Teens are at an age where they might feel embarrassed to be around their parents, but aren’t above having fun with the family when the conditions are right. When making travel plans for the family, ask for your teen’s ideas. Doing this will make the young person have a sense of ownership over the trip, which should make her feel more interested in and positive about the activities on the itinerary.
When teens crave freedom, cruises can offer just that. Popular cruise lines offer supervised activities for teens that give parents peace of mind and let young people enjoy some autonomy. Activities include athletic events, arcade games, teen dances, theaters and teen lounges. The pre-paid nature of cruises and the 24-hour access to unlimited helps parents stick to a budget when their teens are at that always-hungry age.
When a teen is old enough to drive, a road trip can be a fine way for the young person to get in driving practice and fit in some family bonding. Plan the vacation with the teen and focus on a specific theme. For example, the goal of the road trip might be to see the wackiest roadside attractions, rock-hounding in mines in the West, thrift shop hunting in major cities or finding the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in rural towns. The long stretches of open road give a teen a good way to safely improve his driving skills and offer parents the opportunity to see the country from the passenger’s side of the car.
All-inclusive resorts offer many of the same benefits of cruises, such as the opportunity to work with a fixed budget, unlimited food and supervised activities for teens, including special resort clubs for young people. The teen activities at resorts vary by location. Beach resorts, for instance, offer water sports, while a resort in the desert may offer horseback riding and hiking trips. Some resorts also feature family field trips to destinations such as ancient ruins or popular marketplaces.
Take your teen to a far-flung destination that she’s only read about in books or seen in movies. Have the teen get involved in all parts of the planning process, from applying for a passport to learning which train stations your family will need to visit. Enlist your teen’s help in finding travel documentaries about your international destination, listing useful basic phrases in the foreign language and making a list of must-see attractions that the family can visit.