Tips for making family trips with teens more fun

NEW YORK (AP) – Family travel falls into three distinct phases: First is travel with crying babies, then come trips with kids who can handle long rides and long walks, when they actually think scavenger hunts are fun, and when they bask in their family’s love and attention.

But that’s followed by the teenage years, which can be nearly as challenging as the toddler years.

Here are strategies to help you survive.

FIND APPEALING ACTIVITIES

Teenage brains crave danger. Parental brains crave security. Fortunately, many activities are both thrilling and basically safe, like zip-lining, whitewater rafting and roller coasters.

Teens also like trying new things. Let them try surfing, stand-up paddleboards or snorkeling. No reason mom and dad can’t sit that stuff out, by the way.

LET THEM EXPLORE

Let teens explore on their own as much as possible, whether the setting is a theme park, mall, beach, festival or neighborhood. If everyone has cellphones, it’s easy to keep track of their whereabouts

BE FLEXIBLE ABOUT ITINERARIES

Being flexible about itineraries and letting kids help plan is critical to family travel happiness.

There’s also no harm in letting them sleep in or hang out at the pool while you visit an art show or antiques store.

Let teens sit somewhere playing with their phones while you power walk through a gallery or two.