Sara Haley is a single stay-at-home mom to her daughter, and spends her time as a freelance writer. She is the writer for Omaha Moms and Happy Apping. She also writes for companies such as eHow and Bukisa. Her website can be found at www.sarakhaley.com
When you think of your teenagers and what they enjoy doing, the top three activities out of your mouth might be: video games, watching TV, and sleeping. So when you’re trying to plan a family vacation getaway, the last thing you see in your vacation plans is…well…video games, watching TV, and sleeping!
Trying to plan a vacation can be difficult enough, but when you’re trying to plan one that satisfies everyone, you may find yourself hitting a brick wall when attempting to schedule in something for the teens in your household. While you might want to go for an early morning hike and do a late brunch at an upscale restaurant afterwards, your teens might want to sleep in and linger in the hotel room ordering room service. So how do you meet halfway and create an enjoyable vacation for you and your teenagers?
The key to a successful family vacation with teenagers starts with the planning. Instead of telling them what the itinerary is, have them help plan it. Even if you’re picking the general location, ask your teenagers what they would enjoy doing there. Give them an assignment–have them look online and plan out what their ideal vacation plans would be. Have them scope out locations of interest, places they’d enjoy shopping at, and activities that they would like to do in that area, and compile a list of links for you to check out and consider. By including them in the planning process, not only do they feel as though they hold a heavy part in the decision-making process, but they can also tell you exactly what they’d like to do on vacation–which means no guessing for you, the parent!
Next, find a compromise. Pick a few things that you want to do, and intermingle them with activities that your kids would like to participate in. If your teenage sons are up for some white-water rafting, sketch it in the schedule. Remember, vacations are times for making memories, and what better memory than “mom and dad falling out of the raft while white-water rafting?”
Another consideration may be a resort or cruise line. A number of resorts and cruise lines are starting to realize the need to cater towards teenagers during trips and excursions, so if you’re looking for an all-inclusive kind of vacation, look into ones that are teen-friendly. Some cruise lines have ships with teen lounges and club areas, which is a great solution if you’re looking to entertain your teenagers while you and the spouse go off to do your own thing.
And if you’re dreading the road trip of hours on end with a sassy teenager in the car, remember: keep them busy with technology! Whether it’s borrowing a portable DVD player from a friend so they can watch some movies in the car, or loading up their iPad with some new apps to keep them entertained, teens can be a lot easier to distract while traveling than an infant or toddler, so you can definitely breathe easier there!
Remember, family vacations are supposed to be fun. And when you’re dealing with teenagers, you need to keep the lines of communication open with them to find out what they’re really looking for in a memorable vacation experience. Before you know it, they’ll be off to college making their own memories, so let them play a part in making the ones they have now with you!
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