Buying gifts for 8 to 12-year-olds might not be the easiest thing to do, however, when said tween is into traveling, there’s a whole new world opening up. We’ve selected the best travel gifts for tweens that will spark their wanderlust!
If you are shopping for a younger or older child, take a look at these articles: The best travel gifts for kids (age 4-8) and the ultimate guide to travel gifts for teenagers. And If you need some inspiration for yourself, a friend or your partner, check out our gift guide for globetrotting moms.
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top 5 most popular TRAVEL GIFTS FOR TWEENS
EDUCATIONAL GIFTS FOR TWEENS
A kids’ travel journal is a great way to remember all the cool stuff and adventures from a trip. It helps improve writing skills and documenting experiences. A travel journal is definitely on the list of road trip essentials for tweens!
TIP: Check out this blog for some FREE kids travel journal printables!
Non-Fiction Travel Book
Travel information books are top gifts for tweens and a great way to get to know the world! It’s useful to get into travel modus before the trip, but they can also bring it along and teach the rest of the family some interesting facts about the destination.
Travel Themed Fictional Book
But don’t limit it to non-fiction. Youth adventure books with a setting in a foreign country are great gifts for girl tweens and boys too of course! For example the fantastic The Mapmaker Chronicles series is a great travel gift for 10 year olds or up!
Binoculars are a great present for a nature-loving kid! Make sure to give them binoculars that come with real optics but are sturdy enough for an occasional bump into the ground.
A world map is always a great educational gift that will enhance your tween’s geographical knowledge. Make the present more unique by buying a scratch-off map, a coloring map or an interactive learning map.
Children love creating rainbows and what better way is there than with a suncatcher.
They’re pretty heavy and will break if they fall, so make sure your tween is ready to take care of such an item.
Compact Music Instrument
Music is a great way to pass the time, so give your tween an instrument and make them watch some Youtube videos to get started.
Book with Riddles
Empowering History Book
They’re all hip and trendy nowadays, the ‘new fairytales’ aka history books about girls and boys that did something to change the world.
For any reading-lover (or if you want your tween to practice), bring one of these books and make them believe in the endless possibilities to change and do good – whether that be small or big.
TRAVEL ACCESSORIES FOR TWEENS
Personalized Passport Cover
A passport cover is one of the best travel gifts for an 11-year old who loves to travel. It looks great while it’s still practical as it offers protection for their most important document. And adding their name to the cover makes it even more special! Fuel their wanderlust and let the adventure begin!
Travel Neck Pillow
If you would like to give a more practical present, travel neck pillows are great gift ideas for tween girls and boys. We all like to get some sleep when traveling on a plane, bus or train and tweens are no different. Gift them with a good night of sleep by giving them a comfy neck pillow. read our in-depth article on the best kids travel pillows. This is one of the best travel accessories for tweens!
Every kid wants to bring their own backpack! It’s perfect to store their toys, a tablet, and other personal stuff. And it’s multifunctional: they can use their backpack for travels, but also for school or afterschool activities. A backpack also works perfectly as tween carry on luggage!
How cool is it as a tween to get to travel with your own suitcase. Many suitcases for tweens have such amazing designs! Pick one that isn’t too large but still big enough to hold a decent amount of clothes and some toys/books!
(Collapsible) Water Bottle
Help the environment by bringing a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles all the time. Pick a regular plastic one, a stainless steel one or save some space with a collapsible bottle.
Fun Luggage Tags
If your child has their own backpack or suitcase, get them a luggage tag so they can put their name down. It’s a travel gift for a 12-year old that will make them feel all grown up!
Another option to get comfortable on a trip – but always useful at home as well! – is a fleece blanket. One that folds up small is especially handy when traveling.
FUN GIFTS & TOYS FOR TWEENS
Family Travel Game
Especially when it’s as educational as it is entertaining, travel games are fun gifts for tween boys and girls!
Metal Wire Puzzles
Tweens that are into puzzles will have a blast with these Chinese rings. The goal is to separate the two pieces, but it’s harder than it looks!
