21 Best Travel Books for Kids (That All Ages Love!)

To create this list of incredible travel books for kids, I asked travel writers to share their children’s favorite stories about exploring the world. I included some of my family’s favorites, too. This list includes picture books for young children as well as chapter books for big kids. Build your home library and encourage wanderlust with these 21 amazing children’s travel books.

travel books for kids

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1. Madlenka

During a walk around a New York City block, Madlenka takes young minds on a trip around the world. The title character visits her favorite neighbors, like a Latin American grocer, a French baker, an Indian news vendor, and a Chinese shop owner. Kids and parents alike will love the detailed illustrations and sweet story of Madlenka sharing the news of her first lost tooth.

— Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

Madlenka, a picture book by Peter Sis

2. New York Is My Playground

New York Is My Playground is a great introduction to New York City life for toddlers and younger children. The copy is big and bold, the photos are gorgeous, and the subjects are adorable. Toddlers will love seeing city kids on the subway, running around Times Square, exploring Central Park, atop the Empire State Building, eating oversized soft pretzels, and exploring landmarks all over town. My daughter loves spotting all her favorite NYC sights and pointing out similarities and differences between the children.”

— Lyla Gleason, Globetrotting Mommy

New York Is My Playground, a travel book about NYC for kids

3. National Parks of the USA (and USA Activity Book)

Get young explorers excited to embark on a national park family vacation with National Parks of the USA by Quarto Kids. Children of all ages delight in learning about the wild animals, plants, and history of each park with engaging illustrations and fun facts.

A perfect companion to this book, the playful National Parks of the USA Activity Book engages kids with 15+ activities, a fold-out national parks poster, and 50 stickers. Activities include a word jumble, match game, word search, crossword puzzle, maze, and more.

— Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

National Parks of the USA and National Parks of the USA Activity Book

4. A Dublin Fairytale

The sweetly illustrated A Dublin Fairytale gives a modern Irish spin to the classic Little Red Riding Hood. “Little Fiona lives in Dublin, Ireland, and one day she goes alone to visit her granny who is sick. She takes off wearing her red hood, but her walk doesn’t bring her through the woods. Rather she takes the reader on a wonderful journey through Dublin city centre and its main landmarks.”

— Marta Correale, LearningEscapes.net

A Dublin Fairytale children's book

5. Wind-Wild Dog

The story of Wind-Wild Dog centers on a wild-mannered, adopted sled dog with one blue eye and one brown eye. My family checked this children’s book out of the library in preparation for our Alaska vacation. We fell so in love with this picture book and its title character that we bought a copy as a reminder of our trip. Anyone who likes dogs or who’s ever dreamed of a dog-sledding adventure will enjoy this chilly tale.

— Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

Wind-Wild Dog, a book children's book about a sled dog

6. Hamish the Hairy Haggis

Hamish the Hairy Haggis is one of my all-time favorite regional children’s books. It’s a funny, enjoyable read and my kids learned about some basic Scottish traditions. They still talk about the story and have asked to return to Scotland for Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve).”

— Stacy Jessee, Strollering the Globe

Hamish the Hairy Haggis, a funny children's book about Scotland

7. Richard Scarry’s A Day at the Airport

I adored Richard Scarry’s darling illustrations when I was a kid and I’m happy to pass that love along to my own children. Prepare kids for an upcoming airplane flight with Richard Scarry’s A Day at the Airport. Learn interesting facts about the airport terminal, control tower, runway, and more. Perfect for play on board the plane, teach young travelers reading skills with over 70 labeled words and a sticker sheet.

— Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

Richard Scarry's A Day At The Airport, a travel book for kids

8. Let’s Explore with Cor Cor

My friend and fellow travel blogger, Cory Lee, wrote Let’s Explore with Cor Cor about traveling the world from a wheelchair. He said, “Growing up, I never saw a character that used a wheelchair like me, so I’m elated that the next generation of kids will get to see the world with Cor Cor.”

I love this book’s positive message that travel is for everyone, no matter how they get around. Cor Cor’s can-do attitude resonates with all children and encourages acceptance of differences.

— Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

Let's Explore with Cor Cor, a children's book about traveling the world in a wheelchair

9. Olivia Goes to Venice

“Like the other Olivia books, the Olivia Goes to Venice is witty and beautifully illustrated. Olivia inadvertently causes trouble and discovers the joy of gelato in Italy. My children had the book almost memorized when we did eventually take them to Venice.”

— Shobha George, JustGoPlaces.com

Olivia Goes to Venice, a book about traveling to Italy for kids

10. Gifts

Gifts is a wonderful tale about sharing the passion of travel with children and how it’s a gift that can be passed on through generations.” It’s a sweet story about a grandmother and granddaughter investigating the world together.

— Kevin Wagar, WanderingWagars.com

Gifts, a children's book about the importance of multigenerational travel

11. Molly and the Magic Suitcase Series

Parents and children love the Molly and the Magic Suitcase series with kids’ books that explore the globe from Spain, Italy, and England to China, Puerto Rico, Australia, and beyond. “The characters are always learning about different cultural aspects and food. The fun illustrations draw my kids in, too.”

— Anne Belle, KidsTravelBooks.com

Molly Goes to London, A Magic Suitcase Book

12. Maps

Maps is a beautifully illustrated book that showcases 52 different countries around the world. As well as detailing cities, rivers, and mountains, Maps details native plants and animals, plus local foods. They even highlight traditional dress and the typical names of boys and girls from that country. It’s a great way to travel the world without ever leaving home.”

