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Best Family Vacations with Teens: Tips, Destinations & More

Are you planning a family vacation with teens and wondering how to make the most of your trip? Are you just wondering if you’ll survive traveling with teenagers? 

I’ve had both thoughts when traveling with my teenagers, and I have been-there, done-that tips for your next family vacation with teenagers!

I absolutely love traveling with my teenagers. Teens are curious, inquisitive, and funny. They bring their own opinions and a fresh perspective wherever they go.  

When traveling with the whole family, parents (or other adults in teenagers’ lives) get the opportunity to get to know their teens outside of the daily constraints of chores, schoolwork, and other responsibilities.

Instead of just trying to get everyone fed before rushing off to sports practices and extracurriculars, when you’re on vacation with your teens, you can slow down and enjoy a conversation in a cafe. You can let your teens teach you about their interests and get to know what’s on their minds.

When I travel with my teenagers, they inevitably teach me about myself and give me a new perspective on our destination. 

We’ve spent so much time traveling as a family, both within the US and during our family sabbatical in Australia, that I’ve learned a lot about how to plan a successful family trip. 

Here are my tips for planning the best family vacations with teenagers!

How to Plan Travel With Teenagers

In this article, I’m going to give you some general strategies for planning the best family vacations, tips for how to travel with teens successfully, and specific ideas of what to do when traveling with teenagers

I’ll cover how to choose a destination to travel to with teenagers, as well as how to decide on accommodations, transportation, and tours with teenagers

All with the goal of helping you have the best-ever vacation with your teens!

These ideas are based on my experience traveling with my three teenage daughters. You know your teens best, so use my advice as a starting point to plan your travel experience with your own teens. 

Traveling with teenagers can be one of the most rewarding things you do as a parent. Traveling with your teen is a chance to connect, enjoy new experiences together, and make life-long memories. 

These tips for traveling with teens are all based on communication, mutual respect, and realistic expectations, with a strong dose of exploring interests and developing independence. The best holidays happen when everyone is onboard and excited!

Strategies for Successful Travel with Teens

Here are 18 tips to help you plan an awesome family vacation with teenagers!

1. Timing is everything

Before you start making reservations or booking flights, talk to your teens about your travel ideas and the best time for your vacation. Ask your teen if they have plans during the time you’re considering traveling. 

If you’re thinking about traveling over school holidays, be sure your teen has the bandwidth for a trip.

If your teenagers have had a difficult semester in high school or college, they may need a more low-key family trip or a holiday with plenty of rest time, rather than an epic adventure.

Before you start planning a trip, talk with your teen about when might be the perfect time to travel. 

2. Ask teens what they want to do

If you’re planning to travel with your teen, ask them what’s most important to them to do on the trip.

They may have seen a documentary years ago that left them wanting to learn more about a topic you’d never have thought to explore.

They may have a love of animals that means an animal sanctuary will be at the top of their list.

If your teen’s interests and yours don’t match, you might think, we’ve come all the way here to do this?

But if you honor their interests and support seeing the things that are most important to them, they’ll be more likely to willingly agree to do the things that are most important to you. 

3. Make your teen plan the itinerary for a day

Put your kids in charge of the itinerary for a day. If you have multiple children, you can assign them different days, or you can let them work together to plan a day.  

Let them research  things to do, buy tickets to sites, plan transportation, and even suggest hotels. 

This works really well if you’re in a smaller city or if teens are focused on one theme in a bigger city.

Getting your teenagers involved in the planning process can teach them to think through transportation options, stick with a budget, and set an agenda. They might even appreciate all your travel planning efforts more after they do it for themselves!

Eventually, work up to letting your teenagers plan an entire trip. You’ll want to check their plans at first, but planning a trip for the family is great preparation for solo travel. 

4. You suggest, they choose

Planning a day in a foreign country may seem overwhelming to your teenagers, especially if they’re young teens, super busy with school, or don’t know where to start. 

In that case, make lists of all the options of things you could do when traveling, then letting your teens decide which they’d most like to do. 

