Have your happy-go-lucky little-ones finally made the move to teendom? Worried this could be the end of your idyllic family road trips? Don’t despair, you’ve come to just the right place. Read our checklist on all you need to do to have a successful campervan trip with teenagers and you’re sure to have smiles all round. Or at least keep the door-slamming to a minimum!
Of course, every teenager is different. Some cope very well with the demands of their parents whereas others find them simply unbearable. But once they’re a few years into their teens, most could probably think of many things they’d rather do than go on holiday with you. It’s nothing personal, you’re not really ‘boring’ or ‘completely embarrassing’. It’s just that, at this age, teenagers are forming their own identity as adults and are almost pre-programmed to pull away from us.
Unfortunately, while teenagers may feel like they’re too old to tour with their parents, they may well still be too young to be left at home alone. It’s still your job to protect them and keep them safe from harm, even if they are now as tall as you!
To help you rise to the challenge read our handy checklist for touring with teenagers and make your holidays memorable for all the right reasons. While you’re planning your family fun make sure to add campervan insurance to your packing list. A lot can happen when you’re away from home and you want to stay protected.
- Start travelling with kids early
- Give them a say on location
- Get them involved in planning stages
- Let them bring a friend
- Packing and pre-journey checks to teach accountability
- Check their mobile phone tariff
- Consider screen time limits
- Sort Wi-Fi if you value your sanity
- Encourage eco-friendly habits
- Don’t interrupt their exam revision
- A dog can be a teenager’s best friend
- Let them organise an activity
- Think free!
- No early starts, thank you very much
- Mix it up a bit
- Family photos require some compromises
- A word about food
- Take time to get out of YOUR comfort zone, too
- Encourage them to document their travels
- Keep them safe
- Make time to talk
Start travelling with kids early
The earlier you start travelling with children in your campervan, the easier it will be as they grow older. Start small, start young, but just start. Whether an overnight stay in a campsite just down the road or a longer trip to the other side of the country, touring with children can come in many different styles. By all means do what you want to do, and travel the way that suits your family. But whatever you do, the point is to start and keep going.
Give them a say on location
A great way to create some enthusiasm among teens for any campervan trip is to let them choose the destination. Don’t underestimate your teenager, they’ll have some great ideas. You never know what new experiences you might find. Or maybe give them a choice of destinations around the country which will be fun for you as well as for them.
Get them involved in planning stages
There’s a lot to consider when planning your dream getaway, so why not let them take some of the load off by getting them involved? Teenagers like to know their views are being listened to and their feelings are being considered. Including them from the outset will have them looking forward to the trip in no time. So, grab the map together, open it up and have a chat about what there is to do and see at a particular destination. Letting each family member choose one activity that they particularly want to take part in while touring will save arguments when it comes to working out what to do each day.
Let them bring a friend
One thing any teenager will find hard is to be separated from their friends. So, why not take the plunge and see if their bestie wants to come along, too? It’s perhaps wise to choose a weekend trip to start off with, but having the company of others of a similar age will help keep your teenager happy. Even if you’re not up for taking more than one teenager away with you, you can still arrange a bit of socialising while you’re away. Perhaps meeting up or visiting family and friends who also have teenagers.
Be aware if you’re taking someone else’s child on holiday with you then you’ll need to make doubly sure that you’re well covered by campervan insurance. Just in case!
Packing and pre-journey checks to teach accountability
When you’re in a hurry it’s all too easy to take the responsibility for packing away from your teen and just do it yourself. Many parents get into a bit of a kerfuffle worrying they might forget their toothbrush, swimming costume, or any number of other essential items. However, part of growing up is learning accountability.
Packing for a trip away is the perfect time to teach your teen the value of planning and generating lists. Sitting down with your teen to come up with a packing list will make sure that things don’t get left behind and travel days are stress-free (well, almost).
