As teachers of high and college students and parents of our own teenager, we definitely speak teen. We have traveled to over 24 countries with our son. And from our extensive travel and our personal and professional lives spent with teens, we bring you the 65 best travel gifts for teenagers.
Best Travel Gift Ideas for Teenagers
Our Top 3 Travel Essentials for Teenagers
There is perhaps no more important travel gift for teenagers than a portable battery. No, it is not the most exciting, but it is a traveling essential for teens.
A portable battery is not only important for those long haul flights, it is perfect for long days exploring so that phones and other electronic devices have the staying power to last all day.
Headphones – and a case
There is nothing more important to pack for our own teenager than his headphones. While most teens are big fans of AirPods or other earbud-style cordless headphones, the benefits of corded headphones while traveling is you can plug into the in-seat entertainment on those long-haul flights
Our son loves his Marshall Major IV headphones. Unlike previous pairs from other brands (and believe us when we say he has been through several), the connection point between the band and the ear phone is stronger and less likely to break.
You can also charge these headphones in just 15 minutes. And they last 15 hours.
As an add-on, we also recommend a hard protective case for your headphones. If you are going to drop $100 or so on quality headphones like these, adding a protective case is a smart way to protect your investment.
Staying hydrated is rule #1 for long haul travelers. So be sure to give your teenager, the most important gift of all….water.
While any water bottle will certainly do, the benefit of a collapsible water bottle is that it takes up far less space.
We all know that airplane travel is tough on the planet. And while traveling with a water bottle will definitely not serve as an offset, this gift shows your teen every choice matters.
Water bottles are especially important when you are traveling with your teen to South or Central American Countries like Costa Rica where taking filtered water is a must.
Best Travel Gifts for Teens: Accessories
While long haul flights typically offer in-flight entertainment, we find our son frequently choosing to watch downloaded shows on his own device.
An inflight phone holder is a great gadget for teens to give their arms and hands a rest during multi-hour domestic or international flights.
If your teen is anything like ours, they are probably traveling with several different devices: phone, computer, maybe a portable gaming system.
A cord sorter will help keep all those essential cables organized and protected. Plus, it will be easy for your teen to quickly grab one container out of their carry-on versus 3 or 4 individual cords as they squeeze into their row while 20 grumpy fellow passengers are not so patiently waiting.
If there is one thing you want your teen to keep track of, it is their passport. A passport holder is a reminder that this all important document must go right back into its safe place after customs.
And while you could certainly find a less decorative holder for your passport, we like this particular holder for the wanderlust it inspires.
As an entire family, we are crazy about a leg rest pillow. As budget travelers, we are always pretty envious of the ability business class travelers have to put their legs up during a long flight.
And while this leg rest inflatable does not miraculously create more space in the cramped few inches airlines call leg room, it does allow you to get your feet up during those long haul flights.
If you see the 3 of us traveling, you will see that we blow these up across our entire row and sit criss-cross applesauce while we sleep. It is definitely not as good as business class, but we definitely don’t arrive with the swollen feet and tired legs that we had before these became our travel go to.
Our teenager loves the window seat making the Dot&Dot Twist the best travel pillow. Because this neck pillow contours, it allows for a lot more flexibility than a traditional neck pillow.
And the washable cotton cover means that mid-sleep drool that your teen hopes no one saw can quickly become a thing of the past.
Teenagers need an average of 9 hours of sleep. And while that is never going to happen on an international flight, a really good sleep mask could extend their sleep for a few more hours.
Planes are always cold. And if your teen does not want to use the super thin, airline-provided, not-sure-how-it-was-sanitized piece of fabric in a plastic bag waiting for you on your seat, then a travel blanket is perfect.
What we love about this particular travel blanket, is that your teen can use it for a pillow or a blanket. It also has magnetic closures to let your teens arms out so they can continue binging their favorite Netflix show in cocoon-like comfort.
The travel blanket also comes with a carry bag that can snap onto your carry on, making it super portable.