Give them a choice about things that you don’t feel as strongly about, so they have a sense of buy-in and can get excited about those activities. For example, “In London, do you want to take a food tour, a mudlarking tour, or a Harry Potter tour?”

No one likes being told what to do, least of all teenagers. Allowing teens some choice will make the trip easier for everyone. 

5. Prioritize what’s important to you

If there are special tours or historic sites that are non-negotiable to you, then just work those into the schedule. 

But you may have to decide which of the thousands of churches in Spain or chateaux in France you want to see. Your teens aren’t going to want to see them all!

So decide in advance which great place you don’t want to miss, and be sure that destination makes it on your final itinerary.

Just know that if you want to see each and every museum, church, castle, or pile of ruins, you may have to return without your teens!

6. Splurge on something special

If you want to really get your teen excited about traveling with you, plan at least one activity that will make their instagram feed pop.

Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, white-water rafting, a fashion tour in Paris, or a helicopter tour will make for some pretty amazing memories!

7. Put teens in charge of documenting the trip

Your teens are going to be taking loads of videos and photos anyway. Let them take over your Instagram feed.

Tell them to set up family sharing for photos and put them in charge of making a documentary-style video of the trip.

If you’re traveling somewhere where it’s easy and legal to use a drone, consider buying a drone for your teen to use.

It will be really fun to see the different ways they see your destinations and the new cultures they experience. 

8. Eat well and often

Teenagers need lots of food! After a day of sight-seeing, heading the wrong way across an unfamiliar city, and getting ten zillion steps because you can’t work out the public transportation system, your teens are going to be starving. 

I can tell you from personal experience on a recent trip, missing lunch pretty much guarantees a bad afternoon for everyone.

If the kids are grumpy and the parents are grumpy, that’s not a good combination.  Being hangry is not conducive to a happy family vacation!


If possible, stay at a hotel that offers a free breakfast. If a complementary breakfast isn’t an option, but you’re staying at a hotel with an all you can eat breakfast buffet, that could still be a very cost effective way to feed your teens.

I love breakfast buffets when we travel abroad, because it’s an easy way to try local or national dishes with very little risk. You can take a tiny amount, and if you don’t like it, it’s no big deal because it’s not your whole breakfast.

After eating a big breakfast, your teens will be fortified for a morning of sight-seeing. 

Don’t skip meals

Prioritize meals, even if you have to wait a long time to be seated or served. If your only option for food has a wait, you’re better off waiting than thinking you can skip the meal. 

Keep food on hand

Be prepared by having lots of snacks and back-up meals handy.

Once you arrive at your destination, stop by a local shop and buy things you can eat on the go (granola bars, pastries, cereal, fruit, etc.).

When we were in Australia, driving between sites, we kept a totebag with bread, peanut butter and jelly, chips, cookies, and apples in the car. That way, we could always make lunch, even if we were in the middle of nowhere. 

Have a plan for dinner

Start the day with an idea of where you’ll go for dinner.

It doesn’t have to be specific. But deciding at the start of the day that you’d all like Indian for dinner or that you’ll find a place in a certain neighborhood will make the end of the day a lot easier.

First, it’s easier to get everyone to agree on a plan when they’re not tired and hungry.

Second, you and your teens will know what to expect.

Third, this will give you time to quickly research your options to see if you’ll need a reservation, if the place you want to go is open, or if the menu can accommodate any dietary restrictions your family has. 

Offer extra meals and snacks

Add in a mid-morning stop for coffee and cake. Teens, like hobbits, love second breakfasts!

And consider doing the same in the afternoon. My teens have a strong preference for an afternoon ice cream stop, but they won’t complain about visiting a cute bakery or cafe either!

9. Be realistic about screen time

Discuss screen time in advance so your kids know what to expect.  

We’ve traveled so much with our teens that we almost never pay for the international plan for our kids’ phones when we travel abroad.

We do have the international plan set to automatically work on their phones, so we don’t pay for roaming charges if they do need to turn on their phones for a valid reason (like navigation or an emergency). 

(Adding the international day pass to your phone plan is one of the many things you should do before you travel.)

