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What To Bring On A Road Trip For Tweens


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Danice Merino



Embarking on a road trip with your tweens can be a fantastic way to bond as a family and create lasting memories. Whether you’re exploring new destinations or revisiting favorite spots, there’s something magical about the open road and the freedom it offers. However, to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, it’s important to pack appropriately. Knowing what to bring on a road trip for tweens can make all the difference in keeping everyone comfortable, entertained, and safe along the way.


When it comes to packing for a road trip with tweens, it’s essential to strike a balance between practicality and fun. You want to have the necessary essentials on hand while also ensuring that your kids have a good time during those long stretches on the road. From clothing and accessories to entertainment and electronics, snacks and food to safety and first aid items, we’ve got you covered with a comprehensive list of what to bring on a road trip for tweens.


Before you hit the road, it’s important to involve your tweens in the packing process. Encourage them to choose their own clothing, entertainment options, and snacks, giving them a sense of ownership and excitement for the journey ahead. With their input and our guidelines, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on a memorable road trip adventure with your tweens.


Clothing and Accessories

When packing for a road trip with tweens, it’s essential to consider the various weather conditions and activities you’ll encounter along the way. Here are some essential clothing and accessory items to bring:

  • Comfortable Clothing: Pack a mix of shorts, pants, t-shirts, and long-sleeve shirts to accommodate different weather conditions. Opt for breathable fabrics that are easy to layer.
  • Jackets and Sweaters: Regardless of the season, it’s always a good idea to bring a lightweight jacket or sweater for cool evenings or unexpected temperature changes.
  • Swimwear: If your road trip includes destinations with swimming opportunities, pack swimwear for your tweens to enjoy water activities.
  • Sun Protection Gear: Don’t forget to pack hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen to shield your tweens from the sun’s rays during outdoor activities.
  • Comfortable Shoes: Bring a variety of footwear options, including sneakers, sandals, and hiking shoes, to match different activities and terrains.
  • Travel Pillows and Blankets: Make long drives more comfortable for your tweens by providing travel pillows and blankets for them to relax and rest during the journey.
  • Travel Backpack: Encourage your tweens to pack their essentials in a travel backpack, such as a water bottle, snacks, and small entertainment items, to have easy access throughout the trip.

Remember to check the weather forecast for your destinations and pack accordingly. It’s always a good idea to have a few extra clothing items in case of spills or accidents. By ensuring your tweens have appropriate clothing and accessories, you’ll be prepared for any adventure that comes your way during your road trip.


Entertainment and Electronics

A road trip with tweens can involve long stretches of driving, and keeping them entertained and engaged is crucial for a successful journey. Here are some entertainment and electronics items to bring:

  • Portable DVD Player or Tablet: Load up on your tweens’ favorite movies, TV shows, or educational content for them to enjoy during the drive.
  • Headphones: To avoid any conflicts over audio preferences, provide each tween with their own set of headphones to enjoy their entertainment choice without disturbing others.
  • Books and Magazines: Pack a selection of books and magazines suited to your tweens’ reading interests. They can enjoy reading during downtime or when electronic devices are not an option.
  • Board Games and Card Games: Engage in some family bonding time by bringing along a few favorite board games or card games that can be played during rest stops or at the accommodation.
  • Travel-Sized Gaming Consoles: If your tweens are avid gamers, consider bringing a travel-sized gaming console to provide them with a familiar and enjoyable gaming experience on the road.
  • Music and Podcasts: Create a playlist of your tweens’ favorite music or podcasts to listen to during the journey. It’s a great opportunity for them to discover new songs or engage with educational podcasts.
  • Craft Supplies: Encourage creativity by packing some craft supplies like coloring books, colored pencils, sketchbooks, or even a small portable easel for your tweens to express their artistic side.

While electronics can be a valuable source of entertainment, it’s also important to strike a balance with other screen-free activities to encourage interaction and connection between family members. By providing a variety of entertainment options, you’ll ensure that your tweens have an enjoyable and engaging road trip experience.