And when you’re thinking about such things, what better way to teach than to lead by example. Include your teen in your pre-journey checks so they can appreciate some of what goes into planning a trip away. Alongside campervan insurance, completing the right pre-trip checks is a great way to avoid problems further down the road.
Check their mobile phone tariff
When your teenager is going to be spending time away from their home Wi-Fi and friends, then it’s safe to say they’ll be eating into their monthly data allowance at a much quicker rate. Checking your teen’s tariff before you leave will help prevent upset when far from home.
And if you’re planning a trip to Europe, then check the situation on roaming charges and consider putting their phone on a Pay As You Go tariff. That way, there’s no need to worry about them running up huge bills during your grand European adventure. Many providers offer deals perfect for travelling abroad and letting your teen keep in touch with their friends throughout.
Campervans are brilliant for touring through all the best European destinations. But if you’re planning a trip to foreign climes then be sure to check your campervan insurance before you leave. EU cover can be provided on most campervan insurance policies for an extra charge.
Consider screen time limits
A common source of frustration for parents on holiday with teens is the amount of time they spend gazing at electronic devices. On holidays, some parents even insist electronics are left at home. But in fact, this is a great opportunity to teach compromise.
Whether they’re an avid gamer or are wedded to social media, get together and work out periods of time when screen time is acceptable. For example, if you’ve got a long journey ahead, why not let them disappear into their devices? Later on, it will be much easier to get their attention. Working with them to come up with times like these is more likely to lead to a win-win for everyone. After all, it’s their holiday as much as yours, and you’re never going to convince them to ditch digital entirely.
Sort Wi-Fi if you value your sanity
Getting Wi-Fi in your campervan is a must for anyone, not just for teens. How else are you going to plan tomorrow’s route? What about streaming that great movie when it’s too wet to leave your camper?
From Wi-Fi dongles to 4G antennas there are so many options on the market, but not all will be perfect for you and your home on wheels.
Encourage eco-friendly habits
One of the best things about getting out in your camper is being surrounded by nature. This is the perfect opportunity to practise being more eco-friendly and getting your teen into some environmentally friendly habits. From foraging to beach cleaning to reducing plastic by refilling your water bottles, we’ve got some great apps to help you make your next trip a greener one elsewhere on our blog.
Don’t interrupt their exam revision
It may be many years since you last sat an exam, but for teenagers they are part and parcel of life. If you have a teenager in your family, then at some stage they’ll be taking their GCSE and A-level exams. A break away in the campervan might help them to relax, but don’t bet on it. You might need to put your touring plans on hold for a little while so they can stay on track with school work.
Also remember to find out when the UK exam results days are before booking a summer break, you don’t want to be away on the most important day of the year!
A dog can be a teenager’s best friend
If you happen to be touring with the family dog as well as teenagers, you’ll have a fair amount to think about. However, don’t forget that the extra four-legged family member can be a real bonus when it comes to keeping teens happy. Most family dogs and their teenage human siblings maintain deep bonds even while relations with mum and dad may be getting rocky. Taking the dog for a walk is the ideal excuse for anyone who needs to get away from their parents or is feeling a bit cooped up in the campervan. It can also be a good way to meet other teens who’ve been brought on holiday.
Taking your dog on your next campervan holiday? As well as campervan insurance, we’ve also got a guide just right for you and your pup.
Let them organise an activity
Okay, we all know that giving family members different jobs to do while on tour is an important part of working together as a team. But letting them take responsibility for arranging an activity is a great way to keep them interested, give them some independence, and let them gain useful organisation skills. However, for it to work it needs to be something that really interests them. And don’t complain if things don’t work out perfectly! It’s all part of the experience! From stand-up paddleboarding to mountain biking, you might just discover a new hobby yourself.
Remember, if you’re taking expensive sports equipment on tour, make sure it’s covered by your campervan insurance.
When it comes to activities, it doesn’t have to be something expensive or earth-shattering to get a teenager’s attention. Simply making popcorn over a campfire or toasting marshmallows are also memorable things to do at the end of a long day. Or what about a spot of star gazing? They may be growing up but even the digital generation loves the simple pleasures of life in the great outdoors!
