How To Travel With Teens – And Love It!

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Travel with teens can be great fun, can be good for your teen, and for you as a family. Travel can enhance a teenager’s education, worldview, and self-esteem. That travel can be a short tip, weekend, vacation, or holiday of any length. Some may find travel with teenagers daunting or difficult. Where should you travel with teenagers? We give you our best tips on travel with teens and advice on where to travel with teens.

This post covers many aspects of travel with teens and is based on honest first-hand experience of travelling with teenagers, all over the world.

Travel With Teenagers Destinations Guides Tips

I have 2 teenagers and we travel. We travel a lot, it’s our business and our joy and taking my teens to new places is my favourite thing to do.

However, teens have a bad reputation in some circles as not the best travellers.

Travel with teens Japan
Japan is a fantastic destination for travel with teens. My 17 yr old loved seeing the sights, exploring Japanese food, and learning to be a Ninja! We visited Osaka, Tokyo, Nara, and Kyoto. Don’t forget those amazing Japanese theme parks!

We’ve not had any issues while travelling with teens so I think I should share a few tips, hacks and ideas for those of you wondering how to travel with teenagers.

Not just how to travel with teenagers, how to travel with teens and enjoy it.

Travel With Teenagers

Travel with Teens Bali
Bali with teens? Sure, why not? Bali is a fabulous destination with teenagers. Take them snorkelling with manta rays, learn to surf or hike up a volcano at dawn.

We were able to travel full-time with our teens for several years. They were travelling from 6 and 8 years old right through to 13 and 15 yrs. After this our travel became more short-term, vacation style as they turned 16, 17, 18 and 19.

Yes, my teens were still more than happy to travel with parents as they entered their 20s.

As they metamorphosed from young children to tweens to teens things did change. They changed slightly and gradually.

Travel with teens in the Middle East
The Middle East is a great place to travel with teens. Imagine exploring Wadi Rum on a jeep safari, trekking to Petra and discovering ancient Roman cities. My teen boys loved Jordan, Egypt, Dubai, it’s all good!

We made the little video above to showcase some of our best travel with teens adventures.

No child just wakes up one day different. We’ve found that travel with teenagers is honestly, better than travelling with younger children.

Teen travel seems to get better and better the older they get.

I guess we’ve had plenty of time to figure this thing out. Our best tips on travelling with teenagers are below. Remember no two teens are the same and I’m basing this on my teens, not yours.

Travel with Teens – Tips

1. Travel Destinations with Teens

Know what your teens like and enjoy. Teens are just as entitled to likes, dislikes and preferences as you are and it’s your job as a parent to know what those likes are.

For instance, one of mine loves scuba diving, the other doesn’t want to learn. One enjoys camping adventures, the other prefers hotels.

See them, know them and don’t force anything. You may have to compromise and juggle ideas around until you come up with something the whole family will enjoy. You may have to split up and take separate trips.

Just talk, if you don’t know their likes already. Find out what they really want to do.

I managed to get both young teens to Everest Base Camp but one of them would jump at the chance of another big trek, the other not so much.

So we’ll split up for any treks in future, a strategy for travel with teens we employ often.

As a teen myself, I well remember not wanting to go on a family holiday. It wasn’t because I had anything against my family, it was because I find beach holidays boring, and the destination my family had chosen, was equally boring. I knew our days would be spent on the beach or around the pool and those are just not things I ever wanted to do. I would prefer to stay home than go on this family holiday. Had my parents decided to do something a bit more active or culturally interesting, I would have been excited to go. But of course, to them, a vacation was a time to relax, for me, a vacation is a chance to explore and grow!

2. Don’t Limit Their Internet or Screen Time

They need their online connections, their gaming, YouTubing, streaming and memes. They love them. Why take that away from them if it will make them unhappy?

Yes, it bugs me too if they constantly have their phones glued to their hands, so just compromise, be fair.

If somebody tried to cut your screen time would you be pleased?

Sometimes we go to places where there is no internet connection. That is, in many ways, easier than limiting screen time or having a bad connection.

Make sure your hotel, guest house or hostel (and any of these accommodation options work just fine for teens) has free, unlimited wifi for multiple devices.

3. Challenging Destinations for Teenagers

My teens love to take on a challenge and test their new physical strength, stature and skills. This is absolutely my biggest tip for travel with teens, let them prove themselves and push themselves.

You know how at home their chests puff out if you ask them to get something from a high shelf you can’t reach or do something that is beyond your strength?

That, exactly that, has given us huge pleasure in travelling with and living with teens.

4. Feed Them Well

Teens are all about food. I can barely get enough food into them their bodies are changing so fast.

