Travel for Teens

Travel for Teens offers

Anyone who has ever traveled with a 15-year-old in tow knows a teen can make or break the vacation for the entire family. Or, as travel agent Lynda Maxwell says, "If the teens are happy, everybody is happy. And a great big, fat vice versa."

Teens are often the most enthusiastic of travelers, but their interests - and schedules - often aren't aligned with their younger peers or parents. That means that while you might be happiest striking out at the crack of dawn to explore an archeological site, your teen would likely rather sleep in, load up on a huge breakfast and then mosey out around noon.

Those realities make travel with teens a tricky - but not impossible - challenge. The key to success, say the experts, lies in what you do long before you set foot on an airplane.

For many families, the hardest part may be finding a vacation time that works for everyone. Working around school and after-school activities can be a chore. Be sure to sit down with everyone before settling on a date.

Beyond setting the date, you'll want to make youngsters a part of the planning process from the start.

"Sit down and say 'what is the best time that we ever had as a family? What was it that we did?'" suggests Maxwell, a national director for the American Society of Travel Agents. "Then ask them if they could go anywhere in the world, where would they choose to go?"

You might find they'd like nothing more than to sit on the local beach for a week. And even if that's not what you had in mind, you're bound to get some ideas you can use in some way. "Maybe there's a compromise in there, " says Maxwell.

Once you decide where to go, hand over some of the what-to-do decision-making to your teenager, says Brad Anderson, co-president of America's Vacation Center/American Express. "Most teens are online now, and they're going to start lining up ideas of what to see and do, " he says. "I find teens are fabulous at bringing in great suggestions."

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