Traveling with teenagers can open up their world. Exploring new locations, experiencing different cultures, and trying exciting foods can be educational and fun and can help build confidence and independence. As kids become teenagers, you'll need a whole new toolbox of ideas to keep family vacations stress-free. Here are some tips for enjoying a family vacation with teens.
1. Include Them in the Planning
A family vacation should include activities the whole family will enjoy. Children will have stronger opinions on where to go and what to do as they age. Embrace that! Let your teen help in the planning process, and they'll be more likely to be engaged on the trip. Think about your teen's current favorite things. Are they a history buff? If so, consider traveling to historic locations to help make history come alive, like Old Town San Diego, a top pick of ours. Is there a book they love to read over and over again? Seeing the setting of their favorite story can stick with them forever. We’ve never met a Harry Potter fan who wasn’t wowed by the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Are they a big Disney fan? Book tickets to a Disney World resort. There’s nothing like being completely immersed in Disney Magic.
2. Let Them Do Their Own Packing
Having your teenager pack their own bags gives them a sense of independence and privacy. It is also an excellent way to teach responsibility. Let them consider the weather, how many days they'll be away, and any planned activities they must pack for. It may be best to help them make a checklist beforehand of all the must-have essentials so they don't end up toothbrushless at bedtime.
3. Consider a Theme Park Vacation
Theme parks offer fun activities for kids of every age. For older children and teens, they also allow for a bit of independence in a controlled and safe environment. Your teen may want to go solo on rides meant for older kids or manage their own snack food budget. There are plenty of theme park trips available, such as Disney World vacation packages or Universal Studios tickets, that will keep the whole family happy. To make your family vacation even easier on you while giving your teens the independence they crave, look into theme park packages that include on-location hotel stays. For example, Disney Hotel and Park packagesDisney Hotel and Park packages will include a stay in a Disney Resort Hotel, which makes transportation to and from the parks simple and safe.
4. Let Them Bring a Friend
If you have a teenager without siblings close in age, consider letting them bring a friend on the next family trip. All kids enjoy doing activities and spending time with others their age. As children grow into teenagers, their social lives become more important. While the idea of a family vacation is exciting, many teens might also be anxious about spending so much time away from their friends. Bringing their bestie along on the trip can make it more enticing. It's true; the FOMO starts early.
5. Ask Them to DJ
Some teenagers are really into their music and can't wait to show you what they've been listening to. If the family is heading out on a road trip, ask your teen to make the playlist for the drive. This task can be a great bonding experience and lets your child share something they enjoy with the whole family.
6. Schedule in Free Time
While family togetherness is the top priority on a family vacation, kids may need more alone time once they hit the teenage stage. When making the daily itinerary for the trip, be sure to include downtime where your teens can do their own thing. Whether that's time to text and get in touch with friends back home, go to the hotel gym on their own, or have the room to themselves to read or watch tv, teenagers will function much better during planned activities if they're also allowed to have their space. Your teen may also benefit from more independence when you are out exploring as a family. For example, if you're visiting a museum that does not interest them, allow them to hang out in a nearby cafe or bookshop to wait for you. You can periodically check in with cell phones to alleviate any stress or separation anxiety.
7. Keep Things Active
Sometimes as an adult, what sounds like the ideal vacation is lying around on the beach all day with a book and a beverage. However, teenagers tend to get easily bored. Including activities to get the whole family moving will help burn all your kids' excess energy. While younger kids will be content with a playground or the hotel pool, more adventurous activities may pique your teenager's interest. Consider renting bikes, hiking, or booking time to play water sports. While traveling with teens may introduce new challenges, family vacations can be enjoyable for everyone with enough planning ahead. Just remember to be flexible. Checking in with your teen for feedback and ideas each day may mean adjusting the schedule along the way. Your trip may not look exactly how you imagined it, but it's more important that every family member has fun. And of course, our team is here to help! Let your Get Away Today vacation expert help plan your perfect vacation. Whether you’re headed to our favorite theme parks, Hawaii, Mexico or on a cruise, we’d love to help you get there! Book online or call our agents at 855-GET-AWAY