Who’s ready for the tween years? Travel with 9 – 12 year olds can be a lot of fun, as the world is opening up for them. We’ve gathered our top ideas for the best travel gifts for tweens to inspire wanderlust and to help them make the most of all their adventures.
Not only that but they are handy kids gift ideas for Christmas, Birthdays, Easter, road trips, or any special occasion.
Our youngest just hit the tween years, and we are looking forward to what traveling joys and challenges this will bring. These tween travel essentials are all “tween vetted and approved. “
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BEST GIFTS FOR KIDS WHO TRAVEL
Don’t have a lot of time? Here are our most popular, and go-to picks for tweens
- Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones – Tweens love to tune the world out, especially great for those that love travel.
- Travel Neck Pillows – Comfy rest on the go, like a soft hug for their neck. Over 10 colors to choose from. Out of the 4 my youngest tried, this was her favourite, she takes on all travels.
- Crossbody Day Pack – just the right size to fit everything they need for the day. Can wear in front for extra safety, or on their back. Over 15 colors to suite their current mood.
Tips for buying gifts for traveling tweens
Frequent travelers know there are some key things to look for when buying tween travel essentials. Here are some things to consider:.
- Light & Compact – items that can be compressed down, and don’t weigh a lot are essential. Hauling around a 50lb backpack is not on the top of anyones list.
- Quality Gear – cheaper isn’t necessarily better, especially if your tween will be using the travel gift a lot. Buy items that are rugged, that can handle being shoved in a backpack and tossed around planes, trains, campsites etc.
- Age of child – While these ideas are geared towards 9-12 years old, you know your tween(s) best. Adjust for activities, maturity, lifestyle.
- Activities – what sort of travel will they be doing? Someone who is going on outdoor adventures more frequently will need different travel gear then tweens who are sticking to more urban settings.
- Method of travel – Consider their travel style – By RV, plane, car or a combo? Adapt your travel gifts to how they travel.
Travel Activity Gifts for Tweens
Travel activity gifts are one of the best gifts for kids who travel. Keep your tweens busy and entertained on road trips, plane rides and all sorts of travel.
1. Snorkelling Set
Dive…Dive! Explore the waterways of your vacation destinations with a colorful snorkeling set.
Perfect for snorkeling vacations, or even a fun pool or lake activity.
2. Travel Journal
Let your tweens write down their favorite travel stories, and moments in a sweet travel journal.
I love looking back on my travel journals over the years, and reading those tidbits I’ve forgotten. Great souvenirs.
3. Scavenger Hunt Books
Mission impossible? Nope, Mission Scavenger hunt books. Take a trip through history and figure out the clues in these interactive books.
4. Inspiring Travel Books
Inspire wanderlust with some true travel tales for tweens, or travel inspired books.
My daughter loves her Lonely Planet The Travel Book: A Journey through every country in the World. She will often flip through it to tell me where she would like to travel next. This is definitely a keep at home book though.
Or grab a Travel Guide to their next destination so they can help plan out your next trip.
5. Travel Games for Tweens
Travel games are a great way to pass the time, and bonus points if they are a bit educational. Think classics like Uno, Apples to Apples Junior or even just a deck of cards.
Our latest favorite family games are:
- Happy Little Dinosaurs
- World Game – geography is tough, but interesting! Different levels for the ages.
Frisbees are the perfect travel activity. Small enough to tuck in their suitcase, and perfect for running off some pent of energy after a long day of travel. Pull them out at a park, the beach, or campground or start a friendly ultimate game.
7. Single Person Games
Sometimes family members are up for epic family game time, and sometimes not so much. So having a couple of solo games in your back pocket is essential.
Think Solitaire, but without the cards.
Keep the tweens busy & their brain engaged without excessive screen time.
Grab a fun logic travel game by Smart Games for those times when the kids (or adults) need a solo game. They have many travel options to choose from.
8. Coding Gifts for Tweens – A Coding Dog
A coding robot dog is a cool & educational small gift for tweens who love science. Great STEAM activity, that doesn’t require an internet connection. Keep them learning on the road.
GIFTS FOR TWEENS & KIDS – TRAVEL EXPERIENCES
9. Travel Experience Gift Card
Grab a gift card and they can choose what they want do.
Maybe it’s something adventurous close to home they haven’t tried yet. Or maybe it’s for their next next family vacation.
Either way a gift card gives them control & let’s them choose.
10. Buy A Tour or Tween Friendly Activity
Know where your tweens are travelling to next? Give the gift of travel experiences.
Buy a cool experience their family can take on their next vacation. Something you know your favourite tween would like.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Visit to a Volcano & Zipline in Costa Rica
- Everglades Airboat Tour in Florida
- Go City Sightseeing attractions pass
You’ll be their favorite adult forever.
FUN TRAVEL GIFTS FOR KIDS & TWEENS
Electronics – Essential Travel Accessories For Tweens
11. Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
Headphones are one of the best gifts for tweens, especially those that love travel.
