One of the best ways to connect with your teens is through travel (Read: Why Traveling with Your Teen Will Be One of the Best Parenting Decisions You Ever Make). Whether for a family vacation, sports, a celebration or a school trip, travel can open their eyes and hearts to an entirely new world.
Getting out of the hustle of your everyday life can also allow you and your teen to slow down and have more meaningful conversations. A chunk of one-on-one time with your teen in a different environment makes space for all sorts of topics to come up.
Pro tip: Don’t bring an agenda. Exploring a new place and making decisions about how to use your time gives you plenty to talk about. If “important” topics happen to come up, that’s just an added bonus.
Seven Quick Tips for Traveling with Teens
Traveling with teens can be a rewarding and exciting experience but also challenging at times. Here are some tips to help make your trip with teens more enjoyable:
- Involve them in the planning: Whenever possible, allow your teens to help pick the destination or where to stay and pick a few activities. This will give them a sense of ownership over the trip and help to keep them engaged.
- Be flexible: Remember that your teen may not want to spend all their days at a museum or hiking a trail. They may not want to get up early each day or care about afternoon tea. Be flexible enough to meet some of their wants and desires while also reminding them that they should participate good-naturedly in what the rest of the family wants to do as well.
- Set expectations: Be clear about your expectations for behavior and rules while traveling, such as curfews, safety guidelines, and spending limits. Boundaries, even during vacation, are a great idea.
- Give them space: Teens need their independence, so give them some space to explore independently, whether it’s shopping, sightseeing, or simply hanging out. Let them hang out at the pool with some new friends or veg out in their hotel room even if the rest of the family is at the beach. Everyone needs some downtime and the opportunity to recharge in whatever way they need.
- Food first: Food is often a priority for teenagers, and being “hangry” can happen to the best of us. Even though they are older, don’t forget to pack snacks and include them in your meal plans. If you eat at a favorite family spot one night, let your teens pick lunch for the next day. .
- Let them use their tech skills: Teens are often glued to their phones, so use technology to your advantage. Allow them to use their devices for navigation, to research and plan activities, and to stay in touch with friends and family back home. See if they can download some podcasts for roadtrips, a fun playlist, or maybe even some audiobooks. (Related: Inspiring Audios – What Teens Need To Be Listening To In Today’s World)
- Lean into the unexpected: Traveling with teens, or in any instance in today’s world, can be unpredictable, so be prepared for the unexpected. Sometimes the best experiences come from unplanned moments.
Ten Must-Have Travel Accessories for Teens
One of the best things about traveling with teens is that you don’t need to carry all of their stuff, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some travel accessories that will make your lives easier.
We put together ten of our favorite teen-recommended products to help make your travel a little smoother!
Apple Airtags to Keep Track of and Find Important Items
Airtags can help find lost items. Attach Airtags to luggage or other important items using holders. The Airtag easily connects to iPhone or iPad and will help track down the lost item. This little gadget can save your teen (and you) lots of stress and money. (Parent of teens pro tip: attaching these to keys and wallets can save you hours of time and from epic meltdowns.)
Inflatable Neck Pillow With Built-In Hoodie
HoodiePillow Inflatable Neck Pillow for Airplane Travel, Car, Train or Relaxing at Home. Compact, Comfortable for Your Neck and Includes Privacy Hood – Gray
Remember when your teen was little, sitting in the backseat, tired out from some adventure and headbobbing as you drove home? When your teen wants to take a quick snooze in the back of the car or on the plane, one of these inflatable neck pillows sure makes catching a nap more comfortable. The attached hood makes it extra cozy and can provide a little shade. It collapses and folds for easy packing.
Foldable Jewelry Organizer
BAGSMART Travel Hanging Jewelry Organizer Case Foldable Jewelry Roll with Hanger for Journey-Rings, Necklaces, Bracelets, Earrings, Soft Pink
According to one of the teens we know, the ‘Fit isn’t complete without the right accessories. If your teen loves jewelry, this jewelry bag that can keep earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and hair accessories organized and tangle-free is a life-saver. Jewelry is easy to lose in the nooks and crannies of larger bags. This simple and cute foldable bag will keep items protected and easy to access. The organizer folds compactly for packing and hangs up for convenient use.
Collapsible Water Bottle to Keep Teen Hydrated
Nomader BPA Free Collapsible Sports Water Bottle – Foldable with Reusable Leak Proof Twist Cap for Travel Hiking Camping Outdoor and Gym – 22 oz (Aqua Blue)
Most teens don’t go anywhere without their water bottles, but sometimes getting through an airport with a bulky, metal container can be tough. This collapsible water bottle makes staying hydrated convenient while on the go! We like this one because it is sturdy and easy to drink from. It rolls up for easy packing and has a strap for attaching to a bag or backpack. This durable bottle can be used for hot or cold beverages and can go in the freezer – great for hot-weather adventures.
Portable Bluetooth Speaker for Tunes On-The-Go
JBL Clip 3 Portable IPX7 Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker with Built-in Carabiner, Noise-Canceling Speakerphone and Microphone, Black (Renewed)
Music is closely linked to our memories, so it only makes sense that your teen would want to bring their favorite music with them when they travel. This portable speaker has a convenient clip that makes attaching it to bags a nice option (which could also hold an Airtag). It has up to 10 hours of play and includes a noise-canceling speakerphone and wireless streaming. It also comes in several fun colors for some added personality.
