Travelling with teenagers: Your survival guide

Parents and teens on a trip together can be a recipe for a holiday from hell, but the right planning will ensure the whole family has fun. 

So you’re planning a family holiday or preparing to travel with your feisty and opinionated teenagers.

How do you come up with a break that has something for everyone?

Step 1: Involve your teens in choosing the destination

Ask your teenager to each draw up a wish list and narrow that list down together, says Karen Majsay, of Low & James Travel Associates in Sydney.

“If you’re sightseeing, choose places that your kids might have learned about in school, or choose a destination with activities for parents and teens,” says Karen.

“Vietnam or Cambodia offer culture, great food, shopping and beautiful beaches.”

Step 2: Look for active destinations

Energetic teenagers love destinations with plenty of opportunities to burn some energy.

So, skiing holidays where teens can ski and snowboard, or holidays with water sports on tap are ideal.

“The islands and resorts in Fiji are great for teenagers and parents, for example,” says Karen.

“Parents can enjoy lunch and a drink while children explore the resort activities.”

If you take a sightseeing tour, look for options that will appeal to teenagers, such as cycling or foodie adventures, or tours that explore unusual aspects of a city, such as the graffiti.

“And you can split into smaller groups as a family and do different things, rather than trying to agree with each other all the time,” says Karen.

Step 3: Keep teenagers connected

No matter how exciting the holiday destination, many teenagers don’t like being separated from friends.

So, holiday time may be one occasion when you encourage them to make the most of social media, so they can share what they are doing with their mates back home.

Step 4: Have an emergency plan

“Connect your teenagers with WhatsApp or ensure they each have a charged mobile phone at all times,” says Karen.

It’s also important to set physical boundaries.

Depending on their age, teenagers will want to explore independently so be clear about where they can go.

“Set a physical boundary they are not allowed to go outside of,” adds Karen.

Ensuring teenagers stick together when they are out of sight is also important.

“If you’re a big family, you may need to split rooms so have an older teenager with younger teenagers and set rules about when they must be in their room and who they let in,” says Karen.

Step 5: Keep the food coming

Travelling with teenagers can be really enjoyable because you can do more,” says Karen.

“But ensure there is good food and plenty of it. If they have great food, they are often happier.”

Written by Sarah Marinos.