They are very good at finding free WiFi on the go or waiting until we’re in our hotel or rental to log on and check their social media accounts or message their friends. 

We have clear expectations about screen usage. No one is going to sit in their hotel room on their device instead of going out as a family. 

They stay off their phones when we’re with friends or interacting with others. 

When we are at the hotel or rental, they can use their device. It’s how they unwind and connect with their friends. 

Finding WiFi is not our top concern. Our kids are always relieved when there is WiFi, but we’ve stayed in plenty of places where internet connection was virtually nonexistent, and they survived. 

Also, be realistic about chargers and adapters. Make sure each teen has their own adapter. I like these adapters with multiple charging ports. 

10. Make Teens Responsible for Their Stuff

You can help your teen develop their own packing list or give your teen a packing list.

If you let them come up with their own independently, review it so you know they haven’t forgotten any essentials (like hiking boots or a hat). 

Be sure each family member knows the baggage weight limits and that everyone carries their own bag. They can decide what non-essentials can be left behind. 

Making kids be responsible for their own belongings and luggage is one of my essential mom hacks.

11. Plan for free time on vacation

When traveling with teens, whether for a week’s family vacation or an extended trip, plan for everyone to have a little time to themselves. 

I think an important part of travel with teens is giving them the freedom to explore by themselves.

How prepared your teens are to navigate an unfamiliar city by themselves will depend on their age, how much freedom they have in their everyday lives, and their personalities.

So if your teen needs to develop independence, start with small activities before you leave your home city.  

It’s a great idea to give your teens a few hours to explore a certain part of the city, go to a museum alone, or shop together, while you do something else.

Set a time and location to meet up, and be sure they know how to contact you if something happens, as well as the address of where you’re staying. 

12. Build in time to recharge

Traveling can be exhausting. Between jet lag, not sleeping on the flight, and being tired from their busy lives, your teens will need a break from the hustle and bustle of travel.

Personally, I’ve learned that my teens need some rest upon arrival. I plan for the first day to be a very easy day.

If I were traveling alone, I would land and hit the ground running. However, this is a recipe for disaster with my teens.

Instead, we eat, do some easy sight-seeing, have an afternoon rest, take a walk, have dinner, and call it a night. This helps everyone recover from travel and adjust to the new time zone. 

Later in the trip, I look for ways to balance out busy days with more chill days.

Balance an all-day excursion by spending the next day going to the pool or the beach, shopping, or just hanging out in the city center. 

13. Engage teens’ interests when you travel

Teens are naturally curious, so help them explore their interests.

If you’re not really sure what your teen’s into these days, ask them! Tell them to check out your destination and let them know what they’d like to see and do. 

My oldest daughter has been fascinated with marine science since her first-ever trip to the beach. So we’ve been to so many aquariums around the world! 

14. Leave their comfort zone

For all of us, travel is a chance to break out of our comfort zone and try new things.

Whether this means gently pushing the boundaries of what feels comfortable or busting through that comfort zone is up to each individual.

But encourage your teen to try something new and do something that feels adventurous to them. This could be an all-day hike or a cave tour. 

If your teens are already adventurous thrill-seekers, book tours for activities like whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, or backcountry skiing. 

15. Encourage them to talk to people

You’ll remember the people you meet when traveling much longer than you’ll remember the view from your hotel or a museum exhibit.

Encourage your teens to talk to strangers.

Practice the language whenever they can.

Ask your tour guide questions. Ask the owner of your BnB about their town and local culture. 

Also, if you find yourself on a tour or a train with other foreigners, talk to them too.

Most people will be friendly, and if they’re not, no big deal. 

My teens’ confidence in talking to strangers has grown so much from travel, and they’ve met so many interesting people by being brave enough to strike up random conversations. 

16. Do separate things on your family Vacation

Just because you’re traveling as a family doesn’t mean you have to always be together.

If your teens are like mine, your oldest child, middle child, and youngest child may have different interests.

You can divide and conquer, with one parent and teen(s) doing one activity, and the other parent and teen(s) doing another.

This is great if someone loves doing adventurous, dare-devil activities, and someone else absolutely does not.