Snacks and Food

When it comes to road trips, snacks and food can make or break the journey. Hungry tweens can quickly become cranky and restless, so it’s essential to pack a variety of snacks and food options to keep them satisfied and energized. Here are some ideas:

  • Pre-Packaged Snacks: Stock up on individual-sized snacks like granola bars, fruit snacks, pretzels, trail mix, and crackers for easy, on-the-go munching.
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Pack pre-cut fruits and vegetables in snack-sized portions for a healthier option. Consider favorites like apple slices, carrot sticks, grapes, and cherry tomatoes.
  • Sandwiches or Wraps: Prepare sandwiches or wraps with your tweens’ favorite fillings before the trip. Opt for ingredients that won’t easily spoil, such as peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese, or veggie wraps.
  • High-Energy Snacks: To keep their energy levels up during the drive, include snacks like energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, and yogurt cups.
  • Reusable Water Bottles: Staying hydrated is crucial during a road trip. Provide each tween with a reusable water bottle, and refill them at rest stops or accommodations.
  • Disposable Utensils and Napkins: Don’t forget to pack disposable utensils and napkins for easy snacking and cleanup on the go.
  • Non-Perishable Drinks: Along with water, consider packing non-perishable drinks like juice boxes or sports drinks for a refreshing change.

Depending on the length and nature of your road trip, you may also need to plan for meals. Research restaurants or picnic areas along your route or pack a cooler with perishable items like sandwiches, salads, and beverages. By having a well-stocked food supply, you’ll ensure that your tweens are satisfied and fueled for the road ahead.


Hygiene and Personal Care Items

Staying clean and maintaining personal hygiene is essential during a road trip. Here are some hygiene and personal care items to include when packing for your tweens:

  • Toothbrushes and Toothpaste: Make sure each tween has their own toothbrush and toothpaste for daily oral hygiene.
  • Shampoo and Conditioner: Bring travel-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner for refreshing showers along the way.
  • Soap or Body Wash: Pack a bar of soap or a travel-sized bottle of body wash for cleanliness during the trip.
  • Towels and Washcloths: Have separate towels and washcloths for each tween to use for drying off after showers or swimming.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Keep a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer readily available for clean hands when soap and water are not accessible.
  • Disposable Wipes: These are handy for quick clean-ups, especially if restrooms or washing facilities are limited on your road trip.
  • Deodorant: Ensure that your tweens have their preferred deodorant to stay fresh and odor-free throughout the journey.
  • Hairbrush or Comb: Bring a hairbrush or comb for each tween to maintain neat and tangle-free hair.
  • Sunscreen: Protect your tweens’ skin from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen regularly, especially during outdoor activities.
  • Menstrual Products: If your tween is at an age where they require menstrual products, ensure that they have an ample supply to last the duration of the trip.

Having the necessary hygiene and personal care items readily available will help your tweens feel clean, fresh, and comfortable throughout the road trip. Remember to pack them in a convenient and easily accessible bag to ensure quick and easy access when needed.


Safety and First Aid Kit

Ensuring the safety and well-being of your family during a road trip is of paramount importance. Here are some safety and first aid items to include in your packing list:

  • Emergency Contact Information: Write down emergency contact numbers, including your doctor’s information and important family contacts, and keep them easily accessible.
  • First Aid Kit: Pack a well-stocked first aid kit that includes band-aids, adhesive tape, antiseptic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, tweezers, gauze pads, and any necessary medications.
  • Prescription Medications: Bring all necessary prescription medications for your tweens, along with a copy of the prescription and any relevant medical information.
  • Roadside Emergency Kit: Prepare for unexpected car trouble by having a roadside emergency kit that includes jumper cables, a flashlight, a tire pressure gauge, and basic tools.
  • Emergency Blankets: Pack emergency blankets that can provide warmth in case of breakdowns or if you find yourselves stranded.
  • Fire Extinguisher: Have a small fire extinguisher on hand in case of any emergencies related to the vehicle or nearby incidents.
  • Safety Reflective Vest: Include a safety reflective vest for each member of the family, which can be useful in case of roadside emergencies.
  • Maps and Navigation Tools: While most rely on GPS nowadays, it’s a good idea to have physical maps and navigation tools in case of technology failures.

Remember to familiarize yourself with basic first aid procedures and have a plan in place for emergency situations. It’s essential to regularly check your vehicle’s condition and ensure it’s in good working order before embarking on your road trip. By prioritizing safety and having the necessary items on hand, you’ll be better prepared to navigate any unexpected challenges that may arise during your journey.


