For some teens, the words ”family vacation” spell “nightmare.” You know, being cooped up with them — Mom and Dad — for, like, days on end!
But a little pre-planning and a cool attitude can help warm even the worst case of boredom.
Any travel expert will tell you bringing along a portable CD or tape player is a good idea, but it’s much more important with this age group.
Teens love to listen to their own music and may even enjoy the getting there as much as the being there if they’re allowed to spend it with
‘NSync, TLC or Kid Rock. Be sure to bring extra batteries if the Backstreet Boys start losing steam.
If you’d like to actually communicate with your teen in the car, books on tape may be the answer. According to readers asked to give travel tips to peekaboo.com, comedy books on tape are a real generation-melder.
If the budget and your patience level allows, consider allowing your child to bring a friend. The tentative teen traveler won’t feel so trapped if given someone to roll eyeballs with in the backseat when Dad starts belting out “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”
Privacy is rule No. 1 for teens. Consider adjoining hotel rooms and family suites, which are more plentiful these days. This works two ways:
While Jimmy and his pals play Nintendo or watch a movie next door, Mom and Dad can unwind in peace.
Involve your teen in destination and attraction planning. You may want to scour every butter churn in Colonial Williamsburg, but plan a day or two of roller coaster mayhem at nearby Busch Gardens.
Or enjoy a restaurant outing with your child — something you couldn’t do when he was a squirmy toddler.
Put the teen in charge of the family photo album for the trip. This encourages creativity, while involving the teen in the family’s adventure.