Tips for road tripping with teens and tweens

Tips for road tripping with teens and tweens

I was searching the internet for advice on road tripping with teens and tweens as we prepare for a trip we're taking later this summer. We've road tripped before, but it's been a few years, and we've never spent quite as much time in the car as we have planned for our latest adventure. Here are a few of the tips for road tripping with teens and tweens that I came across when searching.

* "Take lots of photos, save your mementos (such as tourist pamphlets, receipts, and postcards) and even take some videos along the way."

Love this advice from Jill Greenlaw in her post "Plan a Mother-Daughter Road Trip with Your Teen." It gave me the idea of asking my teen, who loves to make videos, to keep a video diary, with just a few minutes of video from each of our stops. It'll be fun to have a retrospective. I'll also challenge her to find tunes on that are well-suited to each of our several destinations.

* "Tweens and teens need extra time to do, well, anything. So give them plenty of advanced notice when it comes to packing. Be transparent with the expectations and time table. I generally start the preparation process with them four days before we leave."

I can't decide if I like wise reminder or the hilarious story of Patty Holliday's son forgetting his shoes best from her post "Six Tips for Road Tripping with Teens and Tweens." (Note to self: pack an extra pair of flipflops.)

* "One of the biggest differences between a teenager and the school-age set is that teens don’t need – or more importantly want – their days scheduled from start to finish. Whereas little ones love being busy and thrive going from arts and crafts to scavenger hunts to puppet shows, teens are happy to do a lot of well, nothing."

This is a reminder that I, a type-A individual who loves a plan and schedule like nobody's business, needed. I've included some downtime in our itinerary and I have to say that I'm looking forward to it, too. Thanks, Dana Rebmann, who wrote "Family Road Trips with Teenagers."

* "Play as a team - I’m not a big one for road trip games (okay, I loathe them), but on a long drive, they can generate discussion and laughter and make for a great bonding experience."

I may not loathe car games like Beth Markely declares she does in her piece "Travel with Teens: Road Trip Tips," but this is a good reminder that even if they're not your favorite, they can still be a fun way to pass the time. Alamo also has a few fun road trip game suggestions here. My teen is also a Mad Libs fan, so we'll be bringing some of those. You can find road trip printables for tweens here.

* "Listen. A car provides an ideal venue for older children to open up about their feelings. Since the driver looks straight ahead and the passengers often do too, conversation feels much less judgmental than a face-to-face talk. On a long stretch of highway when it's dark, you're likely to find out what it really felt like to come in third at the swim meet."

Love this advice from Candyce H. Stapen in USAToday.

* "I like to instill in my kids the value of doing good deeds. And while we try to do them at home, it is just as important that we do them while traveling too."

You can do good wherever you are, and Rebecca Darling of R We There Yet Mom? shares her family's favorite things to do that benefit others when they are road tripping in her post "6 Ways to Pay It Forward When Traveling."


I think every piece I read mentioned snacks, because tweens and teens eat. A lot. And most travelers, regardless of age, are a lot nicer when they're not starving. We avoid anything sticky or that can melt (including chocolate.)

* Have a trash container.

Another practical tip that I love is to put a plastic bag in an empty cereal holder to use as a trash container with a lid. It keeps the mess in a car to a minimum. Check to see that they don't have any holes and then they can double as emergency bags in case of car sickness. (Please don't ask how I know about that.)

* Pack extra patience and sense of humor.

It's possible that I ran out of patience on the way home from our last road trip and the resulting meltdown is now a source of family amusement. They are better at keeping their sense of humor at the top of the suitcase than I am, but I'm hoping to do a better job on this trip. Here's to a few deep breaths when things inevitably go wrong and to seeing the humor sooner, rather than later.

If you have any tips for road tripping with teens and tweens, I really hope you'll share them in the comments. Thank you!

tips for road tripping with teens

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Tags: road tripping with teens

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