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Traveling with tweens can be a lot of fun. They are learning how to be independent and responsible, yet still, like spending time with their family. Tweens are curious and ready for an adventure.

When you decide to take a trip, let your tween be a part of the trip planning process. We created a Pinterest board and all pinned the sites we wanted to see. It not only got my tweens involved but also taught us about the states we were planning on visiting. This is the perfect opportunity to mix fun with education.

When it comes to packing, tweens still need a bit of parental guidance, but also need to have some independence. Print off my Packing List of the items they will need, then let them choose which specific things they want to take.


  • Purse/wallet with ID
  • Tissues, chapstick, hand sanitizer, sunglasses/glasses, and any necessary medications
  • Electronics with earbuds and charging cords, etc.
  • Activity books, reading books, homework
  • Travel games or a deck of playing cards
  • Camera
  • Journal and pen
  • Snacks
  • Comfort item- plush animal, blanket, pillow, etc.
  • One complete outfit for emergency changes


  • One outfit per day, plus one extra (socks and undergarments included)
  • Pajamas
  • Shoes
  • Jacket/coat
  • Swimwear if applicable
  • Grooming products- toothbrush & toothpaste, shampoo & conditioner, soap, lotion, sunscreen, make-up, hair accessories & products, comb/brush, deodorant, etc.

It is a good idea to place all cosmetics and grooming products in plastic bags just in case they leak. I also suggest packing a plastic bag for dirty laundry. Keeping dirty laundry separate from clean laundry helps keep things tidy. If you are running out of room in your bag, consider getting Ziploc Space Saver travel bags. They help compress clothing, creating more space in your bag. You can use that extra space in your bag for any souvenirs you pick up on your trip.

Once you have reached your destination, give your tween the chance to make decisions. Give them a choice of where to eat, which shops to go in, which sites to see first and/or let them choose a fun activity.

Keep the lines of communication open. Discuss the plans for each day. Let them know what is expected. At the end of the day talk about what was learned, what was the best part of the day, and so on.

Perhaps my most important suggestion of all is to relax, have fun, and enjoy this time with your tween.

Have a safe trip!

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This post currently has 12 responses.

  • Peggy Nunn

    These are great ideas. I carry plastic grocery bags to put extra shoes in. If they get dirty… the rest of the suitcase stays clean.

  • Amber Ludwig

    Such a great list!! I always pack extra plastic bags for odds and ends!! I find that I end up using them all in most cases!! Whether it be for dirty clothes or wet swimwear we didn’t give time to dry before heading home. I also try to leave some extra room for souvenirs!!

  • Jeanine Carlson

    One of my fave hints for tweens is to use an empty tictac container for bobby pins. Wrap hair ties around the outside of the container.

  • Cynthia R

    That’s a wonderful idea. I know often we look on tripadvisor and let them pick out something they want to do or a restaurant they want to eat at.

  • Lauryn R

    My kids are quite tweets yet, but I have an 8 year old who acts like she is! 😉 I have 3 kiddos ages 8, 4, and 3 and they are flying for the first time in July. These are helpful tips even for them, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • darla

    Great list. I started packing the plastic bag recently and it does help a lot. I like how you listed all the essentials, packing is hard for me so I love guides like these.

  • Dorothy Boucher

    What a great list you have here and I love that you provide a print out on these. I know for one of my daughters this would be very helpful for her.

  • MeMe R

    My first international flight, I found making a list super helpful. It made sure we didn’t forget anything and it also came most in handy with covering snacks, even though the plane meal was excellent. We still had food/snacks already in our bag during lull periods while waiting in lines for tours etc.

  • katie

    This is a great reminder list. There’s just always so much to pack to make sure you don’t have to buy something overpriced somewhere else.

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