Faraway Files #19

TRAVEL BLOG COMMUNITY

LET’S BUILD COMMUNITY

Last week in Paris we took a street art walking tour with Underground Paris. It took us to parts of the city that we hadn’t been to before and gave us first-hand references for several techniques that street artists use. It was fascinating and colorful. So varied and unique the different styles of distinct artists.

I love Faraway Files for the same reasons. Every week, travel writers from all over the world share their unique voices, visions and experiences bringing color and enthusiasm to our Travel Blog Community. From Brisbane to Thailand to typhoons in the Philippines. We learned of ancient Italians and Renaissance artists as well as the Kings of England. We rode trains and took cruises and walked on wide beaches. It was a good week.

Missed them? Did you know we pin all the posts to our Faraway Files Pinterest page each week. A great way to find what piques your interest.

Where are you wanderlusting for this week? Me? I’m really craving a good road trip. I like the freedom that a road trip affords. I’d love to show you some of the American West and the gorgeous scenery in the National Parks.

FAVORITES WEEK #18

These are my favorites from last week – those posts that colored my world.

CatherineRose of La Vie en C-Rose shows us her first impressions of gorgeous Florence. And while the Italian Renaissance will always be important and gelato beckons, I love the whimsy of the strong modern street art culture that lives there now.

FLORENCE: FIRST IMPRESSIONS & TRAVEL RESOURCES | La Vie en C-Rose

Ava from My Meena Life takes us to idyllic Anna Maria island off the Gulf Coast of Florida. With swaths of white sand beaches like this – I’m in. This is a corner of the world I do not know well and Ava’s post has definitely piqued me. Step back. This is my chair! Just kidding. But don’t you want to sit there. Like now?

ENJOY ANNA MARIA ISLAND ON THE GULF COAST OF FLORIDA | My Meena Life

Welcome to Natalie of Nattie on the Road, newcomer to the Faraway Files community. Natalie offers a lovely and thorough guide to the beautiful Thai island of Koh Tao. From my grey Danish perch, I’m telling you, I would LOVE to swing on this swing!

KOH TAO ISLAND GUIDE | Nattie on the Road

And lastly, this post was so full of love that it has to be shared. While Hilary from Hilary Style Me shows us her love Los Angeles, I appreciate how a perspective open to love only sees love. It is lovely, Hilary. We all need a little more right now. Thank you for sharing!

LOS ANGELES, HOW I ❤️ THEE… | Hilary Style Me

FARAWAY FILES TRAVEL BLOG COMMUNITY LINKUP #19
WANT TO JOIN IN?

We’d love you to join us in building this supportive and growing community who will inspire and share each other’s posts. All three hosts will try to read and comment on every post and we’ll share them on social media too. Each week we’ll choose our favorites and highlight them on our blogs and social media channels using #FarawayFiles.

HOW IT WORKS:
  • Link up one travel-related post and add the Faraway Files badge onto the post or your blog (code below) or link back to the hosts.
  • The link up will go live every Thursday at 8 am UK time (9 am, CET) until midnight on Friday. It will alternate between Untold Morsels, Suitcases and Sandcastles, and Oregon Girl around the World.
  • Link ups work best if everyone shares so please comment on all three of the hosts’ posts and at least two others.
 
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Suitcases and Sandcastles

Postcards from an American Road Trip | Western States

Let’s Drive From Colorado to Oregon

“The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view”
Jack Kerouac, On the Road

The best way to experience the wide-open spaces of America is behind the wheel of a car. Take a road trip. It’s a big country. With many points of view and millions of viewpoints. I’m talking vistas, not politics right now. Call it escapism. Call it soul-searching. Call it what you will. There is freedom on the road. And beauty to behold. So much beauty. I’m feeling the call of the church of nature lately. Nothing fills my soul like a walk in natural wonder.

The Western United States has plenty of wonder on offer. I’d like to share a few of my postcards from the road. This was a road trip a few years back from Denver, Colorado to Portland, Oregon. We had planned stops and room for impulsivity. This is the recipe of a darn good road trip. Follow along with me.

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
Jack Kerouac, On the Road

B | MOAB, UTAH
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

Our first stop on our road trip from Denver home to Oregon was in one of my favorite U.S. National Parks. Situated just outside charming Moab, Utah – Arches National Park was like nothing I had ever seen before my first visit. We have now been several times and I highly recommend it. Great for all ages and levels of physical fitness there is something to impress everyone here.

