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Would you like to go on a trip and bring your teenager with you?
Planning a trip can be very stressful but planning a trip with your teenager can be extremely stressful.
But don’t let it be.
Weather you use a vacation planner or create your own trip spending time away from home it can be a blast with your teenager. Have some fun with it.
Below are some ideas on how to make the experience fun for both of you.
My husband, two step daughters, and I went to Costa Rica over Christmas one year and we had a blast. I love to travel and have been to multiple different countries.
During most of my traveling I plan my own vacations versus going through an agent because I enjoy the planning process. Not all people enjoy that part of the trip.
But for this particular trip to Costa Rica we decided that it would be best to go with a tour group. My husband can be a little bit of a worry wart so to set his mind at ease, I quickly agreed to this type of trip.
Whether if you are going to be with a tour group or planning the whole thing yourself, it is still necessary to include your teenagers with some of the decisions.
Don’t just spring a trip on teenagers
This doesn’t mean that you have to tell them every little detail about what you are doing but keeping them in the dark about the whole thing won’t make them too happy about going.
Let them have a say in some of the activities that you are going to do or certain cities that you will see.
If you can’t decide on where exactly you would like to go, give them your narrowed down list of places and get their opinion.
Don’t schedule their days from start to finish
Plan the morning going to a museum and then let them plan the afternoon or vice versa. This gives them a chance to research the area and see what there is available to do.
It can be difficult to find activities that everyone will enjoy.
This way you know that they are enjoying at least a few things on the trip.
Don’ts start every day at the crack of dawn
From sun up to sun down. There is no stopping the Smith’s. We are going to see it all.
Do you want that type of vacation because this is your vacation too? Remember that.
I love staying busy and seeing everything I possibly can because I am probably not going to go back to that destination again.
Some people cannot wait to get home to relax from their vacation. This is me.
But this may not be the way that your teenager saw how a vacation was going to be. Relax and have fun.
Sleep in a couple of days.
You deserve it because to your kids, at this point, think you are the best parent ever. As long as they are not at home, they are happy.
Give them room to roam.
Do not be a helicopter parent and hover over your teenagers the whole trip. Give them space to breath.
I know that being in a strange place can be scary because you don’t know anything about the neighborhood or the crime rates.
This does not mean that they can’t explore the hotel or the grounds that the hotel is on. Go out yourself and do a little exploring just to see the neighborhood and how safe you feel.
Ask the person at reception for advice.
Most higher end hotels have a concierge. Even if you are not staying in a hotel that has a concierge you can still walk into any hotel that has one and get tips from them.
Let them have space away from the family
Giving your teen their own space is essential because it gives them room to explore and spread their wings.
Letting them have time away from the family makes them feel a little more independent. This also teaches them independence when they are away from home without you as well.
When placed in these types of situations away from home their minds start thinking about how to handle certain situations.
This is great because you aren’t too far away if they do get stuck versus across country.
Let them explore.
Don’t unplug them completely
As a stepmom who grew up in a time where technology was just starting to come into fuision this is difficult because I don’t understand, to a millennial’s perspective, on why their phone is so important to them.
Times are different for our teens these days than it was for teens growing up 10-20 years ago.
If they can’t get their chat streaks in, the world just may come to an end.
This really depends on where you are vacationing and what your plan covers for WiFi on how much phone usage your teen would be able to receive.
Unless your teen has a really nice expensive camera, they are probably going to be using their phone for pictures.
Letting them use their phone for pictures throughout the day and music if you are in the car or on a bus is okay.
As for WiFi, if your plan does not cover international or other states, I feel it’s okay to use it at night while just relaxing after the long day.
Again this depends on your plan and what you can afford.
Let your teen know before the trip about their phone usage so that they don’t feel blindsided by this.
Broaden their horizons
Yes, bring them to a museum. Let them learn about the culture of where you are visiting.
It doesn’t matter if you are in the states or in a different country because being in the northern part of a certain state is different than the southern part.
You don’t have to go to a museum, historical landmark, or learn history every day or all day. You never know, you might actually find that it was their favorite part of the trip.
Show them things they can’t see anywhere else
Ask yourself, why are you bringing them on vacation with you? Or, why do you even go on vacation?
You go because it is different and it is not home.
You go to see the things that you can’t see around your own area. So show them this.
Even if you are up north or down south, there is something there that you can’t see at home.
Sometimes it can be as simple as the World’s Largest Ball of Twine.
Yes, this is a thing.
Showing them new experiences can change their whole outlook on life or who they want to be.
I am sure not every little second is going to be fun for either you or your teen but that is okay.
You have different likes and dislikes.
Your spouse of your other children will feel the same way.
You can’t always please everyone but having a little bit for everyone is what counts. Even if something is not fun, make it fun.
Make a game out of a long car or bus ride.
Explore a museum ahead of time on the internet and make up a scavenger hunt. Whoever wins gets to plan the rest of the day or where to eat that night.
You are together as a family, enjoy those special moments.
Taking trips with your teens can be an amazing chance to get to know them a little bit better. They will remember those moments that took their breath away.
Explore with them and show them a different part of the world by leaving the day to day routine behind. Even if it was just a trip around the corner, they will still remember it.