But it’s also a good idea if you have limited time at a destination and your teens have different ideas of what they’d most like to see. Just make a plan to meet up for dinner and share the details of your day!

You can expand on this and travel separately with your children on different types of vacations. Depending on work and school schedules, this might be a good option for many families. 

Also, we’ve found that our teen travelers may want to different fun activities than their parents do. One of the perks of having teenagers is that they explore and do their own thing, separate from their parents.

17. Embrace the bad

Things are going to go wrong.

You’ll miss a train, someone will get sick, it will rain, or a much-anticipated activity will be awful.  In travel, as in life, you’ll have to roll with it when things don’t go as planned. 

Embrace the struggle and try to use the opportunity to model empathy and good humor for your teens. As the parent, you’ll set the tone for the entire trip.

Sometimes you just have to throw up your hands, abandon your plans, and go for ice cream until you figure out your next steps.

And this may turn out to be a time when you can ask your teens how they think you should solve the problem or you’ll all have to work together to save the day. An unanticipated “disaster” could be a chance for your teens to rise to the occasion. 

For our family, some of our funniest memories are of times when things went wrong! So just adapt and make the most of whatever happens!

18. Book a photographer

Your teens might take a zillion selfies on your trip, but if you want amazing family photos, its best to bring in a professional. 

Hiring a professional photographer means someone not related to your teens is telling them to smile and stand up straight. It’s worth every cent to let someone else be in charge of getting gorgeous family photos. 

You can get individual portraits of your teens, senior photos, and family holiday card photos, all at the same time. 

Things to do when traveling with teens

Here are 18 specific ideas of things to do with teens when you’re traveling, either domestically or on international trips.

If you’re traveling with your teens, and you want to find something fun to do together, a sure way to pick a great activity is to ask them what they want to do! Here are some ideas to get your started. 

1. Swimming & water sports

We love to check out local pools, beautiful beaches, or scenic lakes.

Swimming is always a great way to relax. Consider booking a hotel with an outdoor pool.

Plan to do some water sports, like stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. These activities are often included at beach resorts. 

2. Take a walking tour

I absolutely love taking walking tours with teenagers.

Having a professional guide taking the lead is worth every penny! Hearing about the history and culture of a place from someone who is not your parent makes it much more interesting!

Also, teens are less likely to complain about the agenda if it’s set by someone who is not their parent. 

Plus, sometimes it’s really nice not to have to worry about how to find your way around, see all the sites, and figure out where to eat. I really recommend taking a guided tour with teenagers.

3. Go rock climbing

This is something my teenage girls love to do when we travel, perhaps because it’s something they like to do, but we don’t usually have time to do when we’re home.

There are indoor climbing walls in most cities, and you can rent equipment or take lessons for a small fee.  It’s great fun, a good way to meet people, and a great confidence booster. 

4. Go hiking

Get out there and explore! Hiking is free and gives you access to the most beautiful scenery. 

Hiking with your teens gives you plenty of time to have conversations and get to know each other. Personally, some of my favorite hiking memories are watching my teens interact with each other. 

If you’re not an experienced hiker, here are some tips for hiking safely.

5. Rent bikes

Renting bikes in a foreign city lets you cover more ground than you could on foot.

You can also take a cycling tour to explore the countryside.

This is a great activity to either expand on something your teen already likes to do or encourage them to take on a new challenge. 

6. Kayak

Kayaking is something almost anyone can do.

Your teen doesn’t have to be an athlete or experienced kayaker.

Sign up for a tour or rent kayaks, and get ready to have a great time. (You might want to get a waterproof camera before you leave shore!)

7. Get your nails done

If you’re traveling with teen girls, treat them (and yourself) to a manicure.

It’s just a fun thing to do when you’re traveling, especially if it’s part of a spa day package. 

8. Go thrifting when traveling with teens

Shopping at vintage markets and shops is absolutely one of my teenagers’ favorite things to do when traveling.

My teens love browsing racks of vintage clothes and looking at old jewelry. It’s the perfect way to find a truly unique souvenir.

9. Take cooking classes

Sign your teens up for cooking classes when you travel!

