comscore Family travel five: Strategies for teen travelers | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Family travel five: Strategies for teen travelers


    Setting rules for technology use before you leaving on vacation can help keep expectations realistic for both teens and parents.

Traveling with teens? Plan ahead for memory-making good times. Here are five ideas to consider:


Teens are developing adults, and most want to be included in choosing a destination or planning activities. When possible, offer your teen a portion of the trip to research or manage on his or her own. Consider a long list of hotels, resorts and cruise lines that offer special spaces, social programs, sports competitions, dance classes and Wi-Fi packages designed to keep teens happy.

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It’s difficult to engage in conversation or share an experience when competing with a phone or tablet. Let your teen know how much you and other family members, especially grandparents, value the time together. While some families may be able to ban technology completely during a vacation, most will seek a workable solution. The cost of connecting to Wi-Fi on cruise ships and some resorts may factor into your plan. Discuss defining tech-free zones such as dining tables, beach chairs or tour lectures. Agree, for example, that plane, train, airports and defined personal time are free zones for pursuing individual interests.


While you and other family members or fellow travelers might want to be first in line on the chair lift, at the museum or for the city tour, remember that if your teen is a fan of sleeping in and staying up late at home, the habit is not likely to disappear on the road. Be realistic. Talk it through. And proceed accordingly. Home rentals or suite hotels provide separate sleep spaces that accommodate both early risers and night owls.

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At different life stages, you and your teens are likely to have varied interests. Talk through the options for transportation, dining, activities and lodging. Define the sticking points and agree to disagree on some items. While working out the kinks is part of the growth process, tours designed to appeal to adults and teens may provide built-in solutions.

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Use travel as an opportunity to introduce your young travel companion to new experiences. Even if you have to nudge a little. From sushi and sashimi and smelly cheeses, to a long hike or paddle, to off-the-beaten path museums and theater performances, there is a first time for everything. You may spark a lifetime interest or provide fodder for future career conversations. By encouraging teens to move away from the familiar while in a safe environment, they’ll have more confidence when the time comes to go it alone. And that time will come before you know it.

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