Stress-free Family Vacations: Tips for Travelling with Pre-teens and Teens

Your teen is reluctant to go out to dinner with you and can threaten to spend the entire meal on their phone -- if you'd let them. How can you enjoy a family vacation with someone who won't listen to a word you say -- and acts like they don't know you? The days of cheerful and loving seven year-olds and sleepy babies are gone.

Once you know you have all your documents in order if you're traveling abroad and have arranged for travel insurance, how can you have a great summer vacation with a teen or tween?

Engage Your Teen in Vacation Planning

Too often, parents can forget this first, crucial step. You may be pleasantly surprised when you engage your teen in conversation about your vacation. Many vacation destinations have teen-friendly activities. In addition to family-oriented resorts which offer options for all ages, many popular destinations have teen-focused activities. You could interest your teen in a kayaking trip or zipline and ropes course excursion.

You may learn to your surprise that your teen is interested in art, museums, or visiting historical locations. Offering a choice and discussing the schedule ahead of time will engage your teen in the vacation and give them a sense of independence and choice, which is what they both need and want.

Give Your Teens the Space They Need

When you were traveling with young children, you could make do with a queen bed and a rollaway or cot. With teens, this is no longer possible or desirable if you want to enjoy a moment of your vacation. Investigate vacation homes, condos, or suites which will provide separate rooms for teens and parents.

Although you don't want your teens staring at their mobile phones while you're traveling down a scenic highway or on a bus tour of a historic area, it will make the trip much more pleasant if you ensure they have WiFi in your lodging and common areas. Let them communicate with friends back home and play games.

Provide a Balance of Activities On the Trip

Your spouse may love to dine on exotic cuisine in the evenings and lounge on the beach all day. These are seldom the favorite activities for teens. Schedule a healthy mixture of physical activities and relaxation each day.

Wise travelers also know that strenuous activities shouldn't be scheduled on the first day you arrive at your destination, nor the last. Everyone will be tired on the last day, so this is a good choice for laid-back activities -- like sunning and swimming on the beach.

Keep Hydrated and Fed

Much teen crankiness results from dehydration and hunger. We're sure you've heard the term "hangry," which means hungry and angry. Make sure you have sufficient snacks or meals planned to avoid unnecessary upsets.

Be Cautious About Social Media Sharing

Your teens probably live on social media, but we need to offer a word of caution about social media sharing: don't allow real-time vacation photos or videos to social media unless you know your home is secure and the media is visible only to family and friends. Thieves look for vacationers via social media and select homes to rob among those who are advertising extended trips.

Before you leave, it's always wise to check that your home insurance policy is up to date and you have the coverage that you need.

Look for travel insurance that will fit your vacation plans and family's needs using Kanetix.ca's comparison tool and have a memorable and enjoyable vacation with your teens and tweens.