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Are you ready to start traveling with your teen?

Ever wonder why we torture ourselves and travel with our kids?

Planning a trip can be very stressful but planning a trip with your teenager can be extremely stressful.

Don’t let it be.

Whether you use a vacation planner or create your own itinerary, spending time away from home can be a blast with your teenager. Have some fun with it.

Below are some ideas on how to make the experience fun for both of you.

My husband, two step daughters, and I went to Costa Rica over Christmas one year and we had an amazing time. I love to travel and have been to multiple different countries. And am so glad that we were able to take this opportunity together.

During most of my traveling I plan my own vacations versus going through an agent because I enjoy the planning process. Not all people enjoy that part of the trip.

But for this particular trip to Costa Rica we decided that it would be best to go with a tour group.

Traveling with your teen can add more stress. So, I quickly agreed on the bus tour group due to everyone having to listen to the guide instead of me.

Whether you are going to be with a tour group or planning the whole thing yourself, it is still necessary to include your teenagers with some of the decisions.

traveling with your teen

Traveling with your teen

Don’t Just Spring a Trip on Teenagers

This doesn’t mean that you have to tell them every little detail about what you are doing but keeping them in the dark about the whole thing won’t make them too happy about going.

Let them have a say in some of the activities that you are going to do or certain cities that you will see.

For instance, if you can’t decide on where exactly you would like to go, give them your narrowed down list of places and get their opinion.

Don’t Schedule Their Days From Start to Finish

Plan the morning going to a museum and then let them plan the afternoon or vice versa. This gives them a chance to research the area and see what there is available to do.

It can be difficult to find activities that everyone will enjoy, especially when traveling with your teen. They have more opinions than a five-year-old.

This way you know that they are enjoying at least a few things on the trip. It’s a win-win for everybody.


Relaxing sunset view

Don’t Start Every Day at the Crack of Dawn

From sun up to sun down. There is no stopping the Smith’s. We are going to see it all.

Traveling with your teen doesn’t work that way.

Do you really want that type of vacation for yourself? Because this is your vacation too? Remember that.

I love staying busy and seeing everything I possibly can because, I know, I am probably not going to go back to that destination again. But this isn’t the ideal vacation for everyone, especially teenagers.

Teenagers are lazy human beings! I know you are all thinking it, so I thought I would come right out and say it. But if you are straight with them in the beginning on what to expect, they won’t give you as much grief. Relax and have fun.

Sleep in a couple of days. You deserve to do this as well.

To your kids, at this point, they think you are the best parent ever. As long as they are not at home being bored or doing the same routine every day, they are happy.

Give Them Room to Roam

Do not be a helicopter parent and hover over your teenagers the whole trip. Give them space to breath.

Traveling with your teen can be scary due to the unknowns.

I know that being in a strange place can be scary because you don’t know anything about the neighborhood or the crime rates. But this does not mean that they can’t explore the hotel or the grounds that the hotel is on.

Go out yourself and do a little exploring just to see the neighborhood and how safe you feel that it is.

Ask the person at reception for advice.

Most higher end hotels have a concierge. Even if you are not staying in a hotel that has a concierge you can still walk into any hotel that has one and get tips from them.

Let Them Have Space Away from the Family

Giving your teen their own space is essential because it gives them room to explore and spread their wings.

Letting them have time away from the family makes them feel a little more independent. This also helps them with their independence when they do decide to leave home.

When placed in these types of situations away from home their minds start thinking about how to handle them. Situations that they wouldn’t normally be in at home because they either know the neighborhood or who they can trust.

This is also a good opportunity for them to explore other cultures and/or areas because you aren’t too far away. Versus if they decide to go across country their first time away from home.

Let them explore.

Don’t Unplug Them Completely

As a stepmom who grew up in a time where technology was just starting to come into fuision this is difficult because I don’t understand, to their perspective, on why their phone is so important to them.

Times are different for our teens these days than it was for teens growing up 10-20 years ago.

If they can’t get their chat streaks in, the world just may come to an end.

This really depends on where you are vacationing and what your plan covers for WiFi on how much phone usage your teen would be able to receive. But traveling with your teen, make sure that they are aware of this.

Unless your teen has a really nice expensive camera, they are probably going to be using their phone for pictures.

It is okay to let them use their phone for pictures throughout the day and music if you are in the car or on a bus.

As for WiFi, if your plan does not cover international or other states, I feel it’s okay to use it at night while just relaxing after the long day.

Again, this depends on your plan and what you can afford.

Let your teen know before the trip about their phone usage so that they don’t feel blindsided by the possible new rule.

making coffee
Learning how to make coffee at a coffee plantation

Broaden Their Horizons

Yes, bring them to a museum. Let them learn about the culture of where you are visiting.

It doesn’t matter if you are in the states or in a different country, being in the northern part of a certain state is different than the southern part. And each area has their own differences.

You don’t have to go to a museum, historical landmark, and learn about history every day or all day. But do something that you normally wouldn’t do at home.

You never know, you might actually find that it was their favorite part of the trip. Traveling with your teen may surprise you and you may learn something new about them.

Show Them Things They Can’t See Anywhere Else

Ask yourself, why are you traveling with your teen? Or, why do you even go on vacation?

You go because it is different and it is not home.

You go to see the things that you can’t see around your own area. So, show them this.

Even if you are up north or down south, there is something there that you can’t see at home.

Sometimes it can be as simple as the World’s Largest Ball of Twine.

Yes, this is a thing.

Showing them new experiences can change their whole outlook on life or give them an idea on who they want to be.

Have fun

I am sure not every little second is going to be fun for either you or your teen but that is okay.

You have different likes and dislikes.

Your spouse or your other children will feel the same way.

You can’t always please everyone but having a little bit for everyone is what counts. Even if something is not fun, make it fun.

Make a game out of a long car or bus ride.

Explore a museum ahead of time on the internet and make up a scavenger hunt. Whoever wins gets to plan the rest of the day or where to eat that night.

You are together as a family, enjoy those special moments.

Traveling with your teen can be an amazing chance to get to know them a little bit better. They will remember those moments that took their breath away.

Explore with them and show them a different part of the world by leaving the day to day routine behind. Even if it was just a trip a couple of hours away, they will still remember it.

Are you ready to travel to your next destination? Maybe your looking for that reason to travel.

Traveling with our kids can be an amazing experience, no matter what their age.


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