Attitude with a capital A, sullen silence and monosyllabic conversations are only half the fun of traveling with teenagers. Add the pungent aroma of smelly socks (boys) or being locked out of the bathroom for hours (girls) and you might wonder whether family travel is such a good idea during this chaotic, self-absorbed adolescent stage.
Is it worth all the patience required and money it costs to travel with teens? Yes. Why? Travel can expand and renew communication within the family and provide a stimulating way to spend time together as your teens approach the age when they will leave the nest. And a lot of teens are fun companions and have loads of energy for activities. But how do you travel so everyone enjoys it and you don't come home with a head of gray hair and an unhappy or belligerent kid? When considering a trip with teens, keep three basic principles in mind: Involve them, burn calories and negotiate.
Involve the Teens
Involve your teens in the travel planning process from the beginning. If you present several vacation ideas and they help make the decision and pitch in with the planning, then they share responsibility for the success of the trip. Many of them are savvy enough to do detailed research on the Internet, where there is a great deal of travel-related information. The library and bookstores are filled with guides, magazines, videos, brochures and foreign-language tapes that will make your kids feel more familiar with the place they are traveling. While researching a vacation they'll learn geography, how to read maps and guidebooks, how to make a budget (important) and what resources are available and where.