Traveling with TEENAGERS!!!

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Traveling with family is challenging, but adding a teenager to the mix could be stressful, even for the most patient of parents!  Avoid the eye-rolls and shoulder shrugs on you next family adventure with some of our tips for traveling with teens.  

Planning:

The easiest way to ensure your teenagers care about your upcoming adventure is to include them in the planning process.  They need to feel like their voice is being heard just as much as an adult.  The more you seek their opinions in the early stages, the more likely they will be engaged and less likely to complain during the trip. 

While many airlines offer great in-flight entertainment, a tablet that is loaded with Netflix shows, music and movies of their choice is invaluable.  Depending upon the itinerary, you may have long layovers or transfers ahead of you as well, so why not let them bring their tablets to help pass the time.  Traveling can be a sensory overload at any age and spending some time on your screen is an easy way to take some down time and take a breath!  

And talking about our devices, allowing teens the opportunity to stay connected is important.  Their chance to Instagram/Facebook each days’ activities and discoveries isn’t so different to writing in a travel diary.  It is a way to record a special moment and save it for the future.  While you don’t want screen time to occupy all their time, giving teens a window to communicate with friends gives them a chance to share their stories.  

If screen time is getting to be too much, cards and dice games are small and portable.  We have played many games of Farkle in airports all over the world!  So bring cards or dice!

Packing:

Sure there are a few things you probably want to certain that your teen definitely packs, but for the most part allowing them to pack helps teach them accountability and give them a sense of control.  Give them a list of what they must take, but let the rest be on them.   

Downtime:

Every vacation should have some downtime built in.  Ask them what they would like to do with this time-and if it is different than your plan, don’t be afraid to split up.  So let them do their own thing or make a decision on behalf of everyone in the family. It gives them a chance to part of the decision-making process throughout the holiday. Maybe on the free day, they get to decide where to eat dinner-you may discover the best meal of the trip! On our family vacations, at one meal we choose someone else’s meal-it helps everyone discover new dishes. 

Does your teen like photography?  Let them be the designated photographer.  It takes the pressure off you to capture every moment and ensures you have plenty of pictures to remember your adventure. Some of our favorite vacation photos are ones the kids have taken and are quite the keepsake! 

Take your 2019 family holiday to the next level-let the teenagers help!

- Shawnda McAlester
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