Ah, the road trip. An exciting right of passage for many American families. They can be stressful but a lot of fun too. You might be wondering what you should bring on a road trip for tweens.

Don’t worry, we have an excellent list of what to pack so you’ll be ready for anything. You’ll want to make sure your tween stays comfortable, fed, and entertained while on the road. Here are some items you don’t want to forget. 

20 Things To Pack For a Road Trip With Tweens

1.Grocery store bags

These make great trash bags and you can also put wet bathing suits in them. They can also be good for motion sickness. You might want to have each child be in charge of their garbage bag. This keeps things tidy while also encouraging some independence for your tween. 

2.Extra sandwich bags

These can be good for things you find along on your journeys such as seashells or neat rocks. You’ll want to pack away any cool things you find on your trip to bring home. You’ll be helping build memories of the trip with your tween by keeping little keepsakes. You’ll be keeping them engaged by collecting things. 


During covid, you never know when you’ll need to mask up. You might have to make a pitstop at a store as an example. Your tween might forget a mask so make sure to pack one for everybody on the trip so you won’t run into a no-mask dilemma. 

4.Hand Sanitizer and Wipes

This will make it easy to clean your hands before eating. Hand sanitizer is also good during the pandemic. You’ll be able to make sure your tween is hygienic even on the road. You’ll want to use hand sanitizer after stopping at different places on your trip too. 

5.Kleenex, toilet paper, paper towels

Good for emergency stops when you need to go. Kids often need to go to the bathroom at inconvenient times. These things can also be used for clean-up if there are spills in the backseat. You’ll be glad you’re stocked up on paper goods on a trip with a tween. 

6.First Aid Kit

Make sure your first aid kit is stocked and in the car. Bring the basics as well as prescription medications that you need. You might also want to include sunscreen. You never know when a tween might fall and get a scrape or anything else on the road. Perhaps if your child has allergies you might want to bring along their epi-pen and things of that nature. 

7.Flashlights and headlamp

You’ll want everyone to have their own flashlight to use at night and you might want a headlamp to look for stuff in the car when it’s dark. A tween will need the flashlight to have access to all of their stuff in the car in the dark. You’ll want to make sure they can see to get to things and keep things organized. 

8.Cell phones

If your Tween has a phone you’ll want them to bring it and you should bring yours as well. (This probably goes without saying but don’t forget it!) If anyone gets separated say at a rest stop you’ll be able to call them because they have their phone. You never want your child to be without a phone in case of emergency. 

9.Headphones or Earbuds

Make sure they are in working order for the trip. Everyone has different preferences of what to listen too so why subject everyone to one person’s likes. Your tween probably wants to listen to their music so this way they can without subjecting you to it. 

10.Travel batteries and charging cords

You’ll want to make sure you can charge all your electronic devices. It could be an emergency for a tween if their device dies during the trip. Rather than listen to them complain, be prepared instead and have batteries and cords!


This will give the kids something to do. Plus you might get better photos than you would on your phone alone. This is an opportunity to teach kids how to use a DSLR. If they have social media,  you can interest them by having them get photos from the trip to share on their pages. 

12.iPads or other electronic devices

Good for entertainment on the road but you may wish to limit their use. You want them entertained but also engaged with what is going on. It’s good to have them once things get dark and people get tired. 

13.Books and audiobooks

This is a great way to keep everyone entertained on the trip, easy to read on an iPad in the dark as well. Reading books and listening to audiobooks is better for your tween than say scrolling through social media. 


Rent from Redbox while on your trip, bring DVDs along, or download them on the computer. Then you can watch it whenever you want. Make sure to let your tween pick out a movie they are interested in seeing, too. 

15.Music playlist

This is a great way to get in everyone’s favorite songs and keep everyone engaged if you can get people to agree. Make sure to take turns and let your tween pick out some songs for the playlist. 


Good for traveling at night and early in the morning. They can also be used for picnics. There are waterproof picnic blankets you can buy where the bottom doesn’t get the rest of the blanket wet if the ground is damp. Having a picnic gets everyone out of the cramped car. 


Pillows are good for sleeping in the car and getting comfortable. You’ll want to make sure your child can get some rest if they are tired and that they are comfortable doing so. 

18.Change of clothes

Always good to be prepared in case of spills or anything else that might come up. If you will be gone overnight bring an extra set of clothes on top of what you are already packing. You don’t want to overpack but it is a good idea to be prepared as tweens can be messy. 

19.Adult coloring book and colored pencils

Great for a bored tween. If they are artistic you might pack a sketchbook instead. Colored pencils or some other medium are good too. You could have them make a travel journal about the trip too if they have a sketchbook. Always support your tween’s artistic side if they have one. 


One for each kid to be used for whatever they want. You want to give them some choice and be in charge of their entertainment to an extent. This makes sure everything is together and organized and that they don’t lose anything. 

What should a tween bring on a road trip? 

They should bring earbuds and their cell phone and tablet if they have one. They would also do good with an adult coloring book or sketchbook. These would be great ways to keep them entertained on the trip. You might also give them a camera if you bring one. 

How can I make sure everyone is comfortable on a long road trip? 

Make sure you pack pillows and blankets as well as dress comfortably. Leggings and sweatshirts are a go too. Have easy access to snacks. Don’t pack things near people’s feet and make sure they have plenty of legroom. Stay hydrated and make sure everyone is entertained.  

How should I pack my car for a road trip?
Make sure to bring what you need but try not to overpack. If you need to get a roof carrier or bring a trailer.

You might want to rent a large vehicle if yours isn’t big enough to fit your family plus everything you need comfortably. When you pack the trunk put in the largest suitcases and the stuff you won’t need to access first.

You’ll want to pack items like snacks in the order you will eat them, with the soonest on the top of the cooler. Don’t drive till everyone is buckled in and make sure you can see out the back and use all mirrors. 

What are some good road trip snacks? 

There are a ton of great snacks that you can bring on a road trip especially if you pack a cooler. You can bring yogurt, cheese sticks, granola bars, muffins, popcorn, and trail mix to name a few. You might even want to pack sandwiches for everyone to save on eating out. 

What are some essentials for a road trip? 

Some essentials are snacks and electronic devices as tweens are often hungry and bored. This will keep them happy and content. Be sure to bring travel batteries and charging cords for all your kid’s electronic stuff for when it dies. 


When you first decide to plan a family road trip, you might be wondering what to bring. Some things on this list may not apply depending on the season, or there may be things you need for a specific trip such as going hiking or the beach. However, this is a good jumping-off point for families wanting to know what to pack for tweens. 


Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

Keren Simanova

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren