For most of us, the whole point of getting away and going on vacation is getting to spend a few stress-free days in a new and exciting (or familiar and well-loved) location.
While you might find it easy to plan a stress-free vacation when it’s just you and your significant other, or you’re traveling alone, things ‘aren’t so easy once you start adding your children into the mix – especially when you’re dealing with one or more teenagers. Old enough to voice their preferences but not independent enough to truly act on most of them, the key to a happy family vacation is ensuring your teens are having fun – because when they aren’t, you’ll definitely know it.
Fortunately, there are some things you can to do eliminate headaches if you’re looking to plan a vacation with teenagers. If you’re on a mission to enjoy a stress-free trip with your teens, keep these tips in mind:
INVOLVE THEM IN THE PLANNING PROCESS
Unless you’re dealing with the most easy-going teen in the world, your son or daughter probably has an opinion or two about virtually everything, so you can safely assume this desire to provide input will carry over to the vacation planning process. Instead of surprising them with a trip to Disney World, make the decision-making process something for everyone to participate in. Sit down around the kitchen table and talk about where you’d like to go – and any places you’d really rather avoid. Making sure your teen is on the same page as the rest of your family about your destination will make the rest of the trip go much more smoothly.
FIND A WAY TO GIVE THEM A BIT OF FREEDOM
Your teenagers are most likely used to spending a little time on their own, away from the watchful eyes of Mom and Dad, but most vacations usually turn into spending time together as a family for the duration of the trip – something your teens would probably rather avoid.
If you can find a way to give them a little bit of time and space when you’re on vacation, do it. This could be making sure they have their own bedroom in your Airbnb, letting them explore the town on their own for an hour (with scheduled check-ins, if you’re truly worried) or even booking a cruise so everyone can find age-specific activities and attractions to enjoy.
LOOK FOR ACTIVITIES THAT APPEAL TO THEIR INTERESTS
You know your teen will let you know if they aren’t having fun on vacation – which, in turn, will drag down the journey for everyone else. While you shouldn’t cater to every single activity and stop on your trip to your teen’s preferences, you should definitely keep them in mind when putting together your daily agendas. Even though spending a day museum-hopping might sound like a ton of fun for you, they may beg to differ – and if you don’t address it beforehand, you might find yourself having a less-than-fun conversation in the middle of the Met.
You shouldn’t need to cater your entire trip to the whims and desires of your teenage son or daughter, but you’ll want to do what you can to minimize discontent and conflict on your trip. Keep these tips in mind as you gear up for your next vacation, and you’ll be well on your way to guaranteeing everyone in your family has a great time.