When we travel, we typically don’t pack many books. I learned this lesson early on when the stack of (admittedly heavy) favorite bedtime reads in my checked luggage cost Vacation_Signme a hefty overweight fee. These days, we pack a few fun activity books (Usborne sticker books that function as nonfiction texts are a favorite!) for the journey. Then, we treat ourselves to a special new book at a good old-fashioned bookstore at our vacation destination.

The girls and I have arrived in Cape Cod, Massachusetts for an extended stay. One of the first stops in the little fishing town we call our summer home-away-from-home was the bookstore at the edge of town, aptly named Where the Sidewalk Ends. The curators of this shop love reading as much as I do, evidenced by the quotes that dot the walls and shelves. The three of us had an excellent time exploring the shop. The biggest benefit was that we learned about a free weekly story time held on the bookstore’s porch!


Don’t worry. We got books, too! Perusing the bookstore’s selection was as much fun as ultimately choosing a book. Now we have a little bedside library, including sturdy Hello, Cape Cod! for my littlest and The Cods of Cape Cod for my four-year-old. Within these new texts are rhymes about the many sights and sea Vacation_Bookshelfcreatures the girls will see during our stay. This will help them make connections to the books’ content, remember what they learned, and enhance their memories of our vacation.

Ideas for Vacation Reading

  • Pack a Treasury: A collection means you’ll have many stories or poems but not a huge stack of books to manage. We love the Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury by Arnold Lobel, which contains countless stories about friendship. We also love Outside Your Window: A First Book about Nature, a collection of beautifully illustrated seasonal poems.
  • Stock your Tablet: Though I personally prefer physical books to eReaders, my husband always checks out a few children’s books onto his iPad from our local library’s digital catalog. Together, he and the girls read stories that don’t take up any space in our luggage. Even I can agree that it’s a helpful vacation solution!
  • Visit a Bookstore: Once you’ve arrived at your destination, explore the local bookstore. You’ll find books about the place you’re visiting, the plants and animals that live there, its history, or its geography. Books are great vacation souvenirs, too. Reading them at home will help your children recall and discuss their experiences.
  • Be a Tourist at the Library: Visit the children’s room at the public library. Though you can’t check out books unless you’ve brought a local friend or relative, you can explore and read to your heart’s content. Sometimes an open-to-the-public summer story time is available for vacationers as well.

How do you incorporate reading when you travel with children?