Travelling with teens who have reached the humphy, eye-rolling stage of life can be tricky but if you chose the right destinations there is a good chance the humphs and eye rolls will be left at home. They may pretend they don’t want to go on holiday with you but the truth is they just don’t want to go on the same holidays you all went on when they were 8.
So how do you get through the teenage travel years without you wanting to send your child to boarding school by the end of the holiday? First, start by including them in the planning stage of the holiday. Offer up suggestions of things you think might appeal to them that you know the rest of the family will also enjoy. With teenagers, active holidays often work well. Try steering them into going somewhere where they can learn something new without breaking the bank like rock climbing, horse riding, snorkelling or surfing.
Once you have established where you are going give them some responsibility to make sure it all goes according to plan. If you need specific equipment get them to do the research and make recommendations or rummage through the cupboards and pull out the equipment you already have. You can also give them the task of advising the family on the best way to get from A to B. A lot of teenagers will take full responsibility if you give it to them and the better they get at these tasks the easier your life becomes.
Accept the fact that some kind of screen will come on holiday with you and set the ground rules before you leave home. Make sure everyone understands what ‘roaming charges’ are and how to avoid them and whose responsibility they are if they turn up on the next phone bill!
Teenage approved holidays
Here are few ideas of teenage approved travel destinations and activities that should also keep the whole family happy and might inspire you to think of other active holiday ideas that will appeal to teens.
Rock climbing in Railay Bay, Krabi, Thailand. Try for the offseason if you can (June, July, August) and suss out the various rock climbing schools to see which one is going to meet your children’s needs. Indulge in the cheap eats and beautiful beaches. Rent a long tail boat and ask the driver to take you to the middle of the ocean and stop and spend a few hours jumping off it and generally fooling around – perfect family fun.
Surfing in Ericeira, Portugal. This is a great spot reachable from Lisbon on public transport. It is ideal for beginners and more advanced surfers. You can book in with one of the surfing schools for the full lessons and hire package or just rent the gear you need. Aside from surfing, there are stunning cliff top walks and great restaurants.
Mountain bike riding in Blenheim, Marlborough, NZ. Wither Hills Farm Park is literally on Blenheim’s back doorstep! It borders the town to the south and is chock full of single track trails for all ages and abilities. There is a designated bike park at the western edge of the park and at 440m Mt Vernon is the highest point in the park. It can be a hard uphill grunt to get up Mt Vernon but the views and the ride down will make the effort worthwhile. Bikes are available for hire from the three bike shops in the town centre.
Museum hopping in NYC, NY, USA. This is the perfect summertime destination. It might not be every teenager’s idea of fun but with such a variety of museums to choose from you are bound to be able to spark their interest with some of them. When you all need a break find a park and eat ice cream and take a nap in the sunshine.
Rachel Nelson is a New Zealand expat who has lived and worked in the US, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the UAE, Qatar and Germany.