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traveling with teenagers

We are starting a 3-week trip in Munich in mid-June and planning to see some of Ricks highlights in Germany, Tirol, Northern Italy (Cinque Terre?), Provence, Paris and fly out of Amsterdam. We are bringing our 16-year old daughter and want to make it as pleasant as possible for all of us! Any advice from experienced travelers? Thanks.

Posted by
202 posts

I've travelled happily with both male and female teenagers. My best advice is to give them the most freedom possible and let them be a part of the decision-making. For example, my daughters best day was when we gave them some Euros and told them to have fun (this was in Flensburg, Germany, a relatively safe small city). On another trip I was in Paris with just one daughter. I let her figure out the subways. I also let her pick a restaurant now and then--even though I would've rather eaten elsewhere.

Posted by
2000 posts

One thing that would be valuable (for both teenagers and adults) is to have a little bit of knowledge about some of the things you will be seeing there. I'm not advocating that you attempt to get your teenager to study French, Dutch or Italian history, but viewing the new movie Marie Antionette is a great, hip introduction. Perhaps reading the Diary of Anne Frank will make her museum in Amsterdam more meaningful, etc. And of course a little familiarity with art history is essential -- van Gough, Rembrandt, Picasso. I assume your daughter has an interest in seeing old European art and architecture. Perhaps a bit of background is necessary - or perhaps seeing it for the first time will inspire her to learn more. You can best judge what is likely to be the best approach. Rick's books give capsule histories of the various countries, cities and historical sights that are very readable and informative - a good read on the flight over. start.

Posted by
800 posts

Our tips for traveling with teens: 1)Be sure your daughter has a digital camera at her disposal. We carry at least 2 cameras for our family. My son takes pics that are very different from ours and it makes for interesting conversation. 2)If your family drinks alcohol consider allowing your daughter to drink - it is very different for teens to have a glass of wine or the local beer under LEGAL circumstances. 3)Come to an agreement on morning wake up calls. My teens knew we had to get up early to see St. Peters but there were some other times when we let them sleep while we went off for the morning. 4)Divide and conquer - try not to be all together all the time. When it was just my son traveling this past summer we did 2 rooms sometimes, triples at other times. At various sites we would break off into different groups. 5)Allow for down time - we all felt better at dinner if we had had a nap, read, etc in the afternoon. We are off to Italy this summer-our 17 year old son's favorite place!

Posted by
45 posts

Both Karens' had excellent advice for teens. We traveled to Paris when our daughter was 16 and she was totally in charge of the metro. We also took a day and went shopping at thrift stores and trendy boutiques because that's what she wanted to do (within a budget - tho). We also let her pick the restaurants most of the time but the rule was that she had to order her own meal using either French or the "point" method. She loved the Montemarte area as well as Musse d'Orsay (she didn't want to go the Lourve so we didn't go - knowing we would be back someday). She begged us to let her go explore the metro on her own (we consistently said no) but when we did give her the freedom to go off on her own (we asked her to go to the local market a couple blocks away) she changed her mind about freedom and wanted one of us to go with her.

Feel free to email me if you want specifics about Provence or Italy.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks everyone. I will put all the bits and pieces together to make it a good time for us all.
Connie, for some reason I couldn't e-mail you. Did you (or anyone), take your teens to Cinque Terre? It sounds like it's pretty quiet there. The main reason I would take my daughter there is for the beach. Is it safe for her to be out alone? Where did you stay and how was it? Thanks

Posted by
202 posts

I've traveled to the Cinque Terre, but not with my children. However, I couldn't imagine NOT turning teenagers loose there. It's pretty manageable, and while teenagers could get into trouble anywhere, I'd have to say that the Cinque Terre is as safe or safer than Austin, Minnesota.