The Complete Guide to Traveling with Teens & Tweens

My kiddos are at that age where they want to be treated like young adults, but can still throw tantrums like toddlers. Any other mamas out there appreciate what I’m referring to? It baffles me that one day they can’t get enough hugs and kisses, and other days I’m lava.

I get it. It’s a tough age. The Dear Husband and I are navigating this time with as much grace and humor as we can.

To that end, I began thinking about how the way we travel has changed now that they’re older. These two have logged a lot of Skymiles over the years. Here are some tips I’ve learned to make travel days that much more pleasant, and ensure that we all enjoy the destination.

What to Pack

All The Tech Toys

I remember the time when $10 in Dollar Tree supplies would equate to hours of entertainment on travel days. Not so anymore. These days, its all about cell phones, iPads, a Wi-Fi connection, extra charging cables, spare power banks (plural), and the good headphones. Also remember to download several movies from Netflix just in case.

Mini First Aid Kit

Painkillers, Neosporin, allergy meds (pills, dissolvable, creams), and band-aids are always in our luggage. Sure, you could buy them at your resort for a premium, but that would likely involve a cranky husband getting dressed to go to the lobby in the middle of the night. And nobody wants to deal with that!

COVID Essentials

Even before this was a category, I was always armed to the teeth with hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. I legit wipe down airplane snack trays, hotel room doorknobs and remote controls, and expressly forbid anyone I’m traveling with to touch any part of their face with their hands. Housekeeping’s got nothing on me. Ha!


At least some things remain the same. I wouldn’t dream of being caught without protein bars, Oreos, chips, or beef jerky. Hormones + hanger? No thank you! A well-fed teen/tween, is a happy teen/tween.

Meeting Everyone’s Needs

In choosing destinations for family vacations, it is imperative that I consider everyone’s wants and try to strike the perfect balance. Vacations are much more enjoyable this way!

The teen loves snorkeling – even though he hates sand – and needs a pool large enough to swim laps. It is also super important that there is some sort of video gaming lounge for him. (Too long without Fortnite and he turns into a gremlin!) He had all this and more at Beaches Turks and Caicos.

The tween likes to hang close to us most of the time, so we need lots of family-friendly activities available. And for those times she does go to a kids’ club, she likes more organized activities and lots of small group interaction over free play. Our Disney Cruise was the perfect fit.

The DH and I love authentic excursions, trying local cuisine, and high quality entertainment. It is always important to us to incorporate some sort of history lesson, and I’m always on the hunt for ideas. See how I did this with our visit to Washington D.C.

Carving Out Solo Time with Mom or Dad

It’s not always easy, but as the kids get older, we try to find opportunities to carve out a little one-on-one time with them. You’d be surprised how conversations flow with your children when you’re not constantly breaking up fights.

While on a 2019 Disney trip, the Teen and I had the most epic Mommy/Son date ever during the opening weekend of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios. For a brief moment, I was the coolest mom ever!

Just recently, the tween and I had a glorious girls day at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. It still warms my heart thinking of her placing her hand in mine and thanking me for bringing her along.

Including Grandparents

Since we live far away from our families, we try to cram as much grandparent time over the summer as possible. We always take them on a road trip when they’re in town. Throughout their entire visit, they get uninterrupted time with the grands where all rules are thrown out the window (looking at you Grammy!), and the DH and I finally get some alone time. Win, win! It’s a nice feeling having some backup, let me tell you!

Also, every other year we celebrate Christmas on a cruise together. COVID derailed our plans for 2020, but fingers crossed, later this year, we’ll be back on track.

I hope this guide has provided some inspiration on how to make your next family vacation even more amazing! See a tip you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments below.

As a full-service travel agent, I would love to be of assistance to you. I am passionate about what I do and pour that energy into crafting perfectly planned itineraries for you. Email to learn more.

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