If you are looking for tips for travelling with older kids you may well find that there is loads of advice available for parents of younger children, but there doesn’t seem to be much around for those of us whose kids are getting a bit older.
We have always taken our kids with us where ever we have gone. In fact we have only left them twice in their entire lives! We have done lots of trips with our kids when they were younger and they have always traveled really well. We had no travel sickness, they slept easily and were easily entertained along the way.
But now Miss Oz is 16 (almost 17) and Master Oz is 15 travelling can be a bit more of a challenge as it means they are away from their friends for extended periods of time (and having good social contacts during those teenage years is so important for them) and things that were lots of fun when they were younger are not so much fun now.
So how can you make life whilst travelling with teens a bit more enjoyable for them? Here are my top 6 tips.
1. INVOLVE THE KIDS
Involve the kids in making your travel plans. Ask them where they might be interested in going or get them to search for information on things to do at a chosen destination. Our kids love the water, so we do try and stay in places that have a pool or are near the beach so as they can have some fun too. We also choose to stay in places where showers and toilets are readily available.
2. WHAT INTERESTS THEM?
Try and find a couple of things to do at your chosen destination that are in their areas of interest. Our kids both belong to the Australian Air League, so anything to do with planes or flying is always a good choice for them. When we were down south at Easter, we took them to the Temora Aviation Museum and via family they also got to go for a joy flight another day.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA
Allow them their social media time – it helps them stay in touch with their friends. Ipads or Ipods are also awesome for entertainment if you are driving for extended periods of time. Our kids will often take their laptops as well with a couple of movies on a USB stick, but lots of people also have in car DVD players these days and headphones were designed just to avoid fights!
4. FUN EQUIPMENT
Take pushbikes, canoes, surf boards, fishing rods or whatever they are into. We have a couple of blow up boats and body boards that we take with us.
5. GET THEM TO HELP
Get them involved in setting up the camp and at the same time teach them new skills – show them how to build a camp fire, pitch a tent etc. Both our kids like helping with the cooking and Miss Oz often makes S’mores for dessert, whilst Master Oz likes nothing better than tramping into the bush to find suitable material to burn!
6. SURPRISE THEM
Surprise them with an unexpected activity…something they might not have done before or wouldn’t normally be able to do at home. When we were in Thredbo in 2013 both kids really enjoyed the Toboggan ride.