Tips for a successful road trip with teenagers

Without a bit of planning, a road trip with teenagers can quickly turn your family into the Griswolds, from National Lampoon’s Vacation movies.

Here are some tips to make sure you all enjoy yourselves.

The first thing to do is involve your teenagers in the planning. Ask them what they would like to do on the trip, with the caveat it doesn’t involve staring at hand-held screens the whole way. Invite their suggestions and accommodate whatever you can in your itinerary.

You can challenge them to do the online research into the sites to see, restaurants, activities and experiences, as well as accommodation. This way they have some ownership over the holiday and will have more enthusiasm to participate. You could have a family rating system and rate activities/places, allocating prizes to the family member who made the recommendation.

Encourage your teens to find apps that provide useful information about your destinations, or to track your trip. You could create an Instagram account and let the kids post images and video, as well as commentary as you travel. Alternatively, create a blog so the teens can write about their experiences too.

Nothing says you’re on holidays more than a postcard home to family and friends. So if your teens have grandparents or other relatives, get them to write some postcards from different destinations. They won’t have to write many words, so it won’t be too difficult for them and a bit of fun. Who knows, it may be a new experience to put a stamp on a postcard and drop it into a mailbox.

Plan to stop regularly to stretch your legs, take in a local attraction and refuel with a coffee or milkshake. Always best to stop at a scenic location if possible, as it gives reason for a conversation and photo opportunity, even if it is a selfie.

Pack lots of healthy snacks such as carrot and celery sticks, fruit and nuts. Try to avoid loading up on sugar and use natural foods to keep energy levels high. Make things like surf boards or boogie boards, as well as towels and swimmers, easily accessible, so there’s no waiting when you park at a beach for a short break.

Put the teens in charge of playlists, with a rule they create a parent-friendly list for you. You could create your own retro list of road trip songs to give them an education. Your teenagers will want some time to themselves. This means allowing them to wear headphones occasionally as you drive, or to sit by themselves with their wi-fi when you stop, while you go exploring.