6 Tips for Traveling With Teens

By Cindy Richards, TravelingMom.com

Masters of the “that’s so lame” eye roll and exasperated sigh, teens are great for making parents feel like losers. But that’s no reason to leave them home on the next family vacation. Try these tips for traveling with teens to make a family vacation more fun for everyone, including parents.

1. Get them involved.

If the teens have helped planned a part of the vacation, they can’t blame you if it turns out to be lame. Assign each kid a day to be in charge. Set a budget and then let them do the research to decide what the family will do and how you will do it. If everyone in the family has a day to lead the vacation, they won’t want to hear complaints on that day. Chances are it will reduce the number of complaints on the days when someone else (even a parent) is in charge. As an added bonus, if something goes wrong, it won’t be all your fault.

2. Keep them powered up.

Nothing can kill a teenage buzz faster than a dead smartphone. Bring a power strip. That way, when you get to the airport gate and find all of the plugs are taken, you can ask permission to plug in the power strip. Then (and this is important!) plug in that person’s charger first, followed by your kids’ chargers. Equally important, when you get to the hotel, the power strip acts as a charging station so you’re less likely to leave behind that charger you had to plug in behind the bed.

3. Engage them.

Ask teens to find the best apps for the trip, such as be best cheap gas app if you’re driving or a great city touring app if you’re flying. Let them come up with a playlist for the trip, with the caveat that it has to include at least some music everyone will enjoy. They will be snapping photos all day anyway, so give them photo assignments, such as everyone has to take a minimum of 10 pics of each family member (which ensures every family member will be in at least one family vacation photo).

4. Challenge them.

Ask them to flex their social media muscle to find deals on Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook or whatever is their social media platform of choice.

5. Feed them.

A hungry teen is a crabby teen. And teens are always hungry. So be sure to have plenty of snacks on hand. Bring some junk food–it is a vacation after all–but include lots of healthy travel snacks too. And stick with water. It’s better for everyone and it won’t stain the seats when it inevitably gets spilled in the car.

6. Spend time with them.

This one won’t be popular with teens, but decree that at least a portion of the family vacation will be electronics-free. The trade-off is that if teens agree to put away their electronics long enough for a family dinner each night, you won’t bug them about texting the whole time they are in the museum the next day.

About the Author

Traveling MomCindy Richards is the Editor-in-Chief for TravelingMom.com and mom of two terrific teens who have been traveling with her since they were tiny tots.


Featured photo: Flickr / dbl90

2 Comments on “6 Tips for Traveling With Teens

  1. Lots of eye rolls and moans and groans when I mandated a 24 hour electronics-free time. They sneaked and plotted against me so what we wound up with was LESS time plugged in, which was still an improvement. And made for funny videos.

  2. Kim, this is a quite an improvement! I cant unplug my kids whatever I do. The only time they look at the scenery while we make a road trip is to take a photo and instagram it. After that they plug in back again until we make a stop.

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