Best Travel Gifts for Teens: Packing
The Rockland set is super affordable and yet, holds up really, really well. And what we especially love for teens is the plethora of colors that the luggage comes in.
We definitely recommend the 20-inch for your teenager’s go-to carry on.
Rockland also carries a 3-piece set. Again, you get all the colors and durability of Rockland, but just more of them.
Rockland is also fairly lightweight. The largest suitcase in the set weighs 10 pounds when empty, which means your teenager has a lot of pounds of clothes to put in before you have to pay more to check that bag as “overweight.”
We absolutely know that your teen will be obsessed with the Cotopaxi backpack. How do we know? Because our teen is.
We ducked into the Cotopaxi store near Larimer Square in Denver, which by the way is a great place to travel to with your teen. And barely made it out without spending serious money.
Cotopaxi not only looks good, they do good. Each bag is entirely unique. The Del Dia Collection was born out of a desire for the factory workers to not only have more creativity, but also to use scraps of material that would otherwise go to waste.
So what your teenager gets is a unique bag and a beautiful way to be more sustainable.
Because we are such fans of Cotopaxi, we are going to come back to them one more time with our packing cube suggestion.
Again, just like the backpacks, cubes are handmade out of scraps of fabric that would otherwise be discarded. So your teenager can be organized, but also earth friendly.
Teens are big fans of canvas totes. Trust us when we stay that numerous lunches are brought every day to our high school in these unassuming totes.
And yet, their lack of pretension is also their essential message: be simple and don’t waste.
A canvas tote is really a travel essential for teenagers as they can be used for the beach, a day exploring the city (and by the way, we think Rome is a great place to take your teen), or a quick (or long) shopping excursion. Perfect for bringing home your hard bartered-for goods from flea markets like the Rastro in Madrid.
Or your teen can pick up some groceries in your destination and help save you some of those all important travel dollars. Families that can save some money while traveling, can travel more often.
If your teen opts for or is handed down that black suitcase that looks just like all the others on baggage carousel, you should definitely invest in some luggage tags.
Luggage tags add personality of course. But more than that they can keep your teen’s luggage from accidentally being rolled away by someone else.
While we didn’t list a Dopp kit — a.k.a. toiletry bag — as one of 3 essential travel accessories for teenagers, we definitely thought about it. It is definitely one of our son’s most essential travel accessories.
Every teenager needs a way to be responsible for their own toiletries and a Dopp kit is perfect. While Dopp kits may have once been gendered and thought of as a man’s essential, teens today are interested in functionality over gendering. And we think the vintage vibe of the KomalC is perfect.
There are some pretty clever hacks to travel with your jewelry without a case. Who would have known a straw could keep necklaces from tangling?
But if your teen needs some more formal organization, then a jewelry travel case is the way to go.
The time is coming nearer when your teen won’t have to measure out exactly 3.4 ounces of their most important liquids. But until then, liquid travel containers are an absolute travel necessity for teenagers.
Or, if your teen wants to skip the liquid containers (and more importantly the single use plastic that it comes in), why not try a shampoo bar?
Shampoo bars have come a long way from simply rubbing that bar of Ivory soap into your locks. And any environmentally conscious teen will appreciate this travel gift at home or on the road.
No one wants a smelly teenager. A packet of no shower wipes can really save the day for your traveling teen.
A great gift could be a fully loaded Dopp kit with these babies included.
Don’t want to be the nag who reminds your teenager how many pairs of socks they need to pack? Then the Pack This Checklist has got you.
This list can be a slightly cheeky way to help your teenager take responsibility for packing everything they need for your adventures.
Best Travel Gifts for Teens: Technology
If you are traveling to a different country, then you need to buy your teen a universal adapter. Trust us. On our last trip to Spain, we only packed one set of European adapters and there were some very tense moments.
What we especially love about the newest adapters, is that one block has all the different country adapters you need. So your teen (or you…let’s be honest, it is you) will not be digging through that broken down container of country adaptive plugs for just the right one when you should be getting in that rideshare to the airport. Not that that has ever happened to us.
Your teenager has to borrow your clothes because theirs was the one bag that got lost. Enough said.