Selfie Stick With Tripod to Capture the Memories
Selfie Stick, 40 inch Extendable Selfie Stick Tripod,Phone Tripod with Wireless Remote Shutter,Group Selfies/Live Streaming/Video Recording Compatible with All Cellphones
A good way to get your teen to enjoy a trip is to take them to a few Instagram-worthy destinations. Murals in cities, nature landscapes, and hotel balconies with cool backdrops are all teen favorites, making a good selfie stick or tripod a must. This selfie stick expands out 40″ for group shots, has a tripod for setting up in the distance, and comes with a remote to activate the camera. It shrinks to 8 inches for easy packing. If you’re lucky they’ll send a few photos your way!
Mount to Attach Phone to Camera
ULANZI Universal Phone Tripod Mount with Cold Shoe Mount, Rotates and Adjustable Clamp Holder Smartphone Clip Adapter for iPhone 11 Pro Max X XR Xs Max 8 7 Plus Samsung Galaxy s10 s9 Note10 Google
If your teen will be traveling with a “real” camera and their phone this is a nifty little accessory that attaches to the two together. It allows the user to take photos and videos with both devices without digging for one or the other. Perfect for those wanting to document their travels in multiple ways.
Audible Subscription Makes the Most of Travel Time
Whether in the backseat of a car, traveling by train, while stuck in an airport, or whatever means of travel, there’s usually some time to fill. An audible subscription is a great gift that helps teens make the most of their time listening to audiobooks and podcasts.
Related: Twenty of the Best Audio Books For Teens (That Parents Will Enjoy Too!)
Passport Cover With Wallet
Passport Holder Cover Wallet RFID Blocking Leather Card Case Travel Accessories for Women Men (Pink)
If your teen is traveling out of the country they will need to keep their passport handy and safe. This passport cover has a built-in wallet with spaces for cash, credit cards, and vaccination card. A convenient way to keep important things in one place. It comes in a variety of fun and classic colors.
Travel Planner and Journal
Clever Fox Travel Journal – Vacation Planner with Budget Plan, Packing List, Expense Tracker & Trip Journal – Travelling Itinerary Organizer for Women, Men & Couples – A5 Size, Hardcover – Mystic Blue
Of course, a lot of trip planning and documenting is done online these days, but there is something to be said for having a keepsake to hold in your hands. This journal has space for planning a trip, tracking expenses, word translations, and much more. It also has pages to jot down notes, attach photos, and write reviews. For added fun, there are stickers and a variety of cover colors. This journal provides a practical function and will become a keepsake down the road.
A few honorable-mention travel products our teens like but aren’t necessarily must-haves:
Scratch The World ® Travel Map – Scratch Off World Map Poster – X-Large 23 x 33 – Maps International – 50 Years of Map Making – Cartographic Detail Featuring Country & State BordersWireless Earbuds, Bluetooth Earbuds Environmental Noise Cancellation 4 Mic Call Noise Cancelling Mini Earbuds, Bluetooth 5.2 Light Weight Deep Bass Headphones for Work, Home Office100% Handmade Cotton Sleep Mask Blackout – Comfortable & Breathable Eye Mask for Sleeping Adjustable Blinder Blindfold Airplane with Travel Pouch – Best Night Companion Eyeshade for Women Men KidNeatPack Compact Hanging Toiletry Bag and Organizer, Water Resistant with Mesh Pockets – PurpleOutlander Packable Handy Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack, GreenLululemon Athletica Everywhere Belt Bag Pastel BlueiWALK Small Portable Charger 4500mAh Ultra-Compact Power Bank Cute Battery Pack Compatible with iPhone 14/14 Pro Max/13/13 Pro Max/12/12 Pro Max/11 Pro/XS Max/XR/X/8/7/6/Plus Airpods and More,WhiteiMangoo Shockproof Carrying Case Hard Protective EVA Case Impact Resistant Travel 12000mAh Bank Pouch Bag USB Cable Organizer Earbuds Pocket Accessory Smooth Coating Zipper Wallet Rose GoldEtekcity Luggage Scale, Digital Weight Scales for Travel Accessories Essentials Suitcases , Portable Handheld Scale with Temperature Sensor, Rubber Paint, 110 Pounds, Battery IncludedApple World Travel Adapter KitYAMIU Travel Shoe Bags Set of 4 Waterproof Nylon with Zipper for Men & Women, Black
There is no better gift than travel
We know that when it comes time for teens to travel without us, it can be stressful. We want so much for them to have the best time, but we also worry about their health and safety.
As responsible adults, many of us have power of attorney forms and health care directives set up with our spouses or other relatives, just in case. It is, in fact, a very grown-up thing to do.
If your child is over eighteen and lives or travels independently, you may want to consider some legal forms that can provide some peace of mind.
Related:Why These Legal Documents Are Important When Sending Your Teen To College
Parenting teens and tweens is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Here are a few posts other parents found helpful:
Why Traveling With Your Teen is One of the Best Decisions You’ll Ever Make
50+ Experience Gift Ideas for Teens that Won’t Make Them Roll Their Eyes
10 Brilliant Non Tech Gifts For Teens To Get Them Off Their Screens
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