be forgotten, make lasting memories enjoying experiences together while seeing the world.

But, what if you’re traveling over a holiday, during a birthday, or when someone loses a tooth? How do you keep the magic alive for kids still young enough to believe in it? It can also be hard to transition from traditional gift giving to giving the gift of an experience. Here are some tips for keeping traditions alive while traveling.

Start Small

No matter how old your kids are, it’s probably a bad idea to give them an experience for a holiday gift without any warning. Before you take the plunge and book a vacation as a Christmas gift, start a discussion about it long before the holidays hit.

Ask them:

  • If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

  • What's something you’ve always wanted to do? 

  • Is there anyone who lives far away who you’d like to visit?

From there, you can plant the seed and get them prepared to unwrap tickets for travel instead of unwrapping tangible gifts. You’ll also get an idea of what types of things bring them joy in life, so you can decide if a local, “stay-cation” has more appeal for your family than a trip to a far-off destination.

Make the Reveal Fun

For younger family members who will be traveling instead of receiving a slew of gifts, how can you make the reveal part of the fun? Not everyone is psyched just by seeing plane tickets in an envelope (and who prints their tickets these days, anyway?) or being told they’re going to the beach three months after Christmas as a gift.

Popular travel company Get Away Today shares ways to reveal a surprise vacation to your family, and ways you can help little ones conceptualize the countdown. Even if you’re not going to any of the destinations illustrated by Get Away Today, you can use it as a starting point for how to give the gift of a trip.

Sticking with Traditions

Maybe you've done this a few times now, and have successfully gotten your family on board with traveling for birthdays and holidays. But, what about keeping up some of your favorite traditions while away from home? Kids still lose teeth, hit milestone ages, and expect some familiar magic to follow them even while on vacation.

Tooth Fairy Tips

If your child loses a tooth when you’re on vacation, don't stress! It doesn’t have to be a big deal if you don’t have the designated Tooth Fairy pouch to put under the pillow at night. Naturally, your kid might worry that the Tooth Fairy will have trouble locating them since they’re not sleeping in their own bed after losing a tooth. If that’s the case, a little preparation can go a long way toward making this a good experience.

Before you leave town, if you know your child has a loose tooth, leave a note for the Tooth Fairy at your own home. Ensure your child informs the Tooth Fairy of their dates of travel, and where they’ll be in the event they lose a tooth before returning home. This can put your child’s mind at ease so you can still play the role of Fairy on your trip without your child questioning how the Tooth Fairy managed to find them.

And remember, being the Tooth Fairy doesn’t have to be super stressful. HERE are some Tooth Fairy tips from the pediatric dentists at Timpanogos Dentistry. Whether you take a “less is more” approach or go all out, you know what’s right for your kid(s).

Celebrating a Milestone While Traveling

Is someone turning 16 while you’re traveling? Are you celebrating a high school or college graduation? Is it a golden anniversary or birthday during your trip? Let the hotel or rental host know and enlist their help making the milestone memorable. You may not arrive to find a room sprinkled with rose petals or decked out with balloons and banners, but you might be surprised. Even a handwritten note, an extra mint on a pillow, or a coupon to enjoy a discounted spa service during your stay could find its way to your room if you simply ask.

Traveling Over Major Holidays? Here Are Some Tips

What do you do if you’re traveling over Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Hanukkah, or Christmas? Your kids may be missing the school or family parties that they’re used to. Don't worry about losing any of the magic of these familiar holidays just because you’re on the road! Thankfully, it’s easier than ever to get access to the supplies you need to celebrate some of your favorite traditions.


Did you know many hotels will accept deliveries on your behalf if you make advance arrangements? If you’re flying out of town over a holiday and want to have plastic Easter Eggs, Halloween candy, or gifts at your destination, call ahead to your hotel. If you can have these items delivered and held at the front desk until you arrive, it’ll save valuable packing space in your luggage, and will help you keep the items stashed away from your kids.

Also, take advantage of food delivery. Many hotels offer amazing room service and restaurants menus so you can have a holiday feast. Or you can have just about anything delivered. You don’t have to give up your traditional Thanksgiving meal even if you’re in a hotel or home rental over the holidays! 

If you know that Grandma’s casserole has to be on the menu while you’re traveling, opt to stay in a hotel suite or rental home that has a fully equipped kitchen so you can carry on the tradition.


Maybe you can’t wrap gifts due to airport security, or you can’t hide Easter Eggs in a sprawling yard since you’ll be in a rental. But, with just a little creativity you can still keep up you traditions.

  • Hide Easter Eggs or Halloween candy in the hotel room while everyone’s at breakfast

  • Create a scavenger hunt if you have a tangible gift you’d like to reveal but couldn't wrap it

  • See if local retailers are handing out holiday goodies to celebrate as a community

As with any regular vacation, with some careful planning, you can still hold on to comforting traditions while traveling. It may mean a few extra phone calls and some collaboration with people at your destination, but it’s all worth it when you get to make memories with the people you love, even away from home.

Over time, it’s likely your loved ones will look forward to these trips and can make the mental shift away from expecting gifts and instead toward having experiences together via travel. They’ll start to see the value in spending time together, whether it’s touring museums in a new city, sailing new waters, or exploring a new National Park.

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