- Gifts For Teens
- An affordable drone
- Real airpods
- Nothing Can Beat Beats Headphones
- A Camera Q Might Make
- Help for the Young Vlogger
- Their own charger
- A phone case + wallet
- Turn a Tablet Into a Notebook
- Gifts For Tweens
- Gifts For School-Age Kids
- Gifts For Preschoolers
I try not to be the parent who hands my kid a tablet the second we turn the car ignition on or buckle our airplane seatbelts.
Even in a small seat there are more ways to entertain yourself than with videos and computer games.
But the older Teen Traveler gets the more she gravitates toward electronics for entertainment.
Luckily, there are all kinds of apps and gadgets that are creative, educating and engaging. And I’m all for taking advantage of tech that encourges doing and making, especially when we travel.
Here are some of my favorite tech toys and gadgets for taking in the car, on a plane or to a beach house. They’re organized by age, so you can find the best gift options for the preschoolers, kids and teens in your life.
Do some low-tech gifting too, with these
list of puzzles, table-top games, crafts and books for kids from tot to teen.
Gift Guide: 17 Travel Tech Gadgets Kids & Teens Love
Gifts For Teens
An affordable drone
Video and photo-savvy kids love drones and this starter drone from Holy Stone comes in under $100.
It’s easy to handle, can be controlled with a remote or a phone app, and has 15 minutes of flight time, which is pretty good.
If you think your teen won’t lose them, buying the latest bluetooth airpods from Apple could make you the coolest mom or dad on the block.
They come with a case that can recharge the buds few times over before it needs to be charged, which is really handy for travel.
If the price on the latest pods is too high, look for previous generations, which look the same and can be half the price.
Nothing Can Beat Beats Headphones
If you don’t want to give your teens wireless pods Beats Solo 3 are the headphones to get.
The come in sonic silver, rose gold, black or red and can go for 40 hours before they need to be charged. Discreet headset buttons control volume and more.
They have an Apple Bluetooth chip but work with Android devices, too.
Beats’ Studio 3 headphones are a step up: They fit over the ear, are noise cancelling and come in six colors.
Your kids can keep up with the most popular songs and albums without running up a big iTunes bill with Amazon digital music. A family plan will keep the whole family musically up to date.
A Camera Q Might Make
Ricoh Theta SC Spherical Digital Camera Creative photographers and filmmakers will love this slim camera that shoots videos and surround panoramas, allowing kids to create simple VR media. It comes in four colors! For travel, consider the waterproof case, too
Help for the Young Vlogger
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).
Their own charger
The teen who travels needs his or her own portable charger. I like this one from Lezchi because it’s slim, has a lot of juice and there are no loose wires to loose track of.
Plug it directly into an outlet to charge it up and use one of 3 attached wires to charge Samsung and Apple devices as well as some cameras and games. It also has a USB port in case you need an extra wire.
Shop: Here are more cell phone accessories shoppers are finding useful.
A phone case + wallet
I admit that Teen Traveler bought one of thse Vaburs phone case wallets for herself and I liked it so much I bought one for myself.
The colors and designs are fun. The snaps keep money and cards secure. And so far they have protected our phones when we’ve dropped them. They’re a good value for the price.
Turn a Tablet Into a Notebook
If your teen uses a tablet for drawing or note-taking, consider putting the Paperlike screen protector under the tree.
It fits seven different sizes of iPad and protects the screen while improving the experience of writing or drawing with an Apple Pencil.
Gifts For Tweens
A fun retro camera
Polaroid-type cameras are the retro-accessory every middle schooler wants these days. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 comes in lilac purple and sky blue.
Add a case, some extra film and a photo album to the gift so your budding photographer is 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.
Handheld gaming anywhere
f 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 th Nintendo Switch Lite.
It comes in six colors and plays any Nintendo Switch game that is handheld compatible, including Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Brothers.
It’s compact for tucking into a backpack pocket, but a hard-shell case to protect it might be a good add-on.
A small, bright flashlight
Teen Traveler has made sure to have her own flashlight in the back of the car since her early tween years.
Sometimes she wants to read after dark on long drives. Sometimes she just wants to find something she dropped.
It’s been handy in many ways. I like this LED flashlight because it’s bright and rechargeable (flashlight batteries can run down quickly) and has a loop for securing to a backpack. Plus, Anker is a brand that’s known for making durable products.
A new, better Popsocket
Popsockets are handy, literally. They attach to the back of a phone, tablet or e-reader and pop out to provide a more secure grip when kids and teen are using their device out in public. They also act as a stand if you’re watching videos.
Tweens who like a Popsocket and pocket for cards and money will appreciate the Popwallet+. It has the same fun patterns and interchangeable socket caps, too.
Gifts For School-Age Kids
Make movies anywhere
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 action figures and add on pets, safari animals, monsters, dinosaurs and props.
The best part is that they are small enough that an airplane tray-table can be your kids movie set, and the suction cups will stick to that, too.
It gives new meaning to the term in-flight movies.
Gifts For Preschoolers
Leapfrog My Pal plush toys
I spent most of my daughter’s toddler and preschool years avoiding talking toys. But Violet and Scout are genuinely cuddly and they talk and sing enough to entertain toddlers without driving parents crazy.
There are larger Violet and Scout for preschoolers, too.
The gadget that seems most popular with my readers these days is the Amazon Fire HD 10 kids edition.
It comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, which includes access to age-appropriate books, apps, games, videos, songs, Audible books and more.
It also comes with a bright colored protective case, a dashboard you control from your phone, screen-time limits and a two-year guarantee against breakage.
A handheld from PBS
I like this PBS KIDS Playtime Pad+ because it’s a good size and has games, videos and song with your kids favorte PBS characters.
It has parental controls, too. And a durable case with easy-to-grip handles. and PBS is a brand most parents trust for quality preschool content.
Affordable, Safe Bluetooth Headphones
Lil Gadgets makes wireless bluetooth headphones just for toddlers at a reasonable price.
Designed for both comfort and durability, they come in six colors and have built in volume limit and noise reduction. They come with a USB charging cable and a cable to attach to an ipod or phone if the battery runs out on a long trip.