Family Travel Tips

In summer 2017, PJ Library sent a bonus with the June PJ Library books--Travel Tags! Inspired by a traditional Jewish prayer (The Traveler’s Prayer), family members could use the tags to express their own wishes for the family trip and attach them to a backpack, a suitcase – or even a bicycle or tricycle handle, for a trip around the neighborhood. Scroll down for tips, activities, and videos all about traveling with your family.

Share photos of your Travel Tags on 
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by using #pjlibrary.

Close up of PJ Library Summer Travel Tag

After you fill out your Travel Tags, what's next?

Here are videos, websites, books, and songs to help you enjoy your summer travels and learn more about travel-related Jewish traditions.


Learn the Traveler's Prayer as well as information about the hamsa, the symbol on your PJ Library Travel Tag.

The Traveler's Prayer

For centuries Jews have recited the Traveler’s Prayer to express their hopes as they embark on a trip. Enjoy this rendition of the Traveler’s Prayer as composed and performed by Israeli musician Shai Tsabari, accompanied by baglama (a Turkish string instrument) and percussion.

Click here to listen to Ashkenazi and Sephardic readings of the Traveler’s Prayer on

Learn the Traveler's Prayer and download a printable version you can take with you.

The Hamsa

Your PJ Library Travel Tag features a traditional hamsa--a Middle Eastern hand-shaped symbol. What’s the deal with the hamsa? Watch this 50-second video.

You can also make your own hamsa or view beautiful hamsas online at the Israel Museum.


Taking a trip this summer? Here are helpful tips for traveling as a family:

Bring Distractions

Don't have time to make an activity box like the one above? Grab a few small games from the dollar store, window clings for traveling on a plane or train, and pipe cleaners--yes, pipe cleaners--to make toys, shapes, and mini construction zones. If you do screen time, a few videos and stories to kill time. You can also play on the spot waiting games like these:

If you're feeling a little overwhelmed planning summer travel, be sure to check out's Schlepping the Kids Somewhere? Best Tips for Traveling with Kids.

Stand Out

Decorating a PJ Library Summer Travel Tag

Many backpacks and suitcases look alike so be sure to make your bags stand out. In addition to using your special PJ Library Travel Tag, you can also attach brightly colored ribbons to the handles of your bags or let the kids "monogram" their luggage with puffy paint and iron-on patches. Whether you plan to check your bags or not, make sure that your own luggage is easy to spot.

Call Ahead

Boy on plane

Traveling by train or plane? There may be special accomodations or restrictions on car seats or lap sitting. After booking your tickets, give the company's service line a call to find out whether there's anything you need to keep in mind, especially concerning strollers or car seats.

Bring Snacks

Little boy eating snacks

Make each kid their own snack station with reusable lunch bags. Granola bars, veggie sticks, and dried fruit are all healthy options that travel well. You can also try out this popular Israeli favorite.


10 Kid-Friendly Cities to Visit on Your Summer Road Trip
10 Tips For Surviving Road Trips With Kids via
Survival Strategies for Traveling with a Baby or Toddler via ZERO to THREE
Traveling With Kids? Here's the One Item You Need to Bring
The Best Parenting Advice I’ve Ever Received? “Always Take The Trip” via Scary Mommy
Traveling With Children: How to Set the Pace via The New York Times

Staying close to home this summer? Go on an epic Imagination Vacation!


The following books are about taking a trip, going on a journey, or visiting family.

Good night, laila tov

Good Night, Laila Tov by Laurel Snyder

A family car trip turns into an exploration of the natural wonders of the seashore, woods, and fields, In gratitude and to make the world a better place, the parents plant trees. As the day progresses, the family adventure is marked by the recurringrefrain: "good night, laila tov.”

Fox Walked Alone

Fox Walked Alone by Barbara Reid

Fox joins other animals walking two-by-two toward a mysterious destination. Where in the world are they headed?

Just Stay Put

Just Stay Put by Gary Clement 

Mendel is on an exciting adventure -- he’s heading to Warsaw! Unfortunately, Mendel is from the upside-down town of Chelm -- which means nothing goes quite the way you think it will. Will he ever get to where he’s going?

Nonna's Hanukkah Surprise

Nonna's Hanukkah Surprise by Karen Fisman 

Rachel’s Italian grandma, Nonna, doesn’t celebrate Hanukkah, so Rachel plans to bring Hanukkah to her house. When her plans go awry, Nonna makes it all okay.

Tefilat HaDerech: The Traveler's Prayer

Tefilat HaDerech: The Traveler's Prayer by Joshua Buchin

In this bright, colorful book Buchin and Miller deliver a version of the Traveler’s Prayer for children, in English. The short prayer is accom­panied by diagrams that reflect, in abbreviated form, how the Jews have moved around since circa 1900 BCE until the present day.

Don't forget to check out these book lists as well:

Visit Israel Book List
Visit New York City Book List

Looking for a grown-up read? Check out these travel blogs from contemporary Jewish writers:

My Name is Yusha
On Being Jewish in a Strange Land
On Carrots, Fish, and Jewish Souls

On Being Jewish in Amsterdam


Practice the Traveler's Prayer, or sing along to road trip classics with our playlist:

Visit JKids Radio for more music and playlists.

We want to hear all about your travel adventures! Join the conversation with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Don't forget to add #pjlibrary to your post.