Are you kidding me? (No pun intended) There is a world of positive information out there if you are travelling with kids or babies, but what if you are travelling with tweens and teenagers? Well you've come to the right place, we at Poshpacker Family are experts in all things Teenage Travel.
I am an absolute avid believer that travelling with your teenagers and tweens is one of the most bonding and empowering things you can do... if you do it right!
Travelling with a teenager doesn’t have to mean the start of World War 3, nor should it cause you to want to chop your own (or their) head off, all it requires is a little insight and a teeny bit of planning.
We’ve got one of each species, a tween (ages 10 to 12) and a teenager (ages 13 to 19) and let me tell you they are no longer little kids. At these ages and up you no longer need information about how to heat up a bottle on the go, or how to change a nappy on an aeroplane. What you don’t need is a ‘Survival Guide’, what you do need is a ‘Thrive Guide’. Some real time tips on how to travel with a strong minded young (or very young as the case may be) adult in the 21st Century is where it’s at.
Tip 1 – Remember They Can Smell Your Fear. If a dog senses fear they will attack, teenagers are usually not much different. Show them that you have complete confidence in everyone enjoying a cracking holiday. Some might say, ‘fake it till you make it’ if you have to.
Tip 2 – Don’t Tell Me What To Do! Plan your travel together as a family. Teenagers want to be part of the planning, they don’t want to be told what they are doing (l’m sure you don’t need to be told this!) Teenagers need to be involved. Also keep in mind they are probably not that interested in lazing around a resort pool all day reading books and drinking cocktails. Another word for the wise, you might want to limit the museum and cathedral visits too, apparently they are booooring.
Tip 3 – Compromise is Key. Teenagers can be the most enthusiastic travellers...if they are doing what they want! Show them you are willing to meet them in the middle by asking them what they would like to do and see. Most teens are super savvy on the net, so get them Googling things to do. You might be surprised what they find, as they’ll look in places you would never dream of. (They’ll never realise that their actually doing the research for you!)
Tip 4 – Feed the Beast. Teenagers are hungry for new experiences, they don’t want to go to the same destination again and again, it’s far too lame and super boring. P.S Don't forget actual food too... goodness knows the wrath of a hungry teenager aaarrghhhh.
Tip 5 – Pack Your Bags! Want a one way ticket to hell, then try telling your teenager what to pack in their bag , it’s a guaranteed fire starter. Avoid it at all costs! Does it really matter if they wear jeans in the heat of summer or vertical stripes with horizontal ones. No! Obviously everyone should have their own bag to be accountable for, that way no one has anyone to blame but themselves. A little bit of responsibility can go a long way in making them feel mature.
Tip 6 – Pick Your Battles. When travelling don’t set bedtimes or tell teenagers what to eat. Now is not the time to pick a fight over brussel sprouts or lights out. Bending the rules will be liberating, even for you. You might actually find it more enjoyable to lose the eating and sleeping schedules. Just go with the flow.
Tip 7 – Chill Man. A back to back action packed itinerary is a sure fire way to stress everyone to the eyeballs. You do not want the trauma of dragging an unhappy teenager from one attraction to another. Leave some room for spontaneous movement, be flexible. Ditch the over-scheduled itinerary, you’ll thank us for it later!
Tip 8 – Contact is King. It’s funny every time l hear ‘tell them to leave their technology at home’ l can tell the article has been written by a well meaning, but way out of touch adult. This is not a fight you want to have. Teenagers are social creatures and rely on constant contact with their friends to survive (as they put it!). Letting them get online to stay in touch is essential if you want to keep the peace. Choose accommodation with free wi-fi and you’ll be onto a winner. Remember as with everything balance is key, so maybe put a reasonable time frame on it.
Tip 9 – Loosen the Apron Strings. Clearly this one has to be completely age appropriate. If your teenagers are on the young side, consider giving them a little freedom, maybe they can sit at their own table for breakfast. If they are a little older maybe give them a budget and time frame then let them go to the shops. They’ll love the independence and you’ll love the chance to visit that museum. If possible you should also consider separate adjoining rooms, that way they can hang out and watch TV or just lounge around while you visit the cathedral down the street.
Tip 10 – Don’t Wake the Sleeping Lion. Sleep research suggests that teenagers need between 9 and 10 hours a night. Let them sleep in a little while you lounge around the pool with a good book.
Tip 10.5 – If all else fails, and it’s possible, consider letting your teenager or tween invite a friend.
A happy teenager makes for a happy holiday and remember YOLO (Google it if you don’t know what l mean LOL)
Do you have any other totes awes (totally awesome, for those of us oldies) tips for travelling with a teenager or tween?