Red rocks like the landscape of mars dominate the discoveries. Start at the Welcome Center just outside Moab. If children are along, sign up for the Junior Ranger program – a small booklet to engage in learning about the geology and biology of the area.

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
START HERE:

The park is open year round and the visitor center is open every day except December 25. Hours of operation change with the seasons. Current Visitor Center Hours: 9 am – 4 pm. Check website for current information before your visit.

TOP TIP:

The park is busiest March – October. Take care in summer months as temperatures can soar to 100°F (37°C) and shade is limited. Bring lots of water with you – limited facilities past the main visitor center. And remember sunscreen and wear sturdy shoes for hiking to get peeks at some of the park’s icons.

DON’T MISS:

Balancing Rock, Sand Dune Arch and Windows Arches. If yours are up for a walk – Landscape Arch is the longest natural arch in the park and the 5th longest in the world. There are thoughts that it won’t last much longer. Or plan for the 3.2 mile roundtrip (sections over slick rock with a 480m ascent) to see Delicate Arch with everyone else at sunset. So magical, the State of Utah put it on their license plates.

STAY:

Camping around Arches National Park
Unfortunately, the main campground inside the park at Devil’s Garden is closed for construction from March – November 2017. There are other campgrounds outside the main gates – you can find them listed here.

Moab KOA
3225 South Highway 191 | Moab, UT 84532

With littles along, the rustic charm of the Moab outpost of Kampers of America (KOA) is a welcome respite. We rent a “Kamper Kabin,” that sleeps 6 in 4 bunks and a double bed. Bring your own sleeping bags or bedding. But the value here lies with a swimming pool to cool off after hiking through the red dust as well as a mini-golf course for late evening fun with the family.

EAT:

Jailhouse Cafe
101 N Main St | Moab, UT 84532

Best brunch in town. Check for opening hours and plan accordingly. Outdoor seating during warmer months. Delicious.


C | BRYCE, UTAH
BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK

The State of Utah has five National Parks within its borders. (The third most per state behind much larger Alaska and California.) Bryce Canyon is a little off the beaten path, but offers a vista like none of the others. Hoodoos – strange rock formations created by the unique geology here dominate the landscape. Quirky towers, striated with whites, oranges, and reds sit below you in the valley. When viewed from the canyon rim, it is not difficult to be impressed with this vista. But I recommend that you hike down in and see them up close and personal.

 BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK
START HERE:

The visitor center here is excellent and offers talks and presentations as well as information on the local geology. In summer months – May to September – opening hours are extended from 8 am – 8 pm. During shoulder months April and October – open 8 am – 6 pm. Center closes at 4:30 pm in winter, November – March.

TOP TIP:

All Bryce Canyon hikes start at the canyon rim and head down to the valley floor. Be prepared with water and sunscreen and save energy for the hike back up. Horseback trail rides down into the canyon available as well.

DON’T MISS:

Thors Hammer and Wall Street on the Navajo Loop Trail. Or check out the Astrology Nights held at the Visitors Center affording views through the telescopes at the galaxy beyond. Because Bryce Canyon is isolated from population centers, it avoids light pollution and one has the potential to see the Milky Way and 7500 of the closest stars. Check website for details.

STAY:

Camping in Bryce Canyon National Park
North Campground and Sunset Campground both offer tent and RV sites. Only North campground is open year-round and on a limited basis.

Bryce Canyon Lodge and Cabins
Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, UT 84764
Reservations 1-877-386-4383

Historic lodge with 114 rooms available from April through mid-November. Rustic cabins, a general store, dining room and other amenities available.

For lodging outside the park – check here.


D | ORDERVILLE, UTAH
ROCKS & GEMS SHOPPING

No American road trip is complete without curious and authentic places to stop and experience real Americana. Orderville, Utah is a beaut of a stop for anyone interested in rocks and minerals. And even if you aren’t a self-proclaimed rock hound, you might be after stopping at one of the iconic shops here on Route 89 between Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, where we’re headed next. I mean where else can you grab a geode, onyx, petrified trees, crystals AND fossilized dinosaur teeth.