If you do check bags, AirTags are the best way to track your bags should they fail to arrive with you. You’ll want to buy the air tags and some luggage tags.
Okay, this best tech travel gift for teenagers is a little pricey. Our own son has been asking for one for a minute. Thank goodness he has that job, right?
And while he hasn’t quite earned one for himself (yet) several of his friends have and love their GoPro.
If your family loves adventure travel like ours then this is a great splurge for your teen.
Is your teen interested in vlogging for themselves? Or maybe they are the family member forced to capture all the shots for your travel vlog. (Or maybe that is just us).
If you do have a teen vlogger determined to capture all of their adventures, then the Ossyl is a good starter camera.
Vlogging cameras can cost upwards of $800 so this camera will not have all the bells and whistles of a more advanced, higher price-point camera.
However, we really love that it has Bluetooth. All your teen needs to do is connect it to WiFi to directly upload videos and photos to their phone.
Okay, we are not 100% certain this is really a gadget for a teen. But we want one. So it had to go on the list.
We have been researching this alot. And the best budget drone is the DJI Mini 2. It has the battery time, shoots 4K video, and when packed up is the size of your cell phone.
But even a budget drone is not cheap, the DJI Mini 2 costs around $600. An expensive travel gift for a teenager, but one that can certainly launch a passion to record the adventures of their lifetime.
iPhone Lens allows your teens to zoom in or out of the action without a separate camera. The set comes with 3 lenses. One makes the world larger, one smaller, and one through a creative fisheye.
These lenses are an inexpensive way to give your photography-loving teen a new way to capture their world.
The tripod allows your teenager the ability to capture the action without asking anyone (including you for help).
The SquipGrip bends and contorts in any situation imaginable. And will hold all types of mobile phone on the market. The SquipGrip will even hold a GoPro.
If a trip to the beach is in order, then a waterproof Bluetooth speaker is a great teenager gadget.
We especially love the small size and long play life of the INSMY speakers.
Whether your teen wants to keep singing in the shower in whatever city your adventures takes you or have their favorite tunes on the beach before theit surf lesson, the INSMY speaker has them covered. And for a fraction of the price of other similar speakers.
If your teen’s headphones of choice are Airpods, consider getting the AirFly Pro as a companion.
The AirFly Pro is a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into the in-seat entertainment and allows the sound to wirelessly transmit to cordless headphones.
Traveling in winter or to destinations where the weather might be a bit chilly? Arm your teen with these gloves that will keep their digits warm without having to sacrifice connectivity to their all-important phone.
If you know a teenager, you know that Polaroids are all the rage…again. Your teenager already has a phone with a camera in their pocket. It just doesn’t print.
Enter the Polaroid Pocket Printer. This small printer connects wirelessly to your teenager’s mobile phone. So when they capture that most amazing shot of the Eiffel Tower all aglow, they can print it on the spot.
The pocket printer is battery powered so it can literally come along for the journey. And of course, because it is a Polaroid product, each photo has an adhesive strip on the back to stick it instantly inside your travel journal.
If your travel involves water, be it on the 5 Island tour in Cartagena, Colombia or on Grizzly River Run whitewater ride at Disney California Adventure (are we the only ones that get truly soaked?), this is a small investment in the thing that your teenager loves most…their phone. (Sorry, if you thought we were going to say “you” here.)
Nope, this travel gift for your teen is not particularly fancy. But it is definitely necessary.
If you haven’t already invested, a laptop sleeve is a travel essential to protect your teen’s computer.
One of our budget saving techniques is to travel with flights that are cheap, which means sometimes our son, and us (we are teachers) miss a day or two of class. But hey, the world is the best teacher.
When we travel, computers are a must and it is important to protect them from the bumps and drops of travel.
Unique Travel Gifts for Teens
A journal is a great place for your teenager to record the highlights (and lowlights because let’s be honest, travel is not always pretty) of your adventures.
While a picture does tell a thousand words, it is nice for your teen to be able to return to their thoughts and experiences of each day of your adventures together.
