Download our top tips and learn not just how to travel with teenagers, but how to travel with teens and love it.
Once your kids become teenagers, things like friends, jobs, and athletics start to steal precious time away from the family long before they leave for college. Once away at college, that time together is even more valuable. A family vacation helps ensure you will get quality time as a family, but it will take some extra effort to craft that perfect vacation that satisfies everyone.
When it comes to vacation planning, teens on a trip can make it challenging. They can singlehandedly make or break a family vacation. No longer children but not quite adults, their needs and desires have to be taken into account to ensure a family trip goes off seamlessly. A happy teenager makes a better travel companion in contrast to a grumpy one, so it is essential to find destinations that they are personally interested in. Incorporating various interests, tours, activities, and sights that they will love are also crucial.
These tips, gleaned from experience, will help to ensure you’re putting together the kind of vacation that will impress and entice the teens even before the trip begins — and turn them into travel fans forever.
1. Involve your teens in trip planning.
The more your teen is involved in the planning stages, the more likely they will be engaged, and the family vacation will start on the right foot.
2. Tailor your vacation wisely.
As teenagers develop their interests, teens can plan family vacations to allow them to follow their passions in exciting and fulfilling ways. With a little creative planning and in-depth exploration of each possible destination, chances are, everyone will have their vacation expectations met.
3. Give Your teen responsibilities
Give your teen the responsibility for packing their suitcase and carry on for the journey. When they want to overpack, remind them they will be responsible for their bag throughout the trip, putting it in and out of the car, lugging it through the airport, and wheeling it through the hotel.
Good earphones are essential for their electronics and airplane movies. Noise-canceling ones are ideal as they will block out any unnecessary noises and may allow them to sleep on the plane. Make sure your teen has a portable charger if they listen to music along with a regular charger. Download their favorite movies or shows in advance as entertainment abroad may not fit their needs.
5. Find the right Hotel.
If you can, give your teens their own room. Teens love their privacy and need their time away from mom and dad just as you’ll need an escape from them. This downtime lets everyone recuperate properly and ensures tensions don’t get excessively frayed.
A peaceful holiday for you may mean your teens get a little time online. Sometimes the hotel is the only place where your teen can connect, and it’s best to ensure the Wi-Fi network there is efficient.
7. Find room for downtime
Make sure to allow for downtime, such as relaxing by a pool for the afternoon. Teens don’t spend 24 hours a day with their parents at home, so why should vacation be different? Don’t take it personally and fill that time with something that you would like to do.
8. Set a Budget
On vacation, set a budget for your teenager and give them control of the funds. They will be much happier with some financial independence, and more than likely, they will be more thoughtful with their purchases when they have to budget themselves.
9. Have Snacks Handy
A hungry toddler has nothing on a hungry teen. Bring a few bags of trail mix, protein bars, and a few sweet treats with you as you may not be able to access food when hunger strikes especially if you are on transportation.
10. Let them eat what they want
I get it. You don’t want to travel halfway around the world for your teen to eat pizza, well, unless you are in Italy. But is it worth the fight? Sometimes teens need something familiar, and if that something is food, then so be it.
11. Split up
Teens have different interests. If your teen daughter wants to go shopping and your teen son would rather die than do that, split up for a couple of hours of one-on-one time. They will be happier, and each of you will have alone time with one of your kids. Make that time special for both of you.
12. Plan for a surprise
Even if your teen were involved in planning your trip down to the last detail, they would love to be surprised with something special. Think about what would really make your teen happy. Maybe a concert they always wanted to see or an activity they are interested in. Whatever it is, slip that little extra into the trip, and your teen will love you for it.
13. Don’t Dwell
When disputes occur and meltdowns happen (and they will), try and move on as quickly as possible and not let them set the tone for the journey.
If possible, arrange for your teen to spend some time alone. As fun as travel is, it can be overwhelming, and teens need time to process their emotions.
They will rejoin you in a better frame of mind if you give them the space they need.
14. Expect them to disappear once you get home
Friends are important to teens, and they have missed them. You won’t see your teens for a while as they have plenty of catching up to do.