DON’T MISS:

The Rock Stop

Fisher’s Rock Shop & Jewelry
400 W State St, Orderville, UT 84758


E | SPRINGDALE, UTAH
ZION NATIONAL PARK

People come to Zion to commune with angels. Heaven on earth. But no matter what your religion, this park will move you. Currently, it sits firmly in my top three U.S. National Parks for purveying epic and awe-inspiring landscapes. Of the five National Parks in Utah, Zion is the granddaddy. Greener than the barren martian landscape of Arches N.P., Zion sits along a slot canyon formed by the Virgin River. It is also one of the most popular parks in the Western States and sees an average 4 million visitors annually. Plan your visit here early summer or early fall to experience all of Zion’s majesty.

Nearby Springdale, Utah – like Moab – has become an adorable outpost for park visitors, hikers, adrenaline junkies as well as families. The Virgin River continues its course out of Zion and right down along Springdale. Great options for accommodations, restaurants and cafes here as well as many stops for the free shuttles that take you right into the park.

Zion NATIONAL PARK
START HERE:

Start at the Visitor Center to pick up a current park map and guide with up to date listings on trail conditions and shuttle stops. Excellent bathroom facilities, gift shop for sunscreen you forgot and places to fill up your water bottle with Zion spring water.

TOP TIP:

If you want to drive into the park – come EARLY. Parking is greatly limited inside Zion, and Visitor Center lots will fill by mid-morning. OR skip parking hassles and park in Springdale and grab free shuttles which run from March to November.

DON’T MISS:

Weeping Rock and Riverside Walk along the Virgin River. Then in warmer months – a hike up the Narrows in and out of the river is a must, but will be crowded. Check with Visitor’s Center for less popular trails with equally amazing viewpoints.

STAY:

Camping at Zion National Park
Zion has two campgrounds in the canyon. These are South and Watchman Campgrounds. Reservations can be made at Watchman online. Otherwise, plan to come early to try for a spot as most fill by noon from April – October. I told you it was popular here.

Zion National Park Lodge
Only in-park lodging with dining facilities available year round.

Desert Pearl Inn
707 Zion–Mount Carmel Hwy | Springdale, UT 84767

If you have one place to splurge on your road trip, save your pennies for a night at the Desert Pearl. After camping in Bryce it was a perfect respite. Ask for a family room on the Virgin River side and your spacious accommodation will open up onto a grassy area right along the shaded river with beautiful red rocks looming in the distance. The river is narrow and shallow here – a perfect place for kids to swing and float down the water a bit, then clamber back up the bank to do it again. Catch frogs. Swing from the rope right over the river. Too much nature for the day? Take a dip in the pool with views of the red rocks and watch the moon rise.

EAT:

Bit and Spur Restaurant and Saloon
1212 Zion Park Blvd | Springdale, UT 84767

Tex-mex with attitude. Fun decor and outdoor patio. Great margaritas and guacamole. Perfect after all that hiking!

Larsen’s Frostop Drive-In
858 St George Blvd | St George, UT 84770

Classic American road trip pit stop. Burgers, fries, milkshakes of every ilk. Make mine a vanilla malt please. A must stop leaving Zion on your way to Vegas. Yes. I said Vegas, baby.


F | LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
LAS VEGAS STRIP

Now a good American road trip is chock full of yin AND some yang. For all that nature, we have to create balance. One night in Vegas is usually enough to do it. And yes. I do believe you can take your children to Vegas. For a night. All that neon is fascinating to everyone.

START HERE:

The classic welcome to Las Vegas sign. You may have to wait your turn to get your pic, but come on. It’s an instant classic. Lucky for you the sign now sits in the middle of a median at 5100 Las Vegas Boulevard South. Parking spots available and paved paths lead to the sign.

TOP TIP:

If traveling with children, be aware that Sin City can live up to its name. Keeping exploration to daytime and early evening hours and specific sites will minimize concern. Many of the big hotels on the Strip have amazing pools that are a big splash with families, especially after the camping and hiking of previous days.

DON’T MISS:

The water show in front of the Bellagio, the Big Apple roller coaster atop New York-New York, shopping under Caeser’s Palace and the light show at the Fremont Experience.

STAY:

There are a million places to stay and something for every budget. If you prefer your lodging without the ding-ding-ding of a casino floor, check out these lists for non-gaming hotels. Here and here.

The Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino
129 Fremont Street Experience | Las Vegas, NV 89101

When in Vegas, baby. We went old school for our Vegas family experience and choose to stay at the iconic recommend the Golden Nugget for two reasons. It has a pool with water-slide through a shark tank. I’m not kidding. Hours of entertainment. And, second, it is part of the Fremont Street Experience – a huge LED canopy that connects several Vegas casino legends with a shopping mall and restaurants. Nightly light shows on the huge canopy begin at dusk.


G | HAWTHORNE, NEVADA
MINERAL COUNTY MUSEUM

Leaving Las Vegas – you could opt to continue your road trip west to Los Angeles. But we’re from Oregon – so we’re headed north. With a couple of the deepest alpine lakes on the map to round out our journey. Nevada is not a small state and transversing it takes determination. When Lake Tahoe is your target, believe me, its worth it.

But before we get to those gorgeous blue waters, we’ll cross through some wild, wild west. Tumbleweeds and sage brush and teepees and cactus. LOTS of cacti. And then out of nowhere is the peculiar town of Hawthorne, Nevada. It’s worthy of a stop. Home to around 3000 inhabitants, the local economy here is mostly providing for the local Army depot. A stop at the free Mineral County Museum gives a glimpse through time at what life was like in this part of America.

Don’t Miss:

Mineral County Museum
400 10th Street | Hawthorne NV, 89415


H | LAKE TAHOE, NEVADA/CALIFORNIA BORDER

Ahhhh. You made it. It was long and at times desolate. But Tahoe calls. Can you hear it? Whispers through the tall pines that line the surrounding mountains. Come to the lake.

Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the United States and straddles the border of Nevada and California. Today, we’re staying on the Cali side, but both sides have merits. We drove far today and will set up camp and stay. For two nights.

TOP TIP:

Summer is beautiful here, but Lake Tahoe also has world-class ski resorts for those interested in winter action. Check out Heavenly, Diamond Peak, Squaw Valley and Mount Rose.

DON’T MISS:

South Lake Tahoe and beautiful Emerald Bay. On the Nevada side, take the lift up to the top of Heavenly for amazing views over the lake and a great restaurant at the top. Want to get out on the water? Take a turn on a sternwheeler that leaves from Zephyr Cove.

STAY:

Camping around Lake Tahoe
There are tons of places to camp around Lake Tahoe. For crowd-sourced reviews of specific campgrounds – check out The Dyrt.

William Kent Campground

We enjoyed the rustic campsites across the street from the Lake at William Kent Campground near Tahoe City on the California side. Easy access to Tahoe City for provisions or good restaurants, William Kent sites are wooded and semi-private. Bear lockers available and recommended for safe keeping of all your food stuffs. Yes. Bear lockers. Use them people. They’re there for a reason.

EAT:

S’mores around a campfire. Three simple ingredients. Pure American summer perfection. Marshmallows. I recommend Jet-Puffed mallows. Don’t believe that there is a difference between American marshmallows and other marshmallows? I am here to tell you there is. Believe it or not, but I think American marshmallows are less sweet than those I’ve found here in Denmark. Toast your marshmallow to a golden brown perfection where the middle is just perfectly melted and about to slide off your stick. Set it gently atop a square of Honey-Maid graham crackers and carefully insert one brick of Hershey’s chocolate. Squish together with a second square of graham and let sit a minute to ensure time for the chocolate to melt. Now taste. Ahhh. Smile. You’ll want some more if you did it correctly.


I | KLAMATH FALLS, OREGON
CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

Lake Tahoe is second only to Crater Lake, which sits a little further north in southern Oregon as the deepest freshwater lake in the United States. The crystal clear blue water sits inside a volcanic caldera created after the eruption of the former Mount Mazama approximately 8000 years ago. When we arrived mid to late June, summer had not yet hit Crater Lake, snow still closing down some roads and trails. Overcast skies did not afford the best blues the lake has to offer, but the park still impresses.

From Crater Lake, we made it home to Portland. There is much to explore in Oregon that I will share in further posts. But for now, with nearly 2000 miles (3200 km) under our belt in a week’s time, we need our own beds. Our own shower. And rest for our weary feet.

But our experiences from the road will leave watermarks of wonder. For a long time after. Get out there. Buy the ticket. Take the ride. Feel the freedom of the open road.

Suitcases and Sandcastles

10 Tips for Successful Travel with Your Teens

These are tried and true ways to rock travel with teens in tow.

Oh. My. Gawd. Seriously. Mom. Stop. Stop it.

