It’s summer time! Fill up your gas tank and throw a cooler and some luggage in the back. It’s time for a road trip, complete with Disney karaoke, Silly Songs with Larry, a few grown-up coloring books, and an assortment of snacks, not the least of which is a good supply of teriyaki turkey jerky. And with that road trip comes some strategic planning. Time to generate some fun memories with your teens.
If you are bypassing the road trip in favor of flying, or even combining the two and you are traveling with teenagers, your options for fun are endless.
Believe me. After traveling by minivan and by airplane with toddlers and with teenagers, I have concluded that teenagers are much easier travel companions. No strollers required, no diapers to change, and they carry their own luggage, and sometimes even yours. Have I mentioned how much I love teenagers?
Whether you are heading to the beach, the mountains, or to some other outstanding destination, it’s important to make sure everyone is comfortable, well-fed, entertained, and ready to have an adventure.
Here are 10 tips to help you have a successful, fun vacation with your teen:
- Find out where they want to go.
Be sure to ask your teen’s opinion when figuring out where to go on vacation. Your teen will enjoy the destination much more if she has a voice in choosing it.
- Let them help with planning the trip.
Last year, we took an amazing trip after our older daughter’s wedding. While I was immersed in wedding prep, Don and Andrea planned our trip. It was wonderful. They figured out all the good stuff we were going to do, and I basically showed up. A huge change for me. Traditionally, I have always been the “cruise director.”
But it was gratifying to see how Andrea and her dad planned everything out. She wanted to do three things in particular. One was something water related, two was horseback riding, and three was zip lining. She and her dad searched on the internet for places to do those things.
In the search, they found a wonderful raft trip down the Snake River in the Grand Tetons. Perfect.
Next, they found a place to ride horses in Yellowstone. Awesome.
Finally, they did not find anywhere in the parks or areas we were visiting that offered zip lining. Oh, well. She conceded that was okay.
Because she was a part of the planning process, she understood that and it was not an issue that disappointed her or kept her from enjoying the other really amazing things we did.
- Feed them. Try to make it as healthy as possible.
I’m sure you have heard the term “Hangry.” It’s that unpleasant intersection of hunger and anger. In other words, people get crabby when they get hungry, so keep the teenagers well fed. They will thank you for it.
- Be sure they have some entertainment.
And preferably alternatives to electronic devices. Books to read, coloring books, games, hand crafts, photography – these are a few things people can do to occupy themselves on long drives that are not cell phone, tablet, or computer related. We have frequently run into long dead spaces (days) where those devices were completely useless. It’s good to have alternatives.
- Take a hike.
Go on a nature walk, or hike up to a waterfall. Be sure to take plenty of water and snacks if your trail is long or strenuous, and be doubly sure you have comfortable shoes that don’t rub blisters. Voice of experience.
- Rent a bike.
If you are in shape or want to get in shape, renting a bicycle and touring the area you are visiting is a great way for you and your teen to get around. Also, the cost of bike rental is fairly reasonable, with some around $10-$12 per hour or $34 for the whole day, depending on where you go.
- Go for a swim.
Most good hotels have a pool. If your teen enjoys swimming, this is a great way to have some play time or relaxation. And you can chill by the pool with a book if you want.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen.
Sunburn will ruin a vacation about as quickly as chiggers, thunderstorms, rockslides, and leaving your bear spray in the car. A teenager turned crispy critter is not a pretty sight. Or a happy one. Once again, don’t forget the sunscreen.
- Take pictures together.
Another critical part of making those lasting memories together is making sure you record those unforgettable moments in photos. I don’t ever remember saying, “I wish I hadn’t taken so many pictures!” On the contrary, I have lamented at times that I did not take enough. Take all you can and keep the best ones.
- Allow time to rest and chill.
Everyone needs time to chill out after a day of sightseeing, boating, hiking, or cycling. Budgeting time for people to decompress and have a little downtime ensures that they will be refreshed and ready to enjoy more activities later on.
We just returned from our latest vacation adventure, and it was fantastic. I will write about that trip in an upcoming post. Yes, we saw a bear on a hiking excursion. No, we did not have any bear spray.
Fortunately, we didn’t need it.
Are you planning a memorable vacation this summer, or a road trip with your teenager? If you are and you have more tips to share, then please scroll down and leave a comment in the section below. I want to hear about your summer adventures with your teen! And as always,