Summer is coming, which means it’s time to start planning your family vacation. Traveling with teenagers presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges.
They are old enough to take advantage of historical sites, stay up late and help in the planning process. But they are young enough to still be bored, moody and irrational. So here is your step by step guide to not only survive traveling with teenagers, but to also make it a vacation you will all enjoy.
1. Decide where to go
It is a good idea to let everyone in the family help decide where to go for your next vacation. Each person can choose a destination and do some basic research on it. Then, have a family meeting and let everyone present their idea. They can give a rough estimate on cost and reasons why they think you should go there. You might be pleasantly surprised by the creativity your teenagers put into these presentations!
Once everyone has had a say, the family can vote on their favorite destination. Of course, the parents have veto power (just in case the kids vote for an around the world cruise). But teenagers love to feel like they have control over a situation and when your kids are involved in the planning process, they become invested in the trip and want to make it a success.
2. Arrange teenage friendly transportation
What is the best way to travel? Airplanes are fast, but costly, especially if you have a big family. Trains can be fun and are often something new and exciting for teenagers. If you are considering traveling by train, make sure to check out this article.
Traveling with teenagers in a car also has advantages and disadvantages. It is more cost efficient and makes it easier to get around when you arrive at your destination. However, depending on the length of the drive, you may be wishing you had sprung for plane tickets.
Why not ask your teens for their opinion? You don’t necessarily have to go with what they say, but it makes them feel good to have their ideas considered.
3. Where is the best place to stay when traveling with teenagers?
Again, ask your teens what they think. Is a hotel the best fit for your family? Will your teenager balk at sharing a bed with a sibling or sleeping on a pull out sofa for a week? If you do choose a hotel, try to find one with a kitchen so you can stock up on drinks and snacks. It’s easy to blow a food budget when you have ravenous teenagers hitting the vending machines fifteen times a day.
Maybe renting a house or condo would be more comfortable for your family. This usually gives you more room to spread out, but you miss out on the daily maid and laundry service.
4. Make an itinerary
One of the best parts about traveling with teenagers is that they can be extremely helpful in the planning process. Most teenagers are a whiz at researching things online. Give them a budget and a general idea of what you are looking for and then see what they come up with for you to do.
Another idea is to allow each family member to choose one thing (within reason) that they want to do on the trip. Or give each person one day to plan the family’s activities. Not only does this give you insight into your teenager’s mind, but it lets you try something that you might not have otherwise done.
5. Packing for traveling with teenagers
Teeangers are old enough to pack their own bags, but they may need a little guidance. Try sitting down and making a list with your teen of all the things they need to pack for the trip. They can check things off as they go to ensure that everything makes it in the bag. This gives them a sense of responsibility and takes some of the burden off of you.
Or have them set out everything they think they need for the trip and you can review it before it goes in the suitcase. Take advantage of the fact that your kids aren’t babies anymore and they can help with the travel prep!
6. Set expectations
Talk to your kids before you leave and lay down the ground rules and expectations. If you are driving, make sure they know how often you will be stopping and how you expect them to behave.
If you are flying and it is their first time, explain to them about security, what is and is not allowed and boarding passes. When my son went to Dallas with my husband earlier this year, he was utterly lost during the security check. My husband travels a lot and assumed that emptying your pockets was common knowledge, but for a kid who has only flown a few times, it is not something they would know.
Make sure you teenagers understand the places you will be visiting and what behavior is expected of them while they are are. It is always better to be prepared and have conversations in advance instead of fighting about it while you are on vacation.
7. Make the best of traveling with teenagers
At the end of the day, remember that you are traveling with teenagers and they can be an unpredictable group. Embrace the days when they are loving, happy and want to spend time with you. Give them a little space and let them use their phones to stay in touch with their friends during downtime. Make the best of the vacation and most of all, have fun with your kids!
What other great tips do you have for traveling with teenagers? Comment below and share your best tips! The Evil Mommy is always open to new ideas!
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