Teenagers are notorious for not loving the idea of a family road trip. Perhaps you’re lucky and your teen is buzzing with excitement at the thought of exploring this beautiful country, but if not, we’ve got some tips for you.
Whether you’re planning to do the Big Lap, or only taking the kids on the road for a couple of weeks, the chances are you have at least one grumpy teenager begging you to let them stay home.
Before you either give up and just cancel the whole trip, or resign yourself to your fate and accept the idea of dragging an angsty teenager along against their will, consider trying out some of our ways to actually get them excited about it - or at least tolerate the thought of it!
1. Let them help with the planning
More often than not, the biggest reason that teenagers dread the thought of a family road trip is the feeling that they will be trapped with no friends and no choice in how they spend their time.
Delegating some of the planning to them will give them a greater sense of control and also let them choose destinations and activities that are exciting to them.
This tip benefits you, too. Less planning duties, and you are letting your kid get themselves excited for the trip rather than having to do it yourself!
2. Market it as a way to get their driving hours up
If you have a teenager on their L plates, the idea of getting to drive on the Australian open road might actually be more thrilling for them than you’d think.
If you are driving a larger vehicle that they have never driven before, or is a manual transmission, make sure they’re adequately equipped to drive your chosen road tripping vehicle first.
If you need to teach them how to drive a manual for the trip, get them to give this step by step guide a read and start to teach them before the trip, either yourself or with the help of a professional driving instructor.
3. Give them a sense of independence
Before, we mentioned the value in allowing your teenager to help with planning the trip, but this point refers to giving them a sense of freedom within the day to activities throughout the trip itself.
Don’t over allocate time to specific activities and force your kids to participate in them alongside you. Instead, you should take a more relaxed approach to the way you spend your time. Let your teens take themselves for a walk, go on their own adventures and meet new people their own age as much as possible.
Balancing a sense of independence and worries about their safety can be challenging, but using your best judgment should be sufficient in ensuring their safety as you allow them more freedom.
4. Be aware of their space
On a family holiday that is carried out in as close quarters as a road trip, teenagers will value nothing above their personal space.
If you teenager is squished in with their entire family for the majority of the time for weeks or months on end, they are going to get agitated and moody - and come to think of it, so will you!
If you are planning to go in a regular size car for more than just a few weeks or months, you may want to either invest in a larger vehicle such as a camper or a regular van, or find ways to limit the time spent driving per day.
Additionally, regular breaks on longer driving days where they have the opportunity to go on a solo walk or have something to eat at their own table are good ways to combat crankiness too.
5. Be lenient with technology
Consider loosening your usual rules in regards to screentime. We know that everyone has different rules for their kids surrounding the use of devices, and some none at all. But whatever your stance is, relaxing it has a pretty good chance at getting into your teenagers good books.
With such a large amount of driving will come boredom for teens. Letting them use their phones more than usual will help to keep them entertained, and entertained people are less irritable, and more cheerful.
6. Don’t skimp on the snacks
You’ve probably heard someone refer to themselves being ‘hangry’ (hungry and therefore angry) before, and for good reason. Hangry has some scientific backing behind it, and the last thing you want on your road trip is any circumstance that has the ability to exacerbate your teens already less than sunny disposition.
In the days leading up to your departure, ask your teenagers to come with you to stock up on some car snacks. Going to the shops together ensures that they get the snacks they want, while providing you the opportunity to sneak some actually nutritious food in the basket so no one perishes on the journey.
Have a good trip!
Thanks for reading. We hope that our advice sends you on the road to a family holiday with minimal whinging, and hopefully a life changing experience that brings the entire family closer together.