Parent Sanity – How to be a parent and keep your sanity

What I have learned so far…

10 Tips for Travelling with Teenagers

on September 26, 2012

When I told my husband the topic of my next blog “10 Tips for Travelling with Teenagers”, he had one piece of advice, “don’t do it!”. Over the last five years, we have gone on several family road trips: Florida (twice), Canadian East Coast and even a 2 week road trip through France, Switzerland and Italy. We truly are “the Griswold’s”‘ as these trips entail piling 3 kids into a Grand Caravan and driving 5,000 km. Not everyone’s idea of fun. I should probably start calling my husband Clark, as he even has a passion for huge Christmas trees, but i digress (more on that topic in December).

Here is my top 10 traveling with teenagers tips:

1. Keep their blood sugar levels up to avoid bickering – feed them regularly!

2. Portable electronics are your friend:  DVD players with a variety of DVDs, iPods, Nintendo DS, etc. Not needed all the time, but a great way to pass some time when boredom sets in.

3.  Start driving early in the morning (by 8am), breakfast in the car…then let them nap.

4.Try not to drive more than 6 hours a day. Don’t drive like a maniac to get somewhere. Instead allow a few extra days of travel time and have fun while getting to your ultimate destination.

5. Make at least one interesting stop a day, if possible. Do your research ahead of time.

6. Involve the kids in the travel plans. Have them participate in the research prior to the trip. Ask them what interests them and have them be the tour guide for that portion of the trip. Our trip to Europe involved each one picking a city of interest. They chose: Paris, Gimmelwald, Switzerland and Rome. As we entered each city, the tour guide of the day took over and provided city facts and a list of “must see” attractions and famous landmarks.

7. Mix it up…stay in hotels, rent cottages, camp…all in the same trip. It adds to the experience and makes the trip seem a lot longer.

8. Immerse yourself in the culture and the language. If your trip involves going somewhere where English is not the main language, encourage your kids to learn a few simple phrases. We even had a contest – a gift card to whoever spoke the most french that day.

9. Buy journals for everyone prior to the trip. I can’t stress this enough. Buy glue sticks and bring coloured pencils. You won’t believe how much fun they can have by combining a simple paragraph on what was “cool” about the day, along with including an interesting postcard, brochure, or other memento purchased along the way. And when the trip is done, they have a keepsake that will last for years to come.

10. Hotel accommodations – separate rooms. If your kids are old enough, get adjoining rooms and enjoy some quiet time to yourselves. Believe me, your kids need a break from you too!

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