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 are all “tween vetted and approved. “
Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of the links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you! See full disclosure and disclaimer policy here.
Tips for buying gifts for traveling tweens
Frequent travelers know there are some key things to look for when buying 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.
BEST GIFTS FOR KIDS WHO TRAVEL
Don’t have a lot of time? Here are our most popular, and top 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scavenger Hunt Books
Mission impossible? Nope Mission Scavenger hunt books. Take a trip through history and figure out the clues in these interactive books. They offer major destinations around the world like London, Rome, and New York.
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.
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.
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.
Coding Gifts for Tweens – A Coding Robot
A coding robot 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
Know where your tweens are travelling to next? Give the gift of travel experiences.
- 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
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, that comes in a few colors and stylish shape. These headphones are great for traveling tweens due to the quick charge ( 10 minutes gives 4 hourrs of play), or fully charged 40 hours, bluetooth wireless with mic or a cord, noise cancelling, plus collapsible with a travel bag.
Airpods & Travel Case – Eco-Friendly Gifts for Tweens
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.
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.
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.
A waterproof bluetooth speaker will have your kids rocking the beach, hotel room or just hanging with friends at home.
If your kids don’t own a smartphone, then a digital camera is a great gift idea. 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.
Or bring a little Instant Camera retro souvenir action into your holidays. A great way to have photos to hang on your wall, gift to new (or old) friends and family members along the way.
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.
A power bank is an essential travel gift for kids who bring phones, tablets, nintendo switches along on their vacations. Go for high-tech convenience that ais compatible with all their devices.
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.
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.
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.
Toiletry Bag – clear
Sail through TSA clearance with a clear toiletry bag. Easily find the toiletry items you need. Your tween will love this
Or get them a more “grown up” Sea to Summit Travelling Light Hanging Toiletry Bag in a fun color.
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
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.
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!
Colorful Luggage Tags
Be a pineapple in a sea of black… or something like that. Fun luggage tag will make spotting their travel gear much easier.
Gifts for Tweens: Travel Gear
Every kid needs their own travel backpack. Store their toys, travel activities, games, electronics, and even a snack or two. The great 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.
Crossbody Sling Backpack
Trendy, and practical, the 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.
Best Carry-On Luggage for Tweens – Away Suitcase
A carry-on sized 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.
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.
Birdwatchers 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.
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?
Headlamps are the perfect gift for exploring a campsite at night, reading after dark, or night hikes. Maybe even an impromptu shadow puppet play.
Foxelli headlamps are durable and come with a rechargeable option, making them a more eco-friendly travel gift.
Eco-Friendly Gifts for Tweens Who Travel
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.
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.
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.
Travel Gifts for Tweens they’ll Use & Love
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
Packed for Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.ca.