- Gift Guide: 19 Travel Tech Gadgets Kids & Teens Love
- Tech Gifts For Creative Kids, Tweens & Teens
- A Pen For Teen Builders
- Electronics For When They Need Screen Time On The Go
- Headphones For Every Age
- Tech for Outdoors
- The Most Essential Accessories
- Pin it for later!
I always tried hard to not hand my kid a screen the second we turn the car ignition on or buckle our airplane seatbelts. But the older Teen Traveler gets the more she gravitates toward electronics for entertainment.
Luckily, there are all kinds portable electronics for kids and teens that are creative, engaging and that even encourage reading. There is also tech for when they just need to kick back and play a few games.
I’m all for taking advantage of tech that’s clever and travels with them, especially if they can use it at home, too. And I love it when it’s compact and light enough for little ones to carry themselves.
Here are 19 of my favorite portable tech gadgets for taking in the car or on a plane. They’re labeled by age to help you find the best gadgets for the teens, tweens, kids and preschoolers on your list.
Gift Guide: 19 Travel Tech Gadgets Kids & Teens Love
Tech Gifts For Creative Kids, Tweens & Teens
A Digital Instant Camera–Cool!
Teens who are starting to dabble in photography will love the new Fujifilm Instax Mini EVO Hybrid Camera, which is both a digital and instant camera.
It’s a digital camera and you can upload the photos you take to your phone or laptop.
And you can also print your favorites out on the instant film the camera holds.
No wasting film on too-dark or too-far-away shots. And if you run out of film you can still take pictures to print when you reload.
This one comes with film, an SD card and a case.
Retro Photos From Your Phone
Fuji has introduced this Instax Mini Link Smart Phone Printer, which has some advantages over the original Instax instant camera.
You can zoom in and edit photos before printing them, resulting in better images than you can sometimes get with the camera.
Add filters, frames, doodles and shapes to the photos you print.
It’s thermal printing, so there are no ink cartridges. And while you can buy a case to carry it around in, you can also take photos with your phone and print them anytime.
For Tweens & Teens: A Retro Instant Camera
The original Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 is popular with my readers every holiday season. It comes in 5 pastel colors sure to please the middle-schooler on your list.
Buy a package that includes a case and starter box of film Or, buy a starter kit that includes the case, 4 packs of film, stickers and a photo album; your budding photographer will be all ready to capture your next vacation.
These cameras are fun but have their limits. Have your tween use theirs for up-close, daytime photos; they don’t do well with scenery or at night.
A Pen For Teen Builders
It can simply be a cool-looking iridescent pen. But teens can also disassemble the magnetic tubes that comprise the pen’s shaft and use them and magnetic balls to make all kinds of tiny shapes.
Great for journaling, drawing and building away from home.
For Teens: a Tripod for Aspiring Vloggers
For the aspiring TikToker in your life, or maybe just family vacation videographer, buy the Pivo Pod Lite Auto Tracking Smartphone Holder & Tripod Mount.
Everything is does is in the title. It holds a Smart Phone and tracks head or body movement to help creators maker their own videos.
Use the accompanying app to optimize videos for social media to share with friends and family (or the world).
For Kids: Make Your Own In-Flight Movies
If your kids are interested in movie-making and animation, consider any of the many Stikbot kits Zing makes for use with its stop-motion movie-making app for phones and iPads.
The small figures are posable and have suction-cup hands and feet to hold action poses. You can start with a few basic figures and add pets, safari animals, monsters, dinosaurs and props.
The best part is that they are small enough that an airplane tray-table can be your kid’s movie set, and the suction cups will stick to that, too.
It gives new meaning to the term in-flight movies.
For Little Kids: An LCD Drawing Tablet
My readers with younger kids really like these and have been buying a few different brands. I like this one from Kokodi because at 12-inches wide it has a bigger surface than most for writing and drawing.
Let kids doodle away with the attached stylus. When they’re ready to start again you can erase with the touch of a button.
It’s thin, light and mess-free; perfect for travel.
If you are buying tablets for multiple kids, consider the 8.5-inch wide Kidwill LCD tablets, which come two to a pack.
Electronics For When They Need Screen Time On The Go
For Preschoolers & Kids: Amazon Fire
The Amazon Fire HD 10 2023 kids edition is always popular with my readers who have preschoolers.
It has a bright-colored protective case, a dashboard you control from your phone, screen-time limits and a two-year guarantee against breakage.
It also comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, which includes access to age-appropriate books, apps, games, videos, songs, Audible books and more.
For Kids & Tweens: Kids Kindle
The Paperwhite Kids Kindle has most of the same great features as the adult version. It’s waterproof, has a warm screen that doesn’t give off blue light for nighttime reading and has ten hours of battery life.
