Travelling with Teens

Going on holiday with your teen doesn’t have to be a true test of your parenting patience. It can actually be enjoyable, an opportunity for you to spend quality time with each other out of the work and school routine, and possibly even a chance to discover new things about them through the opportunities these new experiences provide. Here are some tips on how to get maximum benefit from your trip:

  1. Involve them in the planning

You’ve booked the holiday of a lifetime touring the Roman temples, but it’s being ruined by a sulky teen. No wonder. If you want happier holidaying families, then involve everyone in the planning process, when you’re first deciding on your holiday destination. Of course, you may not be able to combine everyone’s top spot into one trip, but they will feel more included if you ask for their opinion, and that’s what matters most.

  • Let them have a holiday too

It all depends on your parenting style, but one sure way to make a teen ever grumpier is to get them to do all the grudge work. They are not your chief babysitter or luggage carrier – they also need a break. While all family members should pull their weight, asking them to do all the work when they may already be out of their comfort zone, jetlagged or tired will only add stress to the situation. “It can be tempting to rely on the teen to help with organising, packing and watching siblings, but it works better for our family if I plan ahead and do as much myself as possible,” says mom and stepmom Gaelyn Cokayne.

  • Pick somewhere that appeals to various age groups

It can be tough finding a holiday that will please the whole family, especially when Dad loves to kite surf, Mom wants to sip cocktails by the pool and the teen just wants to visit art museums. That’s why it’s important when travelling with a teen that there are at least two or three activities at that destination that he or she is really excited about. “Accepting that every holiday won’t tick everyone’s boxes is important and trying to give each person something that they will enjoy each time is crucial. My step daughter has told us clearly that she won’t join us on our next beach holiday, but would love a cultural, historical trip with us next year,” says Gaelyn.

  • Let them have downtime

We all want to squeeze the most out of our holidays but teens (just like all children) really do need downtime in order to recharge. They may want to sleep in one morning, catch up on social media and chat to their friends back home (if they have a phone). Be sure to give your teen time and space to do this, and don’t pressurise them to attend every excursion.

Travelling with a teen in tow can be an opportunity to create incredible memories for both of you, it just takes some thoughtful consideration of their needs, as well as your own. Happy travels!

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