Navigation and Road Trip Essentials

When it comes to a road trip, having the right navigational tools and road trip essentials can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey. Here are some must-have items for navigation and road trip convenience:

  • GPS Device or Smartphone: Make sure you have a reliable GPS device or smartphone with a navigation app installed. This will help you stay on track and navigate to your desired destinations.
  • Car Charger and Power Bank: Keep your devices charged along the way by having a car charger and power bank on hand. This ensures that your GPS device or smartphone doesn’t run out of battery during the trip.
  • Travel Guides and Maps: Bring travel guides or maps of the areas you’ll be visiting. They can provide valuable information about attractions, scenic routes, and local recommendations.
  • Cash and Cards: Carry enough cash for tolls, parking fees, and emergencies. Also, bring debit or credit cards for additional payment options.
  • Travel Insurance and Important Documents: Have copies of important documents such as driver’s licenses, car insurance, and registration. It’s also wise to obtain travel insurance to provide coverage in case of unexpected incidents.
  • Comfortable Car Pillows and Seat Cushions: Enhance comfort during the drive by bringing car pillows and seat cushions for both the driver and passengers.
  • Car Seat and Booster Seat: If you’re traveling with younger tweens, ensure that you have a suitable car seat or booster seat to ensure their safety and comfort.
  • Travel Bags and Organizers: Keep the car tidy and organized by using travel bags or organizers to store snacks, entertainment items, and other road trip essentials.
  • Camera or Smartphone: Capture memories along the way by bringing a camera or using your smartphone to take photos and videos of the beautiful sights and memorable moments.

By having the necessary navigation tools and road trip essentials, you’ll be well-prepared for any detours, adventures, or spontaneous stops that come your way. It’s all about making the journey as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for the entire family.


Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the essential items mentioned earlier, there are a few miscellaneous items that can enhance your road trip experience. Consider including these items in your packing list:

  • Travel Pillow and Blanket: Provide your tweens with a travel pillow and cozy blanket for extra comfort during long stretches of driving or resting.
  • Portable Phone Charger: Keep your devices charged on the go with a portable phone charger. This ensures that you’re always connected and can capture those memorable moments.
  • Binoculars: Bring a pair of binoculars to enhance your tweens’ viewing experience during scenic stops or wildlife spotting.
  • Travel Games and Activity Books: Keep your tweens entertained with travel-sized board games, activity books, or puzzle books during breaks or at the accommodation.
  • Trip Journal or Notebook: Encourage your tweens to document their road trip adventures in a trip journal or notebook. They can jot down memorable moments, draw sketches, or write about their experiences.
  • Travel Laundry Bag: Pack a laundry bag to separate dirty clothes from clean ones, making it easier to stay organized and manage laundry during or after the trip.
  • Insect Repellent: Depending on your destination and outdoor activities, it’s advisable to bring insect repellent to protect against pesky bugs and insects.
  • Travel Umbrella: Be prepared for unexpected rain showers by packing a compact travel umbrella that can easily fit in your travel bag.
  • Cooler or Insulated Bag: If you plan to bring perishable food or drinks, a cooler or insulated bag will help keep them fresh and cool during the journey.
  • Travel Adapter: If you’re traveling to a different country or region with different electrical outlets, a travel adapter will ensure that you can charge your devices without any issues.

These miscellaneous items can add convenience, comfort, and fun to your road trip. Tailor your packing list to your specific needs and preferences, keeping in mind the activities and destinations you’ll be visiting.



Embarking on a road trip with your tweens can be an exciting and memorable experience for the whole family. By packing the right items, you can ensure a comfortable, entertaining, and safe journey. Clothing and accessories that are suitable for different weather conditions and activities are essential, as well as entertainment options like portable DVD players, books, and games to keep your tweens engaged during the drive. Don’t forget to pack a variety of snacks and food to keep their energy levels up.


Hygiene and personal care items are crucial for maintaining cleanliness and comfort throughout the trip, while safety and first aid items provide peace of mind in case of emergencies. Navigation tools like GPS devices or smartphones, along with road trip essentials such as chargers and travel organizers, enhance convenience on the road. Lastly, don’t forget about the miscellaneous items that can make the journey more enjoyable, such as travel pillows, binoculars, and travel journals.


Remember to involve your tweens in the packing process, letting them choose their own clothing, entertainment, and snacks. This will not only give them a sense of ownership and excitement but also ensure that their preferences and needs are considered. With careful planning, organization, and a touch of adventure, your road trip with tweens is sure to be an unforgettable experience for the whole family.