That said, if you’re visiting a certain campsite or area for a particularly exciting activity then check ahead that it’s still on when you arrive. You don’t want to build everyone’s hopes up if you’ve come at the wrong time of year.
No early starts, thank you very much
Speak to most teenagers and ask them their opinion and they’ll say they prefer to stay up late and sleep until lunchtime. While that may be a bit unreasonable, it’s worth bearing in mind when planning activities that you want to be successful.
So, fancy a 9am start? Probably not. How about a leisurely breakfast around 10am followed by starting the day’s activities after 11am? And after getting up early every day to go to work, surely you wouldn’t mind catching up on some sleep yourself. You’re on holiday after all!
Mix it up a bit
When travelling with teens to a new place, all parents will have a strong desire to rush about and not miss anything. Everything for us is a must-see and a learning experience not to be missed. However, a jam-packed day of sight-seeing just won’t work for teens. Or at least it won’t work day after day!
Having some alone time during the trip, or at least time when they aren’t constantly on the move is very important for teens. After an all-day excursion or a few days with a lot of movement, make sure to follow up with a lazy day or two.
Whether exploring on your own while they chill at the campsite, or you both spend some time relaxing in your own ways, mixing it up is a great idea.
Family photos require some compromises
You may see your beloved offspring taking multiple quick-fire selfies at any opportunity, but that doesn’t mean they’ll smile sweetly for you when you want a family pic. If your teen isn’t keen on having their photo taken by you then try to restrict the number of shots you take with them. Make sure they’re worthwhile pictures and in memorable locations.
A neat trick is to let them take a photo of you all with their own device. This allows them to edit and post it on their own social media channels.
A word about food
For many adults, one of the joys of travelling is experiencing new food and delicacies from the local area. But teenagers aren’t always as receptive to this as we would like them to be, often wanting to opt for something familiar. While this may make your inner foodie weep, give them a break. They’ve got the rest of their lives to try all the weird and wonderful foods the world has to offer. Luckily, most local areas will usually have their own individual tweak to even the most traditional of dishes.
Take time to get out of YOUR comfort zone, too
We may spend lots of time encouraging our teens to get up and try new things, but what about us? When was the last time we really pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone? We’re not saying you should go crazy and throw caution to the wind but do try some things that you would not normally have a go at. You’re on holiday with teens and they will really appreciate you doing something you might not have done in the past. Going on a campervan holiday with your teen is a chance to really let your hair down, too!
Encourage them to document their travels
Whether or not your teen is into writing a travel journal of their trip, there are now so many social media apps that will allow your teen travellers to document their travels. Show an interest and help them out if they’ll let you. Family holidays are often something we look back on with such fondness in later life that it’s a great idea to record our memories.
Keep them safe
Teenagers might like to go wandering off on their own but that doesn’t mean you can’t still keep a watchful eye on them. Set up your phones so you have location trackers for family members - this is especially important if you’re touring in remote locations like the Highlands in Scotland for example.
Safety apps like What3Words and the NHS app might also come in handy if things take an unexpected turn.
Make time to talk
Perhaps the most important tip for travelling with teenagers is to take time to talk with them about whatever they want. Holidaying with teens can be the perfect time to discover who they are and what they like. You may have more time to sit and listen and it may be the first time they really feel comfortable talking with you about things they might have avoided in the past.
Mental health, for example, can be a tricky thing to discuss. Having some time away in a safe place with family might just give your teen the chance they need to open up. The NHS has some great tips on how to spot when your teen might be struggling.
So, what do you think of our ultimate checklist for touring with teens? If we’ve missed any top tips, let us know!
Campervan insurance is an essential part of any successful trip. Cover through Motorhome Protect can include things like:
- Unlimited EU Cover
- Enhanced cover for personal effects
- Offers if you’re a member of a campervan or motorhome club
Get a quick quote for campervan insurance today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.