A kick scooter is a great present for an active tween! You can hardly ever take a bike with you on a trip, but this ultra lightweight folding scooter, takes up very little space in your luggage and provides lots and lots of fun. It’s a great way for your tween to get that energy out. And thanks to the height adjustability it can be used into the teenage years and even as an adult as well!
One-person thinking game (smartgame)
Solitaire games are a great way to keep tweens occupied with something else than screens. As fun as playing a family game is, sometimes there is just one person who wants to play. The one-person games designed by Smartgames and Thinkfun are created to give both children and adults hours of fun on their own. Both brands have (usually magnetic) travel versions of their games as well.
Interactive Spring Toy
This arm spinner is a popular item for both kids and adults alike.
Let it roll from one arm to the other and get mesmerized while watching it flow up and down.
These kinetic spring toys are easily transportable as they fold flat into a bunch of rings and come with a little travel bag. Take them out while waiting at the airport, in a bus station, your hotel room, in the park or any other place where your kid has the ability to move around their arms.
Playing outdoors is always a great idea, but often a soccer ball or football takes up too much space while traveling. A frisbee is a great alternative to get active!
This classic toy is a great travel companion for kids age 8 and up! It takes up almost no space and it can entertain your tween both inside and outside.
Ahoy Captain! Any pirate loving tween will go crazy if they see this collapsible telescope.
It’s guaranteed to provide a lot of fun playing around acting like pirates, but its more than just the toy. They can use it for birdwatching amongst other things.
A snorkel set makes for a great gift for water-crazy tweens! You can opt to buy only the mask (perhaps even a full-face mask), a snorkel mask + breathing tube or go all in and include some diving fins.
It might not be your first thought to bring along a kite on your travels, but it’s a great toy to keep your tween occupied outdoors. If you pick one that’s easy and small to fold, your kid will have lots of fun while away!
Harry Potter Illuminating Wand
If your tween is crazy about Harry Potter, this wand is a great gift!
Wave it once to turn it on, wave it again to turn it off!
It is still a great travel toy as it is small and comes with a box, so they can tuck it into their backpack without a problem.
Scratch-off Rainbow Notes
If your kid likes to get creative, these mini rainbow notes are a super fun gift!
As they are only the size of a post-it, they’re easy to tag along. And they will give your tween hours of sketching or doodling fun.
TECHNOLOGY FOR TWEENS
Lens kit for smartphone
Looking for popular and cool Christmas gifts for tweens? If your tween already owns a smartphone, a lens kit for that smartphone might be a good idea! Just clip them onto the smartphone and you’re able to snap pictures with a macro or wide-angle lens.
Headphones are one of the best gifts for tweens especially for one that loves traveling. Every tween needs a moment for themselves, whether that’s passing the time with a movie or just chilling with some music. Noise-cancelling headphones for tweens are great for some peace on long travel days as well. Definitely a cool gifts for tweens idea!
If you want to splurge, your tween will be more than a little excited with a Nintendo 3DS. A game console is a great alternative for a tablet if you don’t mind some screen time every now and then. The Nintendo 3DS is portable and lightweight and can easily be tucked away in a backpack. This is definitely one of the best gifts for tween girls and boys!
Kids Travel Drone
A drone is a great gift, especially for children interested in technology, filming or photography and they might use it for a long time.
Ozobot: Bit Coding Robot
If you’re looking for a super cool technology gift for kids, the Ozobot is the way to go!
The package includes a tiny robot (that will fit in their pocket), a 25-page tutorial (this will teach your kid how to code their robot with simple exercises) and 4 markers in different colors.
They can either code screen-free with color codes or there is more advanced online programming with Ozoblocky.
Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
This colorful mini waterproof bluetooth speaker will give your 10-year-old a lot of fun. They can bring it along to the beach, the park, to hang out with friends or to chill in the hotel room.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Barbara Rodrigus is passionate about travelling – especially with her wife and daughter. She loves to show others that it’s far from impossible to travel with (young) children. A big part of that is spent on making travelling easier by bringing the right travel gear for kids.
Babs loves animals, chocolate (what did you expect from a Belgian?), reading & writing and glorious mountain views.