Eyes roll. Shoulders shrug. Backs turn. Feet shuffle. A few paces away. I do not know you. I am not related to you. Maybe even hoodies pull a little lower over faces. Or beanies down. Heads definitively away. Buried in phones perchance? Anything to disassociate themselves. From YOU.

Traveling? With teens in tow? Ever felt like you are suddenly the most embarrassing person on the planet to your teens? Uh. Every day. Oh! You too? Welcome to the club. It’s fun here. Especially when you put teens in a situation that takes them ever so slightly outside of their fragile comfort zone. Immediately that propensity by parents to perpetuate gross affronts escalates. Like instantaneously. Upon landing. (Sometimes even while you are still in the air getting there.) Anytime you maneuver your offspring outside your bubble, there is potential to exasperate. Both you. And your teen.

BEEN THERE DONE THAT

Stop trying to speak the language mom. Stop pretending that you know where you are. Stop taking pictures of me. I mean it. STOP. NOW. Stop telling everybody everything about us. I just told them we live in Denmark, not our social security numbers. MOM. They don’t care.

Um. But I do. I’m engaging here. Interacting with the locals. They asked anyway. And they can decide if they don’t want to make small talk with me by their own selves. Just like you. My dear teen.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not always like that. But it definitely has been. On occasion. Or two. Or more. Who’s counting? Not me. But here’s my math. (Maths if you’re British.) Currently living under my roof are two full-fledged teenagers and one trying to keep up full blooded tween. I will have a good five to six years in this zone with all three smack in the middle of this age group. And a good five years after that until they’ve all graduated through teendom. Yay me! How ’bout dem apples.

(P.S. I love my teens. And my tween.)

REASONS TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR TEEnAGE CHILDREN

A million and one posts have been written advocating travel with your children. Start them young and I concur. It’s cheaper. They take up less room. They’re somewhat containable. They don’t have opinions yet. Terrible two’s don’t count. It’s a great time to travel with your littles. When they are just that… little. You know, soooo – by the time they are teens turning into young adults, they will be perfectly compliant, capable and confident traveling companions. Right? Wrong. Sorry.

Take your teens traveling and you can possibly exacerbate, irritate and otherwise aggravate your humans in their already volatile state. Those humans that you brought into your own hearth and home. Hormones are real people. Learning to navigate their effects while outside your comfort zone can be chaos. But for all the potential pouty faces, mood swings, general apathy and outright egregious offenses to their newly emerging independent identities – I’m here to tell you that traveling with teens can be amazing. I promise.

TASTE THE RAINBOW – TAKE YOUR TEENS TRAVELING

Teens are interested. (When you figure out what interests them.) And interesting. Truly. Teens have enough life under their belt to be able to make comparisons and understand contrasts. Teens are smart. They know things. They know A LOT OF THINGS. You don’t need to tell me mom. And when they share those things – when you let them – you both can learn.

Teens notice things. When you encourage them to look up from their screens. And it’s probably not the same things that you notice. It is fun seeing the world through their eyes. Through their filters. You, as the ever protective parent, will still be surveying the area like a ninja anticipating all potential threats, danger zones and subway gaps. They, on the other hand, will be the first to notice the cool guy with the colorful hair and anywhere that sells ice cream. Oh! Yeah. That is cool. I will continue to advocate travel with your potentially temperamental teen. But there are ways to make it easier. For you. And your teen.

TEN TIPS TO MAKE TRAVELING WITH YOUR TEEN AMAZING

I can assure that all of the following tips on how to enjoy traveling with your teen have been field tested. Thoroughly. We have experienced lots of trials. And errors. Every moment of every trip has not gone swimmingly. But that’s just life with a teen. And tweens, to be honest. It’s a gentle balance of lowering expectations while raising them at the same time. Let me explain.

1. Engage them in Travel planning

From the very beginning. Gone are the days that you can pick, plan and push your own agenda and expect perfect happy compliance. Believe me. I learned the hard way. Ask them where they would like to go. Make a list. A family travel wish list. Make sure to include potential activities that might interest them while in each location. Give them an idea of budget. More often teens have grandiose ideas of what travel means – being honest about costs can keep expectations in check. Let them suss out what costs what and then prioritize which activities hold highest interest. To them.

