Traveling with teens
This poses both obstacles and opportunities for parents. The teenage years can be tough on both child and parent. Being in close quarters for days can help us bond or drive us apart. Here are some tips for traveling with teens that we have discovered through our good and bad decisions.
- Let it be a family affair. For years with our oldest child, we went to the beach every chance we had; not because she loved it. She was never crazy about the beach, but we loved the beach and chose to go. This was obviously a mistake. Do not let one person dictate everything: the teen, a younger child, or a parent.
- Choose a destination as a family. Let everyone be involved in choosing where you will go. Here are a couple of ways to do this.
Have each family member pick 3 places where they would like to visit. Discuss each of these and choose where you can all have fun
Knowing your children and your budget, pick 3 or 4 options that you would enjoy and that you think your kids would like. Let everyone have a say and pick the best together.
- Be flexible. Before long, our teens will be off on their own and we will wish we had more time with them. A big part of our vacation fun can be our teens enjoyment.
On the Trip
- Be flexible. Your teen might come up with an idea that veers from your itinerary. Listen and try something new. You may find something new that you will love. Our son is a big Harry Potter fan. In London, we tried to visit sites from the Harry Potter movies. He was thrilled. As parents, this thrilled us. I was already a fan, but my wife was not. She is now! Watching the movies after our trip and seeing the sites where we had been made the movies come alive. Our Harry Potter Tour of Britain
- Give your teen some freedom. A teen is not a kid, but not yet an adult. They need both freedom and supervision. In a place like Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, allowing them to skip the parade or fireworks to run off to ride Space Mountain alone will give them confidence and trust. Going it alone in Times Square or in Yellowstone might not be a great idea as the risks are much higher. Doune Castle, Our Son’s Favorite UK Experience
- Be patient.
- Again, make sure that it is a family affair. One person (even the teen) should not dictate everything, but everyone should have a voice.
- Teens know how to have fun. Enjoy your time traveling with teens.
- Be flexible but give guidance; have fun, but remain a parent.