Traveling with Teens

Our family enjoys travel both in Mexico and in Canada. We have traveled with our kids since they were babies and we have seen a lot of what both countries have to offer. This year, however, I was a bit unsure of what our travel experience would be like because now we are officially traveling with two teenagers.

You may wonder how this is different than traveling with younger children. Many of you probably think that it should be actually easier now that they are older and more independent. And I think that’s both cute and inaccurate. I’ll tell you why:

Teenagers either have all of the energy or none of the energy. And there’s no telling which of the two will be true at any given moment, except that I guarantee they will be desperate to move when you are committed to sitting in an airplane for six hours, or ready for a nap when they announce it’s time to go out for a day at the park.

Teenagers have specific interests—usually things that are inconvenient while on a road trip in Canada, like going to the Eiffel Tower or watching anime on TV for six hours in a row.

Teenagers are too big to compel physically, and they are psychologically superior to parents in many ways because parents are mentally exhausted from over fourteen years of trying to compel children.

Teenagers don’t feel motivated to pack their suitcases until their bags need to be checked in, but do not like anything you would pack for them. Thus, I wasn’t sure how this trip to Canada was going to go, although my husband thought it was going to be great because he is unfailingly optimistic. Also, I suspect that it is also because he is still physically stronger (albeit shorter) than both of the children, and feels like compelling is still an option.

Surprisingly though, the trip has been a huge success so far, because the children have teenaged cousins who can empathize and can find interesting things to do that involve only people under twenty-one. Also, it turns out my kids have been pretty cooperative and have enjoyed most of the activities we have arranged, mainly because my husband and I no longer arrange things that we as adults enjoy. For example, a laser show in a planetarium IS pretty cool, but not something I’d do unless I had an adolescent with me.

No serious compelling has been necessary, because it’s about ten degrees cooler here, Mountain Dew is available everywhere, and there’s a Tim Hortons Donut Shop on every corner (if you are Canadian and you live in Mexico, you will understand the thrill).

Since Canada is cooler in temperature, it is far more enjoyable to run around and spend time outside. The humidity is not even comparable to a drippy Vallarta summer day, although Canadians around us tend to complain a lot when it is any hotter than twenty-five degrees Celsius.

On top of that, we are currently surrounded by family members who love and care about us, and who haven’t seen us in at least a year. To a teenager, that means a captive audience who is interested in whatever they have to say and who buys them presents. What could be a better way to spend a summer holiday, six-hour anime marathon aside?

So traveling with teens has been much better than I imagined. I have a feeling the time is going to fly by and we’ll be back sweating in PV before we know it. We’ll definitely be bringing back some Mountain Dew in the suitcase as a reminder of a great family vacation.