Not only will they learn to make a special dish featuring the local cuisine wherever you’re traveling, they’ll learn practical kitchen skills to take home with them.

They’re more likely to pay attention to a professional chef telling them how to chop an onion than if you say the exact same thing!

And they might practice their language skills, learn some new vocabulary, or try new foods. 

10. Get locked in

Breakout rooms are popular all over the world now. We saw so many last year when we were traveling! 

You’ll be told a story about what happened in a room. Then, you all work together to find clues and solve the mystery.

See if there’s one where you’re traveling on vacation. Breakout rooms are really fun to do with your teens!

11. Go to the theatre

I love going to the theater when we travel.

If there’s something you really want to see, booking in advance is a good choice. If you don’t mind what you see, try to get last-minute discounted tickets. 

12. Get ice cream or gelato

We love trying different gelato shops when we travel.

I highly recommend gelato as a daily treat when traveling. And nowadays, most places have dairy-free options. 

13. Take a day off

Whether you’re taking a week’s vacation or a year-long around-the-world epic trip, it’s okay to take a day off from being a tourist.

My teens have always appreciated a day without a travel agenda where they can just watch TV, play board games and video games, and chill.

Planning time in the schedule for a lazy day or two allows everyone to relax a little bit, so they can recharge for another big day of sightseeing. 

14. Let them sleep in

It’s no secret that teenagers need a lot of sleep. If your big trip coincides with school holidays, your teen almost certainly needs to catch up on sleep. 

Also, if you’re dealing with jet lag across time zones, your children (and you) may experience insomnia, extreme fatigue, and crankiness.

It’s worth losing a morning of sightseeing to let them sleep in. (If you have older teens, go sightseeing in the morning while they sleep.)

15. Go to the movies

Take a break from walking tours and museum exhibits, and go to the movies. This can be especially fun on rainy days or if you’re traveling for an extended period of time. 

16. Let Your teens Go shopping

Many teens love to shop when they travel, so let them shop on their own.

Give your teens some cash or a credit card and a budget, and send them to the grocery down the street from your hotel to buy snacks. Or let them go shopping alone for clothes or souvenirs. 

17. Volunteer

Volunteering when traveling can be rewarding.

Family travel volunteering can be a great way to contribute to a community, learn about an important issue faced by people in different parts of the world, or explore conservation or social justice careers. 

18. Turn in early and order room service

Sometimes you just need to call it a day.

If travel is taking your energy, you might just need to retreat to the hotel and order room service.

Everyone can watch a movie together, or, if the parents and teens need a break from each other, head to separate rooms to recharge.

Then start tomorrow well rested and ready to go. Sometimes the only difference between a good day and a bad day is a good night’s sleep. 

girl takes selfie near Eiffel Tower France

Best family vacation spots

If you’re choosing where to travel with teens, here are some suggestions for picking the best vacation spots!

When choosing travel destinations for your next family adventure with teens, consider what sort of experiences your family will enjoy together. 

The best place for your next family vacation should have a variety of activities that appeal to all family members.

Here are some top teen destinations the entire family will love!

Epic Adventure destinations

If your active teens have a fantastic sense of adventure and love the great outdoors, choose from these epic adventurous family vacation ideas:

Ski vacations

Book a week or a few days at a ski resort and ski it out. Enjoy the resort’s  lounges, pools, and hot tubs when you want to take a break from skiing. A ski holiday is a perfect Christmas trip for an outdoorsy family!

Great picks include Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado; Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont; or Northstar California resort, Lake Tahoe, California.

Scuba diving

Head to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia for an incredible diving adventure or take a much quicker flight (from the US) to scuba dive in Costa Rica

White water rafting

Any teen who loves outdoor adventures will love going white water rafting.


Head to Cape Town, South Africa, and go on safari. Your teens will be amazed by Africa’s natural beauty and diverse wildlife. 

National Parks

Explore the natural wonders of the United States national parks.

Head out west to explore Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountain National Park, or the Grand Canyon. Or drive up the east coast to Maine and explore Acadia National Park. 

