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Five Tips to Engage Your Teen Travelers

February 22, 2018

 

I’m ready to start planning our next family vacation!!!! Wahooo!!!!! This is the first time in a year or so that the destination has not been predetermined by circumstances, so just imagine how excited I am!!!  The whole world is a possibility, lets pull out the bucket list (okay so there is time and money restraints…..details, details, details).

 

 

I asked my thirteen-year-old twins if they had any special places that they would like to visit, and the conversation went like this. In unison, ”Can’t we just stay home for once?” Me, “What is wrong with you, are you sick? Is someone bullying you? Are you STILL afraid I’m spending your college tuition?”I swear these two are not my offspring, stay home? Staying home is not an option! I only have five more summers before they leave for college.

 

 

In reality, they just want to play on their devices and keep in touch with their friends.

So Challenge accepted!!  Find a cool place that interests them, should be easy-peasy!

 

First

Know what your teens like, what are they pinning and fan-girling over (or fan-boying if that is a thing?)  My kids are really into theater and art, anything with their favorite book series, the latest Netflix show we are binging or outdoors adventure. Overall, we are a pretty geeky family and in no particular order the list below is our most recent interests

  • Alexander Hamilton

  • Harry Potter

  • Supernatural

  • Baseball

  • Marvel

  • Any Rick Riordan Olympus Novel

  • Dinosaurs

     

    Second

    How can you work this into a vaca, which is jealous worthy to their friends, something that their friends want to hear about?

    For example, WE LOVE Harry Potter at our house, “I solemnly swear I am up to no good”!  Your first thought might be to visit Universal Studios, experience Diagon Ally first hand… OR you could take a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland and walk in Jo’s footsteps, see the inspiration for Diagon Alley!

 

Their love for Alexander Hamilton has turned into a full-blown study of the revolution. So this spring break we have planned a world wind tour of Williamsburg and DC, stay tuned!

 

Third

Even if the trip is all about art, or nature, throw in some adventure!!!! Get out and be active!

Traveling to see the complete solar eclipse, too much science for one trip? NEVER.  We drove down to Gatlinburg to see the eclipse in the Great Smokey Mountains Nat’l Park where we all earned ECLIPSE Jr. Ranger Badges. We tempered all the outdoor hiking and badge activities with a rollercoaster-filled day at Dollywood.

 

 

Out west at Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, besides exploring nature trails, hiking and Jr Ranger programs, we painted like Ansel Adams, caught the longest consecutive outdoor theater event in the US, and went white water rafting.

 

Definitely make sure there is enough of “them” in each day (or every other day) to keep it fun.

 

Four

Make sure they have a little downtime everyday to text with friends back home. I would rather have a DEVICE FREE vacation for everyone (including the hubby) but that is not reality. I want to have fun and make memories with my kids, and part of this is letting them share with friends back home. It helps them stay engaged with home so they don’t feel like they are missing out on everything.  Usually their friends reinforce how cool the vaca is.  We do discuss expectations and limits before we leave to keep expectations in line.

Five

This sounds like a “duh” but make sure they help with the planning, even if there is not a lot of choices for them to make.  Some vacations (like cruises) have a set itinerary, i.e. Day 5 is Skagen you can ride bikes, walk around the quaint little town, or stay on the ship. I had them chose between biking to where the oceans collide, or go shopping in town (notice staying on the ship wasn’t an option that I wanted, so they didn’t even hear about it) I tend to give them an either/or choice. I find it easier with less arguing between them if the choices are limited. 

 

So now I need to plan our next trip!!!  Maybe explore Greek Mythology in Greece? Catch a couple of Broadway plays while learning more about the American Revolution? Or maybe we can try Glamping out west!

 

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