Travelling with teenagers

Travelling with teenagers can be a nightmare: long faces, cheeky remarks, everything’s a “no”... Many think they have nothing in common with their parents and siblings and that only their friends understand what really goes on in their lives.

During family holidays, there’s a closeness that’s not necessarily there during term time, meaning that tensions can grow out of hand and explode in summer time.

However, it’s also true that the atmosphere is more relaxed and laid-back, meaning parents can get have the chance to get more involved with their kids.

Travelling with teenagers brings more than one complication: they argue, can be moody, see their parents as people they can’t have fun with... That’s why we should make sure the time is spent on activities for all the family, and that the teenagers know the trip will help them to learn loads of new things (that they can later tell their friends about); we should try to get them involved in planning the journey, looking for activities to do as a family or alone (it’s handy that teenagers these days are technological whizzes), and we should let them take something for their own personal free time.

It’s also a good idea to encourage them to be active on holiday: bike-riding, water sports, hiking, adventure or track sports - all prevent sedentary habits; they can meet others, enjoy the fresh air, nature and even learn new things.

If there’s “something to do in September”.

If a child has failed a subject, we’ll almost certainly have to change our plans. Such behaviour should be frowned upon by parents, as we should make them understand that such attitudes are irresponsible and spoil the summer holiday for everyone - he or she is not alone, and having to stay and study means the whole family can’t enjoy the well-deserved holiday in the same way.

However, once the situation has been addressed, after a “telling-off,” we should help the teenager to make a strict study plan and stick to it in the best way possible.

Experts agree that early morning is the best time to study, when the mind is more alert and receptive.

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Other interesting links

Travelling with children. A trip with children is the most “delicate” one dealt with on these pages. Go »

Older travellers. The elderly have become seasoned travellers. Better travel and public transport and disposable income mean that there are more and better opportunities for older travellers. Go »

Excursions. When you’ve got kids, trips should be to places near your destination. If parents are alone, there’s no problem travelling for a few hours, but children are not as adaptable and may be indignant at getting back into the car for another long trip. Go »