Strawberry Fields, John Lennon Memorial, Central Park, NYC
I’m no expert on travelling with teens (I have that joy to look forward to) but I’ve made it my job to read as many articles and blogs on the subject as I can in order to provide you with some tips that will hopefully enable your holiday with your teen(s) to be a memorable one for all the right reasons.
Involve them in the planning – Teens will feel much more likely to involve themselves in a trip if they have had at least some part in planning it. It might be that you give them a choice of holidays that you then discuss or that everyone gets to choose a destination or day trip. Teens are great at internet research so they might find something amazing that you haven’t thought of.
Keep them fed and watered – Whether it’s on the flight out, on a road trip or on the beach, keeping your teen’s blood sugar up will help prevent some of those moody moments
Give them some space – I mean their own physical space, adjoining rooms, suite hotels, rental properties. All make it easier for everyone to have their own space. You won’t get so annoyed with the mess and they won’t feel like they are 5 again.
Plugged in or plugged out? – Only you can decide how much time you’re happy for your teen to be plugged in to their technology but they will need some time to feel they’re doing their thing, even if you just allow some downtime of an hour or two at the end of the day. If you’re doing a city trip, it can be a good idea to encourage them to download some podcasts or city guides that they can listen to, or if you really want them to have an unplugged holiday, consider one of the US National Parks where phone reception will be patchy at best!
Do something active – Taking part in an activity will give everyone something in common and will give your teen something to focus on other than how lame it is to be on holiday with his/her parents. It can also be a great way for your teen to meet other people their own age. The world’s your oyster when it comes to activities: Surfing; hiking; cattle driving; white water rafting and many many more!
Then let them sleep! – All teens need to sleep, it is scientifically proven apparently. Letting them have the odd lie-in will not only keep them happy, or less morose, but will give you a bit of valuable relaxation time too. If you’re on holiday with younger kids too you could use the time to do something more age specific that your teen wouldn’t enjoy.
Allow a bit of freedom – If you can, give them some freedom to do their own thing. We all need our space at times and teens need theirs more than most. Giving them a bit of space to get a coffee or fast food fix or to mooch around the mall might be just what they need.
Set a budget – There’s bound to be a whole host of temptations, whether they want to go parasailing, indulge their passion for shopping, technology, or make-up. Setting a budget and sticking to it means you can say ‘Yes’ sometimes without ending too much out of pocket.
Get them to blog about the trip – Give them a camera and a journal and get them to write up the trip as a blog.
Try to chill out – It’s a holiday after all. Don’t plan every minute of every day or expect everything to go to plan.