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Publication: Travel Tips
Teen Travel

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Tips & Advice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 

April 29, 2008 

You're hundreds of miles from home and the pressures of
paying bills, holding a job and maintaining a household. 
You’ve planned for this much-needed break and you deserve 

So why can't you just relax and enjoy yourself?

Maybe you're vacationing with a teen-ager.

This week's topics include:




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We all know the surly, challenging stereotypes that sweet 
children tend to turn into once they hit middle school. 
Heck, most of us were just as disagreeable when we went 
through that phase.

But a family trip with your teenager doesn't have to be a 
Job-like test of endurance. Here are some tips: 

* Co-opt the future complainer

Involve your teen in the decision-making process when 
planning the vacation. Find out in advance what trips would 
be "lame" and what trips would be "awesome".

By doing this, you let your kid know that you care about 
what he or she thinks and that their opinions, likes and 
dislikes, are important. And, if wherever you choose to go 
ultimately turns out to be "lame", they can’t pin all the 
blame on Mom and Dad.

* Adolescent-friendly accommodations

Look for a destination that will provide some adventure, 
attractions or activities that will attract and occupy your 
teenager and provide a social environment for them. 

Some suggestions when looking for a destination include all
-inclusive resorts, mega-theme parks and family-friendly 
vacation spots with a variety of shopping, amusement, 
entertainment and adventure options nearby. 

* Turn kids into research assistants

When Planning the vacation, get as much information as you 
can. Provide your teenager with brochures on the hotel or 
resort, local attractions, area maps. You want them to get 
increasingly excited as the departure date draws near.

In the past, I've given my kids specific Internet research 
assignments, like finding nearby attractions or adding to 
the list of potential hotels. Given that your teens are 
probably more adept at surfing the Internet than you are, 
it can sometimes yield surprising results. 

* The buddy system

Consider bringing a friend along on the trip. My parents did 
this when I was a teenager, and it led to some very 
memorable vacations. discuss arrangements. 

This is not something to enter into lightly. It will add a 
different dimension to your holiday and layer on more 

First, it can be expensive to do this. At a minimum, you'll 
end up paying for an extra person in your accommodations and 
most of your guest's meals. Discuss the financial and travel 
arrangements with the friend's parents. If the kid won’t 
have adequate funding, you’re going to have to pay the cost 
of any activities.

Second, don't even suggest this if your son or daughter's 
best friend drives you crazy. If this person is already an 
"honorary" member of your family, great. If the kid is loud, 
obnoxious or irritating, you probably want your child to 
spend a week or so away from him or her anyway.

If you bring a buddy, make sure you have the teens proper 
documentation, medical release forms and phone numbers.

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* Parents vs. peers

Pick a place where there are other teen-agers around, giving 
your child a chance to socialize with their own peer group. 

* Trust, but verify

Let your teenager do their own packing. Have them start well 
in advance, and occasionally mention items on whatever 
packing checklist you've got in your head. If you don't, 
they're liable to pack full outfits for every day of the 
trip and clean socks for two. They are, after all, still 

Make sure they take some comfortable shoes, enough 
underwear, and climate-appropriate outer wear, but put them 
in charge.

* Buying a vacation thing

Let them go out and buy something special to take along, 
maybe a book, CD or DVD, or - if you've got a daughter - a 
special item of clothing that they have had an eye on.

* Knock before entering

Consider adjoining rooms - this provides privacy for both 
teens and parents. On our recent trip, our teenage daughter 
got the pullout couch in the living room. That let her stay 
up and watch whatever she wanted while my wife and I and her 
9-year-old brother, went to the bedroom and fell asleep 
during "Law and Order".

* A key to serenity

When you check in, get a separate key for your teenager. 
This gives them a feeling of independence and a lesson in 
responsibility. It also allows you and your spouse to stay 
on the beach and watch the sunset while he or she goes back 
to the room to watch professional wrestling or TV or take 
the day’s third shower.

* A taste of freedom. Emphasis on taste.

Give your teens freedom, but set parameters. If you're 
staying at a hotel or resort, you can usually allow them to 
have free run of the place as long as they don't leave the 
property. If there are any places of concern - like a hotel 
bar that doesn’t appear to strictly enforce the drinking age 
- make them off limits and take away some of the freedom you 
gave as a consequence of violating the boundaries.


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* Safety first

Go over safety concerns, especially when it comes to 
strangers. Don't be shy about sharing horror stories from 
the news about abductions, rapes, robberies, etc. It's 
better that your kids, while tasting some freedom in a new 
locale, are more paranoid than trusting. 

* Like they'd leave home without one

Make sure your teens have cell phones. This way, they can 
call for help in emergencies, keep in touch to let you know 
where they are, and give you the peace of mind to enjoy 
yourself while they re off exploring.

Consider getting a phone that works off pre-paid minutes and 
buy your kid a new card before vacation. This way, the teen 
can use that phone to call friends back home and avoid 
running up big, long-distance hotel phone charges. Make sure 
your son or daughter knows that, when the prepaid minutes 
are out, you’re not buying any more. If they want to gossip 
with their friends during the trip, they'll have to use 
their own money to buy another card.

* From toons to tunes; keep up with childhood evolution

Think back to how important your music was to you when you 
were a teenager, and make sure your son or daughter has 
their MP3 or CD player. I find that family vacations are 
also a good time to listen to your children’s music. Getting 
IT, will help you get THEM. 

Notice that I said "listen", not "hear a hip-hop beat and 
immediately assume it will cause a headache." 

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   



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