Grab a wireless over the ear pair for maximum comfort, with volume limiting to protect their ears. Ensusure they are noise cancelling headphones to give your tweens some peace and quiet when they want to tune out the world.
Skullcandy is a popular brand with tween travelers, that comes in a few colors and stylish shape. These headphones are great for traveling tweens due to:
- Their quick charge ( 10 minutes gives 4 hours of play), or fully charged 40 hours,
- Bluetooth wireless with mic or a cord; and
- Noise cancelling.
Plus they’re collapsible with a travel bag. Definitely tween travel essentials.
If you want to splurge a little, then, you can’t go wrong with Apple AirPods.
While these babies do pack a bit of a price tag, there are a lot of benefits like noise cancelling, effortless set up, comfortable fit and great sound quality.
13. Eco-Friendly AirPods Travel Case
Grab an eco-friendly travel case to go with the AirPods. Cool colors and compostable, one less thing to worry about in our tech heavy society.
Travel gifts for tweens they’ll love.
14. Samsung Galaxy Buds
For android devices, the stylish and superior sound quality of Samsung Galaxy Buds can’t be beat.
We love the active noise cancelling, up to 6 hours of playtime, and wireless charging case that comes with.
And it comes in lavender color! or the usual black and white too.
15. Waterproof Speaker
A waterproof bluetooth speaker will have your kids rocking the beach, hotel room or just hanging with friends at home.
This JBL speaker is another favourite tween gift brand, that also has a clip, to hang the speaker up.
16. Digital Camera
If your kids don’t own a smartphone, then a digital camera is a great travel gift idea for tweens.
Tweens will love capturing all those special moments and memories on their vacations. It also gives them a different way to look at the world around them, and pay attention more closely.
17. Instant Camera
Or bring a little Instant Camera retro souvenir action into your holidays.
A great way to have photos to hang on their wall, gift to new (or old) friends and family members along the way.
18. Game Console & Travel Case
Ask any car full of preteen boys what makes the top of their travel list and you’ll hear a Nintendo Switch…..
Bringing a game console on vacation may not be your top priority, especially if you are trying to wean them away from technology to spend more time as a family.
It can however be useful for long travel days, and is a compact entertainment system.
Just be sure to bring a good protective travel case, like this durable Nintendo Switch travel case.
19. Nintendo Switch Light
This Nintendo Switch Lite, is even more compact, making it perfect for travel, if you don’t have a lot of spare room.
20. Power Bank
A power bank is an essential travel gift for kids who bring phones, & tablets, along on their vacations. Go for high-tech convenience that is compatible with all their devices.
21. Travel Adapter
Let your tween charge their devices without frying them, with this international travel adapter. They will be able to charge up to 5 devices at once, in over 150 countries. World traveler in the making.
22. Electronic Organizer Travel
This travel electronic organizer is perfect for keeping all their gadgets and cords organized.
23. Waterproof Cell Phone Pouch
This waterproof cell phone case will help keep your tweens cell phone safe from water, and sand . Perfect for beach vacations, or camping trips.
24. Laptop Sleeve
Protect their devices with a cool laptop sleeve.
Choose a color or pattern that suits their style.
Travel Accessories for Tweens
If you are looking for useful gifts then you can’t go wrong with travel accessories for tweens. Fun, practical and just the right size for their carry on or luggage.
25. Personalized Passport Wallet / Holder
A personalized passport holder is a thoughtful touch, and a great way to help them keep track of which passport is theirs if you have multiple siblings traveling. Pick your tweens favorite color.
26. Clear Toiletry Bag
Sail through TSA clearance with a clear toiletry bag. Easily find the toiletry items you need. Your tween will love this
27. Hanging Tween Toiletry Bag
Or get them this more “grown up” Sea to Summit Travelling Light Hanging Toiletry Bag in a fun color.
28. Water Bottle
Kleen Canteen stainless steel water bottles are our favorite eco friendly addition to traveling. Avoid contributing to plastic overwhelming the planet. Perfect gift for the eco concious kid
29. Filter Water Bottles
Lifestraw Go Water Filter Bottles are a popular choice for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.
This bottle will filter out 99.9% of bacteria, making it perfect addition to your traveling tweens packing list.
The microfilter lasts for up to 1000 gallons, which means you don’t need to constantly purchase filters.
30. Travel Pillow
Practical present, travel neck pillows are great gift ideas for tween girls and boys.
Give the gift of a good night of sleep by giving them a comfy neck pillow. One of the best travel accessories for tweens!
31. Colorful Luggage Tags
Be a pineapple in a sea of black… or something like that.
A fun luggage tag will make spotting their travel gear much easier.
32. Dopp Kit
Choose a Dopp Kit for your young travellers who need a shaving & toiletry kit.
Even if they aren’t shaving yet, it can be used for their toiletries in the meantime.
33. Travel Bottles Set
A travel bottle set is an essential travel accessory.
No reason to take up more room in the suitcase than necessary.
Travel Gift Ideas for Tweens: Travel Gear
34. Travel Backpack
Every kid needs their own travel backpack.