Oh the places they will go. This great travel gift will give your teenager a visual reminder of all the places you have traveled and made memories together. Or inspire them to dream of all the places they will go next.
A unique twist on the personalized travel map is a cork globe. Your teenager can pin their adventures around the world.
One more variation on the travel map, and maybe our favorite. If your teen is crafty, this cross stitch map lets them craft their way across the world.
The cross-stitch is easy to stitch so definitely something even a beginner can achieve. And the kit comes with everything you need from the canvas, frame, thread and needles.
If you are looking for a unique travel gift that can be added to with each new adventure, consider a Pandora charm bracelet. Pandora has charms for individual countries and charms that celebrate general wanderlust.
Pandora bracelets are definitely more feminine. A great, more gender-neutral or even masculine travel charm bracelet is the “Italian Charm” style bracelet by Zoppini or other manufacturers.
Now that you bought your teenager that shiny new yellow suitcase, let them truly make it their own with travel stickers.
Travel stickers are a very inexpensive, but bright way to remind your teen that the world is out there waiting for them to explore. Or as a kind of rolling travelog of all the places they’ve been.
If your teen is yearning for a recent destination, why not let them relive their memories through the scent. Homesick Candles have the distinct smells of your favorite places. France is vanilla, coffee and butter. Hawaii is pineapple and coconut.
Or use these candles to get your teen excited about an upcoming trip. We could even imagine a trip where your teen opens a homesick candle only to learn the destination is where they will be going for Spring Break or maybe, their Senior Trip.
Did you know that coloring is proven to relieve stress? If your teen is in need of some de-stressing why not combine coloring and travel.
Lonely Planet Coloring book will allow your teenager to travel through art. The book has famous landmarks from around the world. From the Leaning Tower of Pisa to Easter Island, there is a landmark for all types of teen travelers.
Okay, let’s be honest most of the teens we know use their phone for time. But should you have a bit of an old soul, a map watch will remind them every time they check the time that the world is waiting for them.
Best Travel Gifts for Teens: Clothes
We live by these sandals. No, really. Of everything we have recommended here, our Chacos have seen nearly as many countries as we have.
They are perfect for water and beach, but sturdy enough for a hike. Definitely our go to, all around best travel sandal.
Is it a headband? Is it a neck gaiter? It’s both! Which is why a Buff is a great travel gift for your adventurous teen.
Our teen uses a Buff in the winter for skiing and in the summer for hiking. A buff is a very utilitarian travel gift for your teen.
Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt? Why not follow through on that with a comfy tee that announces your teen’s dedication to wandering the world. Our teen loves the retro cool vibe of this design.
If your teen does not have a good pair of sunglasses for their next adventure, then this is essential.
We love aviators because they are unisex. In fact, we recommend these for every member of your family. So if (or should I say when) your teenager loses their sunnies, they can borrow yours.
Can you believe fanny packs (or bum-bags as our UK cousins say) have come back? We aren’t sure how we feel about their reemergence on the scene. But fanny packs seem to be here to stay.
Fanny packs are especially good for travel. Your teen can keep their phone, airpods, wallet and passport together. So even if fanny packs do give us flashbacks to our own terrible middle school days, we absolutely appreciate them for their practicality.
Best Travel Gifts for Teenagers: Gift Cards
If your teen is a reader like ours, then there is no gift better than a subscription to Audible. Having an Audible membership means you don’t have to worry if you have room in that tight luggage for one more book. You simply download any book of your choosing and when you are finished with it, get another.
If you know a teenager, you know that the gift of music is always welcome. While we plan our travel itinerary, our son plans his travel playlist.
And an iTunes gift card is perfect for setting the soundscape of your teen’s next adventure.
As a Disney family, we can definitely attest that our love of Disney has only gotten stronger as our son has aged. We go to Disney often and have definite opinions about the best Disney parks for teenagers.
So if you are a Disney family like us, what better way than to give your teenager a little of their own magic then through a Disney gift card?
Whether it is to buy that authentic Star Wars lightsaber or just to get an extra Disney Dole Whip on the boardwalk of California Adventure, a Disney gift card is a little bit of happiness.
