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Planning a family trip with teens: Five things to consider

Traveling with your teenager is just like having them at home.

Teenage ecotourism group, Rincon de la Vieja National

Teenage ecotourism group, Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Costa Rica Guanacaste Province Photo Credit: Alamy / Shields

Traveling with teens? Plan ahead for memory-making good times. Here are five ideas to consider.

1. PLAN TOGETHER

When possible, offer your teen a portion of the trip to research or manage on his or her own. Consider a long list of hotels, resorts and cruise lines that offer special spaces, social programs, sports competitions, dance classes and Wi-Fi packages designed to keep teens happy.

INFObeaches.com, princess.com

2. COMPROMISE

Talk through the options for transportation, dining, activities and lodging. Define the sticking points and agree to disagree on some items. Tours designed to appeal to adults and teens may provide built-in solutions.

INFObackroads.com, tauckbridges.com

3. SLEEP

While you might want to be first in line on the chair lift, at the museum or for the city tour, if your teen is a fan of sleeping in and staying up late at home, the habit is not likely to disappear on the road. Be realistic. Talk it through. And proceed accordingly. Home rentals or suite hotels provide separate sleep spaces that accommodate both early risers and night owls.

INFOairbnb.com, vacatia.com, residenceinns.com

4. TEENS AND TECH

It’s difficult to engage in conversation or share an experience when competing with a phone or tablet. Let your teen know how much you and other family members, especially grandparents, value the time together. While some families may be able to ban technology completely during a vacation, most will seek a workable solution. Discuss defining tech-free zones such as dining tables, beach chairs or tour lectures.

5. NEW HORIZONS

Use travel as an opportunity to introduce your young travel companion to new experiences. From sushi and sashimi and smelly cheeses to a long hike or paddle, to off-the-beaten-path museums and theater performances, there is a first time for everything. You may spark a lifetime interest or provide fodder for future career conversations. By encouraging teens to move away from the familiar while in a safe environment, they’ll have more confidence when the time comes to go it alone. And that time will come before you know it.

INFOopentable.com, broadway.com

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