Any sort of trip, tour or vacation with huge mountains of food is a winner with my teens. They have a particular liking for buffets.

Feed them well, let them eat well and consider food tours or cooking classes.

Cooking classes with teens ( or tweens) are a double whammy of winning. Your teens get to be independently awesome, learn new skills, put them into practice and eat everything at the end.

5. Let Them Sleep

Teens need more sleep than their parents generally. That doesn’t mean they can’t get up early if they have to, but they do need sleep. Tired teenagers can be cranky.

6. Give Them Free Time

Much as we’ve enjoyed trips and tours where we’ve all been busy all day every day, a little downtime is good for them too. Mine sleep a lot, read a lot or check-in with the online world.

Movies are good too. When we’re in Asia we’ll often make time to see a new movie at an awesome and cheap Asian cinema.

7. Do Teenagers Need Their Own Hotel Rooms?

No, they don’t. Mine don’t, anyway.

When I travel with just one of my teens we share a twin room. When all four of us travel together we share twins, one adult one child in each.

I would never put the two of them together in a twin room, there would be fights, little sleep, and safety would be a big concern.

8. Let Them Meet Interesting People

My elder teenager loves meeting cool people so group tours, social events and shared activities with new people usually go down well.

It’s never mattered how old they are, they just have to be cool, interesting and fun. He digs talking to people.

Others (like me) are more reserved around new people.

If you have teens more like me don’t push them into forced social events that could be outside their comfort zone. I’ve endured that torture and it’s not fun.

It comes back to knowing what they like and dislike.

9. Have An Adrenaline Adventure

Mummy, that’s me, does not like heights. Unfortunately for me, my kids do and the more terrifying the better.

Many teens love a bit of adrenaline so anything involving zip lines, rollercoasters, dangling from things and climbing up things is exactly what they want to do.

Mum sits these adventures out and twiddles with her phone for a while trying not to think about her babies’ possible sticky end.

10.Split Up and Take One Child Only

This has been the secret sauce of our recent travels and has worked like a charm. My teens are starting to be quite clear in their likes and dislikes.

One of them enjoys certain trips, the other doesn’t.

We have, 7 times this year, split the family and taken separate trips. My husband got his dream minke whale trip, I took one child only to Bhutan, Vietnam, Borneo and The Northern Territory.

One of my teens has taken father and son trips with a conservation group several times this year. It has worked brilliantly.

I’ve always found over our years and travel that divide and conquer is a great way to maintain travel harmony. The older they get the better it works.

I know it’s not feasible for the average family taking a two-week annual vacation, but maybe you could split for a day or an afternoon to really focus on one child and that child’s needs. They enjoy it, you enjoy it, it’s win: win.

11. Volunteering With Teens

This is another element of travel with teens that has worked well for us of late. We’re all feeling the bite of climate change and teens want to be a part of the movement to fight it.

We’ve packed our teen off three times this year on volunteering trips as well as taking part in single-day events. It’s part of their education, it’s a social activity and it’s just an awesome thing to do.

12. Let Teens Take Control and Plan Family Vacations

Respond to their ideas. If they suggest going somewhere, go there. Ask them to research the places they’d like to see and the things they’d like to do. Let them take the reins and guide you around airports or cities.

They’re learning to be fully independent adults, let them start to take on that role.

Places to Travel With Teenagers

Travel with teenagers mum and son hike top of the hill
A mum and son hike. I puff and pant, he takes my bag and races ahead to walk with the long-legged ones. We meet at the top, sweaty and happy to marvel at the art and architecture of the temple. We both enjoyed our hike, in different ways. This is Bhutan, can you believe it? A group tour that allowed teens from 13 and was a perfect way for us to travel together.

So many different places work for destinations with teenagers. Everything is down to your teenagers’ interests and personality. Some ideas that work for our teens below.

  • Destinations involving wildlife spotting. Komodo dragons and Africa are big wants for my teens.
  • Destinations with snorkelling and/or scuba diving, ideally with sharks, manta rays, anything a bit cool and exciting.
  • Winter snow destinations, skiing and snowboarding are great with teens and you can probably trust them to take off down the pistes without you. I love skiing with my kids.
  • Any destination with bragging rights of any sort. ( eg. Everest Base Camp, snorkelling on The Great Barrier Reef, or Bhutan)
  • Trekking, choose hot or cold based on their preferences. We’ve done both, we prefer cold.
  • Destinations that align with their interests, be that the latest technology, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece or Harry Potter.
  • Theme parks. That includes Disney, but Universal Studios is a winner. Disney remains popular with my two as they’ve been riding the big Disney rides since they were a fraction above the minimum height restriction. Legoland theme parks are mostly too tame for teens.
  • Anywhere with unlimited food ( buffets), possibly cooking and good wi-fi.
  • Cycle tours, kayaking tours, wakeboarding, anything a bit adventuresome.
  • Sometimes a particular destination pleases teens, my teens always enjoy a family holiday in Dubai, London, Kuala Lumpur, or Vietnam.