If you have spent any time in airports across the world, you know that you can never go wrong picking up a Starbucks gift card as an awesome travel gift for your teen.
Whether they need a latte to pick them up after a red eye flight or a white chocolate creme to start off the day, this is one travel gift for teenagers that is sure to get used.
Best Travel Gifts for Teenagers: Road Trip Games
Word Teasers is a box set of 150 cards that will make your teen laugh and most importantly…talk to you. Inside each box is 150 cards. What you do with those cards depends on the theme.
Does your teen love dad jokes? There is a Word Teasers box set that will arm them with literally hundreds of dad jokes and puns to amuse themselves and you.
Does your teen have useless trivia about what their favorite musicians did before they were famous? That trivia is useless no more.
Keep the conversation open with a word teaser box for your next road trip.
Bananagrams is a fast and fun word game that requires no pencil, paper or board, and the tiles come in a banana-shaped, fabric carrying pouch. One hand can be played in as little as five minutes.
Make your own crosswords with this fast-paced, fun, and highly portable word game.
Working to strengthen your word power in a language other than English? Bananagrams is also available in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, and Hebrew.
We loved these as a kid. And unlike most things, Mad Libs have aged well.
Your teen can ask you to fill in the blanks with random adjectives, adverbs and nouns. And then read out your crazy (and often humorous) story.
Do you have a teen chess master? Or a tween that loves to beat you at tic-tac-toe?
Magnetic board games are a great travel gift idea for teens who love the competition of traditional board games in motion.
Would you rather never be allowed to wear deodorant or have significant dandruff? And your answer can not be “neither.”
“Would You Rather” is a great travel gift for teens and tweens that keeps the conversations going, but in a fun and lighthearted way.
“Carpool Chaos” is a mash up of “Would You Rather” and “Word Teasers.” The game consists of 160 cards featuring games, challenges, hypotheticals and so much more.
Carpool Chaos is the one set you need to get the fun going on those endlessly long road trips.
Sure, it’s old school, but a deck of cards can be a fantastic form of entertainment that your teen can literally slip into their back pocket. Dazzle them with delights of solitaire in its original analog form!
Consider combining a deck of cards with Hoyle’s Modern Encyclopedia of Card Games – the definitive guide to the correct playing of all known card games, with full descriptions and explanations of rules and techniques for each game and its variations.
Best Travel Gifts for Teens: Books About Travel
There is no better way than to ensure your teenager is engaged while you are traveling then having them do part of the planning.
As budget travelers, often our go-to travel book is Lonely Planet. The guides are comprehensive and give great suggestions for how to see the world on a budget.
Let’s Go (established in 1960) is the only travel guide created exclusively by students for students. Run entirely by Harvard students, Let’s Go offers a fresh, young perspective on hundreds of travel destinations around the globe.
Built around the unique viewpoint of energetic, budget-minded explorers, Let’s Go’s firsthand, insider knowledge of the student travel experience entices adventure lovers of all ages.
For your inspiring traveling photographer, there is no greater book than National Geographic’s Destinations of a Lifetime.
Not only will this book inspire travel, but also show a new photographer how to capture the culture, beauty and hardship of the places where they go.
Not that you want your teenager to mimic the tragic story of Chris McCandless, a recent college graduate, who abandoned all that he knew for what he believed was a chance to live in the wilds of Alaska only to be found dead from starvation and possibly self-inflicted poisoning.
And yet, John Kraukauer’s Into the Wild is a poignant and beautifully written book about the dreams, desires, and rugged individualism of a young American adventurer.
Kraukauer follows McCandless’ hopes, dreams and ultimately, his demise. A difficult, but important book written by a true American storyteller.
When our own son started high school, we made a bucket list of the places we wanted to travel together as a family before he started college. If you’d like your teen to create a similar travel list, The Bucket List: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small, is a perfect research text.
Looking for more travel with teen advice beyond what to pack? Our tips for traveling with your teen has expert advice on how to make your next family holiday even better.