The first thing I bought when I learned I was pregnant was not a crib, nor a pack of swaddles, nor any other product related to the day-to-day logistics of infant care. Rather, it was a $13.99 passport cover—a cute, pastel little thing scrawled with “Off to See the World!” At that point, I didn’t know how to change a diaper, but I did know that I wanted to raise a traveler.
According to the State Department, some 60 percent of U.S. citizens don’t own a passport. Couple that with the Trump Administration’s travel ban, visa restrictions, and curtailing of refugees, plus reports that passports are being denied to certain U.S. citizens along the southern border, and I’m even more determined to teach my son that leaving and re-entering the country is a privilege—especially when it’s for vacation.
A passport is a thing to be proud of—if not philosophically, then certainly logistically, especially when you’ve survived a trip to the post office with a six-week-old baby. Our son doesn’t know he has hands yet, but I can't wait for the day when he grasps his passport and begins to understand its meaning: that the great, wide world is his to explore.
Here are a few kid-friendly passport covers to kickstart your next family adventure:
You’ve bought the $1,100 TrendyStroller (™) and the schmancy bassinet that purports to make your baby sleep overnight. If you’re wondering what else is left, look no further than this leather passport cover. It’s a splurge, sure, but it’s solidly adult-appropriate, too, should your kid ever tire of it. – Cat's Meow Passport Cover, $98 at Kate Spade
Artist Barbra Ignatiev’s watercolors are trippy and romantic, making this pretty floral passport cover a bright spot in a sea of otherwise staid, somber-colored luggage in the PreCheck line. – Wild at Heart Passport Cover, $24 at Anthropologie
Rebecca Minkoff had the right idea in lacquering its minimalist, no-closure passport cover with wall-to-wall glitter; after all, what baby doesn’t like shiny things? The effect is maximalist in the best possible way. It’s like a portable arts and crafts project—without the mess. – Rebecca Minkoff Glitter Passport Cover, $65 at Nordstrom
These water-resistant vegan-leather passport covers come in 40 colorful patterns, including maps, polka dots, animals, aviation, and typographical art. After all, no layette would be complete without something emblazoned with the words “Surf Eat Sleep Repeat.” – Govinda Crafts Passport Cover, $9.99 on Amazon
Designed by Cakeworthy for Disney, this synthetic baby-blue passport cover pays tribute to the beloved elephant and his magical ears. The timing couldn’t be better: Tim Burton’s live-action reboot of the 1941 animated classic will hit theaters in 2019. – Dumbo Airlines Passport Cover, $19.95 at Shop Disney