Travelling With Teens and Seniors
Lowered expectations = less disappointments.
All family members want to feel included in your vacation and this starts before you even leave home. During the planning portion, discuss with each member what they want to see or do, get them each to list 3 items of interest. Maybe your teen wants to see a location that is featured in a video game they play, or maybe Grandma wants to see that world famous museum.
It’s a good idea to pre-book some activities, that way they see you are really serious about their opinion. As well, pre-purchase of activity tickets prevents long lineups, in which neither age group is a fan and always have water on hand. Consider weather conditions, will it be too hot or cold where you are going, certain months may be a better time.
For activity planning, no early morning ones or you could have some grumpy bears along the way. Same with late night ones, you know your family, they will be the same on the road as they are at home.
You may want to limit long walks, know what shuttles are available in this case. When considering activities, not everyone has to participate in everything, splitting up does give each other some space and the fear of missing out (fomo) will be dealt with before they get there. Maybe consider bringing a friend for the only child or even meeting up with fellow seniors so Grandma has someone to converse with.
Main point is to not over schedule your trip… let it go!
Travelling with teens
Having a teen accompany the family on vacation, can bring a fresh perspective to the overall trip. Their young eyes and wonderment will excite you and in the end, the education they receive will be life changing for them. Teenagers do come with their challenges for sure. They love to sleep, eat and play on wifi. Not in that order for sure.
Let them sleep in whenever possible and when they awake, let them be the first to speak, again if possible. When you’re out getting a meal, let them have whatever they want, the finest establishments can usually cook up a burger when needed. This is their vacation too, let them eat cake!
Best not to limit their screen time. Find a room with good wifi or get them a package where they can roam all they want, most teens work, so this can be their added expense if needed. For the over-packer, remind them that they are in charge of their bag, to carry it in airports and hotels. Weight restrictions are for real and they need to understand the consequences. A good deterrent for that, is to tell them to leave room for souvenirs. With regards to souvenirs, give them a budget, another learning tool they can use later in life.
Some teens are still growing, so really make sure their footwear and outerwear still fit and are comfortable. You don’t need to hear “My shoes are giving me blisters”.
Set down the ground rules when travelling (and for life really); don’t ever flash money, electronics or jewelery. Don’t accept drinks or food from strangers and don’t give out personal information like last name, room number or phone number. To keep a teenager happy, give them down time, they need their space. Let them connect with their friends, watch videos or play games online.
While they are getting their space, go get a coffee, go for a run or do a little shopping, time for yourself !
Travelling with seniors
Travelling with Grandma and Grandpa can be more challenging than travelling with a toddler, but it doesn’t have to be. Of course they don’t want to want to be left out of activities, but their limitations are real and need to be addressed. Each senior has different limits when travelling, an all inclusive resort or cruise may work best for meal options and onsite entertainment.
Look for non-stop flights during the daytime, elders are not big fans of red-eye flights. Before your trip you should ensure they have certain items covered including travel insurance and medications. With regards to travel insurance, purchase with comprehensive coverage that covers any pre-existing illnesses, more is better. Make sure all medications are packed in your carry-on bag and bring at least one weeks worth of extra. A doctor and dentist visit before your trip is always a good idea.
Pack an extra pair of eyeglasses and even compression socks to reduce blood clots while flying. People with pacemakers or who use wheelchairs have to deal with different types of airport screening and metal detectors, ask your airline for more info regarding these issues.
Resources and Activities
Find a hotel that has an elevator or request a ground floor room. Any steps can be an issue and should be discussed pre trip. Are they beach or pool worthy? How long can they handle a road trip ? Are they in a wheelchair? These questions are important to discuss, seniors need to be near bathroom facilities, they can’t sit too long, they can’t always walk on sand and cobblestone streets are not easy for them. It’s not all doom and gloom though, seniors can bring a lot of love and laughter to your vacation.
Make sure they get some activities they requested like garden visits, quilting shops, brewery and distillery tastings, luaus and museums. Many love to read, so pack a couple books and many accommodations have book exchanges. Let them help in planning meals, seniors love to eat and like to know when or where the next meal is. Lastly, plan for daily happy hours, they didn’t get that old without them. 🙂
In conclusion, as much as you want to, you can’t make everyone have a good trip. You can monitor your mood but not others, just try to not let it affect each other. Look for activities that all ages can participate in, like a cooking class, this will be helpful for the teens future and grandma can always learn new foreign recipes. Get that teen into a challenging activity, something new to them, even just for the bragging rights. As well, volunteering can be a family event, they may scoff at the idea, but will appreciate it and themselves, at the end of day.
When travelling with any age, keep some things hidden until really needed, a new journal, their favorite snacks for the room or maybe a wine pairing list for meals. Just plan for down time, no rushing, keep it simple. No senior (or teen for that matter) wants to be running through an airport to catch a flight.
Expect the unexpected and just go with the flow.