Family Vacations With Teens

Travel with teenagers vacations activities scuba diving  Scuba diving teen
Pick your destination vacation according to interest and activities available. I’m not sure which activity I love most with my kids, winter snow, skiing and snowboarding, summer scuba diving or challenging trekking.

I’m not you and you are not me. I’m coming at this travel with teenagers thing possibly from a place of advantage.

My kids never went to school.

As a result, we’re well used to all being together and there’s rarely any issue with removing them from a circle of local friends. They’ve grown up with having friends and family scattered to the four corners of the globe, so we’re different, I know.

As a school child and teenager myself I remember beach holidays as a youngish teen. I had no interest in beaches and wanted to be with my friends. Back then we didn’t have mobile phones. I remember having to use a public call box to phone my friends and stay connected.

You have an advantage, your kids have phones and instant connections. Let them use their phones.

Making Travel With Teens More Affordable

Hostels start to become useful with teenagers. We would never and have never slept in a hostel dorm with our kids but now, I think I would if it was a cheaper option.

With kids we always went for family rooms in hostels, hotels and guest houses. Do still check the rates on the private family rooms though, they could well still be cheaper than 4 dorm beds.

Some hostels have age limits, check regulations.

Obviously self-catering cuts costs. We’re not fans of having to shop and cook for ourselves so we prefer to travel in Asia where you can eat out 3 times every day for under $5.

Transporting teens, by plane, bus and rail costs the same as taking two adults with you usually. We often find that paying for a taxi or private vehicle is cheaper than buying four adult tickets.

Group Tours and Active Holidays With Teens

Travel with teenagers group tour flying a drone over fruitbat falls
Another awesome trip for a teen. This one ticked a lot of boxes, group travel, meeting people, volunteering, conservation work, camping, rough tough travel with his father this time. All that and he got to fly the drone and shoot some amazing footage.

Some companies, and only some, allow younger teens on their adult active group tours. We’ve done this, we took a tour with GAdventures in Bhutan and it was a wonderful opportunity.

I’ve just been in correspondence with Grasshopper Adventures and they’ve told me via e-mail that they will drop their minimum age cut off to include younger teens.

These are great opportunities for teens to try something different with one parent maybe, and get out there mingling. Active tours like these include cycling, kayaking, trekking, paddle boarding, anything and everything.

You can take a look at Grasshopper Adventures here, they are leaders in bike touring in Asia, and at GAdventures here, they cover just about anything and everything, worldwide.

How to Travel With Teenagers teen with phone

Travel with Teens. Resources

  • G Adventures – group adventure travel, teenagers are allowed with an adult. We visited Bhutan with them and had a great experience.

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We hope our tips, destinations and ideas for travel with teenagers was useful to you. You can probably tell I’m pretty passionate about getting the teens out there, getting them involved in the adult world and allowing them to push their own limits. Travel has been wonderful for my teens, we hope you have similar outcomes. If you’re interested, we have a post on world schooling teenagers here. World schooling is education, minus school and it’s how we roll. So what do you think? Is travel awesome for teens or not? How do your teens feel about seeing the world? If you’re interested in getting your teen a drone – they are so good with them- we have a full post here.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

7 thoughts on “How To Travel With Teens – And Love It!”

  1. Wow….this is so amazing, really very helpful article. Thank you for sharing such great article.

  2. Are there places easier to get to from the east coast if the USA if you are looking at a 7-10 day type trip? Also are there places to avoid like hotels vs Airbnb or home stays? I’m considering Morocco or So Spain with husband and 18 yo son.

    • From the east coast of the USA I guess it would be easiest to fly to Asia. But most of Asia is still closed. We don’t use Airbnb, we hate the hassle of having to be approved and all those extra service fees. If we’re looking for an apartment or similar, they’re on the regular booking sites like Booking dot com. It’s just quicker & easier for us because we were booking accommodation nightly for 7 years near enough. Both Spain and Morocco are nice, depends what you enjoy, pick the place that interests you most, and your son of course! Find somewhere with cool things to do or something that interests him.

  3. Alyson, I really enjoy your blog. Teenagers learn a lot during traveling.


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