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Would you love to travel with your teenager, making memories that will last a lifetime? Are you worried that it will be a disaster because your teen is so moody? If so, then this post is for you! Here are my 6 best tips for road trips with teens so you can have a wonderful trip every time!
Tip #1: Give your teen space in the car.
Nothing can ruin a road trip faster than an annoyed teenager. And one of the quickest ways to annoy your teenager is by making them sit too close to a younger sibling.
So, to improve your road trip with teens fast and easy, avoid a crowded backseat during your road trip. Instead, give your teen some space to call their own in the car.
Now, I’m not saying they should get the whole car to themselves. But, as much as you can, arrange your kids in the car so younger siblings can not poke, kick, or otherwise irritate your teenager.
If you have the space to let them have a row to themselves, great! If not, at least make sure each kid has some clearly defined space to call their own. And don’t let your little ones encroach on your teen’s space.
If you don’t have the space in your car to give everyone their own little area, consider renting a bigger vehicle for your trip.
You will be amazed at how much this one little thing can make your trip smoother for everyone in the family.
Tip #2: Pick your battles.
The next tip to help improve your road trips with teens is to pick your battles.
We all know that teens can find a way to complain about any and everything. But, you don’t have to play into their game. Instead, pick your battles so you don’t find yourself fighting the entire trip.
Before your trip, think about what aspects are the most important to you. Talk to your teens about your priorities and what they want out of the trip. Be willing to compromise. Try to come to an agreement on each of your expectations.
For example, I hate when my son is on his phone during activities, but I don’t care so much about screen time while we are in the car. So, our compromise is that he can be on his phone as much as he wants while in the car, but once we start an experience, the phone gets put up.
Having a conversation and compromising allows my son to know what I expect before we ever get in the car. But, it lets him have a few wins at the same time. This also saves a lot of fighting on our trips.
Tip #3: Allow for some down time.
Teens need some time to themselves. So, it’s very important to include some down time in your road trips.
During this time, let them be by themselves and just hang out. Allow them to text their friends, be on social media, or just watch some videos.
Giving them a break to do their own thing will go a long way towards getting them to be cooperative and less moody with the rest of the family during the active times.
Down time will allow everyone in the family to get a little rest and recharge their batteries. This will help everyone get along better during the rest of your trip. So, it’s a win-win for everyone!
Tip #4: Think about their interests.
Teenagers often complain that their parents don’t listen or even know them anymore. To prevent them from saying this about you and your family road trips, think about your teen’s interests. Then incorporate those interests into your travel plans.
If your teen is a big sports fan, consider taking them to a game or a sports museum during your vacation. Do you have a budding foodie? Find a restaurant that serves their favorite type of food or that is owned by a favorite chef for them to try.
If your teen loves art, plan to visit an art gallery or museum during your vacation. Does your teen love animals? Consider a behind-the-scene tour at a zoo or aquarium.
To really win over your teen, consider surprising them with this special experience.
Tip #5: Give them a little freedom.
Of course, all teens want their freedom! And one way to make your road trips with teens easier is to give them a little freedom while you are traveling.
Now, how exactly you do this will depend on the age of your teen and your destination.
If you are at an all-inclusive resort, a cruise, or Disney World, you could allow your teen to spend a couple hours exploring on their own.
If you don’t feel comfortable with them taking off without you, consider giving them the freedom to plan a day of your trip or pick out some restaurants to try or activities to do.
Sometimes, you can give your teen a little bit of freedom (and give yourself a happy teen) by doing something really simple. Examples include letting them control the radio while in the car or choosing where to eat the first night of your trip.
If your teen already has their driver’s license, let them do some of the driving during your road trip.
Tip #6: Ask their opinion.
My last tip for better road trips with teens is to ask their opinion about various aspects of the trip. This tip goes hand in hand with the previous two tips.
Teens are soon-to-be adults and they want to be treated as such. So, one way to give them some freedom and win them over is to ask their opinion.
Ask them to help you pick out a hotel. Let them give some input into where you vacation or what things you do. While on your road trip, involve them in decisions such as where to eat, when to leave the hotel, or which way to go.
It can be difficult to travel with your teens. But, these tips will help you to have better road trips with teens so you can all have more fun on vacation.
For more road trip tips, see my ultimate guide to road trips, how to improve your family road trips, how to pack for road trips like a pro, how to save time on road trips, and how to have successful road trips with kids.
P.S. Need help finding the best places to go on your family vacations? My Ultimate USA Bucket List for Families will instantly give you 60 of the best vacation destinations for families in the United States! Get it for FREE in the box below and start planning your next trip today! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive my weekly email newsletter full of family trip tips and inspiration!