Ranch vacation

Choose a family-friendly ranch, like this one in Hot Springs, Wyoming, where you can go horseback riding and try other ranch activities. 

Sunset at the beach in California


The teenage years are stressful (for them and for you). Sometimes the best vacation involves long days at the beach. Choose a beach resort with plenty of outdoor activities.  

Some favorite family beach destinations are: 

  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Outer Banks, North Carolina
  • Cape Cod, Massachusetts
  • Clearwater Beach, Florida
  • Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

City destinations

Whether you want to travel within the United States or go abroad, these cities make great family vacation destinations.

New York City

Visit amazing museums, eat incredible food, be awed by Times Square, people watch in Central Park, and head to the theatre. There’s so much to do in New York City, your teenagers will never be bored!

San Diego

Head to Balboa park to enjoy the world-famous San Diego Zoo, museums, and gardens. Take in the beaches and the city’s chill vibes. If you’re traveling with teens and little kids, San Diego is perfect for kids of all ages. 


London makes a great destination for first international trip. There’s so much to do in London, it’s one of the best family vacation destinations.


Paris is so beautiful! Your teen will always remember their first visit to the Eiffel Tower, exploring Montmartre, and dining in France!

History destinations

If you and your teen share an interest in history, or if your teen loves learning about the past, pick a destination where history will surround you.

Greece or Italy might be good places to start, if you want to go to Europe. 

Or take a themed road trip through a region of the US to learn about: 

  • Civil battlefields and historical sites
  • Early American history destinations
  • Blues music, jazz, or country music (amazing live music is guaranteed!)

Engage their interests

Base your travel plans on your teenager’s passions.

The easiest way to get them excited about a family vacation is to design it around something they’re interested in! Choose a destination with unique experiences that matter to your teen!

If your teens love Harry Potter, head to England and Scotland. If Lord of the Rings has caught their imagination, fly to New Zealand. 

If you have a teen who loves marine science, head to Alaska or the San Juan Islands for whale watching. 

Travel is a great opportunity to explore your teenager’s interests. Get them involved in picking the destination and making the travel arrangements. 

Just have fun

If you just want to have a good time with your teens, focus on fun and avoid the stress of navigating unfamiliar new places.

Head to all inclusive resorts, amusement parks, or cruises. Family classics include:

Walt Disney World

Theme parks are an entirely different experience with “big kids” instead young children. You’ll be able to see and do so much more. No need to plan around nap time or worrying about younger kids melting down in the heat. Even if you took the kids to Disney when they were younger children, it’s a great option for a family vacation during the teen years too!

Water parks

Outdoor water parks are the perfect place to take kids in warm weather. And there are several indoor waterparks for the colder months! Your kids will love the water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers! 


Choose from one of the many cruise lines that specialize in cruises for families.

Make it personal

Need more ideas for your next family vacation? 

Perhaps there’s a bucket-list destination that you’ve been wanting to visit for years: why not share it with your teenagers? 

Ask your kids where they want to go! You might be very surprised by the great ideas they come up with.

Accommodations with teenagers

Where to stay when traveling with teens

You have a few options of where to stay when traveling with teenagers:


Hotels are the obvious choice because they’re convenient, especially if they have an on-site restaurant and daily cleaning. 


If you’ve never stayed in a hostel, or have avoided them since you were in your twenties, give them another look.  Hostels can be inexpensive options when traveling with teens. 

Not all hostels are huge dorm rooms (although plenty are).

Look for hostels where you can book a room for your family (you may have to pay for any beds in the room you’re not using). Also, check if there is a minimum age for staying at the hostel. 

Renting a house or apartment

Airbnb and VRBO are options, or you can book apartments through booking.com. A short-term rental will offer a more space, a kitchen, and amenities like a washing machine

Home exchange

There’s about a million reasons why I love home exchange, but I’ll be the first to admit it’s a lot more work to arrange than just paying for accommodations. Home exchange is perfect if you’re going to be in one location for a while. 


Couchsurfing is where you stay for free in someone else’s home. Accommodations can range for extremely nice to a bit dodgy. It’s definitely outside of many people’s comfort zone, but if you’re up for an adventure, consider giving it a try. 

