Family vacations are a great time to reconnect and share experiences as a family; however, traveling with teenagers can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. By nature, teenagers can be moody, difficult and unpredictable but they are also funny, entertaining, bright and particularly enjoyable when they are in a good mood. With a little extra planning, your family vacation can be an exciting and enjoyable adventure for you and your teenagers. Below are a few tips that can help you ensure your family vacation is memorable in a positive way.
- Involve your teens in the planning of your vacation.
Ask for your teen’s input when planning your vacation. Consider his or her interests and passions when choosing a vacation theme or destination. Younger children are generally happy to be going anywhere, as most everything is an adventure for a younger child; however, your teen is more like you in that he or she wants to do things that are interesting and enjoyable to them.
- Consider your teen’s schedule when planning a vacation.
Your teen’s schedule is much more complicated than when he or she was younger. Teens tend to be involved in activities and have much more demanding school schedules than younger siblings. Consider your teen’s schedule, including his or her work schedule, when you are planning your vacation to ensure that your teen is able to meet his or her responsibilities without stressing about missing something important. You would not be happy with your spouse if he or she planned a family vacation during your busiest time at work.
- Spending money.
Teens do not want to ask mom and dad for every bottle of water or small souvenir. Giving your teen some spending money will make the trip more enjoyable for him or her.
- Plan downtime.
Teens need their own space – spending every moment with the “family” will be overwhelming and tempers may begin to flare. Plan some downtime for your teen to relax at the hotel, touch base with friends at home and unwind.
- Consider taking a friend.
This is especially true if your teen is an only child. Having someone his or her own age to share the experience will make it much more enjoyable than spending the entire trip with the “parental units.”
- Discuss electronics.
Electronics are a part of our daily lives and the chance that you will check your office email while on vacation is pretty high. Acknowledge that your teen is not going to give up electronics without a fight. Discuss limiting technology to down time (i.e. long car rides, an hour or so before bedtime, on the airplane, etc.). Explain that the purpose of this vacation is to spend time with each other so cell phones and other electronics should be off limits during most of the day.
- Talk about your rules.
Depending on the type of vacation you may be planning (i.e. a cruise, a trip overseas, etc.), there may be special rules and considerations that will apply. Discuss your expectations with your teens before you leave home so there is no question about how you expect your teens to behave while on vacation.
Traveling with teens can be fun because they are at an age where they can take care of themselves more than younger children are so you can enjoy your time without worrying about bath times and naps. Planning is the key to having a great vacation experience.