They say travelling with babies can be difficult but in my personal experience it’s far more difficult travelling with teenagers. I’m wondering if you hear so little about it because most parents just throw in the towel and uncork (who am I kidding?), unscrew the nearest bottle of wine. With babies and toddlers it’s easy to get to the bottom of why they are grumpy or irritable. They’re either tired, or hungry, or teething or in need of a nappy change, with teenagers it’s a whole new ball game. It’s hormones, or mood swings or the very fact that they are spending quality time with their nearest and dearest that might set them off. And despite being almost fully grown human beings with a huge vocabulary they turn into inarticulate toddlers ready to throw a tantrum, slam a door or roll their eyes when the slightest thing doesn’t fit in with their agenda. They can be selfish, arrogant and downright rude and can easily drive even the most patient parent to the brink of breakdown. On the flip side they are at an age where they are coming into their own. They are at the top of their game when it comes to sarcasm and wit. They are funny and clever and beautiful. They are old enough to dress and bath and feed themselves and more often than not, they are just in need of an outlet for the extra hormones. So there is absolutely no reason why the perfect vacation with teens is out of reach.
That is why, after one year as a full time travelling family with THREE teenagers, and in the name of giving every parent out there what they deserve (a couple of weeks of rest and relaxation) I am dedicating this blog to helping you find vacations that promise to keep you and your not so little darlings happy.
Before I get stuck in and share some of the incredible spots we have been lucky enough to visit I’d like to share some of my top tips for travelling with teens:
*Keep them fed and watered! This, in my opinion, is a game changer. The transition from hungry to hangry happens in a split second and a couple of granola bars or a piece of fruit will help to tide them over until you stop for lunch or dinner.
*When planning your trip bear in mind that what you find beautiful or interesting or worthy of a four hour trek through cobbled streets your teens will probably find boring. And even if they are mildly interested they probably won’t admit it! Don’t get me wrong though, my advice is to drag them along, just have the forethought to plan something that may be more suited to them either before or after.
*Don’t spend a fortune to entertain your teens. Travelling with teens can be incredibly expensive if you’re visiting theme parks and tourist attractions as, for the most part, they are classed as adults from the age of 12 up. Due to the nature of our travels we were on an extremely tight budget so when exploring new places we looked up all the free ‘must see’ tourist attractions and before heading to a big city we researched whether there were any free car parks or park and ride areas.
My best advice though, for keeping them happy and the bank balance out of the red, is to find outdoor activities where they are likely to run into other kids their age. Some of our kids favourite holidays have been spent on a little river beach in Central Portugal, at a campsite in France and at a B&B in rural Spain…what do all of these have in common-they are holidays where the kids (teens) had other children to hang out with.
That’s it for now. I hope this blog becomes a great resource for those of you travelling with teens and if you have more useful tips, and are happy to share them, pop them in the comment section below. I have also recently started a Facebook group called Travel With Teens where you can share stories of your travels and ask for advice or tips from other members on where to go and what to do. It’s still in the early stages but I would love it if you pop on over and say hi.
Until next time…
Best wishes and Happy Travels,