1. Ask for your teen’s input
This is a good rule of thumb for everyone you plan to travel with, but especially true with your teen. Everything from where you should go to what type of activities you should do. Incorporate at least 1 activity from each traveler and if possible, schedule your teen’s request for later in the trip so they have something to look forward to. Keep in mind that laying on the beach or hanging out at the hotel for a few hours might be what they want to do. And that’s ok – we promise.
2. Let your teen be a teen
A different location doesn’t change the fact that a teen will continue to behave like a typical teenager. Don’t fight it. You won’t win. Instead, compromise and clearly state that you are giving in a bit. They will secretly appreciate your coolness about letting them sleep in instead of touring another church or museum. Staying connected is an important part of a teens life but limit the screen time to something responsible.
3. Be prepared (as much as possible)
Traveling is full of unknowns, some you have little to no control over. These situations can be frustrating and what starts out as a slight annoyance can quickly turn into a full on “disaster”. What can you do to keep everyone in their happy place when things don’t go according to plan? Be as prepared as possible for the unknown – keep snacks with you, be sure to have a map that you can understand, choose flights/hotels that have Wi-Fi, always have cash on you, make copies of your credit cards, passports, etc. While you can’t plan for everything, a little common sense preparation and organization can go a long way towards happy travelers and a fun vacation.
4. Plan but don’t over plan
Some of us have a tendency to overbook while on vacation. The idea that we may never visit this destination again sets a fire inside of us to create a jam-packed itinerary. Don’t do that. The reasoning makes some sense but having every minute planned is not enjoyable, in fact, it’s rather stressful. Identify (with the rest of those you are traveling with) what are the must dos and fit those into a breezy plan of fun for all. It’s also a good idea to have a few teen-approved ideas in your back pocket for downtime. If you get to them, great. If not, that’s fine too. Past travels have shown us that some of the more memorable moments were those we stumbled upon.
5. Give ‘em space
Not only will your teen enjoy some alone time, you’ll probably be needing some yourself. They aren’t accustomed to being around their entire family 24/7. There is school, hanging out with friends, after-school activities, maybe a part-time job – all things they do on their own. You’ll fair better if your travels and budget allow you to stay in a home instead of a hotel room – added bonus if they have their own space to rest and recharge.