Pssst! Teens Tell Us Where They Really Want to Travel

Ah, teenagers. Try to engage them in a family discussion about where to go next on vacation, and you’ll often get a shrug and a “wherever.” Take heart: They really do have travel dreams, even if they’re disinclined to share them at that particular moment.

One workaround is to offer them a shortlist of ideas to choose from — at the very least, it might prod them to volunteer a few of their own. Those of us on the CB staff with teens have given you a head start by polling our kids about their bucket-list destinations. While their answers are as different as their personalities, a few common themes cropped up: exotic locales; high-adrenaline adventure; jawdropping scenery; beach downtime. Here’s what they told us …

Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

Lake Louise near Banff. Photo by Virtuoso

Top Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

Banff

I have always wanted to visit Banff, Alberta. This is one of those places that is as scenic in the summer as it is in the winter, which makes it a great vacation no matter the season. You can enjoy both the mountains and various lakes, such as Lake Louise and Lake Minnewanka, all in the same day. As a photographer, I would be like a kid in a candy store. — Jonathan Buckner, 19

Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

Australia’s Whitsunday Islands. Photo by Virtuoso

Australia

If I could go anywhere in the world, I would choose to go to Australia. I am intrigued by the animals there that can be found nowhere else on earth, especially the koala. I am also incredibly fascinated by the biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef and would love to go freediving there. The accents in Australia are pretty sweet too! — Sequoia Turner, 15

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Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

The Alhambra, Granada, Spain. Photo by Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie

Spain

Spain is a very interesting country, and I have always wanted to go. I love Spanish food (tapas, paella and churros are all delicious) and am fascinated by the rich history and culture. Also, who doesn’t love a good siesta, especially a teenager? — Doug Frederick, 13

Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

Japan’s cherry blossoms. Photo by Virtuoso

Japan

My dream trip would be to go to Japan to eat sushi, go to cat cafes and do a photo shoot with the cherry blossoms. Plus, they have 300 different flavors of Kit-Kats and vending machines that have cars! Who wouldn’t want to go there? — Riley Ethridge, 14

I want to go to Japan because the skiing is amazing. They get more snow than any resort on earth. The skiing culture that Japan offers is a unique experience that cannot be found in the U.S. Most of the resorts are usually not busy either. — Bergen Rosdahl, 16

Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel. Photo by Michael Wong

Israel and Palestine

History and military conflicts are an interest of mine … The main reason I would be interested in traveling to Israel and Palestine is because of the history of the region. I would love to see the old city of Jerusalem and see the remnants of many empires and nations across history. Within Israel/Palestine there are Roman, Greek, crusader, Ottoman, Arab and Hebrew buildings and artifacts. Places such as the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall would also be interesting to see, given their prominence and importance to the people of the region. In addition to the history, this region is also the center of modern-day conflict. I would be interested in traveling to the West Bank and seeing the contrasts between the Jewish-controlled areas and the Palestinian-controlled areas. While in Israel/Palestine, I would also love to take a day trip to see Petra in Jordan. — Anders Rosdahl, 18

Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

The Great Pyramid of Giza. Photo by Never House

Egypt

I want to go to Egypt. I think it would be cool to walk down the streets of Cairo and see the Sphinx and Pyramids. — Nathan Smith, 14

Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

Wanaka, New Zealand. Photo by Virtuoso

New Zealand

If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go to New Zealand. It has idyllic scenery and an abundance of outdoor activities. I have heard amazing stories from people who have been … One of my favorite movies of all time is Lord of the Rings, and it would be fascinating to see scenes from the movie. I also really want to go to a place where I can ski during our summer, and I’ve heard the snow and slopes are rugged and untamed … sounds fun! — Devon O’Shaughnessy, 16

Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

Matamanoa Island, Fiji. Photo by Markolf Zimmer

Fiji

I would go to Fiji. I would love to go somewhere with beautiful clear water and white sand beaches. Fiji is a beautiful place with many things to do and I would love to explore the islands, especially with family or friends. — C.J. Robinson, 19

Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

Ski Arpa north of Santiago, Chile. Photo by Juan Carlos Labarca

Chile

Everyone else thinks of summer and the beach, but I want to pack my skis and head to Chile to ski in July. We could chase the endless winter instead of the endless summer. — Will Stewart, 13

Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

Dubai. Photo by Virtuoso

Dubai

For my next trip I would love to go to Dubai. I had the pleasure of staying there for a couple of days, but I didn’t see as much as I wanted to. In the short time I was there, I loved the diversity of cultures, the architecture, the fact that you can be in the desert in a short space of time and the variety of food.  The main reason I would like to go back is to see some of the sites that I did not get an opportunity to see, such as the Palm Islands, the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain. I would also like to learn more about the culture, religion, dress and taste MORE of the food! — Aidan Considine, 14 

Family Vacation Ideas with Teenagers

The Maldives. Photo by Virtuoso

The Maldives

A place I’d love to go to one day is the Maldives. What draws me to the Maldives are all the wonderful pictures I have seen of the azure Indian Ocean and beautiful accommodation in the overwater bungalows. If I had the opportunity to travel to the Maldives, I would definitely visit a number of the islands and enjoy the local markets, and I really enjoy snorkelling, so that would be at the top of my list. Looking at this location, everything seems so beautiful and peaceful, and to me that would be a perfect trip. — Niamh Considine, 16 

Relevant Links:

Browse all tips and ideas for traveling with teenagers on Ciao Bambino

Teen travel tips: With age, family vacation priorities change

Best tips for traveling in Europe with teens

10 tips for a successful ski vacation with teens

72 hours in Rome with teens

72 hours in Paris with teens

72 hours in Barcelona with teens

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