We’re not going to beat about the bush: Travelling with teenagers can be hard work.
They may be reluctant to take holidays with their families (preferring time at home with friends), leading to them being less than engaged while away.
You may mourn the holidays where your children hung onto your every word and were utterly fascinated by the world you were showing them, but that child is still in there and with a little careful persuasion you can get them to come out again.
Travelling with your teen can be a good way to reconnect with them, so rather than avoid the trip, plan it with them in mind.
How to make your holiday teen-friendly
Think about what your teenager really loves to do and factor that into the plans, whether it’s watching rugby, taking part in something active like mountain biking or climbing, or a trip to an art gallery.
It can be hard being away from your friends as a teenager. Would a shorter trip work better at this point?
Does your teen respond to one-on-one time, making this a good point to arrange a trip that doesn’t involve siblings or wider family?
A walking tour with a specific theme can be a good way to get a teen excited about a place, especially if you can build in some fun elements like quirky transport (think Segways!) or plenty of selfie opportunities.
The unique is exciting for the teen brain, not to mention the brag factor.
Feeling independent is key. Go somewhere that you know will be safe for your teen to take off on their own for a bit. Even better if you can find activities that they can do on their own for a day or two.
A digital detox is a lovely idea in principle, but if your teen is going to hate it and the whole trip as a result, then make sure you have wi-fi. Open the discussion before you go – they might actually welcome a break from the internet and everything it brings with it, too.
If you are bringing the tech gadgets, find some good local apps to support your teenager’s emotional investment in the trip. A basic language one is a good start but anything that helps them find a fun place for a coffee, a trendy gallery to visit or an unusual activity to try out helps.
Reproduced with permission from Lonely Planet: The Family Travel Handbook © 2020, RRP $29.99. lonelyplanet.com