With a big summer-travel weekend fast-approaching, it's best to hit the road (or airport) prepared to take flight with a special breed of kid: the tween/teen. (Cue the eye-rolling.) Here, a few valuable tips to keep in mind before, during, and after vacation.
Have your teens set the pace-and even the itinerary. Resistance mainly comes in the form of being dragged unwillingly from one place to the next. Allow your children to have a say in how many places you'll hit. In fact, if you both come to the table with a complete itinerary, then merge them into one, you'll both feel invested in the trip.
Everyone offers up a playlist. The soundtrack to your trip should have every family member's stamp, so ask each person to prepare a playlist for the road. They might be surprised and amazed by your musical tastes.
Set a limit on phones/electronics use. Maybe it's half an hour a day, only in the car, or three allotted times per day to check in. Whichever plan works best for your family, stick to it. And this is for parents, too. There's nothing worse than a parent on their iPhone the whole time! Don't be a hypocrite. If you're comfortable with it and your work life can be placed on hold, consider going somewhere with no cell phone reception. (Can you imagine!?!)
Keep food & drinks on hand. Just like traveling with toddlers, regular feedings keeps tweens/teens happy.
Don't make them clean the hotel room. Vacation is just that: a place very far from home-and the rules that accompany that home. Let them keep their room(s) as they wish, and don't harp on keeping things in order. (Is that the best part of staying in a hotel?)
Set a gift shop budget. Dole out a set amount of mad money as you set out on your trip, or make sure each child has a budget for every stop. Those T-shirts and trinkets can add up!
Give them a little freedom. If traveling with teens, mark a map of the area with boundaries that they can travel by themselves. Whether in a five-block radius or simply the hotel lobby, the kids will appreciate a little freedom. (And setting up initially will eliminate having that conversation on repeat throughout the trip.)