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10 Ways to Plan the Best Adventure for Teens

How to plan the Best Adventure for Teens

Teens can be amazing travel companions but come with their own set of challenges.  With a little planning and an amazing destination you can ensure that everyone has an awesome trip.

How do you get started to plan the best adventure for teens?  See the 10 ideas below to help get you started.

Want to know why you should travel with your teen? Check out:

Choose an Amazing Destination

The world is a beautiful place full of adventure.  The perfect destination for you and your teen will depend on – well – you and your teen.  For some people, you may want to choose a beach vacation where you can take surfing lessons, for others, this might be a hiking and road trip to some national parks.  It’s important to get a sense of what everyone wants to do on the trip and plan something fun for everyone.  It’s always fun to visit a new place that no one in the family has been to so you can all enjoy the newness of the adventure together. No matter what, always start your planning by choosing an amazing destination to ensure that you plan the best adventure for teens!

See more about Where to Travel with Kids at Every Age.

Best Adventure for Teens: hiking in Italy

Choose a Schedule that Works for Everyone

It’s likely that you and your teen don’t operate on quite the same schedule.  When you’re planning the best adventure for teens it’s important to consider what works best for everyone.  Does your teen sleep in?  It might be hard to have an early morning activity everyday during your vacation.  Is your teen trying to keep in shape for sports? Make sure you leave time for exercise.  Ignoring these schedules may set you up for a challenging trip.

Get your Teen to Help Plan the Adventure

It’s important to get by-in from your teen for anything you do and the best way to do this is getting your teen to help plan your trip.  This doesn’t mean your teen needs to sit down and decide every detail (some teens might love this and others could care less).  We typically get feedback about the destinations where we’re going and we usually let the kids each choose an activity or place to stay.  This means they need to do a little research and are more willing to do the activities the rest of us want to do if they know they’ve gotten to choose something they want to do.  

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Take the best adventure with your teen
Best Adventure for Teens: Hiking Trip to Grand Teton National Park

Book in Advance

When my husband and I travelled before having kids, we loved the freedom of keeping an open plan and often flying by the seat of our pants.  Once we had kids, that all changed.  It’s no fun to arrive at the airport and find out all the rental cars are gone, or start your teen adventure with no place to stay and all the rooms booked, or even find out at the last minute that there is no space left in that surfing lesson that you promised to do with your teen.  It is important that you carefully plan your trip and book your transportation, lodging and large activities in advance.  There are so many resources online to help you get started in planning and finding the best deal.  I usually start with personal blogs and then do some research on sites like Trip Advisor and


So I realize there may be different opinions about this one, so if you don’t agree – that is great and you should always do what is right for you and your family – zero judgement here!

Going on an adventure with your teen is the perfect time to take some unplugged time – for you and your teen.  Sometimes this will happen naturally if you travel to a place without cell service, but often you and your teen will need to decide in advance how you will handle technology.  You can go full force and agree to no technology, or set limits together such as just checking in on your device once a day, or only using the device offline for photos.  Nothing makes me crazier than being in an amazing place with the people I love and find that everyone is on their device!

Best Adventure for Teens: Gelato in Slovenia

Balance Action and Rest

When you’re planning a trip it is easy to over plan fun activities – this is a particular fault of mine, but one that I am fully aware of!  Your teen will thank you for balancing fun action-filled adventures with time to decompress.  This might be a full day hike on one day followed by a casual bike ride and some time at the pool the next day.  Teens are at a great age to be kept physically active but also benefit from plenty of sleep.

Consider a One on One Trip with your Teen

We love travelling as a whole family, but sometimes taking a one on one trip with your teen can be a great experience for both you and your teenager.  Traveling with just one teen means you can choose activities that you both enjoy without taking everyone into account.  We try to do these solo trips with our children for their 10th, 14th, and 18th birthdays and it has become something that they look forward to and talk about in anticipation.  Another benefit is that a trip for just 2 people will be less expensive so you can choose some activities you might not want to pay for when you have more people.  

Pack Right (food and clothes)

When our kids are young we often feel weighed down by the amount of stuff we have to take when we travel. Babies and toddlers seem to need a crazy amount of gear.  As our kids get older they are better able to manage their own stuff and don’t need so many special items.  Helping your kids learn to pack and manage themselves is a tremendous lesson that can be learned when you travel.  When humans don’t get their basic needs met (like sleep, food, clothing) we all get grumpy.  Teaching a teen to take care of themself will help avoid some of these problems.  You can also help your teen by making sure you have snacks and plan meals.

I know that I often don’t get hungry between meals, but if I don’t pack snacks, my teenagers are starving.  We’ve also been on several adventures with our teens and found out halfway up a mountain when it starts raining that they forgot to pack their raincoat.  Helping create an epic adventure with your teen means teaching your kids to pack and care for themselves and also being ready with backup supplies if needed.

Plan for Alone Time to Regroup

Just like you should plan a balance of activities and down time, you should also make sure both you and your teen get some alone time.  This can be challenging when you’re road tripping or spending time all together in a small space, but most of the time it’s easy to find a way for some space.  Some activities naturally supply this opportunity such as hiking but you can also go for a morning walk or run, give your teen the time to listen to music on headphones or make sure your teen has packed a book.  This alone time gives a chance for reflection and you and your teen will be more likely to be ready to go after recharging.

Best Adventure for Teens: Bryce Canyon National Park
Best Adventure for Teens: Bryce Canyon National Park

Set Your Expectations

Going on an adventure with your teen can be an amazing experience.  To make the most of your time, it’s important to set everyone’s expectations, including your own.  This is true anytime you travel – your expectations of your trip are always different than the trip itself.  If your teen goes into the adventure thinking they are going to sit by the pool all day and it turns out you’ve planned sunrise hikes all week, someone is going to end up disappointed.  On the other hand, you may be excited about a certain hike only to get there and find your teen forgot their raincoat.  Remember what is important on this trip – perhaps your goal is to see bison at Yellowstone National Park – this might mean that you will have to skip something else. 

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