Traveling with kids of any age can be challenging, but it can get worse as those children get older and turn into moody teenagers! Most of the time, a teenager hears the words family vacation and then you will hear the whining and begging that you thought stopped when they turned eight. In fact, you will quickly know within five minutes of announcing your next family vacation with your teen that they do not want to go, that they will be bored, and that you are ruining their life forever! However, there are a few tricks that you can use to ensure that your next family vacation is fun for your teenager.
Here are ten ways to make your vacations fun for your teenager:
1. Let Them Help with the Planning
They may still moan and groan about leaving their friends behind and needing to go on vacation with you, but if you allow them to help with the planning, you may have a shot at their eventual happiness.
Find out what they would love to do during vacation and then try to incorporate as much of that as possible. If they are old enough to be on a computer to help with vacation planning, allow them to play with a few travel planning apps and they might surprise you with activities you might like but didn’t know existed in your destination.
2. Consider Your Destination
You may not be thrilled with your teens response when you ask them to help you plan your vacation, especially if the only thing that they say is that they want to play video games most of the time. However, if you choose your destination carefully, you can easily find a way to let them play video games part of the time. I recommend thinking outside the box a little and find destinations that have everything that you all want. A beach is the perfect option for those teens that want to play sports and spend time outside, while a cruise is an excellent option for those teens that might want to meet a few new friends while playing the hottest video game of the season.
3. Choose the Right Hotel
Your teen is not going to fall in love with a hotel that is out in the middle of nowhere and has nothing to do. However, they may be thrilled with a hotel that is near a mall with a food court and that has a swimming pool and other activities.
This will allow them to get away from you for a short amount of time, so you can all get the break that you deserve. So, chose the right family-friendly hotel for your teen and other kids. And remember to always keep your kids safe in a hotel, regardless of their ages.
4. Give Your Teen Some Space
This kind of goes along with the tip above, as we all know that teens need their space to unwind and relax. Once you have chosen the right hotel, you may want to consider reserving adjoining rooms or rooms that are next to each other. This will make them feel as if they are independent and that they can simply hang out without you hovering over them at certain times of the day. Plus, this way they can connect with their friends back home and complain without you hearing a word of it!
5. Always Have Snacks on Hand
Teens can get even moodier when they are hungry, so make sure that you always have some of their favorite snacks on hand when you are on vacation.
This will ensure that you can keep them fed and happy, plus you won’t need to spend a small fortune by grabbing things on the go.
6. Allow Your Teen to Choose an Activity a Day
Teens are much happier when they can do what they want, so if you want them to stay quiet when you are visiting a few attractions, you will need to reward them later. I recommend allowing them to choose one activity that they want to do each day and then make sure that you take the time to do it. You may want to do your things first though, as once they do what they want, they are liable to become miserable when you ask them to do anything else.
7. Do Not Wake Them Up Early
There may be certain days when you need to get up earlier than others, but you should let your teen sleep in a little when you are all on vacation.
This is the perfect time to have a mini date with your spouse, visit a few places on your own, or do something else fun while your teen is sleeping his or her way to a hopefully better mood!
8. Don’t Dwell on Any of the Little Things
Your teen may have a mini meltdown in the middle of the day for no reason or they may seem excessively grouchy at one point of your trip. While you could make a big deal about it or think about it for days, I recommend that you leave it alone for everyone’s sanity. Simply let your teen have their moment and then move on to what was next on your list of things to do. Your vacation will be much better if you focus on the positive instead of the negative.
9. Make Your Teen Responsible
While your teen may be responsible in nature, this is the perfect time to allow them to show you just how responsible they really are.
If you have younger children, ask your teen to escort them to the restroom or watch them for an hour or two in the hotel room, while you sneak away for some alone time with your spouse at the bar downstairs. These things should make them feel like an adult and they won’t be able to say that they are bored.
10. Allow Your Teen to Invite a Friend Along
Sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and know that the only way your teen is going to be happy while on vacation with you is if they have a friend with them. You will need to consider the cost of doing this and make sure that they invite a friend that you are happy to have around for the length of time that you will be gone. The extra cost might be worth the investment though, especially if it keeps your teen from driving you crazy the entire trip! The good news is that depending on their age and what they want to do, you can send both of them out on their own for an hour or two to see the sights close by where you are. Or you can simply let them wander around the attraction that you are visiting on their own and have them meet up with you at a designated time.
These ten things should help you make sure that your teen has fun on your next vacation, but remember, nothing is foolproof! You may think that everything is going great and then poof… You have a moody teen that has no capability to listen to reason. Happens all the time and there is nothing that you can do about it!