It also comes with a cover in kid-friendly woods, robot or tiger motifs. It also has a vocabulary builder and an OpenDyslexic font for kids who might want it.
It comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+. This includes access to videos, games and apps as well as eBooks, but the first three items aren’t available on the Kindle so kids can have “distraction-free” reading.
Teens will be happy with a standard Kindle Paperwhite, which comes with or without three months of Kindle Unlimited.
For Teens & Tweens: Handheld Gaming Anywhere
If your tween is angling for a tablet or phone primarily to play games, skip the monthly mobile fee and buy a handheld game device like the Nintendo Switch.
It comes in red, white or a mix of red and blue and players love it for the very high-quality graphics.
Tweens and teens can download games from the Nintendo store. Some are free; most are not.
But you do get a lot for you money. Kids can attach the two controls to the screen for handheld solo play, or remove them from the screen for two-player games.
And when you’re home, it has an HDMI cord to connect to your TV. So you get a home-gaming system as well.
It’s compact for tucking into a backpack, but a hard-shell case to protect it is worth the relatively small extra cost.
For Kids: A Protective Shell for iPads
It has two side handles for holding it, a top handle for carrying and a screen-protector.
There’s also a stand and a strap that can go around car or airplane seats (if the person in front of you doesn’t mind.)
It comes in four colors; my readers like the pink and the green is the most gender-neutral.
Headphones For Every Age
For Teens: Harder To Lose Earbuds
We resisted getting earbuds for Teen Traveler for quite a long time because they’re so darn easy to lose, and plenty of her friends have lost theirs.
But Beat Fit Pro buds are made to be worn while exercising and have a small hook that discreetly keeps them securely attached to one’s ear.
Like all beats, they will switch all the sound to one ear if only one bud is in, so we can ask our teen to keep one ear open when she’s out and about by herself. She can choose whether or not she wants to be in noise-canceling mode, too.
They’re sweat-resistant and have six hours of power, as well as 18 hours of recharging in the case. And they pair easily with Apple and Android phones.
For Kids & Tweens: A Headphones upgrade
When kids want headphones that look less kiddish and you’re okay with some noise-canceling, upgrade to these Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiets Bluetooth headphones.
Readers like them because the bright pink is more punk than preschool. They are lightweight and have a volume limit along with the noise-canceling feature.
They have a 30-foot range, can go for up to 35 hours before they need to be charged and pack flat in their own carrying case.
For Kids: Feline Headphones
Given how could my daughter used to be at getting cords tangled, I can full get behind Bluetooth headphones for kids.
These Gorsun wireless headphone are comfortable and adjustable and have a microphone and built-in volume limit. They also come with removable cat ears and in three color combinations.
The price is right, too, for headphones for kids.
For Preschoolers & Kids: Headphones for Kids Kindles
Kindle and Fire still use wired headphones with a standard jack; not Apple’s ubiquitous USB-C jack.
So my readers are choosing these Noot headphones to use with them.
The headphones are comfortable, adjustable and have a built-in volume limit and a five-foot cord. They aren’t noise-canceling, which is a plus for younger kids.
Tech for Outdoors
For Teens: A drone for outdoor Photos
It has a high quality camera lens and several different options for steering it from the controls or your phone.
Choose a mode that keeps things simple or one that gives lots of maneuverability.
For Kids: Kid-Proof Binoculars
Another Readers’ Pick, these Vanstarry Compact Binoculars for Kids have an optical lens with a respectable 8X magnification.
They’re made to withstand kids with a shockproof and waterproof exterior. The bridge adjusts to kids’ small faces and they’re designed to be easy to.
They have lanyard and storage bag ane come in eight bright colors.
The Most Essential Accessories
A Speaker To Get Them Off Their Headphones
JBL’s Bluetooth speakers are popular with my readers because they deliver great sound for their price and always offer good value.
This Go 3 Eco portable speaker is compact, waterproof and surprisingly rugged. It’s small enough to clip to a backpack, beach bag or mountain bike and has a loop this easy to do.
It also fits easily on a desk for windowsill at home. It comes in a bunch of different colors.
Kids who have grown up listening to music on their phones via earbuds don’t appreciate the joy of filling their bedroom with their favorite music of the moment.
This nighty gadget will change that without breaking the bank.
Their Own Portable Charger
Teens need their own portable charger. For travel, yes, but also to keep in their backpack for phone, calculator or notebook they forgot to charge at home.
This Lezchiportable charger is slim. It’s flush with the wall while it’s charging and fits easily into backpacks, purses and other bags.
It has three wires attached that can charge Apple and Android devices as well as some games and phones. And it has a USB port in case none of those work.
I love that it can charge a few devices before it needs to be charged, it’s compact and teens don’t have to keep track of cords for it.