Top Travel Needs of Tweens and Teens
By Debi Lander
Keeping teenagers happy–or simply content–on family trips is often as much a challenge to parents, as traveling with toddlers. Adolescents have their own set of needs. When met, everyone they come in contact with has a more enjoyable time.
Here’s a list of things pre-teens and teens might require, or will at least appreciate, on your next family outing:
Teens need someone who will ask and listen to their opinions. Include them in decision making whenever possible.
Dave Wiggins of Austin-Lehman Adventures says, “Get your teen to buy-in or be involved in the choice of the trip. If summer vacation has several location options or activities, such as beaches or mountains, hiking or biking, hear them out.”
Not many parents or other travelers have the same ear for music as the younger generation. Let them listen to their favorite music, if they bring ear buds or a headset. Long car trips or flights may go faster and more peaceably with a selection of new or favorite movies for the DVD player.
Teens like to stay in touch with their friends. Depending on the trip, stop at Internet cafes or take a laptop computer with a wireless Internet connection for e-mail access. Many hotels also offer a variety of communication services.
If possible, take another teen to be a travel companion when there are no siblings or others of similar age in the group. Jim Kackley of Thomson Family Adventures claims this is THE most important need and the basis for establishing his company. His tip, “Solo teenagers do not enjoy being surrounded by younger children or all adults.”
Their own money
Permit teens to purchase their ownsouvenirs with a budgeted allowance or their own money. This method produces more selective spending. A mother of four urges parents not co-mingle their money with yours, as you will always come out on the short end.
Backpack or Tote bag
Have your teenager carry a small backpack or tote for day outings, unless you want to become a Sherpa. Whatever they choose to take, they carry. Agree beforehand that each person is responsible for their own possessions.
Discuss and agree on dress choices before packing and provide any necessary specialty items. Trips can be ruined by fights over attire or not having the right outfit or shoes to wear.
Foreign travel? Check for any cultural requirements. Europeans seldom wear shorts and some cathedrals require shoulders to be covered and no bare midriffs.
If your child will be away from adult supervision, a cell phone is a reasonable safety net for communication and assistance. Set limits on usage, or your teenager may choose to talk on the phone instead of being involved.
Depending on the time of year, bring along homework, assigned summer reading books and a few magazines to indulge those dull moments while waiting in lines. Austin-Lehman Adventures suggests bringing guidebooks about the location to build curiosity and prepare them to ask questions.
Personal toiletry items and medications
Middle and high school students are old enough to be responsible for packing their acne creams, face wash, specialty products and medications. Parents might double-check any prescription drugs.
While teen are always hungry, many are picky when it comes to their favorite snacks foods. Buy supplies before leaving home to save time and money.
An Open Mind
“Most importantly, bring an open mind and interact with new people from all over the USA and the world,” states Musiker Tours website, http://www.summrtfun.com/. This company, specializing in group teen tours, understands that youngsters don’t liked to be forced into anything, but believes that over time, they usually can learn this helpful trait.
So, whether your future plans include an exciting global adventure or just a trip to grandma’s house, using the above suggestions can make the entire family’s experience more rewarding.
For further information contact
Austin-Lehman Adventures: http://www.austinlehman.com/
Musiker Tours: http://www.summerfun.com/
Thomson Family Adventures: http://www.thomsonfamilyadventures.com/