Store their toys, travel activities, games, electronics, and even a snack or two.
The best thing about buying a quality backpack is they are multipurpose and can be used for travel, school, hiking, camping, you name it. They can also be used as carry on luggage for your tweens.
Check out all our top travel backpacks ideas for kids, tweens and toddlers.
35. Crossbody Sling Backpack
Trendy, and practical, this WATERFLY Crossbody Sling Backpack is super handy for packing their day out essentials.
Wear in front for extra safety in busy cities, or on the back. Multiple compartments, a hidden headphones hole, and waterbottle pocket for all their important stuff.
36. Best Carry-On Luggage for Tweens
A carry-on sized tween suitcase in a cool color or design will have your tween stylin’ and ready to go. This size allows for a good amount of clothes, without being too bulky or heavy.
Away Suitcases are a favorite, made for travelers by travelers, and will last your tweens a very long time. Well worth the investment.
37. Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are essential travel accessories for tweens (and all travelers). A great way to keep everything organized and well contained. Especially helpful if traveling with a small backpack or carry-on suitcase.
Multiple packing cubes can hold individual outfits, or organize by activity, day or type of clothing.
Bird & sloth watchers delight!
A pair of travel sized binoculars for kids are perfect addition to tropical or safari vacations to watch monkeys, whales or other animals roam, fly and swim.
39. Period Undies for Tweens
Period Undies are sooo great for tweens who get their periods.
Lightweight, and leakproof, these period underwear come in many cool colors, styles and designs.
Eco friendly travel gift for tweens.
Who wouldn’t want to run around in the dark with a headlamp?
Foxelli headlamps are durable and come with a rechargeable option, making them a more eco-friendly travel gift.
Headlamps are the perfect tween gift for exploring a campsite at night, reading after dark, or night hikes. Maybe even an impromptu shadow puppet play.
41. Chaco Sandals – Ultimate Tween Travel Sandal
Chaco Sandals are the ultimate in travel footwear.
Quick to dry, good grip for hiking and just general all round good sandal for travelling & camping.
42. Travel Hammock
A packable travel hammock is a fun gift for tweens.
It packs down small, so can easily fit in their backpack for camping, road trips, or beach vacations.
Eco-Friendly Gifts for Tweens Who Travel
43. Bamboo Utensil Set
Grab a bamboo utensil set for an eco-friendly gift that will save on plastic. Picnics and meals on the go just got easire.
44. Collapsible Travel Straw
I don’t know about you, but my kids love using straws.
A collapsible and reusable straw is a great option to reduce garbage, and small enough to tuck in their backpack.
45. Nylon Bataan Hip Pack – Cotopaxi
Your tweens will love this one-of-a-kind hip pack made with 100% repurposed nylon that was headed to the landfill.
Large enough to fit just the essentials for the day.
46. Bamboo Travel Toothbrush
Tweens will want to have fresh breath.
A Bamboo travel toothbrush and case fits the bill.
Best Travel Gifts for Tweens – Gift Cards
47. Audible Gift Card
Buy an Audible Gift Membership for your favourite tween. Gift the gift of books read out loud. Perfect for those long road trips or plane rides.
48. REI Gift Card
An REI gift card is perfect for tweens who are outdoor adventurers, or are looking for a good day pack.
49. Disney Gift Card
A Disney Gift Card is perfect for Disney lovers of all ages.
No matter if they’re looking for a light sabre, a hoodie with their favourite characters, or a Disney themed lego set.
50. Other Tween Gift Card Ideas
So many gift cards to choose from that would suit a tween traveler. More ideas include:
- ITunes Gift Card
- Visa or Mastercard Gift Card
- Food (Mc Donald’s, Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Subway etc)
- Clothing Gift Cards to stock up before their trip
More Fun Tween Travel Gift Ideas
51. Would You Rather
Would You Rather questions to lighten up any moody tween and their parents.
Hilarious, thought provoking questions.
52. Kids Cruise Travel Journal
Keep the memories, cruise style with a Cruise Travel Journal.
53. National Parks Board Game
This wildy popular National Parks boardgame will help everyone learn all about National Parks before their trip. Or to bring along a road trip when there’s extra space.
54. Inflatable Lounger
Beach vacation solution!
Inflatable lounger makes for a fun gift. You may have to buy one for all the kids.
55. Taco vs Burrito
My tweens new favourite portable game; Taco vs Burrito. Fun for the whole family.
Plus it was created by a 7 year old, how cool is that.
Final Thoughts: Travel Gift Ideas for Tweens
I hope you found our list helpful for finding a fun travel gift for kids they will use and love. Here’s to exploring the world with tweens.
Did we miss your favorite travel gift ideas for kids and tweens? Let us know in the comments below.
More family gift ideas, travel tips and destinations:
- Camping Gift Ideas for Kids
- Travel Subscription Boxes for all ages
- Best Anti-Theft Backpacks for safer travels
- Eco Friendly Stocking stuffers for year round gifts
- RV Gift Ideas for epic road trip adventures
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