Teenagers can be more difficult to take a road trip with than toddlers. A child at this age can make or break your get-away. I have a few tips on how to survive and even enjoy this time with your teen.
Figure out your #1 irritant in the car. At this age they are past the “Gramma, he’s touching me.” and “Gramma, she’s looking at me.” stage. They are now obsessed with electronics. Technology has become an integral part of the teen lifestyle. The electronic devices are fine but the noises coming from the back seat from those devices drive me mad. I buy each teen a cheap pair of earbuds. This way if they forget, lose, or break the ones they already have I have a back-up spare. (You can find my post on how to sew a simple earbud pouch here.)
Plan frequent stretch breaks. Teens still need to work off excess energy. The car travel is part of the journey. These should not just be gas or restroom stops. Stop at vistas or point of interest. Your teen will be posing for pictures and tweeting and Instagram-ing their little hearts out.
It’s not just the teens posting to social media. Jody’s pic for Facebook
and my Instagram post.
Research attractions in advance. Teenagers can be tough when it comes to choosing attractions to visit on your trip. Very seldom will one of my teenage grandchildren outlast my attention span at a museum or historical site. Think like a teenager and keep an open mind. We live in an electronic age and a good museum or historical site that has incorporated more interactive and digital elements to their offerings will interest the teen longer.
Involve the teen in the decision on the selection of drinks and snacks before leaving home. Pack an ice chest with drinks for the road. Have a bag with the selection of snacks. I don’t like the kids eating in the car but one or another of them is always ready to go to the trunk to get something to eat or drink or both. This way you can also avoid being nickel or dimed to death at every turn. Every gas station seems to have a food mart and even rest stops have vending machines. My grandchildren’s choices are not always the best. I buy the chips, M & M’s, and sodas they ask for but I also bring a few protein bars, bags of trail mix and bottled water.
Allow them to have responsibilities. Let them do their own packing. You can remind them to bring a jacket or to pack tennis shoes in addition to sandals but if they forget don’t dwell and don’t remind them “you told them so.” (If it’s something you will really need like their medication or a certain outfit for a special occasion you can be more vigilant in being sure you have it.) If they’re old enough let them do a little of the driving. They are becoming adults and it is opportunities like these that help them learn and grow.
July in the Sierra Nevadas – who would have thought? I did! I checked the weather forecast and advised the kids to bring warm clothing. All three were in sandals or flip flops, one didn’t even have a jacket.
This is the best time to get to know your teen – what they do, what they like to eat, how they will react. Follow these tips for traveling with your teenager and you’ll be well on your way to having a happy and peaceful family getaway.