— Katja Gaskell, GlobeTotting.com

Maps, an illustrated book of world maps for young travelers

13. This Is Series

“My family always buys a This Is Series book by M. Sasek whenever there is one for our destination. Explore exotic locations around the world from Hong Kong to San Francisco.

Technically picture books, they are full of really beautiful illustrations and all kinds of information. These travel books for kids were written in the 1950s but they tell you at the end what has changed from the original text.

The This Is Series helped my daughter get interested in the historical sites, monuments, and churches that kids can find boring. In Paris she made me carry the book around so we could refer to it as we came famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower. Almost every tourist site we passed, she’d say, ‘This is in my book!'”

— Eileen Gunn, FamiliesGoTravel.com

This Is the World, a collection of children's books by M. Sasek

14. Anne of Green Gables

“This Canadian classic tale depicts the life of a spunky redhead and her adventures in Canada’s smallest province. You can’t go to Prince Edward Island and not read Anne of Green Gables. My daughter was thrilled to be able to visit the house and surrounding woods that inspired the novels. Green Gables Heritage Place was one of the highlights of our trip as was walking through the Haunted Woods.”

— Jody Robbins, Travels with Baggage

Anne of Green Gables, a Canadian children's chapter book about Prince Edward Island

15. Sisters

“This fabulous graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier documents her childhood family road trip from California to Colorado. Sisters explores the tumultuous relationship between two sisters who discover that even though they argue, they will always be family.”

— Becky Mladic Morales, Kid World Citizen

Sisters, a graphic novel for kids

16. Little House on the Prairie Series

The Little House on the Prairie Series transports young readers back in time to the turn of the 19th century in American history. Follow a young girl and her frontier family as they head west searching for land of their very own in this memoir series. Laura Ingalls Wilder paints a vivid world of prairie chickens clucking in tall grasses, bitter blizzards that rage for days, and a time when the focus was on family and simple pleasures.

I read these nine travel books for kids aloud to my son and daughter each night, savoring these stories over a couple of years. We were mesmerized by Laura, Pa, Ma, Mary, and the rest of the family and neighbors. It was a sad day indeed when we finished reading this treasured book series together.

— Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

18. Percy Jackson Series

“From Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson Series, my kids have learned about Greek mythology as well as world history in a fun way. When we travel, they love connecting in real life with the things they have learned in these books. I highly recommend this series for boys and girls alike!”

— Kirsten Maxwell, Kids Are A Trip

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Percy Jackson

19. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney is a great book to read before, during, or after a road trip with older children. This popular book brings younger readers along for a ride as the Heffleys set off on a grand adventure. There are twists and turns no one ever expected, much like real-life family vacations. Whether your kids can read chapter books yet or not, you will all enjoy reading this book together.”

— Keryn Means, Twist Travel Magazine

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

20. Magic Tree House Series

“The Magic Tree House is a wonderful series featuring Jack and Annie, siblings who go on adventures back in time all over the world to places like the ancient pyramids in Egypt to medieval castles in Europe. These books provide just enough history for kids to really appreciate the destination without bogging them down with too many details.”

— Lara Dorman, 2MomsTravel.com

Magic Treehouse book series for kids

21. First Class Murder

Middle schoolers who enjoy mysteries will love First Class Murder, a chapter book that follows the adventures of best friends, Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong. “The two are traveling on the famous Orient Express for a vacation with Hazel’s dad, who wants them to stop playing detectives. They suddenly find that an heiress aboard their first-class carriage has been murdered and the likely culprit is riding the rails with them.

“It’s an age-appropriate variation on the famous Agatha Christie novel, Murder on the Orient Express. This book provides a delightful look at train travel during those glamorous times. But also it examines casual racism even among the wealthy and elite.

— Shobha George, Just Go Places

First Class Murder, a mystery novel for kids

22. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow embark on a fantastical adventure in search of their deepest desires in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. At the end of this traveler’s tale, these beloved characters find they had what they needed all along, reminding us the journey matters more than the destination.

— Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

The Wonderful World of Oz, a graphic novel for big kids

Continue Your Family’s Literary Travels

Parents need an escape, too! Check out our list of travel memoirs to inspire wanderlust.

Planning a car trip with kids? Be sure to load up on these audiobooks for family road trips that both kids AND parents enjoy!

If your family enjoys Lord of the Rings, then you must read our tips for planning a Lord of the Rings vacation in New Zealand.

Harry Potter fans will want to take a peek at our tips for exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Best Travel Memoirs to Inspire Wanderlust

Save this List of Travel Books for Kids

For future family trips, save this reading list for kids. Simply pin the image below to Pinterest. Be sure to follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Best Travel Books for Children

What do you think are the best children’s books about travel? Share your favorite books and destination guides for kids in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: I received a free preview copy of Let’s Explore with Cor Cor. I did not receive any other complimentary travel books for kids or monetary compensation related to this story. All opinions expressed here are mine or those of the quoted family travel experts. Your affiliate purchases help keep TravelMamas.com a free resource at no extra charge to readers like you.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this list. There are a few of my kids faves on there! Usborne has some great kids books for travel too. I recall the Little Book of First Experiences going on a lot of planes!

  2. Olilvia went to Venice. I knew I liked that girl. 🙂 My son would love that Diary book, I know he hasn’t read that one yet.

  3. A great selection, thank you! I see some great stocking stuffer ideas and birthday gifts, especially for some friends that travel several times a year with their kids.

  4. My granddaughter has been traveling since she was 3 weeks old, and she loves when we read to her. I will have to check out some of these books.

  5. This looks like a great list of books. I will have to get Hamish the Hairy Haggis for my little niece. She is getting ready to go on her first big trip.