Travelling with children can be considered a challenge – they’re excitable, loud and hard to control. But what may be worse is a sullen, unwilling teenager that would rather spend all day on Facebook than communicate with other family members. So what can you do to improve the situation? Here are some ideas to make travelling with teenagers bearable – or even fun!
Include them in the planning stage: Teenagers are at an odd point where they want more control over their lives but aren’t granted the rights and responsibilities to yield it. To allow them some sense of control, ask what they would like to do and present them with some options to choose from. You could even give them the ability to choose one whole day of the holiday. This can be good to help their development and understanding of planning for the future – as well as taking some of the organisational responsibility off you!
Where to go and how to get there: Active locations with lots of options can be good for teens. Consider outdoor adventures, or cities like Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast that always have events going on. Being stuck in a full car for hours is a recipe for disaster, so it’s best to break up the trip with an overnight stay if you’re driving or book a more exciting option like a plane or boat. For long travel times, allow your teen to have a few gadgets like their phone, tablet or personal music device. But device-free times are also important for family bonding.
Pick the right accommodation: Having everyone squeezed into one room can cause trouble, as your personal habits are sure to get on each other’s nerves. Renting out a house or choosing a serviced apartment with multiple interconnected rooms can be best to give everyone some space and privacy.
Organisation: Having an itinerary for everyone can be helpful so they know where they have to be at certain times, thus avoiding any arguments on that front. However, the itinerary shouldn’t be organised down to the last details, otherwise your teen will start to feel boxed in. Instead, give them some freedom and then have expected meet-up times, such as breakfast, dinner and certain group activities.
The essentials: Important points to keep everyone happy include being well fed (so have specific meal times), getting enough rest (avoid continuous early starts or late nights) and having enough time for pure relaxation.