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Healthy Tips

3 Tips for Traveling with Teens and Pre-teens

Plan Family Trips Even a Teen Will Love

A little bit of planning can lead to a family vacation that will leave you and your teen with memories that last for years to come.

Traveling with a teen or pre-teen can be challenging, so it helps to get them involved during the preparation phase. Family Medicine Physician Lisa M. Glosson, MD, Northwestern Medicine Woodstock, shares her tips to make your next vacation an enjoyable one.

Choose a destination with activity options.

Teens love to feel adventurous, and trying new activities with their parents will create memorable moments for everyone.

“Studies show that pre-teen and teen brains are more excitable, which can be a positive when it comes to taking on new challenges as a family. The frontal lobes of their brains, which control reasoning and logic, won’t be fully developed until they’re well into their 20s. If you are willing to try something new with your kids, you’ll appeal to their thrill-seeking brains and at the same time make sure everyone is safe,” says Dr. Glosson.

Include time for relaxing.

“My pre-teen and teenage patients often feel stressed by school, social media, and interactions with their friends and family,” Dr. Glosson says. Travel is an opportunity to unwind and recharge, and she recommends setting expectations about teens’ screen time and giving them time to sleep in. She adds, “I always remind my young patients: There is nothing wrong with taking time to relax. It gives your mind time to wander and time to rest. Sometimes that’s what we need most!”

What’s second nature for you isn’t for them.

Before you leave home, double-check their bags to be sure they’ve packed their regular medications and first-aid items they may need. Adults are accustomed to packing the essentials, but many teens and pre-teens still think they only need a change of clothes. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen. It’s one of the best ways to protect your kids, and often overlooked when packing.

Looking for other tips for safe travel? Here is a to-do list to help you prepare for your vacation, plus teen-friendly and heart-healthy foods to stash in your carry-on or bring on your road trip.