The whole of one wall of my 13-year-old son’s bedroom is covered in a world map.
Every time he visits a new country, he adds a pin on that map.
At the moment it’s fairly sparse – he’s visited Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, America, Egypt, the Caribbean, Dubai and Finland. He wants to add many, many more pins.
What can be more exciting than discovering the world with your kids?
Seeing things through their eyes, rediscovering ‘old’ countries and discovering new ones together.
Just boarding an airplane is a hugely exciting adventure to them; not the tedious, endless queuing, endless showing of documents and stress fest we adults see it as.
We recently visited Dubai together (more on that trip to come) and tried to make the journey all part of the adventure – and that includes knowing what documents to carry, why we pass through passport control and why you need to down a bottle of water in 30 seconds flat before you pass through bag check!
So how can you make the preparations less stressful? I’ll share a few tips we’ve picked up over the years – let me know what your tips would be.
Travelling with young teenagers
1. Let everyone muck in.
When you’ve got older children you need to get them involved from the start. This is their holiday too, and they will love joining in the planning.
Take a look at the sort of family holidays you could go on – from beach holidays, to skiing, camping, city breaks or sightseeing, they’re all great for a shared experience.
Then get them involved – one day they will need to know how to navigate an airport on their own or understand where to go once you actually step foot in an airport, so let them start early.
2. Plan, plan, plan.
BUT don’t worry if your plans don’t come to fruition. Much like a wedding, it’s OK to have a vision of where you want to go and what you want to do, but try to go with the flow if your actual holiday veers from the plan. You might find you end up having an even bigger adventure!
3. Try something different.
If you usually jet off on a beach holiday, try visiting a different sort of beach or look for a different holiday altogether. Some of the best breaks I’ve ever had have been when we’ve opted to go someone I’d never really thought of before. One of my best friends has just returned from a family holiday to Croatia, where she said it is perfect for families.
4. Look for a good deal.
The dawn of the internet is a wonderful thing for travel, so utilize it. Allocate a decent chunk of time to shop around, you’re bound to find some good half term holiday deals. And take advantage of reviews – be they other bloggers or Trip Advisor where you can get most of your questions answered. If you like someone’s review and they have similar aged children, message them and ask more questions. I recently did this for our trip to Dubai and the reviewer gave us invaluable advice for travelling there with teenagers.
5. Remember you’re taking children
You can’t have the sort of holiday you did pre-children. You just can’t.
They can easily get bored, be it on a long journey, sightseeing or from being on their own. So plan accordingly.
Having said that, kids are totally open to new experiences. So, if they’re school-aged children, see if you can find things to do that tie in with their schoolwork and bring it to life. When my parents went travelling for six months with me, they had me keep a scrapbook of my adventures: write ups of places we visited, photographs, ticket stubs, interesting things I found on beaches etc. I’ve still got that scrapbook today.