2. Keep them up to date on travel plans

Once settled in on a setting and some activities to pursue, keep them posted on what is happening when. If your teens are like mine, surprises can be upsetting. And they get a little suspicious. Wait, wait. Woah mom. Where are you taking us? Is this another one of your just one more block to see some old painting? Where are we going? Mom?! I hear that one a lot.

Let them know the plan for the next day and what is set and where there is wiggle room for improvising. I am not a scheduled person per se and travel with much more free flow without kids along. But I have found from first-hand experience that meandering seems meaningless to teens, without some sort of structure.

3. Balance between cultural and physical activities

My kids’ eyes start to glaze over when I mention the idea of stepping inside one more beautiful church. True story. I was literally told – after four days traipsing all over Rome, upon arriving in Florence – that I was allowed to take them to one church that day. One. OH, THE PRESSURE. (Side note – did I tell you I studied Italian Renaissance art at uni? I did? Then you understand how difficult that ultimatum was.) But I give. They give. It’s a balance. And just as I’m not interested in (or able to afford) ziplining through the jungle or scuba diving reefs every day, one church it is.

4. KEEP THEM FED

This seems simple. You’re a parent. You have always worried about providing well-balanced meals to help your children grow up healthy and strong. Don’t forget this on vacation. I’m serious. It’s easy to do. You get carried away with what to see, how to get there, what you are doing (having a great time of course because you have engaged your teens and kept them informed) that you forget to eat.

You are ok. You can handle it. Even if you feel a little famished, you don’t let it influence your perception of a place. But they do. Low blood sugar in hormonal teens is a very bad combination. Keep healthy snacks in the day pack to bridge gaps between meals. Everyone will be more receptive to that medieval castle’s display of gilt chalices that you are dying to get to. If they aren’t hungry. Don’t make your teen hangry. It’s not pretty.

5. Work With Their BiorHythms

Make sure they get enough sleep. My teens are notorious night owls. And they definitely sleep in. I programmed them well. From the beginning. Or maybe it’s genetic. Who me? *Wink, wink. But sleepy teens are about as much fun as hangry teens. Again. This seems straightforward, but if your teens naturally sleep in, don’t plan to take the first tour across town. Resistance. Push back. Humphing. Nobody likes humphing. Let them sleep. Go get a coffee with your partner, pick up some healthy snacks. Come back and then start the day. Less humphing. Usually.

6. Let them connect

Living in Copenhagen, my children all have phones. In Denmark, and Europe in general, children are afforded a greater independence and autonomy. My children make their way to school and activities on their own. I feel safer that they have a phone with them. With the phone comes social media applications. Kids want to connect. Let them. Not all the time while traveling. But give them some space and time to share their experiences with their friends.

When you are traveling together in close confines with the entire family jammed in a rental car or sharing a hotel room, that private space that teens crave can be lacking. Make sure your accommodations have wifi, or that you have a huge bank for data. Giving our teens some time each day to plug in and tune out or snap with friends seems to recharge everyone’s batteries.

7. Use technology to enhance travels

For teens who can’t live without the tether of their technology, give them a task. Download site specific apps and put them in charge. Many cities have apps that make public transportation tolerable. Download before you go and let them help with train routes.

Encourage them to search for what interests them and guide you to it when in town. Do you have a sneaker-head in your house? Have him look up where the local shops are and save them in Google Maps. (You can download specific areas to use offline.) Then let him take you on a tour to find them. We saw parts of Paris that I have never seen this way. He felt empowered. We enjoyed the enthusiasm.

8. Don’t ask for a selfie

But let them Snapchat away. They don’t want to associate with you – remember? This tip applies to photographing your teen anywhere in public in general. Nothing annoys my teens more than – hang on wait – let me get a picture of you guys! Wait, let those people leave, no, move over, stand this way, hang on, right…. THERE! In bodies that are changing and growing and taking up more space, being singled out and made to feel even more conspicuous as you attempt your perfect family Christmas card shot feel like their seventh layer of hell. If you have a selfie taker – lucky you! If you don’t – don’t force it.

9. Arm them with cultural information

Teens can feel conspicuous in their own skin. Bodies growing, voices changing, hormones raging. Taking them to a foreign country or even to a different state can make that feeling grow by a factor of ten. Blending in by understanding some background about where you’re headed will help. Give them a few phrases. Yes. No. Please. Thank you. Excuse me. Start there. Helping them respect the culture you’re visiting will make them feel more comfortable and open to experiencing.

