In some ways traveling with teenagers can be more difficult than traveling with young children. While young children require constant supervision teenagers are old enough to do some activities on their own but unfortunately this is part of the problem with traveling with teenagers. There growing independence makes them want to explore on their own instead of staying with the family but this can be dangerous on a vacation when they may not be familiar with the area or the local customs when you are traveling abroad. There are some tips for helping to keep the peace during family vacations that involve teenagers.
The first tip for traveling with teenagers is to offer them some limited freedom. It is understandable that children of this age may not want to spend the entire trip with the family and may want some time to explore on their own. Allowing a teenager to explore on their own or even with another teenager can be dangerous. If they are unfamiliar with the area, they could easily become lost. One way to compromise in this situation is to offer to allow them to explore on their own in a confined environment where there is little chance of them getting lost. A museum is a good example of such a location. Here you can explore part of the museum together and then split up to allow your teenager some freedom. Since a museum is only one building it is highly unlikely that your child will become lost but even if they do, the museum staff will likely be able to locate them pretty quickly. Set up a meeting time and location and if your teenager does not return to this location at the agreed upon time, the staff can help you to locate your child if they are having difficulty finding their way back to the meeting location.
A beach can be very dangerous but still your teenager may want some freedom. It is always recommended that those who opt to swim in the ocean do so with a buddy. If you have more than one teenager, give them strict instructions to stay together in the water so that they can look out for each other. You should also set some ground rules for while you are on the beach. First have your teenager check in with you ever twenty minutes or so which will give you the opportunity to verify that they are okay. Next tell them that they are only permitted to swim in the area of the ocean that is under lifeguard supervision. Finally, if the beach extends for several miles in either direction, instruct them not to wander too far away from the rest of the family. Having them keep you in sight is a good idea.
Allowing teenagers to explore unfamiliar cities after dark is just not safe. They may want to do so but this is one aspect where there is no room for compromise. If there are nightclubs geared for teenagers at your vacation destination and your child wishes to participate, you can let them under the conditions that you drive them to the nightclub and that they call you when they are ready to go home so that you can pick you up. Instruct them to wait inside until you arrive. Although many cities are safe for teenagers it is better not to take chances.
Traveling with teenagers can be a trying experience. They want to enjoy certain freedoms and may not always understand that being somewhere unfamiliar requires some additional precautions. Making compromises and setting ground rules are critical to having an enjoyable vacation with your teenager.