Dear Diary,

Traveling with a teenager is totally different than traveling with a toddler or little kid. Teens aren’t always easily impressed. What excites my five-year-old can prompt a yawn from my 14-year-old nephew. To make the trip more magical, we had to pull out some tips and trick from our parenting bag. Here’s how you can keep your older children engaged in your family vacation.

1. Let Your Teen Pick the Trip

Let your teenager weigh in on where your family will take a trip. Don’t worry! You don’t have to give your teen total control. Provide the ground rules. Share your budget, interests and areas. Let your teen do what he probably does best-surf the Internet! When your teen is a part of the process, he will feel like he has a voice in the matter and isn’t told what to do like his younger siblings. Ask your teen to narrow the choices down locations or activities, and then make the final decision.

2. Let Your Teen Pack His Suitcase

It may be hard not to micromanage this process, especially since your tastes may be at the other end of the fashion spectrum. Tell your teen what the itinerary is and what types of clothes are needed to participate in all of the activities. Then, let him pack his clothes. This will teach him responsibility and problem solving skills, if he forgets to toss in a toothbrush or pajamas! Have your teen write a list of items to pack and encourage him not to wait until the day before to dust off his suitcase.

Click here to check out other ideas to travel without a hitch with your teen.

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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