Family vacations are the best…or are they?! There are always a lot of expectations for them to be awesome, but do they live up to that? And, Traveling with Teens can be hard!
Traveling with young children tends to present a lot of issues. But, I have found that traveling with teens brings a whole different bag of issues with it. Here are some of the “issues” I’ve either experienced or heard about from friends when traveling with teens:
- They eat a LOT! And it’s expensive when on the road. And sometimes, they are picky!!
- They want their own room/space. Again, expensive!
- They want to sleep in and waste the days.
- They’re on their technology all.the.time!
- They can be ungrateful!
- They don’t want to try new things!
Here are Five TIPS for Traveling with Teens!
Get teens involved in planning
I have found that if I get my kids involved from the beginning, they tend to be more excited about vacation! While the vacation certainly doesn’t need to revolve around them, it seems to be effective if they have some “skin in the game.” Before we go on any vacation (except to visit family), we have a family discussion about where everyone would like to go. At this stage of discussion, they are allowed to offer up anywhere! It’s fun to see where they’d like to visit, and why. Sometimes we aren’t able to hit the where’s, but we might be able to hit some of the why’s. Based on this discussion, I am usually able to take that list, and based on our budget, offer up a couple of choices of where we can go and let it be a family decision.
Compromise on what outings you choose
Let your kids choose some of the outings. We’ve done this in most of the places we’ve visited in recent years. One reason I really enjoy this ~ they have to do some research to even know what they want to choose! Getting your kids involved in the research is important! If they are invested (time-wise and choice-wise) in where they are going, they will be more involved and more excited!
Plan for some downtime
Because they are teens and their bodies are still growing, they do need sleep! So, plan on it! Don’t expect them to be excited to be up at the crack of dawn every day. While some days may be long, try to have some days that are more relaxed. Maybe find a coffee shop in the early afternoon and just hang out for a while. Or check out a local park and bring a book. However you do it, try to give them some time and space to relax and recharge.
Obviously, you are going to feed them! But, travel with snacks! Buy a few boxes of protein bars or granola bars if you see them on sale and pack them for your trip. Then, everyday grab a handful each morning before you head out for the day. Also, if your hotel offers a free breakfast or has a bowl of fruit out, grab a couple of apples on your way out for the day. They come in handy if your tour goes long or you take the wrong bus! We like staying in apartments when we travel because we are able to keep food on hand and cook the majority of our meals. This makes the food bills a little smaller, actually, a LOT smaller!
Plan something different or unique!
Do something as a family that is adventurous or silly or really different. These are the moments that make family memories. And, while your teen might complain about it ~ this is what they’ll talk about when they get home! A friend had their family take a cooking class while they were traveling. It was in a local’s home and the group sat and ate it together when finished. What a fantastic memory! And, they learned how to cook something to boot!
A lot of our favorite memories and stories tend to revolve around food. Either food wins or food failures! We had High Tea at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. And, while my son and husband weren’t particularly excited about it, it became one of the favorite things we did! So, get adventurous and plan something different!
Make Memories NOT Headaches!
So, whether you’re headed out on the road, on an airplane or doing the stay-cation thing ~ the goal is making memories together! You want your time traveling with teens to be fun and enjoyable for everyone! So, try getting your kids involved in the planning and keep them engaged throughout the process. Remember to be realistic when planning your days! Don’t try to cram too much into them, and plan things that the whole family will enjoy. Plan around letting your kid(s) eat and sleep! And, most of all, have fun together! Your kids time with you is limited! If they are teenagers, the countdown is on. So, get out and have some fun! Make some great memories with your family!
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Becki is the author and founder of A Book Lover’s Adventures. She has a degree in elementary education, has worked and volunteered in libraries for years, and spent several years in the travel industry. All of this has led to a love of books and travel. Becki loves to share her love by finding literary escapes to share!