How’s your September going? If it is anything like mine, you’re just about ready for a vacation. And I’m guessing your kids are too.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. They just had summer vacation! True. But the fact is school is stressful and in September when they’re adjusting to new routines, it often hits a peak.

Of course, pulling your teens out of school for a getaway isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’ve come to realize that the only way to keep a balance is to work in some long weekends that recognize their need to get the homework done and the importance of family time.

Travel with Teens
Travelling with teens can be rewarding!

Making the decision to vacation with teenagers is only the first step. The next challenge is to keep that travel grump-free. And we all know that all it takes is one Grumpy Gus or Miserable Molly to derail a perfectly good family trip.

On my latest visit to CHCH Morning Live I shared some items and tips that will help to keep everyone happy. You can see the television segment here or simply scroll down to get some details on the items and destinations mentioned.

Travel with Teens – What to bring

Teens need Tech. You can separate them for a few hours but they are going to find their way back. The trick is to make it easier on the whole family.

Keep those cords organized

Sometimes the stress comes from not knowing where to find things. And when there’s the potential of things falling between the seats of the car on a road trip, being stolen by a sibling or being left behind in hotel rooms, the stress factor is hightened.

I found this goody at the CAA online store. The store is a boon for members but even if you’re not a member, it’s still got some great deals.

This Travel Accessory Organizer is $12.99 for members ($13.99 for anyone else) on .

What I loved about this TravelOn Travel Accessory organizer is that it comes in a bunch of colours (making it easy to spot on a counter and to distinguish your cords from your teens) and lets you keep things separate and organized.

Use Tech for good!

If your family has Apple devices, the latest offerings and releases offer some great options for families. Best of all – they work for parents too.

Why not designate your teen as the family photographer? The newest iPhones have seriously upped the photography game from earlier editions.

The iPhone 11 has a wide and am ultrawide camera setting that allows them to be even more creative and capture bigger landscapes. And the iPhone 11 Pro boasts an additional Telephoto lens that allows the user to get even more detailed shots. Plus new filters and an enhanced night mode options will transform the quality of the shots. Often at least one parent gets left out of most family photos. Train a teen and that habit could come to an end.

If you’re not in the market for a new phone, there’s another option that is also a great family connector and perfect for teens who might want to get some gaming in on the trip. The new iOS 13 which rolled out this week introduces Apple Arcade. You’ll find it in the App store. For $5.99 a month families can download as many of the more than 100 games on offer as they want without having to worry that there will be in-app charges driving up the price down the road. One price and the whole family (up to 5 people) can share it on their own devices. The devices remember who’s playing too, so you can challenge your kids and then brag about your high score. Best of all, right now if you download it,  it’s free for the first month.

Mood protection in a cup

Grump is a two-way street. So making sure you have access to great coffee is a must. I love this Nanopresso machine. I’ve been testing it out all summer and now it’s a must-pack. Hotel room coffee is a start but when you know you can make your own espresso no matter where you are, the day looks so much brighter.

Protect your nose

If you’re spending a lot of time in the car with a teen, things can get warm and well…stinky. Ditto if you’re out exploring.  Unbound Merino  Shirts help to make sure smell and dampness doesn’t keep you from enjoying time with your teen.

travel with teens unbound merino

They’re made of breathable Merino wool, don’t wrinkle and are quick-dry. The manufacturers say you could travel for weeks with just one shirt. I haven’t tested that theory, but good to know!

Travel with Teens: Tips

You’ve managed to get them on the road, now you’ve got to make sure you’re on a trip worth taking. These three tips will help to make sure it all goes smoothly.

Give Teens some autonomy and input

 Whether or not your teens are driving yet, a road trip can be a great learning opportunity.  Get them involved in the road trip preparation:

Travel with teens, road trip
  1. Have them plan out your route and rest stops on both your digital device and your maps. Heading in to a travel planning spot like CAA ahead of your trip? Bring them with you! They can help you gather route information and get the information they need to make sure their are stops that are of interest to them too. They’re less likely to complain about a trip they’re excited about.
  2. Use the trip as a teaching opportunity. Show them your pre-trip rituals and offer them the chance to get hands-on. Showing them how you check tire pressure and oil will help you both feel better about their own driving outings in the future.
  3. Offer them opportunities to take the wheel. Hair raising, I know, but it literally puts them in the seat of power which they’ll love. Bonus: It gets you a captive audience for real conversation.

Change the Scenery

You could skip all the hard work that goes into figuring out where to go, when to go and how to keep them happy, but a weekend at home won’t cut it for a real family break. The likelihood htat you’ll fall into your normal weekend routines are too hard. Instead change homebase. One example? I’m in Toronto and when Torontonians want a quick getaway they head for cottage country. The Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville has just made it even easier.  They’ve got a new Lakeside Lodge that offers options with up to three bedrooms that will give you as much space as you need but still keep you close to nature, each other and a bunch of cool outdoor activities. Pick a spot that delivers and you’ll all feel like you got a respite.

Deerhurst Resort Travel with Teens

Make the most of meal time:

Teens love to eat.  When you travel with teens, whether you’re dining out at a restaurant or cooking something up in your Air BnB at home, meal times are great times to regroup and refocus on your goals for the trip. Stretch it out by getting the kids involved in the meal prep. Stop at an orchard and work together on making an apple dessert or gather the ingredients for dinner at a farmer’s market and turn it into a taste test competition.

Travel with Teens: The Takeaway

You want to do this. Memories can get harder to make as the kids get older and have their own thoughts on what makes a great vacation. Embrace the change. By working with them to build in fun, you may be surprised at how much you enjoy each others company.

Good luck!