For his 13th birthday, my son Bo asked for a trip to Minneapolis with me and his older brother. I love to travel and jumped at the chance to spend some one-on-one time with the boys. Plus, trips with teenagers are so much fun. They tend to open up and talk more, relax and goof around, and give you an excuse to eat a big greasy hamburger called the Juicy Lucy.
So, the boys are sleeping in the bed beside me. I’ve showered and dressed, and am beginning to think about breakfast. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in helping people record and preserve their memories, I forgot about making some of my own! So this blog answers how to make family memories and how to enjoy trips with teenagers.
Let them plan the trip
You’ll all have more fun and get along best if you just give up control of the itinerary and let them choose what to do. Not to mention, it’s so exciting when you follow someone else’s plan!
Bo is a planner. He wanted to stay near the Mall of America, go to the indoor amusement park and ride the roller coasters, shop at the Lego Store and buy one model, and try some Minneapolis foods. There were easy, fun things on his list, too, like lay in the hotel bed and watch bad movies with me and go swimming in the hotel pool (sadly it’s closed due to the pandemic).
But, the point is just to roll with it and let them guide your fun. I have no idea where we’ll end up today, but I know it involves “really good ice cream” and “a cool bridge we can walk across.” And likely another visit to the arcade.
Skip the chains and find local food joints
If you’re taking trips with teenagers, plan a big food budget. Good grief are they big eaters! But they’re also adventurous and enthusiastic eaters who want good food and crazy food challenges (think super spicy hot wings or giant burgers). Bring a big bottle of antacids and join them!
Bo is a foodie. He loves watching his favorite YouTuber, Binging with Babish, and reporting back on the amazing dishes he creates. He even bought the guys cookbook! So, before our road trip Bo researched Minneapolis restaurants and foods. He read about all the bars and restaurants that serve Juicy Lucy hamburgers — these crazy good fried burgers with molten cheese in the middle. So last night we found one of the restaurants that claims they invented them. They were delicious, and so were there Dragon Drool hot wings. It was worth the heart burn to help Bo cross a food off his bucket list.
My oldest son Mazy is an adventurous eater. He asked if we could leave the mall yesterday and eat somewhere local for lunch. (I played it cool but I was bursting with pride to have teenagers who appreciate local food and different ethnicities of food!) He found an amazing Cuban cafe in a cool, off-the-beaten-path neighborhood. The food was amazing. We shared bites of their Cubano sandwiches, fried plantains, my braised beef with black beans and rice, and Bo’s insanely good flan.
Bunk together at the hotel
Privacy is a big deal for teenagers, and rightly so. they’re beginning to figure out life and need time alone to do that. At home they spend a lot of time in their rooms. I see them between meals and at meals, but not too much else.
It would have been easy to book two hotel rooms for us, but what’s the fun in that?! I have loved sharing a room with them. Talking across the beds when the lights are out. Joining in the pillow fights. Fighting for the last dry towel. Embrace the closeness!
Now, I will say if we have our youngest daughter along with us, we usually get two hotel rooms. Five people in one room is just too much closeness…
Don’t delay, schedule a trip today
Every time I look at my 16 year old, I’m reminded of how soon he’ll be out of our house. Don’t wait. Plan a trip today. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Just get away for a few days. Trips with teenagers are a blast! You won’t regret one moment you get to spend with them. And you’ll make family memories to last a life time!
Another great way to make memories with your teenagers is to fill out a Family Time Capsule Kit. We happen to sell printed kits or digital PDF kits you can download and print at home.