Published on March 21st, 2017 | by Kate Pocock

Tips for Travelling with Teens.

Forget the Terrible Twos. When it comes to family vacations, it’s often those terrible teen years that make family vacations a challenge. Teens have attitude, opinions that are often voiced loudly and priorities that generally don’t include family togetherness. All this may stand them in good stead later in life, of course, but this type of disposition could cause havoc during family holidays. These tips should help:

Teens need other teens – so bring a friend. At least one of them should be on their best behaviour! Or you could try heading to an all-inclusive resort with an excellent Teen Club that offers exciting activities. Two awesome choices are Club Med Punta Cana’s village in the Dominican Republic or Beaches Turks & Caicos.

Don’t schedule anything before noon. Teens like to sleep in, so go with the flow. Perfect teen holidays could include comedy clubs or lively, lit-up theme parks with spectacular nighttime fireworks.

Teens love action. Besides, it’s difficult to be grumpy on the back of a trotting horse or while riding a surfboard. The Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii offer spectacular ocean adventures, like surfing the waves, snorkelling with stingrays or watching turtles along a moonlit beach. Closer to home, an Alberta ranch holiday was one of our best ever teen vacations.

Tap into their interests. An eco teen would probably love a jungle lodge retreat or Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program at specific Ritz-Carleton resorts. A guitar-playing teen would appreciate Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A teen engrossed in Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl might be interested in Ottawa’s Canadian War Museum or the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Such visits could engender discussions for years to come.

Cruising is ideal. Teens can roam the ship, but meet you later for meals or after-dinner shows. Some ships boast multi-story slides plunging into free fall, boogie board surfing or interesting family shore excursions. Holland America’s Alaska cruises, for example, let families charter a boat or a jeep to whale watch or explore exciting terrain.

A well-fed teen is a happy teen! An all-inclusive vacation or cruise can be a bargain for what it offers, including numerous activities, plenty of other teens to meet and endless supplies of pizza, pasta and non-alcoholic drinks. But do set limits for souvenirs, activities and treats.

To prevent the boredom blues, do a ‘two-step’ vacation that combines interesting cultural spots with days of sun and sand. Our teens were fascinated with Havana – riding in classic cars, learning about Che Guevara and visiting the Capitol building. They also enjoyed days of samba, swimming and sunsets on a beautiful beach in Varadero. Another option is teaming a European city like Venice – a veritable water world for teens – with beach time in Rimini down the coast. If you’re looking for something closer to home, the bright lights of New York City with the Jersey Shore is always a good choice. It works!

Finally, make sure that teens pack their phones, headphones and tunes for airport waits, car trips and plane rides. Also pack enough power sources so they can Instagram and Snapchat to their heart’s content. Similarly, bring your cameras to record memorable moments – even challenging ones. It’s how memories – and funny stories to be trucked out at family gatherings for years to come – are made! Bon voyage.


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