6 Last-Minute Gift Card Ideas for Learning-to-Drive Teens

Teens aren’t always the easiest people to buy gifts for and, as the holidays approach, family and friends might find themselves scrambling to the perfect gift for an older kid who isn’t much into small talk. Luckily, for teens who are taking driver’s education classes or have recently earned a license, there are some perfect gifts that are meaningful, practical, and likely to bring a smile. Tuck one of these into a stocking or under the tree:

Gas Card

This one may seem obvious, but no teen will complain about free gas. It can even serve as an insurance policy for the inevitable day that “low fuel” light comes on and they realize they’ve got no cash. Pair it with a basket of granola bars and other healthy snacks for a “fueling up” theme.

Car Service Center

Adults know that maintaining a car can be expensive but the reality of this can be shocking for young drivers. While a car service center gift card may not cover an expensive repair, it might be just enough for smaller needs like an oil change or an inspection sticker. As a bonus, the funds are earmarked for this purpose so kids have no excuse for skimping on maintenance work.

Big-Box Store

No, this is not an invitation to buy a video game or some new clothes. Attach this gift card to a shopping list that includes in-car essentials like a car phone charger and mount, first aid kit, and an emergency safety kit. Make a date to shop together and discuss why each item is on the list.

Car Wash/Detailing

If they can’t keep their room clean, it's likely their car won't fare much better.  A gift card to a car wash or detailing service will encourage them to keep their ride clean, especially once they see how much those services actually cost. They will be thankful when one of their friends spills a drink (or worse) in the back seat.

Coffee Shop

Late nights studying and hanging out with friends and early morning classes are a recipe for a very tired teen, but everyone knows that those pricey lattes can eat into a budget. A coffee shop not only provides a caffeine boost, but it also serves as a place to study or gather with friends. Pop the card into a refillable mug. This isn’t just a wrapping tip… using refillable mugs can save money at some coffee shops. A little research can help here - find out their favorite java joint and whether or not it offers special mugs as a discount option.

Movie Theater

New drivers are excited to have more freedom and more time with friends away from prying adult eyes. Encourage responsible behavior with a gift card to a teen-friendly hangout spot like a movie theater, arcade, escape room, or bowling alley. There’s room for the whole gang to join in while still providing enough structure to keep them out of trouble.

Gift of Safety

This isn’t a gift card in a traditional sense, but it may be the best gift out there. A close family friend or relative can write their phone number(s) down on a small card and gift it with a note letting the teen know that they can always call if they are scared, in trouble, or not sure what to do - no questions asked. Teens should keep the card in the glove compartment in case their phone is lost, dead, or broken. 

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