Part of the fun of traveling, is the planning! I love to start planning a vacation as soon as we decide where to go. Whether I’m reading a stack of travel books, magazines, or cruising some travel websites, I’m living our future vacation many times over before we even leave the house. But why should the kids be left out of the vacation planning fun?
We’ve done our research and have picked the following travel books as our absolute kid friendly favorites. There are a lot travel books that will teach your whole family about your destination with pictures and fun facts. Our favorite souvenir travel books, tell a fictional story and incorporate places that we’ve visited. When it’s time for a roadtrip, the kids even have their own atlases. (This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, read full disclosure policy here).
Travel Books to Read at Bedtime
My favorite travel book series that I’ve been buying for the kids since they were little is the Good Night Our World series. The books in this series highlight a state or a city and take you across the destination over the course of a day. These books are great for little kids because they are small board books and are perfect for packing in their little suitcase.
The Good Night Wisconsin book (our favorite) highlights the state capitol, Door County, the Milwaukee Zoo, Lake Superior, Lambeau Field, Milwaukee Brewers, and Wisconsin Dells. Besides the places to see, the book has pages about our top agricultural products of dairy, cheese, cranberries, and even Door County cherries.
We read these books before our trip, during our trip, and after our trip is over. These are a great souvenir and I’ve seen them in local bookstores and in gift shops at some of the attractions that we visit while on vacation.
Travel Themed Activity Books
For most kids, the novelty of a road trip or an airplane ride starts to wear off after a couple of hours in. This is when we pull out the activity books and a snack.
We road trip out West every summer, and always stop at a National Park or two. Our activity book of choice for these trips is the America’s National Parks Activity Book. We purchased our book at the gift shop at the Apostle Island National Lakeshore and have seen it at other parks too.
This book covers the Country by region, highlighting each National Park. The book goes into the history of the parks, and you’ll learn about everything from the Revolutionary War, to US Presidents, to dinosaurs, and mountain ranges. This book is best for an older child, as the activities, such as crossword puzzles and quizzes, are a bit more difficult.
Both this book and the Kid’s Passport to Your National Parks have pages for the park cancellation stamps. These stamps can be found at the various parks visitor centers and gift shops. It’s similar to a passport stamp and shows the park name and date you visited. Who doesn’t like getting a page full of stamps?
While visiting a cute toy store in a small town in Door County last summer, I discovered the Usborne Travel Activity Book. The Usborne’s is a small series of travel activity books and is really cute for younger kids. The book we have doesn’t have information on specific destinations, but it has activities about what you may encounter while on vacation. There’s pages on ball parks, cruise ships, camping, zoos, museums and more.
This book is colorful and full of fun. My 7 year old loves everything about it.
The Travel, Doodle, Explore! book is perfect for my 11 year old artist! This book is not colorful or very pretty, it’s up to you to change that! Each page has a partial drawing and tells the reader what to draw. There are some fun facts about travel places, but not specific destinations.
Give Your Kid an Atlas and Let Them Navigate
I can’t say enough how much we love the National Geographic Kids US Road Trip Atlas! Talk about a lot of information!
There are 2 pages for each state and you can read about; 5 cool things to do here, fantastic facts, roadside attractions, and traffic laws you won’t believe. This book will make you laugh and I always learn something when I open it up. The map of each state helps your kids follow along while your road tripping and they’ll be able to tell “how much further until we get there”.
The Rand McNally Kids Road Atlas actually has decent maps in it. It’s just lacking in the other information. There are activities for kids to do, but the atlas doesn’t have the fun facts that the National Geographic atlas has. It is great for younger kids, since the activities are easier and there’s less reading.
Travel Books That Don’t Seem Like Travel Books
Does that make sense? These books are really story books, that have travel facts and information scattered throughout the pages.
The absolute cutest books are the Larry Gets Lost series. Larry is a dog that does a lot of traveling across the country. Larry is a “bad” dog who always gets lost and really needs some training. The stories are rhyming and easy to read and the pictures of lost Larry are cute. Of course, in the end, Larry always gets found…until the next adventure.
My 11 year old used to be a huge fan of dinosaurs when she was younger. We’ve visited Sue at the Field Museum in Chicago a few times and found The Field Mouse and a Dinosaur Named Sue book at the gift shop. It’s a fun story and shares a little bit about the behind the scenes at a museum. This is a long book though, so don’t choose this for a bedtime story.
The Northern Woods Adventure book is a local story for us. While traveling, I like to visit the local bookstores for books just like this. Books make a great souvenir and helps kids remember some of the sites they’ve visited while traveling.
So the animals in Colorado are a little bit different than our animals in Wisconsin. The Born Wild in Colorado book is a picture book with some awesome photography. There are almost 100 photographs and this is a great book for anyone traveling to the mountains. There are similar books for other regions of the country and the photographs sure beat any that I’ll ever take.
So, now I think I better get online and buy a “Goodnight Alaska” book and get my kids planning this summer’s trip. Your family will enjoy any and all of the books I’ve highlighted. Happy travels!