10. Respect their perspective

Your teens aren’t you. They have opinions and feelings and approaches to life that you may not understand. I have three different approaches from my three different kids. What is deemed a parental offense by one, may not bother the other. Trying to be conscious of those differences is important. Challenging. But important.


Other Travel Bloggers with Teens Offer Their Tips
HILARY GUDGEL FROM HILARY STYLE ME

Hilary is a blogger currently living in Southern California with her two teen boys. She has taken them across Europe and Asia and has learned her own ways to engage them when traveling.

We all know teens can be a fickle bunch, so how do I get my 14-year-old to go with the program when traveling? Of course, every teen is different, and it changes by the hour, but here are a few of the tricks up my sleeve. Empower them! Give them the guidebook and ask them to choose three ideas that specifically interest them, then make sure to actually do one of them. Teens love their phones, ask them to use Yelp or other Internet tools to locate a good restaurant in the area, find out when the train is leaving or look up other information related to the day’s agenda. Visit somewhere related to their current studies! It’s always fun to be able to say, “Hey! I’ve been there!” when they return to school. When all else fails, appeal to their childish nature… Good Luck!

HILARY GUDGEL AND HER TEEN TRAVELER IN IRELAND | Hilary Style Me Blog
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PHOEBE THOMAS FROM LOU MESSUGO BLOG

Phoebe has been traveling the world since she was 10 days old. Since then she has lived in 9 countries and traveled to 65. She has been taking her children along traveling since they were young and her 17-year-old has now been to 32 countries and her 11-year-old to 26. They have spent time on four continents and currently live in the Côte D’Azur, France.

Travelling with teenagers can be lots of fun, honestly, you just have to have the right expectations and work around their rhythms whenever possible/practicable, while taking into account the rest of the family too of course.

Here are some of the things we do in our family to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.  Take a friend!  Friends are so important to teens, way above family, that bringing along a friend if at all possible, changes everything (we do this a lot for day trips or weekend breaks).

Accept that the mobile phone will be omni-present and don’t fight it (too much!)

Try not to plan too much in any one day, allowing for down time in cafés with wifi, parks to lie in the sun etc.

Try not to have too many early starts – but when unavoidable accept that the teen will sleep on the tour bus/in the train and will not look out of the window marveling at the view but will therefore be on form for the actual visit/event later.

Allow independence, whether this means leaving the teen at the hotel/apartment for some time alone or letting them go to eat/shop without adults every so often.

Eat a lot! Teens are always hungry and get as grumpy as a toddler if not satiated.  Accept that you can go to less “authentic” restaurants every now and then such as a burger chain, don’t get hung up on always having to eat local.  After all eating MacDonalds on the Champs Elysée in Paris is an experience in itself even if it’s not one you’d ideally have!

Try and avoid queues – pay the extra for fast passes or research ahead of time the best way to avoid long lines as teens and waiting do not go well!  Remember it’s their holiday too and hopefully it’ll be a great success.

PHOEBE THOMAS’ TRAVELING TEENS IN VIETNAM | Lou Messugo
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CLARE THOMSON FROM SUITCASES AND SANDCASTLES

Clare is a former travel writer for the Daily and Sunday Telegraph in England. Although her adventures may no longer include backpacking for six months in India, she believes strongly that traveling and culture with kids can be fun. Her two boys are just entering the teen zone, but Clare realizes the importance of engaging them from the beginning when talking travel.

My tip for travelling with teens is to get them as involved as possible with the planning so that they feel included when choosing where to go and what to do. Get them to do their own research about your destination and ask them to suggest places they’d love to visit – whether it’s a tourist attraction, a restaurant or a specific shop. When you’re there, let them take control by guiding you to their chosen sights and explaining what’s so special about it.
Downtime is really important to teens so always factor in enough time for them to flop in your hotel or appartment before heading off on another family activity. And finally, try not to get too wound up when they revert to stroppy teen mode when they’re tired or hungry!”
CLARE THOMSON AND SON | Suitcases and Sandcastles
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HAVE TEENS WILL TRAVEL
MY TWEEN AND TEENS | Oregon Girl Around the World

I hope this list helps and encourages you to take your teens traveling. Been there done that? Have other ideas to engage and interest kids in this age group? I’d love to hear. Please share in the comments below!

Know someone who is about to tread in this teenagedom territory? Tell them about these tips.

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