Traveling with Kids Week: Tweens

We’ve covered traveling with babies, traveling with toddlers, and traveling with school age kids this week. On to tweens! The younger years are more work but older kids are more difficult to keep entertained. It’s key for them to have a say in what you do on vacation so it makes perfect sense to get all the tips directly from them. I think we have some budding travel writers on our hands!

Tweens on a trip courtesy of The Vacation Gals

Elizabeth Age 11 (daughter of Anne of Ciao Bambino)

When travelling on airplanes or boats make sure you take into account the fact that you will have to wait in lots of long, boring lines while your parents argue and shout with the person behind the desk and fill in boring papers. So you might want to have something to do e.g. read a book, play on a Nintendo, have staring competitions with your younger brother or listen to your iPod.

When you are waiting in a line and there just happens to be a yellow line in front of you stating; DO NOT CROSS THAT LINE! Trust me, I know that story, and it doesn’t end all that well but I not saying anything! ( But I’ll give you a clue; there are lots of shouty flight attendants!)

When packing a suitcase do not bring your two sets of ribbon watches, five pencil cases and 3 carry-ons! (And make sure your suitcase won’t burst on the conveyor belt! My Uncle burst his. Not nice having to pick up all your dirty underwear with 100 people staring at you!)

Try not to miss your flight 3 times in a row because then you have to watch your grumpy father try to bribe the person behind the desk! 5. In airplanes, step out of the toilet before you flush it because the noise is very loud.

Emily Age 11 (daughter of Jen of The Vacation Gals)

When it comes to traveling with adolescent children there are some things to keep in mind, For instance, if going on an airplane, portable electronics (like an iPod and/or Nintendo DS) will keep the tweens busy and quiet for most of the time. Otherwise, bring something like a deck of cards and play with your children. If you are taking a family cruise, allow some time for the young teenagers to hang out with people their age. Tweens love their parents a lot, but also really have great times with their own age group.

Most important, in my opinion, is making sure the vacation you’re going on has some fun activities for all ages of kids in your family. Once you’re in the hotel room (if it was a long day of traveling) let your tweens relax and unwind before the next activity. You should also allow your tweens to walk around a certain area where you know where they are, but they don’t have to be right next to you. If it makes you nervous, go to that area ahead of time to confirm that it is safe. Then they can feel like they’re on their own or with their friends, not feeling babied, but you know they will be okay. Even though this might seem like a lot, it is worth it when they say, “Wow, that was fun, can we go back next year?”

Berklee Age 11 (daughter of Dana of Ciao Bambino)

Whenever I travel to a country that has a food culture that is very different from ours, I am always sure to pack a small plastic container of peanut-butter. When I just can’t stand the different food any longer or something seems really unappetizing, I take out my peanut butter. Peanut-butter was the only reason I survived China for 2 weeks. Even though I love Chinese food, when you are actually in China, the food is distinctly different from ”American “ Chinese food.

Emma Age 11 (daughter of Dee of Travel and Travails)

I think most kids don’t want to be out seeing things all day. It’s nice to be able to go back to the hotel or apartment or wherever you’re staying and just hang out, listen to music, read or relax.

Include the kids in the decision making. Go to things the whole family can enjoy such as cool museums, like in a castle or about Viking ships, not just art museums. And parks with mazes or zoos where you ride around in a truck and walk over bridges, like we did in Spain, are fun for everyone.

I think I’m a pretty adventurous eater but sometimes it’s nice to not always have the local thing. It’s nice to eat something you’re used to once in awhile, like pizza or McDonalds.

Let your kids go to souvenir shops and buy things to remember their trip.

Eileen of Taking the Kids

Before tweens or teens fly solo, play the what if game – they may not be officially designated as “unaccompanied minors” so they need to know what to do if their flight is diverted, if they miss their connection (identify themselves to the flight staff immediately!) and know how to reach you.

Relevant Links:

Traveling with kids week: teen travel tips

Traveling with kids week: school age travel tips

Traveling with kids week: baby travel tips

Toddler travel tips

Tips for finding toddler friendly hotels

Toddlers travel tips – plane activity suggestions and ideas

Tips for flying overseas with babies

Tips for traveling to Europe with babies and toddlers

Ciao Bambino family travel destinations

Things to know about the best hotel and resort kids’ clubs

Start a Discussion

  • Okay, do I love this or what?! (Answer: yes. Yes, I love this.) This whole series is such a great idea!
    I’m curious regarding what it is about 11 year old girls, that so many of them start their essays with “When” or “Whenever.” Maybe they’re preparing their parents for the next few years, when their answers to our questions will be “Whatever.”

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