Do teenagers need their own hotel room?

Yes, no, sometimes, and maybe. My answer depends on where you’re traveling. 

In certain places, I would feel safer having everyone in the same suite or in connecting hotel rooms.  

When our teens were younger, I preferred having everyone together or in adjoining rooms.  (We have three kids, so trying to find a room or suite for five can be challenging.)

In many European hotels, rooms are for two people only, so if there are two adults, you’ll need to book a separate room (or rooms) for your teens. 

Sometimes you all just need a bit of privacy or space, so booking separate rooms is a great way to take a break from each other.

There’s only so much family time everyone can take, right? Older kids like privacy and some room to stretch out.  

Also, if you know your teens are going to get on each other’s nerves, do everyone a favor and book accommodations with enough space for them to at least have their own bed, if not their own rooms. 

We usually don’t spend much time in our accommodations when we travel, because we’re out and about exploring. The main exceptions to this are on the first day, when we tend to rest to recover from jet lag. 

When we travel with our teenagers, we choose different accommodations depending on where we’re going, how long we’re staying, what’s available, and cost. 

Choosing the location of your Accommodation with Teens

The ages of your teens might influence your preferred location.

For example, a 13 year old might not mind staying in a cute cottage on the outskirts of town. But a 19 year old might prefer staying close to the city center, where they can check out the city’s nightlife. 

I like to mix it up. We’ve stayed in private houses, apartments, lodges, hotels in a central location in the city, hotels in remote locations, and caravan parks. 

Transportation when traveling with teens

When considering transportation options when traveling with teenagers, I’m always weighing cost, convenience, and time.

Again, because we are a family of five, it’s sometimes easier and cheaper to rent a car than to buy five bus or train tickets. However, sometimes it isn’t.

You’ll have to do the math for your destination and family size to determine what transportation option makes the most sense for you. 

If we’re traveling really long distances (whether inside or outside of the US), it’s almost always more cost effective and easier (not to mention faster) to fly or take a train, rather than drive. 

When covering long distances, good travel games, playlists, and snacks are essential!

Taking group tours with teens

If planning an epic trip seems overwhelming to you, I get it. There’s a lot to think about, plan, make reservations for, and keep up with. 

It can be a great experience to travel with a group tour and not have to think about those details. 

Fortunately, there are so many group tours that are open to having teenagers. 

I recommend talking with the tour company to see what the typical group demographic is. If you book a family vacation with a tour company that caters to people over 65, your teen might not be very happy.

One way to be sure you have a group with a good mix of ages is to look for tour companies that focus on active adventures. 

This can actually be an awesome way to travel with your teenagers, because you’re doing things together, but also separately. And your teen will have the opportunity to meet new people, both adults and other teenagers. 

Final thoughts on traveling with teenagers

Traveling with teens can be the perfect opportunity for you and your teenagers to spend quality time together and make amazing memories. 

In fact, trips with your teenagers can be the best vacations your family has ever taken.

But, not gonna lie, being together 24/7 and dealing with the realities of travel can be tough.

Delayed flights, missed connections, skipped meals, and boring tours can take a toll–on parents and teen travelers.

Taking a family vacation with a teen traveler might not always be the easiest thing you do. Traveling with your teenagers might feel like an absolute roller coaster, where you’re hanging on for the ride.

But I truly believe it’s worth it in the end. 

Try to be as prepared and as patient as possible. If your teen seems to complain non-stop, try not to take it personally.

Allow your teens plenty of time and space to unwind, check in with their friends, and decompress along the way. 

When you return home, your teens will probably want to immediately abandon you to head out to see friends and get back to their normal routines. But they’ll have lifelong memories of the time you spent together. 

And while it may seem like don’t appreciate their time traveling with you, they will when  they’re a little bit older.

And with any luck, they’ll have been bitten by the travel bug and will be on the path to traveling independently and engaging with the world. 

The most important thing about traveling with your teenagers is the time you spend together. Enjoy this time, even the misadventures, because soon your young adults will be off on their own adventures without you!

Have a great family vacation with your teens! 

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