Hi. My name is Teddi, I’m a toy photographer and I love to travel. When I go on a trip, selecting which toys to pack is one of the first things I do. If this sounds odd to you, read on! You may be inspired by this glimpse into another way of life. You may even decide to buy yourself a LEGO travel companion, or to give one as a gift to someone about to embark on a great journey. By the time you’re done with this article, you’ll find traveling with LEGO minifigures isn’t as odd as you think!
What makes LEGO minifigures the perfect travel toy?
I travel with and photograph many kinds of toys: action figures, dinosaurs, movie creatures, even 12” dolls. But one kind of toy dominates my phone’s picture gallery, so today I’m going to talk specifically about why LEGO minifigures have become my most valued traveling companions.
SIZE: LEGO minifigures are small enough to fit easily in your pocket, purse, or backpack. Other toys can be bulky, which makes them inconvenient to carry and awkward to photograph.
RESILIENCE: LEGO minifigures are sturdy and tough, and don’t easily break or bend. While it’s a good practice to protect them from getting scuffed or scraped, it’s not required. They are hardy enough that you can just stick them in a pocket or bag without worrying that they’ll lose an arm or leg or some delicate piece will snap off.
APPEAL: LEGO minifigures have a wide audience appeal, and if you want to share your travels on social media or even just via text with friends and family, seeing a LEGO person in a photo is sure to get a smile.
CUSTOMIZABILITY: You can select (or build) a LEGO minifigure for any trip! Put a Hawaiian shirt on your figure when you go to Maui. Grab a cowboy and his horse for a trip to Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah. Find the French baker and his baguette for your trip to Paris. Grab Huey, Dewey, and Louie when you go to Disneyland. Traveling to Hollywood for a business trip? Bring John Wick, and you’ll know that he’s got your back no matter how well (or poorly) the deal turns out.
Popular Ideas for Traveling with LEGO Minifigures
There are endless ideas for bringing toys on trips, but most of them fit somewhere in these three categories. If I missed your favorite toy travel idea, please tell us in the comments!
Signature Minifigure or “Sig Fig”
I often take my sig fig on trips. She’s a writer and photographer who loves nature and loves to read. You’ll see her taking photos of the scenery at a vista point next to her yellow Volkswagon bug, or sitting by a river or on a city bench reading a book. Sometimes she’s at the airport typing on her laptop or carrying a briefcase on her way to catch a flight. This is a fun way to capture life’s simple moments as well as the highlights of trips, special locations, and big life events.
Ongoing Characters and Stories
If you have a favorite character or set of characters that tickle your imagination, you might want to take them places and show them pursuing a mystery, exploring the world, or in search of a lost item. This could be a movie character like Gimli the dwarf, a book character like Alice in Wonderland, or something you make up for yourself. In one of my ongoing stories, two aliens got separated from their invasion force and are wandering the earth trying to find their way back to their ship (see #lostinvasionforce on Instagram). In another, we see the Powerpuff girl Buttercup leave her family in search of her true identity while her sisters, Blossom and Bubbles, try to find her.
There are many people on social media who take one toy with them everywhere and photograph it in places around the world.
Matching Toys To a Location
If you are a travel photographer, or even if you just like to share your travels with friends and family, another fun idea is to select toys to bring based on where you’re going. Some people don’t feel there’s enough variety in bringing the same minifigure everywhere they go. If this is you, then traveling with LEGO minifigures is perfect. Let’s say you’re going somewhere tropical; bring along a surfer dude and his surfboard. Maybe you’re taking a business trip to a big city; take a minifigure in a suit with a briefcase (just don’t forget the martini glass for off-hours relaxation). Going to Yellowstone? Bring a hiker with a backpack and camera (or a compass, if you’re off-roading it).
Bonus Tip: How To Store and Carry LEGO Minifigures As You Travel
First of all, remember that you can always keep it simple: stick a minifigure in your pocket and head out the door! But experience has shown me that over time my collection of minifigures grows. Even when taking a short trip to a local park I often want to bring multiple minifigures, as well as the accessories for them (alternate heads for different facial expressions, a bicycle, food, beverage, a LEGO brick bench to sit on, etc). This can make traveling with LEGO minifigures a little bit more complicated.
However, you don’t need to break the bank or buy LEGO-branded toy containers (although those are fun!). Check out these simple plastic food storage containers I’ve used:
I found these at the grocery store and the dollar store for just a couple of dollars. But sometimes you don’t want a hard-sided box, especially when putting it in a jacket pocket or a small purse. I’ve found that a soft-sided coin purse, makeup bag, or drawstring bag works very well to keep the toys contained and protect them from scratches.
Sometimes, we even throw them into a zip-tight plastic baggie normally used for sandwiches and snacks!
Conclusion—And a Challenge!
I hope by now you’re excited about the possibilities of traveling with LEGO minifigures. If you’re here, then you probably like LEGO toys already (or have children who do). Why not share that enjoyment with the world? And even if you’re too shy to share photos of toys on social media, at least take them for yourself. While I do enjoy sharing my photos online, I would take these photos even if it was just for myself, because it’s FUN.
Now the challenge: Take a toy with you next time you leave the house. Snap a pic of it somewhere using your phone camera. Then post it on Instagram and tag @minifigurehq and @mightysmallstories so we can share the joy!