Road trips with teens

Anytime you travel with kids, you can expect a bit of work. Things that worked on your last trip might not work on your next one, especially if you will be traveling with a teen. This is also especially true if your travel includes hours upon hours of being in the car. Fine tuning travel with teens can be something that is tricky but especially when that travel will be in the car. A little bit of preparation can go a long way.



Depending on how old your teen is, learning to drive, or driving might be a segment of your itinerary. Don’t forget about that. Learning the ins and outs of driving can go a long way toward making sure that your teen is engaged while you are going down the road. If your teen has their learner’s permit or their license, make sure that you let them get behind the wheel… at least for a little while. Before you do that, though, make sure that they are listed on your auto insurance policy.

Involve Them

We all know that the best vacations are the ones that have something for everyone. Before you plan the itinerary for your trip, talk to your teen and find out what they would like to do. Traveling across the USA with kids can be more fun for them if they are involved. That doesn’t mean that you need to let them have complete control over the planning of the trip, though. Maybe they can help with narrowing down some of the possible activities or tours, choose a hotel, or even choose what roadside attractions you might stop to see. Giving them a say in the planning of the trip means that it will be more difficult for them to complain while you are on the trip.


When you are traveling with teens on a road trip, you can really rack up the costs when it comes to eating. Kids can be picky, and finding a place to eat that you can all agree on can be a trial, too. However, if you have room in your vehicle for a cooler, you can alleviate this issue. Pack a cooler with somewhat healthy food that you guys can make meals out of or healthy snacks. Then, when you stop, it can be to see the sights as opposed to having to stop just to eat. This can save you money while also saving you time on the road.

Keep Them Charged

You can find internet access even when you are in remote locations nowadays. It might make sense to request that your teens take a breather from their iPods, phones, and other electronic devices, but taking those things completely away can mean wreaking havoc on your peace.

Keep Them Connected

Going a bit further with keeping them charged… Most teens are constantly messaging people or on social media sites such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. If they do this at home, it wouldn’t be right to all of a sudden change the rules while you are driving down the road. Allow them to communicate with their friends. If you made sure to do your homework before your trip, the chances will be good that they will be bragging about their trip or sharing photos from the trip.

Space to Pace

When you spend an entire day in the car, you will need to have a bit of time to stretch your legs. This is something that applies to all members of the family, not just the parents. Try to choose resorts or hotels where there will be space to pace after you guys have spent a grueling day on the road. Learning about the grounds of the property before you get there will let you know how much freedom you can give your teen while you are there. There are even some locations where the staff will get to know your child by sight and name, and this can give them even more freedom because they will all be watching out for them wherever they might wander off to.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.



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