How to Make a Family Vacation Fun for Your Teen

A few simple compromises can make a family vacation fun for your teen.

Many teens would rather sleep in, spend time with friends, and have constant access to their digital devices, rather than go on a family vacation. And dragging a teen on vacation, isn't exactly a good time. If he doesn't want to be there, he's likely to sulk the entire trip, which could drag down everyone's mood.

So if you’re trying to plan a family trip, take steps to make it as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.

 Here are some strategies to get your teen more excited about a family vacation: 

Accept that Things are Different

For many parents, it's hard to accept that a teen is no longer excited about going to the lake or visiting Grandma for two weeks. There's a bit of grief that accompanies recognizing that your child is growing up and your family dynamics are changing. 

But that doesn't mean you can't still have an enjoyable family vacation together. Instead, it may mean your family vacation needs to look a little different than they did when your teen was younger.

So rather than insist you have to do everything the same, be flexible to changing things up a bit. If your teen has outgrown the amusement park you've attended for the last decade, or he no longer wants to go to the water park, create new family traditions.

Ask for Your Teen’s Input

Start a conversation about a family trip by asking for your teen's input.

Whether your teen says he wants to snorkel with sharks. or he’s only interested in hiking on a remote mountain, these conversations give your teen an opportunity to talk about his interests. Ask questions that will get your teen thinking about summer vacation.

Even if they aren't things you can feasibly do on a family conversation, use the opportunity to talk about alternative things you could do that would make the trip fun for him.

 Perhaps stopping at a museum along the way or agreeing to make hiking part of the trip could brighten his attitude about the vacation.

Establish Expectations Ahead of Time 

Different expectations about a vacation can set the tone for the whole trip. If your teen expects to be able to sleep all day and play video games all night instead of participating in family activities, you may end up spending most of your trip arguing. Explain your expectations ahead of time.

If you’ve got a teen who is obsessed with technology, set limits on screen time during vacation. Unfortunately, many teens miss out on seeing anything during their vacation because they don't look up from their smartphones. Unplugging from cell phones, computers, and games can be a good break for everyone,especially teens.

Be Willing to Compromise

Before you hit the road, ask your teen what he expects out of the trip. You may find meeting a few expectations could go a long way to making the trip more fun for him.

Once you gain a clear understanding of what your teen expects from the vacation, be willing to compromise. If he doesn’t want to eat breakfast with the Disney Princesses with his little sister, allow him to opt out. Or, if he wants to sleep in every day, be willing to compromise about what time you want him out of bed so he can join in on the family fun.

There still needs to be rules to keep your teen safe, but consider relaxing some of the rules you have at home. Sometimes, compromising a little can make a big difference in how much fun your teen has during your family vacation.

Allow Your Teen to Invite a Friend

Although family vacations can be a great way to spend quality time together, there may be times it's appropriate to allow your teen to invite a friend. It can be a great way to spend time with your teen and his friend together.

Allowing your teen to invite a friend may get your teen excited about going on vacation. It may also motivate him to take part in family activities that he finds a little dull.


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